GERALD COWAN’S PERSONAL PERIODICALS
Number 597 • December 27, 2020
A GOSPEL STANDARD SAFE TO LIVE BY
A certain well-to-do widow was being pursued for marriage by several backward, awkward, rough, ill-mannered and uncouth men – each of them thought she would consider him a “good catch” and a worthy replacement for her former husband. When they pressed her to make her choice and give them an answer, she finally said that her answer was Romans 1:13, from the King James Version of the Bible from which she knew all of them would read. When they read that statement from the apostle Paul, where he said, “I would not have you ignorant brethren,” they became angry and embarrassed, but they dropped their pursuit of her.
From most updated translations Paul’s words are: “Brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant…” that is uninformed, untaught, or unaware. He then noted some particular matter about himself and his work and personal condition, or about the meaning and intent of some command of the Lord. He repeated this formula often (1 Cor. 10:1 and 12:1, 2 Cor. 1:8, 1 Thess. 4:13), not as an offensive accusation but a common condition which he intended to remedy.
Now I have a question for you, one that has nothing to do with widows or pursuant would-be swains. It is a serious question so please give it a serious answer. If you can’t or won’t answer it, at least consider the answer I’m giving here – please pardon any abrupt, aggressive, or abusive-sounding words or inferences; I speak plainly. Here’s the question: Suppose you hear or read something from an ignorant person who is a known liar. If you believe, agree with, and quote this person – this ignorant liar – with agreement, approval and appreciation, what does that make you? Doesn’t it make you an ignorant liar too?
I will not knowingly present to you as true anything I know to be untrue. Controversial or open to different undertandings, perhaps, but dependably evidenced as true.
THE PRODUCT IS DETERMINED BY THE SOURCE FROM WHICH IT COMES.
That which is of the flesh is flesh. That which is of the spirit is spirit (John 3:6). That which is of slime – taught as truth by evolution – is slime. What should you do with slime and every product of it? Throw it back in the puddle with the rest of the slime. What comes from dust shall return to the dust. The slime (dust) shall return to the puddle from which it came (Gen. 2:7, 3:19).
TEN ESSENTIAL TRUTHS TO KNOW AND REMEMBER:
1. God is – always was, and always will be – eternal and unchanging (Ps. 90:1-2, Mal. 3:6).
2. God created, established, set in order and arranged the world and man (Gen. 1:1, Is. 45:18).
3. God provided and maintains a way of salvation and fellowship with Him (John 3:16, Heb. 10:12-18).
4. God has spoken. The essential message of God is preserved and available in the Bible (Matt. 4:4, 1 Peter 1:25).
5. God will not speak again – there will be no new message and no additional message before and until the end of world (Gal. 1:6-9, Rev. 22:18-19). 6. God works, is still working (John 5:17, Col. 1:16-17).
7. God is still loving and blessing (James 1:17, 21).
8. God still hears and answers prayer (1 Peter 3:12).
9. God still saves. 1 Tim. 1:15
10. God has judged, is judging, and will judge all (Gen. 18:25, Heb. 4:12-13, Acts 17:30-31).
TEN ADDITIONAL TRUTHS ABOUT GOD AND THE PROPER RESPONSE TO HIM:
1. God speaks to teach and guide—hear Him (Deut. 4:1–2). Do not add to or subtract from His words; do not change or exchange His words.
2. God is righteous, holy, perfectly just—fear Him (Deut. 4:3–4). Do you not fear God? Luke 23:40 (the other thief on the cross) 3. God is all-knowing—learn from Him (Deut. 4:5–9).
4. God is all-powerful— depend on Him (Gen. 17:1).
5. God alone is God—worship Him (Deut. 4:10–43.
6. God is sovereign Lord of all—obey Him (Deut. 4:44–5:33).
7. God is faithful—trust in Him (1 Cor. 10:13, Ps. 37:5).
8. God is loving and gracious— love Him, accept Him and respond properly to Him to receive His grace (Prov. 3:34).
9. God is patient, kind, merciful — be like Him (Num. 6:25, Ps. 103:17, Luke 6:36).
10. God has everlasting arms — walk with Him, stay with Him (Deut. 33:27, Psalm 90.1).
OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD IS INITIATED, DICTATED AND LIMITED BY GOD.
People have unwarranted illusions about Christian freedom. Jesus said his truth would make people free (John 8:31-32, 36). Paul said, Stand free in the freedom Christ has given us – no more yoke of bondage (Gal. 5:1). We have no input in His covenant with us. We can only say yes or no to it.
TEN THINGS WE ARE NOT FREE TO DO.
1. We are not free to do whatever we please, whatever our hearts desire.
2. We are not free to seek pleasure in forbidden places, forbidden ways, and forbidden people. 3. We are not free to get for ourselves what we envy in others. 4. We are not free to do for ourselves or accept from others what God denies us. 5. We are not free to keep for ourselves what is rightfully God’s.
6. We are not free to substitute what we desire to give and do for God for what God asks from us. 7. We are not free to worship anyone or anything but God.
8. We are not free to worship God in ways that please us unless it also pleases God.
9. We are not free or able to save ourselves by our own willful ways and not by God’s stipulated way. 10. We are not free to judge the words, works, or will of God.
THE SAME LIST APPLIES TO EACH OF US PERSONALLY – REPEAT IT AS TEN THINGS I AM NOT FREE TO DO.
ONE MORE LIST OF TEN. Say “AMEN” if you agree.
1. God is good.
2. Christ the Lord is good.
3. The Holy Spirit of God is good.
4. The church is good.
5. The gospel – the word of God – is good.
6. Life in Christ and in the Spirit of God is good.
7. Salvation from sin is good.
8. Hope of heaven is good.
9. Teaching others the word of God is good.
10. Sharing the joys and blessings of God in His family is good.
1. How good it is when brethren can dwell together in unity, fellowship, and peace. Ps. 133:1
2. How good it is that God allows us to come to Him and be workers together with Him to bring the world to Him through Jesus Christ. 2 Cor. 6:1-2 3. A meaningful song for closing: I Need Thee Every Hour.