Friday, August 27, 2010
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
''WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS WAY/ BY TAKING HEED THERETO ACCORDING TO THY WORD''PSALM 119;9 The psalmist's question about the way of a young man may be likened unto a manufacturer's attempt to display the utmost effectiveness of his product. The power of a soap to cleanse a stain is not seen until the stain be very deep, and thus it is declared from the opening chapters of Genesis, ''for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth'' [8;21], proving that a very great power is required to cleanse it. Youth is often a time when lust cries for gratification, and passions are most unruly, and when indulged these will quickly begin to form beaten paths for sin in a young man's life which he may never depart from all his days. The greatest danger of the way of self-gratification in youth is that it seems pleasurable, even right, to the youthful mind which is not farsighted enough to reckon with the day of accounting that is coming, as the Preacher in Ecclesiastes warned; ''Rejoice O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes; but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment'' [11;9]. Hence the question ''wherewithal'' or by what means is the unwary youth to cleanse himself from the evil within his own heart, and keep himself from the defiling temptations all about him/ A straightforward, emphatic answer follows, ''by taking heed thereto according to thy word.'' In order to do this, it must first be accepted that everything the Bible says is God's inspired Word, that it is the end of all controversy, that the thoughts of one's heart, if contrary to it are wrong, and the Bible is right. God's testimony that man's heart is ''deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked'' [Jer. 17;9] muist not only be agreed to as true of all mankind in general, but also by the Holy Spirit's convicting work must come a feeling sense of one's personal unbelief, rebellion, and disobedience. With the conviction of sin, comes also an understanding that the blood and righteousness of the now risen Saviour is required for God to ever pardon and justify a sinner, and that to continue to follow Satan, the god of this world, will emd in eternal Hell [Jn.16;8-11].
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Dear awakened sinner, I have prayed for you and longed for you, that you by the grace of God, would trust or lean upon, or give yourself completely to the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Remember--anything this side of Hell is mercy. Remember--you deserve to go to Hell. Remember--God has only one way to save any sinner, and that is, by Christ as your Substitute. Then it is come to Christ or be lost forever. Do you feel your need of Christ/ Do you see your need of Christ/ Have you come to the end of your way where you must look to Christ and Him alone as your Substitute, as the One who died in your place/ Have you signed your death warrant meaning you have acknowledged in your heart that you deserve to go to Hell, you ought to go to Hell, and if God sends you to Hell, you will get your just dues/ It is then, and only then, that you look to Christ, because He is the only One left to whom you can turn. Have you come to see and to know and to acknowledge that you are utterly lost, and that you are at your wit's end [Ps. 107;27], and have been made to cry out of the depths of your heart, from your distressed soul, ''Lord, save me, or I perish... Lord, be merciful to me the sinner''/ If you have, then you are pardoned. As some old divine has said, based upon God's Word, ''Salvation is knowing yourself, and knowing Christ.'' No one will flee to Christ until he has first come to know himself. There are 2 prayers that every awakened sinner can pray; first, ''Lord, show me myself,'' second, ''Lord, show me Christ.'' I must be frank with you, it will cost you everything in the world that you have, or ever hope to have to get to Christ, because ''believing on Christ'' means surrendering everything, giving up everything. If you are not willing to surrender everything, according to Luke 14;33, if you are not willing for Christ to be Lord of your heart and life, then forget about ever being saved. Just make up your mind that you are goung to Hell, and stop trying to make God come to your terms. I leave these pungent words with you, and may the Holy Spirit take them to your heart. If He does, you will soon be writing me, ''Thank you, Brother Foltz, for being true to me. I am now rejoicing in Christ, as my Lord and Saviour.'' Ever Your Friend, Paul W. Foltz DD
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The general meaning of grace is a favorable disposition or kindness. In the Bible it is the eternal and absolute free favor of God shown to guilty sinners. Grace has been defined by means of an acrostic; God's Riches At Christ's Expense. To elaborate on that definition,grace is divinely appointed, eternal precious blessings which comes to the undeserving, having been purposed by the Father, purchased by the Son, and applied by the Holy Spirit.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
No, I haven't died. I haven't become a Catholic and joined a monastery. I am not sequestered somewhere writing a book. I haven't been kidnapped by aliens for X-File type experiments. No, I have been 1. somewhat busy and 2. procrastinating. I am really good at the second one. But I am around and things are getting back on track. So those of you who take the time to read this blog will be seeing some new material soon.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The doctrines of grace far from being secondary, form the very heart of the gospel. As the marrow is to the bone un, so these doctrines are essential to rightly understanding the body of God's revealed truth. The 5 doctrines--TOTAL DEPRAVITY, UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION, PARTICULAR REDEMPTION, IRRESISTIBLE GRACE, AND PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS IN HOLINESS AS PROOF OF THEIR SALVATION, must be accepted by faith before one can understand God's eternal purpose in saving some of mankind. These doctines are the pith and marrow of all sweetness. They tell us how God has graciously condescended to save rebels. Praise His name. He chose me..... WELL, GLORY......
Friday, April 16, 2010
All the promises of God found in His Word, the Bible, are made to special individuals-that is, every promise in God's Word is made to HIS people, to the saints of God, or, the born again ones, or called-out ones. they are not made to the world, neither does Christ pray for the world [John 17;9]. Let me repeat it; the promises of God's Word were given to His people [John 17;8], because every promise grows out of the covenant of grace between God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit for His people. ''For all the promises of God in him, are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us'' [II Corinthians 1;20].
Monday, March 22, 2010
1. Some scoffers had raised the question of the delay of the Second Coming. Did the fact of that delay mean that God was slack in some way regarding the fulfillment of His promise, maybe even incapable of bringing it to pass/ Why the delay in His coming/ 2. Peter answers that there is a group that is the object of God's foebearance, and that God is not willing that these certain ones should perish, but that all of these should come to repentance. 3. Therefore the Second Coming is not delayed, but it is right on schedule, according to God's plan and purpose in saving a people. Christ will come, when this people is complete, and in the interval till then He will work bringing these to salvation. 4. Therefore the passage is not teaching that God is holding up the Second Coming in the hope a few more will be saved. Rather, the Second Coming will happen according to God's purpose and will, which includes the calling out of a people prior to that hour. 5. This interpretation not only is true to the text and context, but it is also true to the Biblical concept of God, Who is in full control, and works all things after the counsel of His own will.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
When the Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner, whom God the Father gave to Christ [JOHN 17], He implants the graces of faith and repentance which lead to the initial conversion experience [EPH. 2;8-9; ACTS 5;39]. This must be so because the sinner is DEAD spiritually, unable to believe or repent on his own.
Friday, January 1, 2010
When the Holy Spirit awakened me to my lost condition, it was a gracious day. But soon after I experienced a sad day, when the Spirit led me to see that I had sinned against Him, Who had died for me. Then I learned we have two natures warring in us. The one we feed and yield to, is the one which gets the upper hand. But through the filling of the Spirit, we have the victory of the sin nature. We must confess our known sins and yield ourselves to The Holy Spirit. It must be done repeatedly; everytime we sin.
Monday, December 28, 2009
1. Seek to get your heart into a state, where it has no will of its own in a given matter. Nine-tenths of the difficulties are overcome when the heart is ready to do the Lord's work, whatever it may be. 2. Don't leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If you do, you will open yourself up to delusion. 3. Seek God's will through, or in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit guides according to the Scriptures and never contrary to them. 4. TAKE INTO ACCOUNT PROVIDENTIAL CIRCUMSTANCES. They often plainly indicate Gos's Will in connection with His Word and Spirit. 5. Ask God to reveal His Will to you. 6. Thus, through prayer, study of the Word and reflection, you will come to find God's Will.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Every individual out of Christ who has heard the Gospel preached, realizes that Christ died for sinners. This great truth becomes a historical fact to the sinner. Then the sinner sees the suffering Saviour as He is lifted up in the preaching of the Gospel, because by the foolishness of preaching He has ordained to save them which believe. As the Lord Jesus Christ is lifted up in faithful preaching under the power of God's Holy Spirit, the sinner looks upon this pierced Saviour lifted up in such preaching and comes to believe Him to be the world's Divine Saviour. As the sinner sees the Saviour lifted up in the Gospel, he looks upon Him and is broken down in utter repentance, and is made to mourn over his sins, over his sin nature that crucified his Lord. As he sees his guiltiness before God, he goes to praying. he gives up all pretension to self-righteousness, and comes to see that all of his religious exercises and works are but filthy rags. It is then that he begins to call upon the name of the Lord and ask that His propriation be applied to him, and that Christ become his own Saviour. As he continues to call upon the name of the Lord, God continues to strip him until he comes to see his utter vileness, until he abhors himself. He comes to see his great distance from God, that he is utterly separated from God. As he continues to call upon the name of the Lord, he sees his utter helplessness to do one thing about his salvation, and that his salvation rests wholly and completely in the hands of a sovereign God. He continues to call upon the Lord, and he finds all his strength gone and he is utterly helpless. His hopes flee away, and he sees that if he is ever saved GOD will have to do it. Then it is is cries, ''God, be merciful to me the sinner, or I PERISH.'' And then comes the personal application of the blood to his own heart by the Holy Spirit; there comes the revelation of CHRIST AS HIS ABSOLUTE LORD AND HIS OWN PERSONAL SAVIOUR, as the Oe who died for him, who bore his sins in hIS OWN BODY ON THE TREE. It is then that God gives him faith to receive Christ, and to trust his soul to Him for ever and ever. Christ and the sinner then become one, eternally united.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Many, today are puzzled or ignorant of what worldlinness is. From Romans 12;;2 we see that it is a primarily, a mental attitude that issue forth in activity, without any regard gor God or, His law. What one thinks he is-''As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.'' When you act or think without regarding God or His law, you are worldly. Satan could not drive the church out of the world;so he put it into the local church. Only when we are regulated by God's WORD CAN WE BOT BE WORLDLY.
