Godliness In Christian Life
Elder Wm. Doyal Thomas
Pastor - Philadelphia Baptist Church
Decatur , Alabama
"For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee." (Titus 2:11-15).
The Grace Of God Teaches Us To Live Godly
    I do not want to write negatively, for the learned of this so-called modern era insist that only the positives are to be articulated. And being human, I want to be found pleasing and acceptable to all those with whom I am placed in contact.
    Doesn't everyone want to be found in harmony with the ways of men and with the teaching of men? Surely you will let me be as other men. Surely you will understand my longing to be accepted, and that my writings will be acclaimed and lauded. Surely you will understand.
    I dare say that each of you who read these pages will be able to empathize with me as I struggle with this issue. You will have a warm pity for my problem, and you will share with me this great desire to say the right things so that none will be offended at my writings.
    Taking into consideration all these human desires, and warm, glowing feelings toward others, will you now consider what I must write? Will you recognize that when all is said and done, I must one day stand before my Lord and give an account of my stewardship? I must. And so must you.
    It is sad to report, yet most vividly and painfully true, that among the ranks of professing sovereign grace believers there is an awful and growing movement toward antinomianism. The dawning of each new day seems to reveal others who have stumbled into this snare during the darkness. And we are not immune. There is a great danger before us, and we must move back from the precipice, the rocky cliff, before we are led to take that step over the edge.
    The only source of strength that will enable us to avoid this great error is the precious and sweet Holy Spirit, who is given to be our guide, our teacher. For He, said Jesus, "... will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." (John 16:13).
    The Holy Spirit will speak in total harmony with the Father and with the Son to provide needed and necessary help for the born again, so that they may be in safety as they journey through the present maze of darkness that poses as light. He will speak in harmony with the Bible, God's revealed will and word concerning Himself. And we are safe, when we adhere to the work and walk in accordance with its teaching.
    And what does the Bible teach us as touching the subject of Christian living? Does the Bible teach that because the blood of Christ has been shed so as to provide a covering for the sins of men, that men whose sins are thus covered are then free to live as the depravity of their flesh would dictate? Does the precious word that expresses the mind of a Holy God teach that? Does the word of God teach that there is no sin except a doctrinal sin?
    Antinomianism declares that the Bible teaches these things. Antinomianism also delights in spreading abroad such poison, as they seek to cover up their own meanness and filthiness with such a spider's web of deceit. And as those who expouse such doctrinal folly do so, they assume a superior attitude and present quite a show of having risen several positions above others who are still holding to the outdated position of holy living.
    I declare at this time that I am not one of those who imagines that lawlessness is acceptable with God. And that is the exact position that antinomians have taken. They are the lawless ones. And that means, they are outlaws. I am not an antinomian, and I freely declare that the Bible teaches God's people to live in accordance with His word, and not contrary to His word.
    What was it that Paul wrote to Titus? Here's what he said, after writing in the first ten verses of the second chapter of God's having dealt, in grace, with all classes, sorts, and distinctions of men. Here's what he said: "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (that is, men of all distinctions (WDT)) Teaching us that, (us that grace brought salvation to (WDT)) denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world." Can language be plainer than that? Can words be found that will shed light upon this precise teaching? Can man then wrest the plain teachings of the Scriptures into some other meaning? Is precept upon precept? Is light to be turned into darkness at the whim of misguided and misdirected man?
    These words teach us that we are to seek and to strive to put off the old man and his deeds. The old man being the carnal, fleshly man. The nature cannot be eradicated, nor can it be shed as a snake would shed its skin periodically. We readily admit that the old man cannot be put away, nor can he be subdued so that his influence is no longer a factor. That is, man cannot change his nature.
    We also readily admit that when a snake comes out of that old layer of skin, which it then leaves behind, it is still a snake and its nature has not changed at all. It will still bite you. That is its nature, and it will continue to act in accordance with its nature.
    Nowhere does the Bible teach that snakes are ever dealt with in grace so as to give them a new nature. But God's elect among men are so dealt with. They are, at regeneration, which is an act of God, totally outside of themselves, given a new nature. Not a making over of that which is fallen, but a new nature.
    And in this new man dwells the Spirit of God. And this new man now is to be contending with the old man. Constantly, the new man is to follow the leadership of the Spirit so as to minimize the effects of the old man's strivings and lustful desires. The new man is renewed daily for his ever present warfare with the old man.
    The antinomian contends that the old man is to be ignored in his lustful and sinful deeds, for they say, it really doesn't matter at all what the old man does. Does God's word teach that, or do misguided men teach that?
