Welcome to the footnote¹ blog. Our goal each day is to examine a verse and give a short summary in commentary form or simply an encouraging note to help you remain faithful to God throughout the week. Either way we hope that the footnote¹ blog will comfort you through God's word and give you a better understanding of His will.
“...then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” (Deut. 6.12)
We live in a world that has forgotten our Creator. No wonder He forewarned us not to forget about Him (Deut. 6.10-19). While there are several reasons for this, consider the following two scenarios.
Scenario #1: Dinner must be cooked, the baby is screaming, kids have homework and practice, dad is grumpy from a long day at work. Everyone is tired. Everyone is ready to stop for the day. Sometimes it is never-ending. It’s time to relax.
Scenario #2: Life is great – no complaints. Everything is working in our favor. A recent promotion at work means big bucks, which is going to make life even easier.
Surely we can see how easy it is to forget about God in these two scenarios. We are either too busy or too blessed or both.
Fortunately, there are things in the Christian’s life that help keep God on our minds. A few of these things include the local church, the Lord’s Supper, our brethren, the Bible, the creation around us, and even pain and suffering.
Just imagine if our life was not full of pain, suffering, and affliction. Remember scenario #2? Would we ever look to God? Oftentimes wealth and an abundance of blessings harden our hearts (Matt. 19.16-26) where we cannot love God with all our heart (Matt. 22.37). David said, “Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word” (Psalm 119.67). Solomon wrote, “Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die: Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, lest I be full and deny you and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’ or lest I be poor and steal and profane the name of my God” (Prov. 30.7-9). See also Deut. 8.11-14. Like them, we too can forget what God has done for us.
Interestingly, when we forget God, especially as His children, we are testing Him. Read Deut. 6.16. How did the Israelites tempt God? By forgetting what the Lord had done for them and then requiring Him to prove His care for them! Read Exo. 17.1-7. After all God had accomplished they asked, “Is the Lord among us or not?” Additionally, when we forget God, we slowly but surely begin to neglect His commandments (Deut. 6.17; cf. 4.23; 8.11, 19). This causes us to go astray and practice all kinds of unrighteousness (see Romans 1). How often do we imitate these people? No wonder our Father is provoked with us at times.
Have you forgotten your Creator? When life is busy eliminate the unnecessary things that hinder our minds from focusing on God. When we are abundantly blessed look to God for thanksgiving. When we are suffering look to God for deliverance.
“Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them.” (Leviticus 10.1, ESV)¹
¹Notice in our text that they “offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them”. Here is an example of two individuals who did not glorify God by obeying His word. Though they were worshipping God, they were not worshipping according to His commandments, or in this case, they were offering something He had not even commanded!
Many religious people worship God however they want to. For example, God has commanded His children to sing while assembled to worship Him (Col. 3.16; Eph. 5.19, etc.). However, the majority of people play mechanical instruments coupled with singing. One may argue, “There’s nothing wrong with using instruments in worship - the Bible does not say we cannot do it!”
First, this argument admits that the Bible is silent concerning mechanical instruments in worship, and second, this argument is given by those who want to serve God however they please and not by whatever pleases Him. To say we can use instruments when God never commanded them (that is, acting without His authority) and then to argue that God “did not say not to” is to be guilty of the same thing Nadab and Abihu were - adding to the word of God (Rev. 22.18-19).
Notice the consequence of their addition to God’s silence: “Now Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, each took his censer and put fire in it and laid incense on it and offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, which he had not commanded them. And fire came out from before the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. Then Moses said to Aaron, ‘This is what the Lord has said: “Among those who are near me I will be sanctified, and before all the people I will be glorified.”’ And Aaron held his peace.” (Lev. 10.1-3, ESV)
If God has been silent on something, that does not necessarily mean we have the authority to do whatever we please. We cannot be saved if we act without authority from God. Just ask Nadab and Abihu!
We at the Franklin Drive Church of Christ strive to obey the authority of Jesus. We have music in our assembly - A cappella music - because our Lord has commanded us to sing. We can know that when we sing we are pleasing to Him. If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will and authority and what the Bible teaches concerning singing and mechanical instruments, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.” (John 11.28-29, ESV)¹
¹Speaking of His sheep (disciples), Jesus gives all a beautiful promise – “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” and “no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand”. Too often people claim that this means that His disciples cannot be lost.