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
The Holy Spirit, at times gives testimony concerning Jesus, to open up a passage of Scripture, speaking of Jesus, to cast a divine light before astonished eyes, and to throw some beams of gospel truth into our souls, whereby we see Jesus. At times we are brought to say,from an apprehension of His beauty and loveliness,''We would see Jesus.'' We want to feel His love, to have our eyes anointed to behold His glory, to look upon Him as crucified for us and bearing our sins in His own body on the tree, that we have a sweet, blessed fellowship with Him as our Surety. Wherever there is a work of grace upon the soul, there will be this pining after Christ. The soul that is really taught of God can never rest satisfied short of Jesus.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
The divine undertakings in the salvation of sinners fall into these two categories; 1.Acts of Divine Justice 2.Acts of the super-abounding grace of God. Those acts dealing with human unworthiness and acts of sin are acts of justice. AMONG THESE WE FIND FORGIVENESS, JUSTIFICATION, DEATH TO THE LAW, FREEDOM FROM THE LAW, AND THE NEW CREATION.ALL THIS COMES BY THE CROSS. Those aspects of salvation where God bestows or imparts His benefits are immediate acts of grace. These include; gift of eternal life, imputed righteousness of god, and every spiritual blessing.
Monday, July 20, 2009
The SBC WAS BLESSED TODAY WHEN FORMER US PRESIDENT LEFT THE SBC CHURCH. HE HELD TO NEIGHBOR'S THEOLOGY AND WAS A LIBERAL, MODERNIST IN HIS THEOLOGY. MAYBE OUR LORD WILL BLESS THE SBC WITH THE EXIT OF THOSE WHO HOLD TO FREE WILL, LEAVING ONLY THOSE ADHERING TO FREE GRACE.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
''America's god is dead'' said Spencer Williamson, Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Fort Lauderdale, many years ago, on the death of Elvis Pressley. With the events of the past days this might be said of Michael Jackson. Even his funeral was almost a coronation service. His casket was rolled down the aisle, to the tune, ''We're going to see the king.'' And that he will at the Great White Throne judgment when he shall be resurrected from hell, to be judged and cast into the Lake of Fire. ''HARSH, JUDGMENTAL WORDS'', You say/ He gave no evidence that he knew God becoming a Jehovah Witness then becoming a Muslim. I wonder who AMERICA will worship next/ All nations that forget GOD SHALL BE TURNED INTO HELL. America, It's repent or perish; it's turn or burn.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
It is often inferred that Christianity is an outgrowrh, or product of Judaism. In reality these two systems are as independent of each other as the two opposing principles of law and grace. Being thus so widely different in their essential elements, they are, like the princoples which they embody, as far removed from the other as heaven is higher than the earth. One is of the earth, the old creation, and the flesh; the other is of heaven, of the new creation, and the Spirit. As there are elements and threads of truth which run throughout the entire Bible, so certain features which belong to Judaism reappear in Christianity; but this obvious fact should not be made the basis of a supposition that these systems are the same, or that one was merged into the other. God, holiness, Satan, man, sin, redemption, and the issues of eternity, are not only relevant facts of both Judaism and Christianity, but they are essential facts of all time, from its beginning to its end. It is true that the same God is the God of the Gentile as well as of the Jew, and that the Jew anticipated the value of Christ's death by sacrifices, as we realize the value of His death through faith; but it does not therefore follow that God's purposes and ways are the same with Israel as with the Church. When these 2 systems are confused, it is because the differentiating essentials which constitute the Jewish religion and Christianity are ignored. FIRST, CONSIDERING THEM AS RULES OF LIFE. The Old Testament system of law is absolutely supersede by the new system under grace. Christians are not under law either for justification or for sanctification. When Christ said, ''I came not to destroy, butnto fulfil,'' and that nothing should pass from the law until all was fulfilled [Mt. 5;17-18], He was dealing with Israel while Judaism was still in force, and anticipating the MESSIANIC KINGDOM, which will be purely llegal in its character. SECOND, CONSIDERING THEM UNDER THEIR RESPECTIVE ASPECTS. In the matter of service, there is nothing but contrast betweem Judaism and Christianity. Israel, under Judaism, went to perform a sacrifice; we go out to proclaim a sacrifice. Judaism had its ritual, its forms, and its ceremonies which are typical. Christianity could incorporate none of these since it provides a living union to Christ who is Substance and Antitype of all that Judaism prefigured. THIRD, CONSIDERING THEM IN RESPECT TO PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP TO GOD. Under Judaism, the nation was related to Him by the covenant of Sinai, the Abrahamic covenant being temporarily set aside until Christ should come [Galatians 3;19], and individual Israelites were spiritually renewed through their personal faith, though the exact character of their salvation is not revealed. But, under grace, all the positions and possessions of the believer in relation to God transcend the earthly promises of Israel. The message of Ephesians 2;18 TO 3;10 does not teach that the Church is being built on the prophets of the Old Testament; reference is only to the prophets and apostles of the New Testament [4;11]. In like manner, The ''MYSTERY''[3;6]is the formation of a new humanity--the Church-- out of both Jews and Gentiles, and not a combining of Old Testament saints with New Testament saints. The true church began at PENTECOST, and was made possible through the new outflow of grace in Christ Jesus, -- by His death, resurrection, and ascension,-- and the descent of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, Gentile branches are not grafted into Judaism, but into Christ [Romans 11;17]. HE IS THE VINE.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Paul writes, ''I follow after if that I may apprehend that for which I was apprehended of Christ Jesus.'' The 1st thing God did for Saul of Tarsus, then, was to apprehend him. The term signifies the laying fast hold of a delinquent, and Paul was just then apprehended. He had robbed God of His glory, as long as he could, he had sought to imprison and murder the saints, he had fought against the Lord Jesus Christ, and ''breathed out threatenings and slaughter'' against His followers. He ran away from Jerusalem down to Damascus, to carry out his diabolical plans and purposes there, in full pursuit of his mad career, as he himself says, ''EXCEEDING MAD against'' the disciples of Christ. As he pursued his course, an invisible hand lays fast hold of him. He is apprehended. He is called by name, that there be no mistake, ''Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me/'' The Lord's mighty grasp got hold of his conscience. In one moment possession was taken of all the powers of his soul. Not one step more, could he take as a persecutor, though he still had the carnal nature. The voice of the Son of God changes, transforms, regenerates, renews, makes him a new creature.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Divine truth is of the nature of spirit and for that reason can only be received by spiritual revelation. God's thoughts belong to the world of spirit, man's to the world of intellect, and while spirit can embrace intellect, the human intellect can never comprehend spirit. Man's thoughts cannot cross over into God's. God made man in His own image and placed a organ, within him, whereby he could know spiritual things. When Adam sinned, that organ of GOD-KNOWLEDGE, within the human soul died. By reason man cannot know God, he can know only about God. This is why Regeneration is the first step of Redemption. In it, the organ of God-knowledge is renewed, so that the sinner can see, hear, and believe Divine truth.
Friday, April 24, 2009
There is a widespread theory going about today that is alarming and dangerous. Replacement Theology teaches that the church has taken the place of Israel, since she rejected Christ, as her messiah, and receives the promises of blessing given to the ethnic, geopolitical nation, that God raised up through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. However, it doesn't teach that the church receives the judgmments. Those still go to ethnic, geopolitical Israel. How can the promised judgments be literally fulfilled, but the promised blessings be transferred to someone else without doing serious violence to the obvious intention of the original promise/ Although the sweep of the text may be enlarged and expanded, the original promise must retain its validity, or we have not only compromised the integrity of Scripture but the character of God. Although ''marred in the hand of the potter,'' Israel will be ''made again'' [Jeremiah 18;4]. Jesus promised that; 1, The nation will one day accept Him -Matthew 23;39]. 2, The Kingdom will be restored to Israel [Acts 1;6-7; 3;19-21]. 3, The withered, cut off branches will be grafted in again, and ''so all Israel will be saved'' [Romans 11;23, 26].
