Evangelist, Chouteau Hills Church of Christ
It is so disappointing to see so many changes taking place in this country that diminish our opportunities to read and study the Bible. It is obvious that this country is moving farther and farther away from God. This is a tragic mistake that, if not quickly changed, will lead to our downfall.
When God speaks, we need to listen. Since He speaks through the Bible, we ought to spend time every day in Bible study. Sin separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). We need to know God’s word because it is His power to save those who believe (Romans 1:16). As Paul asks in Romans 10:14, “How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Since faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), it is vital that God’s word be taught.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God. But faith by itself is not sufficient. James says in James 1:21-22, “Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”
Peter says that we purify our souls when we obey the truth, which is the word of God (I Peter 1:22-23). Hebrews 5:9 tells us that Jesus gives eternal salvation to all those who obey Him. Jesus has the words of eternal life (John 6:68). And yet, many religious leaders tell people they do not have to obey Jesus. Although Jesus says in Mark 16:16, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved,” many preachers will tell you that you don’t have to be baptized to be saved. When the apostles were asked, “What shall we do?” Peter answered, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit,” (Acts 2:37-38). Why don’t preachers today tell people the same thing?
Paul told the Christians in Rome that they were made free from sin when they obeyed a form of the doctrine (Romans 6:17-18). The doctrine is the same as the gospel, which is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 15:1-4). How do people obey a form of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus? Paul says it is by being baptized (Romans 6:3-4). And he warns in 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 that those who do not obey the gospel will be punished with everlasting destruction in flaming fire.
It is important to keep in mind that God’s ways and thoughts are above ours. God tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
We are warned that there is a way that seems right to man, but it ends in death (Proverbs 14:12). So, to be prepared for the judgment, we must study God’s word and obey it. 2 John 9 says, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son.” To abide in the doctrine of Christ means to continue or remain in it. Do you really believe that God gives us commands that He does not expect us to obey?
Satan is trying to lure each of us away from God. Don’t allow yourself to get too far away. As Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near.” Study His word and obey His commandments. Only those who obey God’s Word will enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21-27).