The first problem is that this belief is built on a system of beliefs that state that the child of God cannot be lost (often referred to as once saved always saved), and the second problem is that this belief requires those who accept it to overlook the context of the verse in question and deny clear passages that teach a Christian can lose his salvation (see Gal. 5.4; James 5.19-20; Heb. 3.13; 2 Peter 2.20-22, etc.). Additioanlly, one has to overlook the fact that salvation and remaining saved is conditional.
For example, prior to giving this promise, Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 11.28, ESV). This implies that His disciples choose to “hear” and “follow”. To hear Jesus is to listen to all that He teaches and to follow Jesus is to obey all that He commands. Many people listen and yet do not follow (refuse to obey). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them. Many people claim to follow and yet do not listen (claim to have a relationship with Christ and yet live immoral lives). For example, Jesus said, “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6.46, ESV). The promise of eternal life does not apply to them.
Therefore, for all who listen and follow, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.”
If you’re interested in learning more about God’s will, e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
“And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.” (Acts 22.16, ESV)¹
¹This tell us when Saul, later Paul the apostle, was saved from his sins, added to the body of Christ, and became a Christian.
However, those who hold to a faith only doctrine try to refute God’s word by saying that Saul was saved on the road to Damascus when Jesus appeared to Him. If that's the case, why did Luke record that Saul was told to be baptized to wash away his sins? What sins did he have to "wash away" if he was already saved? In fact, if he was saved on the road then he was saved in his sins, not from his sins. Further, Jesus expressly said there was something for him to do when he arrived in Damascus. Interestingly, he was told to be baptized to wash away his sins.
Some argue that since Ananias called Saul "brother Saul" (Acts 22.13) that this indicated that he was already saved. The apostles often called sinners "brothers" or "brethren" not because they were brethren in a spiritual sense, but because they were brothers or kinsmen according to the flesh (See Acts 2.29 [Peter called them brothers before they were saved (2.38, 41)]; Rom. 9.3, etc.). Further, remember, Luke records that Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins. If he was saved when Ananias called him brother Saul, what sins did he have to wash away?
These are not the only arguments that we could examine that are used against Acts 22.16, but, simply put, no amount of pervasive-type arguments change the truth of Acts 22.16. Either Saul was to be baptized to wash away his sins and call on the name of the Lord, or he was not. Which is it reader?
Have you been baptized to wash away your sins? (See also Acts 2.38) We'd love to study with you! E-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905.
Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Gal. 5.19-21, ESV)¹
¹Have you ever notice that Paul says “and things like these” in the above text? What exactly is meant by “and things like these”?
First, anything that is contrary to God’s will is included in those four words. Even things not mentioned in the Bible. For example, purposely running the red light. Nowhere are those laws expressed in God’s word, but obeying the government is (Rom. 13, etc.). We must understand that the Bible is not so much a book of “thou shalts” and “thou shalt nots”, but it is a book of principles. Consequently, even if it breaks God’s law in principle alone, it is sin and included in “and things like these”. Therefore, Christians must learn to discern between right and wrong to be able to overcome Satan (Heb. 5.11-14).
Too often people put degrees on sin as if there are “acceptable sins”. However, all wrongdoing is sin (1 John 5.17) and whenever one fails to do what he knows that it is right to do, it is sin to him (James 4.17). Simply put, anything contrary to God’s law is included in “and things like these”.
Let us notice some other “lists of sins” found throughout Scripture that would be included in “and things like these”:
“There are six things that the Lord hates, seven that are an abomination to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and one who sows discord among brothers.” (Prov. 6.16-19, ESV)
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’” (Matt. 7.21-23, ESV). Notice that this includes all works that are seen by us to be “good works”. Yet, if they are not according to God’s word, they are not good works and are included in “and things like these”.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matt. 25.41-46, ESV)
“And he said, ‘What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.’” (Mark 7.20-23, ESV)
“They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.” (Rom. 1.29-31, ESV; see also vv18-32)
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor. 6.9-11, ESV).
“But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not become partners with them…” (Eph. 5.3-7, ESV)
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.” (Col. 3.5-8, ESV)
“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.” (2 Tim. 3.1-5, ESV)
“But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” (Rev. 21.8, ESV)
These are just some of the sins mentioned in the Bible. For everything else, we need to train ourselves in God’s word to be able to discern right from wrong!
If you’re interested in learning more about sin e-mail Bryan Garlock or text 903.308.4905. We can help you overcome sin in your life and learn what true freedom – freedom in Christ – feels like!