Monday, April 13, 2009
Yesterday was supposed to be the main sunday for the church this year, a day when the resurrection of Christ, was to be proclaimed, and observed reverently by Christians[/] all over this world. BUT EASTER IS NOT NOW WHAT IT ONCE WAS EVEN IN PROFESSING cHRISTIANS HOMES/ lET ME ANSWER THIS. I live in a rural area. Saturday over 300 kids plus parents went to a easter egg hunt in the middle of the country, no where virtually. Yesterday, at Ponce De Leon Springs, 4 Baptist churches mustered only 50 people, adults and kids for the sunrise service. Where has the values of Christian homes gone to/ Why do Christians emulate the world, that put their Lord to death/ WE ARE IN A STATE OF ALMOST TOTAL APOSTASY. And we as a nation are headed for judgmment. Today's Church, instead of being a beacon, on the hill,cooperates with the world, by adopting its dress, amusements, and contemporary music. If God does not send a revival, and Holy Spirit conviction to the church it will have no influence left at all. But as God raised Jesus from the dead, so He can raise the sinner out of spiritual death, and He can awakened the Church again, bringing it to repentance, and restoring its influence. This is a cry for revival and a 3rd Spiritual Awakening in our land. Will you join me in it/
Sunday, April 5, 2009
What does God's choosing of Abraham mean/ He is a specimen of a sinner saved by grace, a sinner called out of the world by God. How did this choosing take place/ Didn't God think of him long before he ever thought of God/ Didn't God choose him before he ever thought of choosing God/ Weren't there thousands in Chaldea that God could have chosen, and called, and saved, had He pleased/ Yet He chose Abraham alone. And what does the Bible call this procedure on the part of God/ It calls it election. Nehemiah 9;7--''Thou art the LORD the God, who didst choose Abram, and broughtest him forth out of Ur of the Chaldees.'' Does any one say, ''But God chose Abraham because He foresaw that Abraham would choose him/'' The case is precisely the reverse of this. He chose Abraham because He saw that otherwise Abraham would not choose Him. It was God's foreseeing that Abraham wouldn't choose Him that made election necessary. So it is with us. God chooses us, not because He forsees that we would choose Him, or that we would believe, but for the very opposite reason. Election proceeds not upon foreseen faith in us, but upon forseen unbelief. Election has no meaning if it be not the expression of God's will in reference to particular persons and things--saying to each,
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Many today, are perplexed by the doctrines of God's Sovereignty and of God's election unto salvation. It's a great wonder to me, why anyone believing in a God should be perplexed by these doctrines. For if there be a God, a King, eternal, immortal, and invisible, He cannot be but sovereign--and He cannot but do according to His own will and choose according to his own purpose. You may dislike these doctrines, but you can only be finished with them by altogether denying the existence of an infinitely wise,glorious and powerful being.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
One of the missing notes in the preaching of today is Bible repentance. The Bible plainly says, ''Without shedding of blood is no remission'' of sin [HEBREWS 9;22]. Then Christ said, before He returned to Heaven ''that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem'' [LUKE 24;47]. Blood redemption in Christ means nothing to a person, until he or she, first repents. Repentance and faith are the means of grace for entrance into the blessings of the atonement, or, blood redemption in Christ. Now, it is one thing to preach repentance; it's another thing to see the Holy Spirit work repentance in a sinner's heart, until he or she, finds himself, or herself, at the feet of a crucified, buried, risen Lord as a lost sinner crying for mercy. It is one thing to preach Holy Spirit conviction; it is another to see Holy Spirit conviction fall upon the sinner's hheart, stripping him or her of all self-righteous rags and bringing him or her, naked before a Sovereign God, Who can save, or damn, and then,see that sinner cry for mercy until God moves to forgive him or her, and clothe him or her with His righteousness. In today's spiritual dearth, seldom do we see such results of Holy Spirit conviction under our present-day preaching, but when it occurs, it is so new and amazing, that folks at first, won't accept it. Such Holy Spirit conviction, which so strips a sinner until the world loses all attraction to that person, and he is so awakened to his lost, condemned condition before God, and becomes so concerned about the salvation of his soul in Christ that he cannot rest--preaching that results in such conviction is called by our present- day ministry, unwholesome, embarassing and disturbing. THE AVERAGE PREACHER TODAY HAS NO MESSAGE FOR THE SOULS OF MEN. Their messages center around a program, a little moral sermonette.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
I would reccomend these 5 steps; 1. Seek to get your heart in such a state, where it has no will of its own. Nine- tenths of difficultiues are overcome when our hearts are ready to do the Lord's will, whatever it may be. 2. Don't leave the result to feeling or simple impression. If you do so, you make yourself liable to delusions. 3. Seek the will of the Holy Spirit through, or in connection with God's Word. THE 2 ALWAYS go together. 4. Take into account providential circumstances. 5. Ask the God to reveal HIS WILL in connection with His Word and Spirit.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Upon the cross, on Calvary, the blessed Redeemer died. He died to make the payment for all the sins of those, whom The Father had given to Him in The Covenant of Grace, thereby actually securing their Redemption. The price He paid, was His own precious, innocent Blood. And He gave it all. When the Roman spear pierced His side out came blood and water. He shed all of His blood to save me. And He shed all of His blood to save you. It took all of His blood to save me. It took all of his blood to save you. How this does away with the emotional jibberish, ''each drop of blood bought mme a million years, a soul was saved each time He shed a tear.'' NO; It took all of his Blood. Just as the sacrificialb's throat was cut, so it would bleed out, and then any residue was destroyed by the fire of the Brazen Altar, so Christ shed all of His blood for me freely. He took my place; and if you are saved, He took yours. He died as our Substitute.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
As I PERUSE THE BLOGS OF SBC PREACHERS, I SEE THEY ARE ALL FULL OF FOOLISH DEBATING AND VAIN JANGLING. Some elevate The Baptist Faith and Message, to the point of correcting God's Word. Others debate close, closed, and open communion. oTHERS ARGUE OVER SECONDARY TEIRS OF DOCTRINE AND DOGMA. All this they are doing, and tearing their cooperative apart. Now there are some things we need to stand up for, Salvation by grace, blood and power, Separation unto the Lord from the world, The inspiration and preserving og The Bible, Christ's virgin birth, substitutionary death. bodily resurrection and ascension,The Church being Christ's bride,Israel being the wife of Jehovah.The priesthood of the believer, the autonomy of the local church, eternal security, and The DOCTRINES OF GRACE, AS THE HEART OF THE Gospel.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
What a wonderful and enjoyable time this past weekend was.... I traveled up to Pelham, Al, to visit and spend some time with my brother David and His wife Janet. I had a very good time with them. They both love and serve the LORD. And they love me. I wish I could see more of them, but that is not possible, at this time. I am so grateful for the time we do have with each other. I JUST WANT TO PRAISE God, AND TO THANK THEM FOR LOVING ME. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DID, OUT OF LOVE. LOVE AND PRAYERS.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
LIFE IN THE HOME versus WORK IN THE SHOP The Christian life is ''Faith working by love'' [GALATIANS 5;;6]. The faith- life sets up the highest possible control and motivation--the love bond. Grace not only establishes a head and body union; it joins us to Christ in marriage-''married to Another'' [ROMANS 7;4; see EPHESIANS 5;31-32]. Love is the highest motivating power known to personality. Love moved God in the overcoming of the greatest possible obstacles [JOHN 3;16; ROMANS 5;8]. Grace brought us over onto His Side, in the realm of divine love, where ''the love of Christ constraineth us'' [II.CORINTHIANS 5;14]. What a let-down to fall away from grace, drop His love out of our lives and plod along on our own, in dependence upon self-effort and self-motivation. The situation is much like that of a man leaving the home for the shop. He LIVES at home; he WORKS at the shop. As he goes forth his wife's kiss and words of encouragement linger with him. Her love warms his heart. As he enters the shop his eye falls upon rules tacked upon the wall; and there are certain city ordinances to be observed. How different, he thinks, from the life at home. During the day a watch is kept to see that men observe the regulations of the shop. The men are conscious of working by rules, by orders, and by the clock. At the close of the day, is our friend so fond of the shop routine that he asks for a copy to take home and post on its walls-just to see that he doesn't break any of them/ No, indeed. What a relief to enter his home; its atmosphere is love; its life is free. Love regulates and motivates each wishing to please the other. The home is so sacredly sovereign, that no police ever intrudes to ensure that city ordinances are being observed. How beautifully free is the life that flows from a heart filled with true love. Grace has given us such a life; and grace enables us to live it. WHEN A CHRISTIAN FAILS--WHAT/ We are in the realm of practical Christian living. In this realm we meet many disappointments. many embarrassing situations and problems. There are failures, plenty of them. Seemingly true Christians fail to live the life. Every serious lapse is, at root, a case of falling away from grace. It cannot be otherwise. Grace supplies all the resources of God for life's living, even God Himself. ''Christ liveth in me.'' If I am living where grace operates to supply these resources, I am ''kept by the power of God.'' If I move out from the realm of grace, its supply is cut off; I am thrown back upon my own resources, and ''I'' fail. ''I'' do what ''in Christ''I could never do. We all know Christians whose lives are a puzzle. I think with sadness, of preachers who are outstandingly doctrinally sound. They are known as gospel preachers, proclaiming the Word of God and the cross of Christ; but--, here is one, who cheats the government in his tax return; here is one who lies; another is mean, unkind, inconsiderate; another ''gets mad''; another is foul in personal speech; another treats his wife contemptibly; another is guilty of immorality; another is labeled ''crooked.'' How shall we explain such lapses/ Has the CHRIISTIAN FAITH failed/ No, indeed. The explanation is this; doctrinally they are on His Side, in the realm of grace; practically, they are back on Our Side, fallen away from grace. Grace can no longer operate to exercise His control, so ''I'' is back in the saddle, denying in practice the gospel preached from the pulpit. Grace given its freedom never fails, simply because God never fails. If I live ''in Christ,'' then, ''for to me to live is Christ''[PHIL. 1;21]. Christ is not dishonest, or dishonorable, or foul of speech. My responsibility is to ''abide'' in Him, giving Him freedom to express Himself in my personal, practical living. This is the one guarantee of heart and life purity. I could be impure; men far better than I have been, but CHRIST IN ME-NEVER.... The life in grace, the life of faith ministers Christ to the heart every moment-it's the only way to live. Label your life; ''KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD'' -END-
