Archive for September, 2021

The Blasphemy Against The Holy Ghost Shall Not Be Forgiven

September 30, 2021

Jesus said in Matthew 12:31 “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.” This verse states the simple truth about the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost; it will NOT be forgiven by God.

Many try to get around this plain fact by saying that, in this passage, Jesus is talking about a sin that a man will not repent of. They say I John 1:9 teaches a man can be forgiven of any and all sins that he will confess. The truth is that I John 1:9 does not include the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost anymore than Luke 16:18 includes the exception for divorce as stated in Matthew 19:9. Matthew 19:9 is stating the one exception to the general rule divorce law of Luke 16:18. In the same way, Matthew 12:31-32 is clearly stating the one exception to the general rule forgiveness law of I John 1:9. Notice Matthew 12:31 even uses the term “all” in describing what sins can be forgiven just as I John 1:9 does. Matthew 12:31 then uses the word “but” in the same way Matthew 19:9 uses the word “except.” The sense of Matt 12:31 is – all sin can be forgiven (if repented of) but (except) the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost.

I don’t know about you but it would seem obvious to me that if passage A says “all sin can be forgiven” and passage B says “all sin can be forgiven except one,” then passsage B is stating the one exception to the general rule found in passage A and B.  Duh – there are no contradictions in Bible.

Elaborating on that last point:  Luke 13:3 and Acts 8:22 teach a person must repent of his sins in order to be forgiven of them. Passages like these show that when Jesus said in Matthew 12:31 “All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men,” it is understood they will be forgiven only if they repent. So it should be understood in the second part of the verse, that people will not be forgiven of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost even if they do repent!

If not, what is the difference between the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost and all other sins? Jesus is definitely making a difference here. If the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven because people will not repent of it, then there is no difference between it and any other sin, because zero sin will be forgiven without repentance. The claim that the sin of the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is a sin that cannot be repented of is not found anywhere in the Bible, and is contrary to the Bible’s teaching on the free will of man – that man can always choose either to do good or to do bad (Joshua 24:15). Notice from Matthew 12:32 that this sin has nothing to do with a lack of repentance necessarily, but has to do with speaking against the Holy Ghost.

The sin of the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven. The Bible means exactly what it says in Matthew 12:31-32. No matter how long “preachers” talk around this passage, Jesus still says, “but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall NOT be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Biases Against Churches Of Christ

September 23, 2021

The primary bias against people who are members of churches of Christ stems from the fact that we say it matters what we believe (Matt 15:14) , what we teach (Gal 1:6-9), how we live (James 2:10), and where a person attends church (II John 9-11). The Bible does not teach all we have to do to be saved is believe in Christ; instead, it teaches we also must obey him (Heb 5:9, Matt 7:21). The religious world (including some brethren) cannot accept these Bible truths, because these truths condemn weak convictions (I Cor 16:13), false doctrine (Matt 15:9), lax living (Gal 5:19-21), and unity in diversity (I Cor 1:10).

In short, we don’t believe people who continue to worship with and go along with unfaithful congregations (Rev 2:5) will go to heaven. Because of our teaching that only strict adherence to God’s word will qualify a person for the gift of salvation (I Pet 1:22a), many members of denominational churches are offended and become our enemies because we tell them the truth (Gal 4:15). Instead of telling them what they want to hear, we should tell them what they need to hear (Acts 20:31). Some can truly be described by Matt 13:15 which reads, “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”

Beware The Extremist by Barney Keith (1963)

September 16, 2021

A very versatile word in the English language is “extremist.” Much like “legalist,” “radical,” and “hobbyist,” it can be called into play whenever desired. It would seem that ANY MAN could be called an extremist — it just depends on who is doing the calling and where he stands at the time. A sure way to prejudice unthinking people against a certain viewpoint or matter of doctrine is to charge, “That is an EXTREME view!” An effective tool for poisoning people against a preacher is to claim, “You know, he is an EXTREMIST!” Immediately the dull-witted close their ears to what he says. They make no effort to investigate the Word of God to determine whether it is the truth. All of us need studious minds, desire for truth, willingness to study for ourselves, and fair-mindedness in considering any matter. Above all we need respect for God’s Book!

STRANGE BUT OFTEN TRUE

Some very significant factors enter into this matter of irresponsible use of words, “He is just an extremist.”

· Somehow it is ALWAYS the other fellow who is extreme – NEVER the speaker.

· Frequently it is used by very “pious” men as a weapon to destroy another – as a prejudicial epithet.

· Often the speaker may not be overly-concerned with the basic question of right and wrong. Yet it is better to be extremely right by following the truth than to be extremely wrong by rejecting it.

· It may sometimes just be a self-protective device used by a person who is mortally afraid that HE may be identified with the extremists. Perish the thought! So, in accusing the other brother of extremism he implies – for his own safety – “I certainly am not like that. I am no extremist.”

NOT NECESSARILY SO

No one doubts that a man CAN be an extremist, but there are definitely some things that are NOT to be considered as marks of an extremist. If they are, the Bible is full of extremists (including God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the apostles, the prophets, etc.). Let us observe that:

· One is not an extremist because he insists on divine authority from Christ for teaching and practice. The Holy Spirit requires this. (Col. 3:17; Heb 8:5.)

· One is not an extremist because he rejects human traditionalism in religion – even though it may be “common practice of the brethren.” Jesus denounced such. (Matt.15:6-9.)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to encourage false teaching and teachers in any way. (2 John 9-11.) Fellowship with God is at stake here.

· One is not an extremist because he publicly challenges men to give authority for their practices. Jesus did. (Matt. 21:24-27.)

· One is not an extremist because he is willing to meet another in public encounter (that is, before an audience) and challenge a brother for his departure from the truth. Paul did so. (Gal. 2:11-14; Acts 15:1, 2.)