    Let me call your attention now to two additional texts of Scripture. Consider them in the light of what they teach. Meditate upon them and be assured that God's word does not contradict itself nor does He speak in one place that which contravenes what He had said in another place.
    "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgement with thee? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." (Job 14:1-4).
    The nature of man is inherited from his progenitors. Man that is born of sinful stock comes into existence as those who brought him forth. Sinful parents produce sinful children. And who denies this truth? And who can change this truth? But are parents authorized to neglect to seek to teach, lead, and subdue their children?
    "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." (Jermiah 13:23). Again we remind you that the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor can the leopard change his spots. The nature of both is fixed. They are what they are.
    To some degree, the leopard can be subdued and partially domesticated. It remains a leopard however, and when left to itself will always revert to its nature, and will act accordingly.
    With the Ethiopian however, there cannot be a true parallel drawn. It is true that the color of the Ethiopian's skin will remain the same, and outwardly, he will exhibit the same physical appearance. But if God be pleased to work a work of grace in him, thus creating a new man, then the nature of that new man will be as the nature of Him who begat him into this new life.
    The old nature of Adam will remain however, and the warfare will begin and will not end until the new man is one day delivered from this body of death. (Romans 7:24).
    But does this mean that the converted, born again Ethiopian is authorized to disregard the teaching of the Spirit and ignore his old man and all its evil deeds? In no wise is this what is taught.
    Again I remind you, and I remind myself, lest I also let the truth slip away, that the apostle Paul under the Holy Spirit's leadership and control has written definite instructions to Titus. His objective in writing was to teach and then tutor younger Titus in matters pertaining to the true pastoral work that God assigns to His preachers; that is, in this case, how Titus was to live or conduct himself. Then, how Titus was to teach other believers how they were to live and conduct themselves. Did Paul teach Titus to become an antinomian?
    Titus, your duty and your grand and God- honoring privilege is to teach old men, young men, old women, young women, masters (employers) and servants (employees) how they are to live and conduct themselves in the positional standings they enjoy before God and before men.
    Titus, it was God's grace in action that saved men of all these distinctions, as is here specified. And this grace of God that brought salvation to these many and varied folks also taught them to live correctly before God and before men. God's grace did not teach them, nor does God's grace now teach men to live as outlaws; as unrestrained and carnally motivated men. The propensity is for men to live ungodly, but God did not teach them so to live. Is God the author of man's sin, either original or contemporary?
    What did Paul teach Titus? "For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world;" (Titus 2:11,12).
    What does Paul mean when he writes these words to Titus? Does he mean that Titus and others are free to live ungodly, and unrighteously simply because the curse of the law has been put away by the death of Jesus Christ? Does he mean that? I hold your feet to the fire now, those of you who insist that the word of God allows you to live without regard to God's holy law. Does Paul teach that? Does he? If you affirm that Paul taught that, then you are dishonest in your exegesis of the Scriptures. The Scriptures do not teach that. Why do you?
    We are taught, as Titus was taught, to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts". We are taught to "... put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians. 4:22- 24).
    We are taught, "Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also waked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind., meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." (Colossians 3:5-17).
    There are numerous other passages of Holy Writ that could be cited to add weighty testimony to what has been presented here. But would it make these passages that we have called your attention to any more truthful than they are already? Would a different outcome be realized? No to both these questions is my answer. The truth would not become more truthful, and surely a different conclusion could not be drawn. Truth is truth, and it is eternally so. And truth, when taught, can only give one outcome. Truth is not variable, nor is it flexible. Convenient shades of gray cannot be discerned from within the stipulations set forth in truth.
    Thus we conclude, Paul taught Titus that he was to deny ungodliness; that he was to deny worldly lusts; that he was to live soberly; that he was to live righteously; that he was to live godly. And now get this. All this denying of things evil, and all this living unto good was to be done in this present world.
    These instructions were not to be held in contempt, nor were they to be held in abeyance for the present and then to be actuated at some future time beyond this present world. These instructions were not to be the believer's activities only in the glory world to come, but were to be his duty now.
The Grace Of God Teaches Us To Look For The Blessed Hope
    What is the believer's hope? Rather, Who is the believer's hope? Is it that the believer is taught to be self-reliant, and look to himself for present and future good? Not so. Not so. The believer is assured again and again that it is the "... glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; ..." who is our hope -The Blessed Hope.
    Since this anticipation is taught to Titus in these same texts, then it is most obvious that Paul connects the present living by the believer to his living in hope. And his living in hope is an assured living, knowing that He who is our Hope will come as He has promised.