''THEREFORE''.... As in all Paul's church letters this word marks the turning point from doctrine to duty. It gathers into itself the entire doctrinal statement that has preceded, and focuses its full force upon practical day-by-day living. It transmutes the teaching into a practical way of living. CHRISTIAN LIVING is a matter of staying ON SIDE-His Side, with its dearly purchased freedom. It is a matter of resisting every influence that would get us OFF SIDE,back onto Our Side, back to an endless round of self-effort. The sickening failure everywhere evident, in the church, and in the individual, is right here. Our multipled ''activities,'' our fine ''program'' which keeps us so busy--all tends to makke us self-conscious rather than Christ-conscious. We are doing something; we tend to forget what Christ has done and is doing. Even our preaching emphasis upon duty tends to drag us over to Our Side. We talk about the many unsolved problems engulfing society; resultantly, the vast majority of Christian people lose sight of the complete solution of all problems ''in Christ.'' WHAT IS CHRISTIAN LIBERTY / The Christian, born of God, is God's free-born man. He is His Son, His heir; all that God has is his. We read in Romans 8;32-''He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things/'' God has already ''blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ'' [EPHESUS 1;3]. These blessings include His unqualified favor, ''justified from all things,'' the bestowal of His life, the gifts of His Spirit, access to His presence in prayer--everything to be desired. Christian liberty is a life so lived, that these provisions of grace, continue to operate. SAVED BY GRACE INTIALLY, WE MUST BE KEPT BY GRACE CONTIMUALLY. Life imparted by grace, must be sustained by grace. Justified by grace [ROMANS 3;24], we must be sanctified by grace; Standing in grace [ROMANS 5;2], we must walk in grace. We must be taught, trained, and disciplined by grace [Titus 2;11-13]. We are to grow in grace [II. PETER 3;18]. We are to experience the riches of His grace [EPHESUS 1;7, not only now but eternally [EPHESUS 2;7]. In the severest trial His grace proves itself sufficient for us [11. CORINTHIANS 12;9], and as we humble ourselves, He keeps adding more grace [James 4;6]. He calls Himself the God of all grace [1 PETER 5;10], able to make all grace abound toward us, that we may always have all sufficiency for all things [II. Corinthians 9;8]. It is evident that God has a thorough-going program of grace. Grace made us free; grace sustains us in a continuous experience of freedom. This is Christian liberty; staying on His Side, in His favor, where His freeing grace continuously operates. In this freedom we are to ''stand fast'' at all costs. WHAT IS FALLING FROM GRACE / So very many hold a superficial conception of grace. They think of grace as a sort of booster, or bracer, a spiritual vitamin to insure against failure. Do the best you can; God won't fail you; He'll see you through; God helps those who help themselves. Not so. God only has 2 ways of dealing with men, two great principles; law and grace. Grace is God finding a way to set aside the demands of law and our deserts under it, having taken those deserts upon Himself, that He may be free to pour out upon us His goodness anf kindness, even His very life. ''Falling from grace,'' better understood by translating it ''falling away from grace,'' is crossing the line-changing sides-to come under the requirements of law, thereby forfeiting the provisions of grace. Many think of falling from grace as falling into sin, such as drunkenness or some such evil. That is not what falling from grace is, at least initially; however, as we shall soon see, its ultimate result may be something such as that. Falling from grace is giving up God's provisions under grace, as much as to say,''I'd rather depend on what I can do for myself, or on what some one does for me.'' IN THE CASE OF THESE Galatians it was circumcision. This seemed a harmless thing to do, but they had done it because the law prescribed it. Paul says, ''That one thing labels you; you're under the law as a system of life; you've obligated yourselves to keep the whole law; you are severed from Christ; you've served notice on God you are going to do the best you can for yourself; you've cut the supply-line of His grace.'' Today, falling away from grace for many takes the form of depending upon what the church can do for them. they are relying upon church membership--they really and implicitly trust it for their spiritual security. Others depend on water baptism, the Lord's table AND THEIR GOOD DEEDS. If Paul were here today, he would say, to all such, ''Y are severed from Christ; you have left His Side and are busy commending yourselves to GOD... It is all a vain Show.'' What is more, these people, through ignorance of Bible truth, and by reason of the kind of preaching of our day, never really understand God's offered grace and its provision for dealing with them. CHRIST-CONTROLLED or SELF-CONTROLLED This is the issue before us. In terms of practical living we are faced with this Question; ''Do I want Christ to control my life/ Or, do I prefer to run my own life/ That is the choice before us. Life on His Side is, in the provisions of grace, a person-to-person relationship--''I in you''; ''I will dwell in them and walk in them'' [JOHN 15;4; 11. CORINTHIANS 6;16]; the other person is in control. Back on Our Side life becomes a one person affair; that person is thrown upon his own resources. On His Side life is spiritual, with spiritual ideals and aims and experiences that thrill the soul. The fallen-from-grace life, though intensely religious, is a moral life; ''I'' call upon myself to live up to certain standards of conduct that satisfy my religious sense of right and wrong. It is the Romans 7 life as against the Romans 8 life. In Romans 7 the pronoun ''I'' occurs 38 times; ''I'' am trying to live up to a standard set for me, but there is something in ''I'' that foils my best efforts. The attempt ends in a defeatist mood, a sense of wretched failure [7;24]. That mood is seen in church life today. Religious life, a solo effort to solve one's problems, is deadening and discouraging. But ROMANS 8.... Another Person is introduced into human experience, and with Him, a new control--''the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus''; and this control by Him ''has MADE me free'' V.2]. The ''I'' has disappeared; we can now use ''we''-He and I are living a joint life, I in Him [vs. 1] and He in me [vs. 10]. My responsibility, so far removed from the former self-effort, is to so yield to Him that He can realize His life in me. Now life is''we'' living together. How practical this is. IT WORKS.... This becomes more evident when the relationship is carried over into Ephesian truth. a relationship of head and body-He the HEAD, while the believer constitutes the body. THE HEAD IS IN UNDISPUTED CONTROL. THE BODY MAINTAINS AN INSTINCTIVE YIELDEDNESS. Grace has attained a marvelous solution to man's problems; he is free, in the freedom of his Creator-Redeemer living His life in and through man. [to be continued]
Friday, February 6, 2009
We need to pray for President Obama's; 1. Salvation 2. Change on abortion to pro life, anti-abortion 3. To abandon his marxist idealogy on the economy 4. To fully support the nation of Israel 5. That he will make wise choices based on Biblical principles. 6. That he will support the NRA position on guns. 7. That he will freeze gasoline prices at 1.50 per gallon.
''Looking diligently lest any root of bitterness. . .'' Bitterness is a terrible sin. Bitterness is self-induced misery and self-punishment. Bitterness does not hurt the person you are bitter against, it only hurts YOU. Today people have bitterness against someone who has wronged them, or over a church situation. But a Christian HAS NO RIGHT TO HOLD ANYTHING AGAINST ANOTHER PERSON, SAVED, OR LOST. We are to be ''tenderhearted, forgiving one another'' even as God for Christ's sake has forgiven us. Forgiveness means to treat the other person, as you did before he sinned, or wronged you. It is to forget, to act as if that offence never happened. If you are bitter, GOD WON'T HEAR YOUR PRAYERS, until you get right with the other person ans with God. If you continue harping on a sin, or situation in the past, you are bitter, and unforgiving, and out of fellowship with God.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Looking back on Yesterday, all I can say is ''Wow, What a Day...'' It all started at the local restarant ''Sally's'' in Ponce De Leon, FL. Upon entering there was a Birthday card on the table. Then another pair came in with a card and a red velvet cake, which I shared with all there. At 11;00 am I went to the home of some Christian friends, who served me a steak dinner and gave me 20 Dollars. Later that day there were 2 cards in theb mail from church members with another 20.00. When I ARRIVED AT CHURCH THERE WAS A NEW SHIRT AND ANOTHER CARD WITH 20,00 MORE DOLLARS IN IT. Never have I ever had such a good Birthday. The Lord has blessed me with both unsaved and with saved friends,Praise His Name.
On Feb. 4th, 1945 at Pringce George County Hospital, in Chevorly, Maryland, there was born to Zelsbur Larwence Foltz, and Margaret Cecilia Becker Foltz their 6th son, and 8th child, Paul Wayne Foltz. My parents kept me under the means of Grace, and at an early age, the Lord reached down and saved this wretch of a sinner. Praise His glorious Name.... Today I am 64 years old, and praise the Lord for His goodness and providential care, all my life.
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
I recently read in a blog the false charges that preaching ''Fire and brimstone'' goes against the effectual call and particular redemption. When God issues the inward, effectual call to the elect sinner, The Holy Spirit makes that sinner to know, and to feel, Who he is, What he is, and the Judgmment, he is under. there are two calls, the outward call, and the inward call to the heart. THE OUTWARD CALL CAN BE RESISTED AND REFUSED, THE INWARD, EFFECTUAL CALL IS IRRESISTIBLE. Although Christ atoned for the sins of His sheep, He spoke more about Hell than he did about Heaven. As the Master Evangelist, He set the pattern for our preaching, teaching and witnessing. He was not being petty, nor was he jesting. But He warned sinners of their impending doom. THEREFORE IT BEHOOVES US TO SPEAK ON HELL AS HE, and do it, not glossing it over, nor pulling any punches, but with a strong ''THUS SAITH THE LORD.'' It's either Turn or Burn, Repent or Perish, there's no middle ground.