· One is not an extremist because he calls the names of men who teach the churches error and cause digression. Paul sets the example for this. (2 Tim. 1:15; 2:15-18.)

· One is not an extremist because he presses the truth with vigorous contention for the faith. The apostles did and we are instructed to do so. (Jude 3; I Thess 2:1,2)

· One is not an extremist because he refuses to back away from the thick of a fight for truth. Paul says God has not given us “the spirit of fear” (cowardice). (2 Tim. 1:7, 8.) A gospel preacher should be ashamed to be a coward.

· One is not an extremist because he teaches faithful Christians to mark and avoid brethren who teach contrary to apostolic doctrine. This is demanded. (Rom 16:17,18)

· One is not an extremist simply because his teaching causes division. Jesus’ sword – the word of God – does some disturbing and dividing. (Matt 10:34-36.) Certainly not all division is laudable. Some of it is deplorable and sinful. It is always sinful to divide people by the preaching of error. On the other hand, division brought about by the proclamation of TRUTH – division that results when some men take their stand upon a “thus-saith-the-Lord” and others rally to their human traditions – is to be expected. It was so in New Testament days. It is true today. Men are OBLIGATED to teach the truth. And men are OBLIGATED to separate themselves from error. (Rom 16:17,18; II Cor 6:14-18)

THE REAL CONCERN

The real concern of every Christian should be to determine TRUTH. If one searches the Scriptures (Acts 17:11) and learns that a thing is taught of God, this truth is EXTREMELY right, and he must believe it, regardless of what others may say or do. To refuse to believe it simply because others may consider it to be extreme is to dishonor the Author of truth. When problems arise and when questions are raised about any matter, our interest must lie in the Word of God as an infallible, all-sufficient standard of correct faith and practice. As was stated before: IT IS BETTER TO BE EXTREMELY RIGHT BY FOLLOWING THE TRUTH THAN TO BE EXTREMELY WRONG BY REJECTING IT.

How Does One Become A Christian?

September 9, 2021

This article is intended to detail what the Bible says about how a person becomes a Christian. It will not deal with God’s part in man’s salvation, but suffice it to say the death of Christ is absolutely essential (Heb 9:22, Matt 26:28), or nobody would be saved. For convenience sake, we will present the conditions necessary to receive the (initial) salvation (and thereby become a Christian) provided by Christ in five steps.

Faith/Belief

When Hebrews 11:6 reads, “But without faith it is impossible to please him; for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him,” it teaches faith in God and His will is absolutely essential to salvation. In addition to believing in God (the Father), we must also believe in his son, Jesus Christ. John 3:16, which reads, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” teaches this fact in a most beautiful way. The great commission also makes the same clear when it reads in Mark 16:16, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

Love

Once we have the proper kind of faith, that faith begins to work “by love” (Galatians 5:6) to complete our initial salvation, and continues the rest of our life toward the goal of eternal salvation. James 1:12 shows the importance of the link between love and receiving this crown of life when it says, “… he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Other passages to consider on this point are I Corinthians 16:22, John 14:21,23 and I John 5:3.

Repentance

Belief in and love toward the Godhead should result in sorrow for sin. Repentance then is listed as our third step. Acts 2:38 reads, “Repent, and be baptized every on of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Both the remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Ghost are conditioned upon repentance (and baptism) in Acts 2:38. Another passage that lets us know the importance of repentance is Acts 17:30, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.”

Confession

Many passages teach that we must confess Christ with our manner of life, but Romans 10:10 (“For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation”) teaches a verbal (it must be done with the mouth) confession is required for initial salvation (to become a Christian). The eunuch made this verbal confession before he was baptized in Acts 8:37 when he said, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”

Baptism

Galatians 3:26-27 ties baptism to becoming a child of God. It reads, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” The word “For” that begins Galatians 3:27 means “to introduce the reason.” Therefore Galatians 3:27 shows the reason that “ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus,” is that “as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” All that have been baptized have become children of God, and also all that have become children of God have been baptized. The same number of people, indeed the very same people, that have been baptized, have become children of God. In Acts 22:16, Ananias told Paul, “arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” This verse shows Paul’s sins were not forgiven at the point of his faith on the road to Damascus as recorded in Acts 9:5-6, but instead they were forgiven at the time of his baptism. I Peter 3:21 teaches that we must be baptized to be saved when it says, “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” This verse does not teach submitting to water baptism earns our salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9, II Timothy 1:9, and Titus 3:5 teach that no work can do that), but it does teach baptism is a condition that absolutely must be met in order to receive the salvation provided by Christ’s blood.

Conclusion

God’s plan of salvation is the story of how God brought Christ into the world to save sinners, and it climaxed with the death and resurrection of Christ. Wouldn’t you like to become a Christian and receive the forgiveness of sins provided for by that death? We urge you to do so. Believe on Christ, develop a love for God, and let that belief work through that love to lead to a sincere commitment to change your life (repentance from sin). Confess Jesus as the son of God, and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. You will become a Christian, and be on your way to heaven.

Not All Congregations Have A Candlestick

September 2, 2021

Rev 2:5 reads “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”

Do you see how this congregation (in Ephesus) was in danger of losing their candlestick? Wouldn’t that mean God would no longer recognize them as being a church belonging to Christ?

I am told that in most congregations across America, about 30% of the adult membership are living in sexual sin in the sense they are living with someone they are not married to, or are in a second or third marriage that violates Matt 19:9. And some of their “pastors” are in the same situation. And going beyond just looseness on divorce and remarriage, many of the mainline denominations are now allowing gay marriage (Rom 1:26-27).

Do you think a church like that has a candlestick (is recognized as faithful by God)? Should we be part of such a congregation that stands for nothing?