    Thus we can correctly conclude that while the believer is learning to live in hope in this present world, he is to live anticipatively. And what is the believer to anticipate as he lives soberly, righteously, and godly? Is he to live seeking to identify and to defend against the soon coming anti-christ? Who could live joyously if the anti-christ were he that is to be looked for? And are there any blessings in hope while one looks for this arch deceiver?
    Look to the Scriptures, dear reader. Look to the Scriptures. We are told that while we live in a God honoring Christian manner, we are "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:" (Titus 2:13). We are not looking for the anti-christ; the non-christ. We are looking for Christ; the Christ of God.
    It was to the disciples of Jesus Christ that the two messengers from God spoke in instruction, in promise, and in assurance on the day that Jesus was taken up from them at the conclusion of His first advent. "... Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:11).
    As we meditate and study concerning this one verse of scripture, we can clearly see that the disciples received heaven sent instruction about the coming again of "... this same Jesus ...". We can clearly see that the disciples were given a promise that "... this same Jesus ..." would one day come again, just as He went away. We can clearly see that the disciples received great assurance that "... this same Jesus ..." who is their Lord, will, without fail, care for them in all their needs. What more is taught here? What more is needed?
    As much as has been said concerning the life that a Christian is to live, is there still doubt or unbelief? Yes, in the face of what has been presented, there are those who do not understand what we affirm. And I am not dismayed at that reality. I could wish that were not so. I could wish that all my brethren had been enabled to see this great truth; but I know that they do not, because they have not been enabled.
    And I hope that none who read these words will imagine that I elevate myself above them, or that I hold ill feeling toward them. It is not so. I do not seek glory for myself, nor dishonor for those who may disagree. I seek rather the glory of God in my life, and in the life of every child of God, whether they agree or disagree with me.
    But did Paul teach godly living, or didn't he? That is a legitimate question. It ought to be honestly and squarely faced and then answered. Did he, or didn't he teach God's people to live godly lives in this present world?
    Here is a clear demand made. This matter is either black or white. There are no convenient and comfortable shades of gray in which this issue can be shrouded. I must face it. You must face it. God either requires correct and godly living, or He doesn't. Are you ready to declare that He doesn't?
    Did Paul teach godly living? Is he the only one who did? What about this: "Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed." (James 1:19-25).
    Is it not evident that James also taught that believers were to live in a manner that would evidence a new birth? Does he not insist that faith that is alive will produce sufficient fruit to show the realities of faith? Does James say, "Even so faith, if it hath not works is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works." (James 2:17,18).
    It is my feeling that some brethren have been careless in their study and application of the Scriptures when faced with such declarations as this text presents. And this is perhaps an understandable position that they have taken, when viewed casually. However, we are not permitted to view the Scriptures casually, nor carelessly. We must study and rightly divide them.
    No writer was led by the Holy Spirit to make casual or passing statements when they were penning the revealed mind and will of God. Rather, they were required to speak and to write as the Spirit of God moved them, and not to put themselves into the picture. "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (II Peter 1:21).
    The apostle Peter was here making it crystal clear that what he wrote, and what others wrote, both men of old time, and his contemporaries, were mere instruments used of God to put forth His word. He is in this context exalting the Scriptures as having been sent from God to magnify His own Name, Person, and work, and that the Scriptures were not just the writing of mortal man.
    Listen to Peter as he writes: "Moreover I will endeavour that ye may be able after my decease to have these things always in remembrance. For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scriptures is of any private interpretation." (II Peter 1:15-20).
    Thus we conclude, no verse of Scripture can be isolated from its context to declare the mind of God. God is not variable, neither is He of uncertain mind. He says what He will, and what He says is always, invariably, unerrantly in total and complete harmony with whatever else He has said on that subject. There is complete agreement of the Scriptures with themselves, and they do not contradict themselves at all.
    James has declared that when God gives faith, He also leads that given faith to produce works that declare that faith. He says that any claimed faith that produces no corresponding works is not a living faith at all, but rather is a dead, empty, vain faith, which is no faith at all.
    Throughout his writings James teaches God's people to work the righteous works of faith. He does not teach, nor does he imply that acceptable works can be produced apart from God given faith which is the energy that brings forth the works. He does not write to lost sinners to implore them to work in order that they may produce, or conjure up faith. Instead, he teaches believing, converted sinners to work because of their given faith. He teaches saved sinners to live their lives in a God honoring manner.