Monday, February 2, 2009
In our last post we said that the presence of faith may be made known amid all the workings of unbelief. Just as that is true, so our salvation from the love of sin may be ascertained notwithstanding all the lusting of the flesh after that which is evil. But, how is thiis initial aspect of salvation to be identified/ We anticipated this question in our first post when we said that God saves us from delighting in sin by imparting a nature that hates evil, and loves holiness, which is given to us, at the new birth. THEREFORE, THE REAL QUESTION, TO BE SETTLED IS;''How may the Christian positively determine whether the new and holy nature has been given to him/ The answer is; by observing its activities, especially the opposition it makes, under the control of the Holy SPIRIT, TO INDWELLING SIN. Not only does the flesh lusts against the Spirit, but The Spirit against the flesh. FIRST, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE, OR LOVE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING A BURDEN TO US. This truly a spiritual experience. Many people have burdens of worldly worries, but know nothing of being weighed down by a sense of guilt. But when God takes us in hand, the iniquities and transgressions of our past life are made to lie as an intolerable burden upon the conscience. When we are given a sight of ourselves, as we are before God, we will exclaim with the Psalmist; ''For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me'' [PSALM 40;12]. So far from sin being pleasant, it is now felt as a cruel incubus, a crushing weight, and unendurable load. The soul is ''heavy laden'' [MATTHEW 11;28], and bowed down. A sense of guilt oppresses and the conscience cannot bear the weight of it. Nor is this experience restricted to our first conviction; it acutely continues throughout the Christian's life. SECOND, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY SIN'S BECOMING BITTER TO US. It is true, that there are millions of unregenerate who are filled with remorse over the harvest reaped from the sowing of wild oats. Yet that is not hatred of sin, but dislike of its consequences--ruined health, squandered opportunities, financial strictness, or social disgrace. No, what we have reference to is that ANGUISH OF HEART which ever marks the one the Spirit takes in hand. When the veil of delusion is removed and we see in the light of God's countenance; when we are given a discovery of the depravity of our very nature, then we perceive that we are sunk in carnality and death. When sin is opened to us, in all its secret workings, we are made to feel the vileness of our hypocrisy, self-righteousness, unbelief, impatience, and the utter filthiness of our hearts. And when the penitent soul views the sufferings of Christ, he can say with Job,''God maketh my heart soft'' [23;16]. IT IS THIS EXPERIENCE WHICH PREPARES THE HEART TO GO AFTER CHRIST; those that are whole need not a physician, but they that are quickened and convicted by the Spirit are anxious to be relieved by the great PHYSICIAN. ''The Lord killeth, and maketh alive; he bringeth down to the grave and bringeth up. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich; he bringeth low, and lifteth up'' [I SAMUEL 2;6-7]. God slays our self- righteousness, by making sin to be an intolerable burden to us. There can be bo saving faith until the soul is filled with evangelical repentance-IE. a godly sorrow for sin, a holy detestation of sin, a sincere purpose to forsake it. It is impossible for the Gospel to be good tidings to those who are in love with sin, and would rather perish, than to part with their idols. THIRD, OUR SALVATION FROM THE PLEASURE OF SIN MAY BE RECOGNIZED BY THE FELT BONDAGE, SIN PRODUCES. It is not until GOD SAVES US FROM THE LOVE OF SIN, THAT WE ARE CONSCIOUS OF THE FETTERS, IT HAS PLACED AROUND US. Then we see that we are ''without strength'' [ROMANS 5;6], unable to do anything pleasing to God.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Most people would resent being told that they delighted in EVIL... They would indignantly ask if we supposed them to be moral perverts. But that is not always the case. A person may be completely chaste, and yet delight in evil. The Bible says in Jeremiah 17;9 that ''the heart is DECEITFUL above all things'' and what the Bible says is not open to any argument; the plain teaching of Scripture decides the point once and for all, and beyond its verdict, there is no appeal. What, then, does the Bible say/ So far from the Bible denying that there is any delight to be found in sin, it expressly speaks of ''the pleasures of sin.'' The Bible warns that those pleasures are for ''but a season'' [HEBREWS 11;25], and the aftermath is painful, and not pleasant; and unless God intervenes in HIS SOVEREIGN GRACE,they shall entail eternal torment. Also, The Word refers to those who are ''lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God [2 Tim. 3;4]. This discordant note is struck often in Scripture. It mentions those who ''love vanity'' [Psalm 4;2]; ''him that loveth violence'' [PSA. 11;5]; ''thou lovest evil more than good'' [PSA. 52;3];''HE LOVED LIES''[PSA. 62;4]; ''scorners delight in their scorning'' [PRO. 1;22]; ''they which delight in their abominations [ISA. 66;3]; ''their abominations were according as they loved'' [Hosea 9;10]; ''if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him'' [I JOHN 2; 15]. To love sin is far worse than to commit it, for a man may be suddenly tripped up or commit it through fraility. The Fact is that we are not only born into this world with an evil nature, but with hearts that are thoroughly in love with sin. Sin is our native element. We are wedded to our lusts, and of ourselves are no more able to alter the bent of our corrupt nature than we could shange our skin color, or the leopard his spots. But what is an impossibility with man, is possible with our God [LUKE 18;27], and when God takes us in hand, He begins by saving us from the pleasure, or love of sin. This is the great miracle of grace, for the Almighty stoops down and picks up a loathsome leper from the dunghill, and makes him a new creature in Christ, so that the things he once loved he now hates, and the things he once hated, he now loves. God begins by saving us from ourselves. He doesn't save us from the penalty until He has delivered us from the love of sin. You may ask, how this miracle of grace is accomplished, or more specifically, What does it consist of/ NEGATIVELY, NOT BY ERADICATING THE EVIL NATURE, nor even by refining it. POSITIVELY, BY COMMUNICATING A NEW NATURE, which loathes that which is evil, and delights in all that is truly good. To be more specific, FIRST, God saves His people from the pleasure, or love of sin, by putting His holy awe in their hearts, for ''the fear of the Lord is TO HATE EVIL'' [PROV. 8;13], and again, ''the fear of the Lord is to depart from evil'' [PROV. 6;6]. SECOND, God saves His people from the pleasure of sin by communicating to them a new and vital principle; ''the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit [ROM. 5;5], and where the love of God rules the heart, the love of sin is dethroned. THIRD, God saves His people from the love of sin by The Holy Spirit's drawing their affections unto things above, thereby taking them off the things which formerly enthralled them. THE BELIEVER'S STRUGGLE If on the one hand, the unbeliever hotly denies that he is in love with sin, many a believer is hard put to persuade himself, that he HAS BEEN SAVED from the love thereof. With an understanding that has been partly enlightened by The Holy Spirit, he is better able to discern things in their true colors. With a heart that has been made honest by grace, he refuses to call sweet bitter. With a conscience that has been sensitized by the new birth, he more quickly feels the workings of sin and the hankering of his affections for that which is forbidden. Moreover, the flesh remains in him, unchanged, and as the raven constantly craves carrion, so this corrupt principle in which our mothers conceived us, lusts after and delights in that which is the opposite of holiness. It is these things which occasion and give rise to the disturbing questions that clamor for answer within the genuine believer. The sincere Christian is often made to seriously doubt if he HAS BEEN delivered from the love of sin. Questions like these agitate his mind; ''Why do I so readily yield to tempation/ Why do the vanities and vanities of the world attract me still/ wHY DO I chafe against restraints placed on my lusts/ Why do I find mortification [ROMANS 8;13] so difficult and distasteful/ COULD THESE THINGS BE, IF I WERE A NEW CREATURE IN CHRIST/ Could such horrible experiences happen, if God saved me from the pleasures of sin/'' What do you say to these questions/ How is this distressing problem to be solved/ THE BELIEVER'S ASSURANCE How may one be assured that he has been saved from the love of sin/ Let's point out, first, that the presence of that within us, which still lusts after and delights in evil things, IS NOT INCOMPATIBLE with our having been saved from the love of sin. It is part of the mystery of the Gosoel that those who be saved are yet Sinners in themselves. THE PRINCIPLE OF FAITH IN THE HEART DOES NOT CAST OUT UNBELIEF. Faith and doubts exist side by side with a quickened soul, as seen in these words, ''Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief'' [MARK 9;24]. In like manner the Christian may pray, ''Lord, I long after holiness; help my lustings after sin.'' He can pray this because of the 2 opposing natures within him. The presence of faith can be known, not by the ceasing of unbelief, buy by it's OWN fruit and works. fruit may grow amid the thorns, as flowers among weeds, and yet it is fruit nonetheless. Faith exists amidst many doubts and fears. Notwithstanding outside and inside forces, faith still reaches out after God. FAITH CONTUNUES TO FIGHT REGARDLESS OF DEFEAT AND DISCOURGAEMENT. Faith's presence is seen, when it causes one to come before God as AN EMPTY-HANDED BEGGAR beseeching Him for mercy and blessing.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
When God begins to apply salvation to the elect sinner, He begins by saving him from the pleasure or love of sin, long before He delivers him from the penalty or punishment of Sin. This is necessarily so, because it would neither be an act of holiness, nor of righteousness were He to give a full pardon to one who was yet a rebel against Him, and who loves that which He hates. God is a God of order, and nothing more evidences the perfections of His works than their orderliness. Now, the question arises, ''How does God save His people from the pleasure of sin/ The answer is; ''By imparting to them a nature which hates evil and loves holiness.'' This takes place when they are born again, so that salvation begins with regeneration. You see, fallen man can never perceive his desperate need of salvation, nor come to Christ for it, until he has been renewed by the Holy Spirit. Solomon wrote in Ecc. 3;11, that ''He hath made everything beautiful in his time.'' Much of the beauty of God's spiritual handiwork shall be lost to us, unless we duly oberve their ''time.'' The Holy Spirit emphasized this in Romans 8;29-30. In verse 29 Divine foreordination is announced, while verse 30 states how it is actualized. How strange it is that with this before them, many preachers begin with our justification, instead of with that effectual call [from death to life, our regeneration] which precedes it. Regeneration must first take place in order to lay a foundation for our justification. Justification is by faith [ACTS 13;39; ROMANS 5;1; GAL. 3;8],and the sinner must be divinely quickened before he is capable of believing savingly. Preachers today are so thoroughly imbued with free-willism, that they have departed from the sound evangelism pf our forefathers. The radical difference between Arminianism and Calvinism is that arminianism revolves around the creature, whereas Calvinism has the Creator as its centre of orbit.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I. A QUESTION OF AUTHORITY-GALATIANS 1;11-12; 2;2-''But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by revelation of Jesus Christ.'' ''And I went up by revelation.'' If the CHRISTIAN FAITH IS NOT A REVELATION OF GOD it is merely another religion; possibly the best, but still one of the many, on the human level, subject to man's alterations and altercations. The Judiazers of Paul's day wanted to make the Christian faith a revised version of the Jew's religion, subject to its regulations and requirements. Then it would be THEIR Religion; they could keep it within the realm of their own reasoning. Their successors of our day are doing the same. What the CHRISTIAN FAITH NEEDS is a return to its birthright--an authoritative revelation. Take it, or leave it ALONE.... THE DAMASCUS ROAD EXPERIENCE To discredit Paul's message, these Judiazers must discredit the man. He is not an apostle, they said; he cannot qualify; he has never seen the risen Lord. Paul devotes a chapter and a half to a detailed refutation of this charge. He had seen the Lord, as He revealed Himself on the DAMASCUS ROAD. He had also heard the Lord speaking to him. It was a crisis experience. From being determined to destroy the faith, he became its most ardent and convincing advocate. Paul was no neurotic, easily swayed; he was schooled in all the learning of his day. This right-about-face, traced as it is here in Galatians to its supernatural source, was utterly disconcerting to the enemies of the faith, as indeed it has been ever since. A CHRIST-CENTERED VIEWPOINT From that day forward Paul was a changed man. He had a new outlook upon life. He experienced an utter reversal of values; ''What things were gain to me''--his attainments in the Jewish religion--''those I counted loss for Christ'' [Phil. 3;7, with vv 4-6]. What he formerly prized he now esteems as dung--PHIL. 3;8-9-[TURN]. Paul's repeated ''but'' carries the antithesis of a crisis experience. No trends here; no groping for something better. He knows himself taken out of the column of self-effort [V. 3], and flesh-confidence to the column of God's beneficiaries in the bestowment of His righteousness. It was a clear-cut break with OUR SIDE over to HIS SIDE. Not by a process of reasoning but ''by revelation of Jesus Christ'' Paul acquired a complete system of Christ-centered thinking and living. Through Christ's words from heaven, ''Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me/'' [ACTS 9;4], he saw Christ indwelling His Church, fully identified with HIS PEOPLE, SUFFERING IN ALL THAT THEY SUFFERED. In the silent years that followed, the quiet times spent in ARABIA [GAL. 1;17], this realization of identification matured into the intimate conception of the Church as the body of which Christ is the Head [EPH. 1;22-23; COL. 1;18;etc]. A head and body constitute an organism. It is complete in itself, with its own laws of growth, ''building itself up in love'' [see EPHESIANS 4;12-16]. A GREAT CONCEPTION IS THIS.... NOTHING can be added to a body.... Controlled by its head, it requires no external laws for its regulation. The Christian life is Christ-centered and Christ-controlled. So constituted, it is self-sufficient. Paul will defend its sufficiency against all comers. MAN SEEKS FREEDOM OF THOUGHT The chief enemy of the Gospel is human nature. Man is proud. He is especially proud of his own thinking. HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE TOLD.... He dislikes having a supernatural revelation handed to him; it leaves no room for speculation. He likes to ''discover truth''; then IT'S HIS, Something he can be proud of. Many Who willingly acknowledge that man's MORAL NATURE IS PERVERTED BY SIN--the evidence is incontrovertible--still refuse to realize, that man's MENTAL processes are likewise warped, biased and undependable because of sin. The Corinthians prided themselves on their thinking. Read 1 CORINTHIANS 1-2 for God's estimate of human thinking that set aside divine wisdom, climaxing in a statement of man's utter incapacity for spiritual things; I CORINTHIANS 2;14--''But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of GOD; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned''. Today's average preacher is feeding his mind upon human thoughts; and, naturally,these mold his own thinking and preaching, when the charge is, ''Preach the Word.'' The reason men today, repudiate Paul's theology and turn to the teaching of Jesus is clear. By ridding themselves of a supernatural interpretation of those teachings, climaxing in His death and resurrection-they leave themselves free to give their own interpretation. THEY ARE FREE TO SPECULATE AS TO WHAT JESUS TEACHINGS should MEAN FOR ''THE MODERN MIND.'' What we need today is a renewed fear of God's anathema upon all perversions of the Gospel;only this will bring us back to its unadulterated purity.
Monday, January 26, 2009
GALATIANS 3;24-''Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.'' God has left us but one way into His favor, namely, by faith and by faith alone. If we resolve to do our very best, all that we can do leaves under law with its unmet demands, therefore, under the curse of the law, even death and condemnation. We are still on OUR SIDE, with no ability to get ourselves out of our trouble. Only faith will transfer to us to HIS SIDE, where He can deal with us in grace, as His own children, heirs of His gracious promises, partakers of His own life, possessed of His Holy SPIRIT. This conclusion is definite and decisive, with no middle ground, sealed to us by this solemn, summary declaration, found in GALATIANS 3;22--''But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.'' This verse is saying the Scripture has everything completely imprisoned under sin,so that the promise might be given the believers through faith in Jesus Christ. If the Bible speaks God's Mind, and it does, then all who think to commend themselves to God by their conduct, all who seek to come into HIS FAVOR BY TRYING TO BE GOOD, are simply trying to get out of prison. THEY ARE GUILTY OF attempted jail-break... They are making their condition worse, inviting a more severe sentence. There is but one way out. WHAT IS JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH/ All that man can do leaves him helplessly on Our Side, lawfully ''imprisoned under sin.'' IF ANYTHING IS TO BE DONE ABOUT IT GOD WILL HAVE TO DO IT. So the Scriptures mercilessly show man his condition that, ceasing from his own doings, he may fasten his attention upon what God has done--done to lift man over onto His Side, JUSTIFIED FROM all these ugly charges against him. Justification, then, has three steps; 1-Man has sinned, and God declares ''all under sin,'' deserving the death penalty. 2-God provided a Sinlless One, having no need to die for Himself but purposing to take our death penalty upon Himself. This He did, and God accepted of His death, in that He raised Him from the dead. 3-All who will accept what HE HAS DONE for them and come over ''into Christ.'' Good is free to declare righteous in His sight, and deal with them as such. By faith they have changed sides; they are now on His Side, in His favor. That is, JUSTIFICATION IS A DECLARATIVE ACT ON GOD'S PART. He has declared us all sinners ''in Adam''; now HE IS FREE TO DECLARE us all righteous ''in Christ.'' FAITH ALONE CAN MAKE THE TRANSFER. The Westminister divines stated it well; ''Justification is an act of GOD'S FREE GRACE, WHEREIN he pardoneth all our sins,and accepteth us as righteous in His sight, only fot the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and received by faith alone.'' This stament is supported by many scriptures, such as; EPHESIANS 1;7; ROMANS 3; 24; 4;6; 5;18; GALATIANS 2;16; II CORINTHIANS 5;21. ''By faith alone'' is especially enforced by these; ''Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law''; ''Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness'' [ROMANS 3;28; 4;4-5]. It is clearly evident that God's plan is such as admits no admixture of man's efforts; on man's part they are futile;on God's part they are an offered affront. Why is the ''faith alone'' principle so offensive to man/ Why does he so persistently revert to the law principle/ Faith alone hurts his pride; law affords him an opportunity to do something. He will accept God's plan of salvation if only he can do something toward it. God says, No. Take it by faith, or leave it alone. THE GOSPEL PAUL PREACHED The ppreaching that brought salvation to these Galatian Christians is recorded in ACTS 13;14-43. Having first of all obtained audience with the children of Israel, Paul rehearsed with them God's dealings with their fathers through Moses and David, leading on to David's greater Son, pointing out that they had fulfilled the Scripture in putting Him on the cross, but that God also had fulfilled the Scripture in raising Him from the dead. Having dwelt upon these two great saving facts--''Who was delivered for our offebces, and was raised again for our justification''--Paul comes quickly to his conclusion, that salvation is to be had only in HIM; ACTS 13;38-39-''Be it known therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him all that believe are justified from all things, from which they could not be justified by the law of Moses'' [ACTS 13; 38-39]. NOTE THE TWO ALLS; ''All justified from all,''; something which no law and no adherence to law could accomplish. Why/ LAW'S FATAL FUTILITY The great desideratum of human existence is LIFE. There is nothing man values so highly as life. Not having life, he has nothing. At any cost man must have life. THE INDICTMENT OF LAW IS THAT IT CANNOT MEET THIS, man's greatest need; it cannot produce life. Man is spiritually dead--''dead in trespasses and sins''-and law leaves him dead. Do,do, do all that the law demands,yet all the doing fails to generate a spark of life. So we read; ''If there had been a law fiven which could make alive, verily righteousness would have been of the law'' [GALATIANS 3;21]. The notable fact is that man, in a scientific age, has never been able by scientific process to produce life. God still holds the secret of life within His own wisdom and power, yes, within Himself. God is life; God is its source. Man's story is that he began with God-breathed life. God ''breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul'' [Genesis 2;7]. The life man had was God's life, God-breathed, God-imparted. God was its source. But man allowed Satan and sin to separate him from God, from his source of life, even though he was warned, ''in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die'' [Genesis 2;17]. That day his spiritual life was snuffed out, and his physical life was shortened to a brief sopan of years. That is Man's history, a history of death, death, death and darkness. What he desperately needs is life, and the light which life enables him to see. So, now, ''what the law could not do. . .God sending his own Son'' delivered us from this state of death by placing us under the control of the Spirit's life; ''For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law--the control--of sin and death'' [ROMANS 8;2-3, with 7;24]. So the Gospel is this; The same God Who breathed life into man, at the beginning brings the Good News to life-bereft man, saying, ''I am come that they might have life'' [JOHN 10;10]. ''I am the life'' [JOHN 14;6]. How shall we obtain this life/ Work for it/ No, indeed; even our physical life did not come that way. Be good for it/ We have no goodness; that comes with the life. No, it must be a gift. ''I give unto them eternal life''; ''The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord'' [JOHN 10;28; ROMANS 6;23].