    It seems to me that in many cases, men of sovereign grace persuasion are so intent upon declaring the sovereignty of God as they view it that they have imbibed the antinomian heresy, which, in their minds relieves man of responsibility. It seems that the tendency to flee away from responsibility becomes their natural course of conduct. Thus, we see this display of antinomianism as it festers and putrefies until it breaks out into a full-grown contagion, declaring, "No sin but a doctrinal sin".
    Is it possible that we have developed such a fear of being labeled arminian, that we have fallen off the bridge on the other side of the road? Have we become as the one eyed mule who would not come near the side of the bridge, but rather shied away from our perceived arminian danger and have plunged into the abyss of antinomianism on the other side?
    By this writing, I go on record as to my position, and these words will become a legacy that perhaps will remain after my departure from this present scene. But be that as it may, here is my position, stated clearly and concisely. Do not misinterpret nor misunderstand me.
    I hate the doctrine of arminianism, for it brings great dishonor to my saviour, Jesus Christ and to the inestimable value of His precious and perfect blood. It belittles the atonement, and negates the grace of God. It is the most awful and disgusting claim of man, who is evil and steeped in sin. It is a shame.
   And God has declared that He hates every evil way of man. "For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity." (Psalms 5:4,5). "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Psalms 45:7).
    Now what could be more wicked, and thus more hated by God than the deeds and declarations of men when they put forth their own works in the place of the blood of Christ? What could be more hated by a Righteous, holy, and perfect God than the doctrine that teaches men that the blood of Christ is insufficient, and must therefore be augmented by the deeds of sinners.
    And that is exactly and precisely what the arminian heresy declares. This God dishonoring doctrine brings the works of men to an equal position with the blood of Christ. Here's what the heresy declares: "God has done His part. He has done all that He can do. Now, you must do your part."
    If you will study this position carefully and honestly, you will come to the same conclusion. You cannot come to any other conclusion if you really hear what arminians are saying. They say that God cannot violate the will of man, as if the will of man were superior to the will of God. They say that God is trying to save every man, but that some men will not let God have His way with them.
    Arminianism, in all its hideousness, seeks to de-throne God and elevate man. Arminianism is the grand doctrine of Satan as he has palmed it off to fallen, depraved and sinful man as if it were man's own production. But in reality, the doctrine of arminianism originated in the deceitful heart of Lucifer and was the main thrust that Satan used in his beguiling of Eve. Listen to Satan as he says, "... Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." (Gen. 3:4,5).
    Dear reader, this declaration by Satan to Eve is the recorded beginning of arminianism and of humanism. This diabolical scheme of Satan to inflict his venomous doctrine into the bloodstream of man was calculated to cause man to de-value the word and work of God, and to over-value the word and work of man. And this is the definition of arminianism and of humanism, when reduced to their simplest terms.
    Arminianism has since grown to immense proportions in the deranged mind of depraved man, and now seems to those who are infected with its toxins to be the only sensible position to assume. It seems so right to the darkened mind of man. It seems to be the only position that one can take, and anything else is offensive to man.
    And the same can be said of humanism, for this delusion has sprung from the same source as fathered arminianism. These two are indeed twins of evil and shame, and have not only a common source, but share a common goal; and that is to topple God so that man can ascend to the throne and become his own god.
    Humanism is the doctrine of vast hordes of mankind, worldwide, and takes its disciples from among many religious groups, all of whom can find comfort with each other on this point. After all, any doctrine that magnifies man becomes acceptable to other men, for they see no evil in it and desire to walk in their imagined place of common ground and common understanding.
    Probably one of the most active and most dangerous of these many arminian and humanistic cults in the world today poses under the banner of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". (I only use upper case letters to designate them, so that you will readily recognize them as they lie couched in their cloaks of covetousness. WDT)
    This cult of Satan espouses a doctrine that says, "You can be as gods". They even go so far as to declare that Jesus Christ was at one time just mere mortal, who, through his life of good works and compassionate deeds, became what he claims to be. What is lacking now to make this doctrine to be stark and utter blasphemy? And I say, Nothing! It is blasphemy to deny the Deity of Jesus Christ; and this crowd does so, and takes great pride in doing so.
    They teach their deluded followers into believing that they too can be "as gods". They are known as the cult of the "god makers" by those who have previously been caught up in their movement, but who have been miraculously delivered out of their snare. These escaped former disciples have exposed this heresy for what it is, and men everywhere need to be alerted and warned as to this impending evil that lurks everywhere, worldwide.
    But is it a new discovery, or even a new doctrine, that came through the deranged mind of Joseph Smith and his co-conspirators? No. There is nothing new here. Satan said the same thing to Eve that Joe Smith said and that his followers are saying today, worldwide, with very great human success and acceptance. And here is that message: "You can be as gods"!