The average preacher, today, is only a ''moral officer'' in his church. To him it is not a commission from Heaven to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ to dying people; it is just a matter of building up his church, getting along with his folks, marrying the young, burying the dead, collecting his salary, drawing his breath and letting his congregation go to Hell. Now, let's see the position of a God-called pastor, as set forth in God's Word, as he walks before God and before his people and leads them. FIRST, He is instructed to ''Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season, REPROVE, rebuke, exhort with all long-suffering and doctrine.'' A God-called pastor is to REPROVE, that is, to lay blame on, to rebuke, to persuade, to convince, to convict, to disclose the hearts of both saints and sinners, to lay bare the guilty hearts. This isn't pleasant. Many times this is embarrassing. SECOND, He is to REBUKE both saint and sinner; rebuke means to reprimand, to give a sudden blow. It means to sharply reprove or censure, so that the individual is checked, and made to think and turn his steps toward the Lord. The God-called man will lay aside all his feelings; he will not court the love or favor of any man, so that he may deliver GGood's message without compromise. Elijah is an example, when he walked into Ahab's court one day and delivered God's message to that wicked king. John Baptist is another example, when he stood and rebuked the Pharisees by calling them a ''GENERATION OF VIPERS,'' and when he stood before Herod and rebuked him sharply for living with his brother's wife. THIRD, a God-called pastor is to EXHORT, that is, he is to urge by appeal or by argument, that the individual may throw himself on the side of truth and Christ, and he is to do this with all longsuffering, patience and doctrine-that is, the teaching of God's Word. In other words, he is to wield the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God with authority. A God-called pastor, according to Titus 1;13, will rebuke SHARPLY; ''Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.'' Then he is to speak with AUTHORITY, according to Titus 2;15-''These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.'' God's messenger stands with a message from Heaven, from the courts of the King, and he is to deliver it regardless of how man may take it. Lastly, he is to rebuke OPENLY. ''Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may fear'' [1 Timothy 5;20]. This is no easy task. THE AVERAGGE PASTOR TODAY, HAS NO VOICE OF AUTHORITY, because he is afraid either of his job, or his salary, or a clique of men in the church, or of a petticoat who controls him, or else, he is afraid of a rotten spot in his life might be exposed.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
--''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIIT IS FAITH, MEEKNESS, TEMPERANCE.''--''The fruit of The Spirit is FAITH''--God has dealt every man a measure of natural faith. However, Saving Faith is His gift to His elect [Ephesians 2;8-9]. The Greek word here can be rendered as ''Faithfulness.'' WHERE DOES FAITHFULNESS COME FROM/ It is an attribute of God. God is faithful. ''Great is thy faithfulness'' [Lam.3;23]. Under the New Covenant this Faithful One has found a way of living in us to make His faithfulness a characteristic of His children. A man says, I'm so undependable; I disappoint myself and my friends.'' A worthy confession for ALL of us... We can all distrust ourselves. But the Holy Spirit in living us is a complete remedy. The Holy Spirit makes a man wholly dependable, in keeping engagements with promptness, in keeping promises, in meeting obligations, so that, staying on His side whhere He can work, we display His faithfulness in us, to the praise of the glory of His grace. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS MEEKNESS.'' Meekness is the spirit of humility. Of Himself our Lord says,''I am meek and lowly of heart'' [Matthew 11;29]. Paul beseeches the proud Corinthians ''by the meekness and gentleness of Christ'' [2 Cor. 10;1]. Our Lord's earthly life was one long refusal of pride and self-seeking climaxing in the voluntary self-abasement of The Upper Room and The Cross. God seeks humility in His children; it is the cornerstone of Christian character. ''God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble'' [James 4;6]. Man is naturally proud. Pride is in his nature. Turning to James 4;5 we find the Spirit ''lusts'' against the proud, in His desire to make man humble. Left to himself, on Our Side of the cross, the self-effort will continually crop out in native pride. When we live on His Side the Spirit graciously takes all this native tendency in hand and produces a humble meekness that displaces pride. ''The fruit of the Spirit is Temperance''. Where does this temperance or self control come from/ Surely, we think, this is somethiing I must do for myself. But, no; thiis, too, is the Spirit's business. ''I'' would fail, so He has taken over even this. The Greek word has a prefix, EN, in. It means to be controlled by an inward strength, an inward mastery. it is an IN-control, in the realm of the spirit, where the Spirit does His work. IT DEALS WITH SELF DESIRES. Spirit-controlled you will be genuinely, inwardly self-controlled.