    "You can be as gods." Doesn't that held out promise lure men, women, boys and girls into the subtle snare of Satan? Oh, dear reader, it does lure millions of unsuspecting folks to believe this lie of Satan, and we must all be alerted to the danger so as to warn those around us. We must recognize this evil and faithfully declare our hatred for it as we do all such evils. And we are to hate what God hates, and that hatred must be in accordance with God's word on the matter.
    Not only am I opposed to arminianism and humanism, but I equally deplore antinomianism. This evil must also be exposed in its subtle forms and in its blatant forms. Both reek of the same God dishonoring heresy, and the danger they pose is real. We must oppose this heresy!
    Arminianism finds much fruit bearing fields among the unsaved and the unlearned new children of God. It isn't limited to these groups however, but finds more fertile ground in which to cultivate its tares, thorns and thistles. And arminianism does its work on a most prolific scale and scope.
    Now, one would not expect to find open advocacy of "no sin but a doctrinal sin" among arminians. However, there is some of this among that group, and none are immune from this infection.
    But the very essence of the antinomians' stand can be seen to be rooted in this "no sin but a doctrinal sin" enigma. It is the position of these heretics that because the blood of Jesus Christ has been shed in the behalf of the elect of God, they have been made free of the demands of the righteous law of God.
    Therefore, they proclaim, they are completely free of any demand for righteous living. They mistakenly imagine that freedom that is claimed by the blood of christ has rendered them free to live as their flesh pleases. They do not understand what true freedom is, however. They think they know, and belittle and ridicule all those who disagree with their misappropriation of the teachings of God's word.
    True freedom does not consist in man being made free in order to do what his sinful flesh would lead him to do. Rather, true freedom consists of believers having, by God's grace, been freed from the bondage of Satan, sin, and self that now enables them to do what God would have them do.
    Antinomian pronounced freedom is not freedom at all, in the sense that the Scriptures present freedom. It is only a delusion that antinomians experience in their self proclaimed "free from the law". When they boast themselves that "the law cannot touch me", they are saying, "I can do as I please".
    Has God said that the flesh can live as it pleases with immunity from judgment? For the unregenerate sinner, whose sins were not brought unto judgment when Jesus Christ was judged as the Surety of His people, his continued lawlessness will yet earn the judgment of God. And lawlessness is exactly the state of life for every unregenerate sinner. And here is the outcome: "I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." (John 8:24).
    For the born again person who has been duped into believing and practicing the theory that the flesh is free to do as it will, there is the chastening hand of God to be faced. And this Hand is sure and chastening is certain. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?" (Hebrews 12:6,7).
    Now does God's word teach godly living for the Christian, or doesn't it? Can man escape the teaching of the word, live as he pleases, and then appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ and not suffer loss? Can he, at that time and place, plead ignorance of the word and expect to find his imagined extenuating circumstance to suffice the earned loss? Can man successfully plead, "But, Lord, I did not know"?
    "Why didn't you know?", could be the reply of our dear Lord. "Why didn't you know? I told you. I sent the Holy Spirit to lead you, but you gave no heed. I sent men unto you to preach and teach, and ye would not."
    I am not imagining things. Jesus clearly taught men to follow His teaching. And He did not teach lawlessness. On the contrary, He taught godly living, as is exemplified in John chapter 8, that we just referred to. When the sinner woman, having been taken in adultery, was brought before Him and accused, He said to her, after her accusers were in turn convicted of their own guilt and had moved away, "Go, and sin no more." (John 8:11).
    Does this sound like the antinomian heretic who loudly boasts that "there is no sin but a doctrinal sin"? Does it? Answer now. Does Jesus tell this woman that it is acceptable for her to continue in her sinful ways? Does He?
    Why doesn't He? If it is all right for her to do so, why doesn't He grant her that freedom, for surely her flesh would enjoy the on-going gratification of itself in its lustful desires. The flesh is flesh and does indeed relish the notion of this so-called freedom that the antinomian boasts of. And besides, is the sin of adultery a doctrinal sin, of which sort we must avoid, but all other sins are acceptable?
    God help us to be delivered from ourselves as our flesh would attempt to justify itself in sinful continuance. May we see this truth: "What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" (Romans 6:1,2). And this truth: "That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory." (I Thessalonians 2:12). And this truth also: "Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how you ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more." (I Thessalonians 4:1).
    And now, please consider this. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent hear, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless. And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen." (II Peter 3:10-18).

(The Baptist Herald - December, 1991)

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