Monday, January 19, 2009
--''LONGSUFFERING,GENTLENESS,GOODNESS''--''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LONGSUFFERING.'' And you are lacking in it/ You are quick-tempered and easily provoked/ What are you doing/ You are successfully checkmating the Spirit's aim to develop Christ-likeness in you. Consider your Lord, ''Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not'' [I PETER 2;23]. Hear your Lord proclaiming HIMSELF; ''The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth'' [Exodus 34;6]. The Holy Spirit has taken up residence in you to make you like Him,like Himself. ''But I get so impatient,'' or''Ihad such an exasperating experience and lost my patience'' says one. LOST MY PATIENCE.... Friend, the best of us have very little patience. But WHO gets impatient/ You wouldn't accuse The Holy Spirit of being impatient. No, it's YOU. There is just one remedy--only one. Confessing that you, left to yourself, will always fail. Don't try to be patient;then you might be at times. Live on God's Side, availing yourself of HIS STRENGTHENING. LISTEN.... ''Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power''--one might think he was being equipped for some great undertaking, but no--''unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness'' [COLOSSIANS 1;11]. A double fruitage of the Spirit is ours; His patience, and His joy along with whatever suffering we are called to endure. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GENTLENESS [kindness].'' Why is there so much unkindness, even among believers/ There is only one explanation. We brush aside the Spirit to indulge in the self-life. We get back on Our Side where the flesh holds sway. ''Love suffers long, and is kind'' [I CORINTHIANS 13;4]. Kindness follows with longsuffering. iN OUR CARE NOT ''TO GRIEVE THE sPIRIT'' WE PUT AWAY THE HARSH THINGS, SUCH AS BITTERNESS, ANGER, AND MALICE, AND MAKE ROOM FOR KINDNESS; ''AND BE YE KIND ONE TO ANOTHER, TENDERHEARTED'' [EPHESIANS 4;;30-32]. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS GOODNESS.'' Where shall we go for goodness/ Not to ourselves; ''In me, that is, in my flesh dwelleth no good thing'' [ROMANS 7;18]. How gracious of God to find a way to fit Himself into our lives, that through a vital proocess of appropriation His goodness becomes ours. This is the woork of the Spirit, and is the blessed result of walking in the Spirit. END
Thursday, January 15, 2009
--''LOVE, JOY, PEACE''-- One of the most illuminating words of Jesus concerning the work of The Spirit is this;''He shall glorify Me'' [JOHN 16;14]. He will magnify Christ in human living. Whatever Christ desires a follower of Him to be, The Spirit will set about to make him. He will produce Christ-flavored fruit. He aims at Christ-likeness in the child of God. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE.'' It is bound to be. ''God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God., and GOD IN HIM'' [I John 4;16]. Was Jesus concerned about our loving one another/ ''A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another''[John 13;34]. But what makes it new/ ''As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.'' That is, His love is setting a new standard for love that outmodes all others. Love, not those who love you, but those who hate and despise you. Do you say, ''I CAN'T DO THAT/'' A good confession. ''Very well,'' says The Spirit, ''I will supply the love; I will love that way in you.'' I go into churches where they seem free to ''bite and devour one another.''One would think this command of Jesus was not in their Bible. How can they/ Only because they are living on the human side, dependent upon human affection that fails,cut off from the supply of divine love that never fails. A man confesses to cherishing ill-will in his hrart. He says,''That nan wronged me, and I hate him.'' There are many such wrongs, and life is pretty much that way. Let's analyze the matter. Who does the hating/ Would you say, The Holy Spirit/ Would you dare lay it to Him/ No. Then it is I, myself, the self life. Put the blame where it belongs. ''I'' have failed. Why/ Beause I was not abiding in him; I got back on our side where such feelings can be cherished. Gladly, thankfully, I yield myself to the Holy Spirit to work His love in me, that the lustings, the tendecies of the flesh under whatever provocation--anger, ill-will, envy, quarrelsomeness, may not be fulfilled in me. ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS JOY.'' And you don't have joy/ What are you doing / Surely refusing The Holy Spirit His freedom to do what He came into your life to do. That is extremely serious; far more than a mere defect in Christian character. Christ expects it; ''These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that, your joy might be full'' [JOHN 15;11]. God commands it; ''Rejoce alway'' [I Thessalonians 5;16]--at all times, under all circumstances. ''The JOY OF THE lord''--His joy, ministered by the Spirit--''is your strength [NEHEMIAH 8;10]. Then, the lack of it is our WEAKNESS. ''But,'' someone says, ''I am so difficultly circumstanced; I am discouraged-- I can't help.'' Very well. Ask yourself, who is discouraged/ Is it The Holy Spirit/ Is He havimg such a hard time that HE HAS GROWN DISCOURAGED/ Never. You are discouraged. YOU are consulting your feelings, your fears, your circumstances, and your failure, to abide. The Holy Spirit can't have His way and produce HIS FRUIT. Have we considered the paradox of Christian living; naturally, we sorrow; supernaturally, we have joy. WHERE WAS JESUS WHEN He bequeathed to us His Joy/ Under the shadow of the cross, with the sorrows of the world's sin about to engulf Him, ''a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief,'' His face ''so marred more than any man''; yet He says, ''MY JOY.'' The Holy Spirit, faithful to Him under trial, kept ministering strength to hIM, EVEN His joy. Paul experienced this paradox and demonstrated joy under great trials [II Corinthians 6;4-10--[Turn]. He says, ''As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing''--Paul practiced the joy he preached--then he adds, to enlarge upon the paradox, ''As poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things'' [V. 10]. Friend, read your Bible for its joy. I recently went through the Psalms, marking every note of joy and gladness. WHAT A REBUKE TO SADNESS... Paul from the Roman prison writes the Philippians a prolonged appeal to rejoice. ''REJOICE IN THE Lord; and again I say, Rejoice'' [4;4]. But the Greek is, ''I will say, Rejoice.'' Circumstances may be against it, but since the Lord expects it, ''I will say, Rejoice,'' in the strengthening of The Spirit. A sad, long-faced Christian only advertises himself and the fact that he is failing; therefore ''I will rejoice.'' ''THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS PEACE.'' And you don't have peace/ What are you doing/ Frustrating the express purpose of the Spirit in coming to live in you. Jesus left us His peace saying,''Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you'' [John 14;27]. It is a proven peace, persisting under great trials; ''These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world'' [JOHN 16;33]. UNQUESTIONABLY Christ expects us to have peace and display it; but, knowing human failure, the Spirit says, ''I will make it MY BUSINESS TO PRODUCE PEACE.'' Read your Bible for its peace. Talke Philippians 4;6-7, to heart, and practice it. Peace is the twin sister of Joy; one can't live without the other. Peace is the badge of a Spirit-indwelt believer. Christian, you were called to peace, the opposite of worry; called to perpetuate Christ's peace on earth; called to display His peace as evidence of your loyalty to Him.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
THE POTENTIALITIES OF THE FLESH The variety of ways, in which the self-life expresses itself, or may find expression for itself, is given a full listing, in a catalogue, not complimentary to human nature in Galatiand 5;19-21. It is a startling list; we are ashamed of it before we read it. It begins with the baser sins of sex and passion, but it takes full account of the more refined sins that ''get by'' in polite society. A more comprehensive arraignment of fallen human nature is found in Romans 1;26- 32. Another is in 2 Timothy 3;1-7. They are a valuable part of the ''all scripture'' that is inspired of God and ''is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness'' [2 Timothy 3;16]. Dear Friend, If you would understand yourself and the workings of your nature that so often have baffled you and even alarmed you, study your Bible; know what it has to say about YOU, apart from the Spirit. Paul did not invent these charges, but was only following our Lord, Who had this searching word for the men of His day; ''That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness,wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness; all these evil things come from within, and defile the man.'' [Mark 7;20-23]. In these 4 lists, the children of Adam are charged with sex sins, social sins, and spiritual sins. Not that any one person would be guilty of all of these; they are the potentialities of human nature, the evil channels through which it may find expression. I have never been a drunkard; but I have a nature capable of drinking. I have never murdered; but I share with the race a nature that is capable of murder. I do not get angry; but if my nature were not disciplined, I would. Thank God, we of America did not commit the atrocities, laid at the door of the Germans and Japanese in WWII, BUT WE SHOULD HUMBLY ACKNOWLEDGE THAT WE HAVE A NATURE THAT APART FROM THE RESTRAINT OF CHRISTIAN IDEALS IS CAPABLE OF SUCH DEEDS; for God ''hath made of one blood all men'' that live on the earth [Acts 17;26]. We are left no room for boastfulness, but much reason for thankfulness. ''BUT'' [Galatians 5;22] What God can put in ONE WORD... BUT.... It stands here, between the flesh and the Spirit,as the focal point of the Galatian antithesis. If we have ever doubted that the teaching of this epistle is essentially and sharply antithetical, this crucial ''but'' dispels such doubts. It is this antithesis that largelly characterizes Scripture; there is no middle ground. Read the 1st Psalm; its 3 ''but's'' carry the whole teaching. There are many ''buts'' of salvation, notably, John 1;11-13; Romans 6;23; Philippians 3;7; I Peter 1;18-19; Romans 3;21 [the turning point from condemnation to Justification]; so likewise Ephesians 2;4. Here we are facing the ''but'' of sanctification. Christian living is an equally sharp transition from the old to the new, from trying to make the flesh behave to allowing the Spirit His full freedom to work. Again we face Paul's crucial question; ''Are you so foolish/ having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh/'' Have you, my friend, had a clear-cut ''but'' between your former and present way of living/ Not to have, spells defeat. Vital to our problems is the distinction unfolded in the two words, ''fruit'' [singular] as against ''works'' [plural]. The flesh provokes a wide-range gamut of works; the Spirit produces a blended whole of Christian character. The flesh has its variety of expression, destructively working this and that, with no necessary connection between them. A man be a thief, but not a murderer; a liar, but not a drunkard. He may experience anger, but not envy; passion, but not pride. Some of these works are in disrepute among us, such as adultery, drunkenness, murder, and the like. Others are quite respectable. One may be quarrelsome, and retain the full esteem of his fellows. Yet, let's note, they are all, in the same class. They are all equally in disrepute with God. They all remind Him of man's fall away from Him; they are the outbursts of life ''in Adam.'' So He warns us, ''that they who practice such things''-not just a few of the worst--''shall not inherit the kingdom of God'' [Galatians 5;21]. Is there no remedy/ Yes, indeed. God has provided a way out. ''Walk in the Spirit,'' Stay, ''abide'' every moment on His Side, and these things of Our Side will never have a chance. Abide ''in Christ,'' and you will be overjoyed at the ''much fruit'' resulting [John 15;1-5]. The Fruit of The Spirit, reproducing Christ in us, is Christ-flavored fruit. Galatians 5;22 tells us that the FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT IS LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONG SUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS AND TEMPERANCE. What are these qualities/ Not the nice exhibition of Christian character, nor yet the casual result of the Holy Spirit living in us. They are the dead-in-earnest product of the Spirit's setting about to checkmate the works of the flesh. This is His way of doing it. This is the Spirit lusting against the flesh so that we do not fulfill its lusts. These traits are His answer, HIS ''BUT,'' to the cravings of the flesh. They are His means of keeping us ''0n side.'' Suppose we are lacking in these qualities. It is not merely a lack of Christian character; we are sinning against the Spirit;we are defeating His declared purpose in coming to live in us. Suppose we still have the workings of the flesh. It is not merely that these things are wrong and we ought to get rid of them. FAR FROM THAT. We are grieving the Spirit; we are blocking His New Covenant program; we will not let Him carry out the purpose for which HE CAME TO LIVE IN US. [TO BE CONTINUED]