Remaining fundamentally sound

In the opening “chapter” of his letter to the church at Rome, Paul tells his brothers and sisters in Christ, “So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.” (Romans 1:15)

A question that comes to mind after reading that would be, “Why would Paul “preach the gospel” to a church whose faith was already being talked about throughout the world?” (Romans 1:8) Perhaps Paul’s desire was to help the church continue in their numerical growth, and such a desire would entail preaching the gospel to the unbelievers in Rome; while that may be true, we know for sure that he desired to help the church grow spiritually (Romans 1:11), and this seems to be more in line with the context. But nonetheless the question remains, “Why would such a spiritually strong church need to “hear the gospel” again?” I think the answer is so they would remain spiritually strong!

When the fundamentals go missing from our faith, the foundation that supports true spiritual growth gets removed (for an analogy, think about professional athletes who quit playing according to the fundamentals of his or her sport and how their “game” suffers because of it). This is why spiritual growth is about staying focused on Jesus, his death and resurrection, what he means to us, what he means to the world and what kind of effect the gospel is continually having on our life. Just look at the entirety of Romans 1 and you’ll see how Paul draws this out.

Now, a failure to add to the fundamentals of our faith can be as bad as not having any fundamentals of the faith in our life (2 Peter 1:5-11, 1 Corinthians 3:2, Hebrews 5:12), but, that fact withstanding, for a strong faith to become a stronger faith, we must from time-to-time be reminded what our faith is all about in order to remain firm in what matters the most…never forget that there is a simplicity found in the gospel that is meant to remain simplistic (2 Corinthians 11:3).

To be fundamentally sound in relation to the gospel story is a wonderful blessing, but such a blessing will only remain as long as the fundamentals are a part of our heart, soul and mind.

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth.” (2 Peter 1:12)

#fundamentals-of-the-faith, #milk-of-the-word, #spiritual-growth

Simple enough

Made clear by its very name, the milk of God’s word is meant to be simple. That does not mean there isn’t any need to study the things under consideration. It just simply means that there is a simplicity that easily found for the hearer’s sake.

For all the “slack” that the Bible catches about being complex (and there are certain parts where this is true – 2 Peter 3:14-16) the simple fact of the matter is that when it comes to the salvation of our soul and understanding what we must we do to be saved, along with many other topics, the Bible is very plain and clearly spoken on purpose.

The same can be said even when it comes to certain Old Testament prophecies. Some require some in-depth thought, but some of the ones that point to Jesus are so overwhelmingly clear that you’ll find New Testament preachers using them over and over to make a point so clear that you have to not want to see it to get it (Acts 28:23-29).

Do you want to know if your life is right in the sight of God? If you do it’s not hard to see. You just have to want to simply see it through the things that Jesus has done and said about you, your sin and your salvation! That was the point about Jesus’ “complex” parables that we read about.

We may hide ourselves from God, but God hasn’t hidden the way to salvation through complex words that cannot be understood, for any thought to the contrary is simply not true (John 14:6).

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of sheep or with ten thousand rivers of oil? am I to give my first child for my wrongdoing, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has made clear to you, O man, what is good; and what is desired from you by the Lord; only doing what is right, and loving mercy, and walking without pride before your God.” (Micah 6:7-8 – BBE)

#milk-of-the-word, #salvation, #simplicty-of-the-gospel

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Psalm 131 What It Means To “Grow Up”

There is uncertainty regarding the author, time, or circumstances of these Psalms, but it is apparent Psalms 120-134 work together, and are called the “Songs of Degrees,” and sometimes “Songs of Ascension.” This Psalm is attributed to David, but also could have been written about David, for it seems to express his child-like humility before God.

Verse 1 defines humility;

Verse 2 describes contentment;

Verse 3 distributes this among his countrymen.

Verse 1: “LORD, my heart is not haughty.” Humility is not downgrading oneself, but accepting oneself in view of God. “Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, And before honor is humility” (Proverbs 18:12). “By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

“Nor my eyes lofty.” The way up is down, for “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). Paul taught Christians “to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men” (Titus 3:2). Moses was humble (Numbers 12:3), but God can: “Exalt the humble, and humble the exalted” (Ezekiel 21:26). Every person is a “creature” needing the Gospel (Mark 16:15-16).

“Neither do I concern myself with great matters…Nor with things too profound for me.” “Great matters” are out of my control, and “profound” things are above my head. In other words, everything in this world doesn’t need everybody’s opinion! Facebook or Tweet that! This is not a “head-in-the-sand” approach to life, but a realization that all matters may not be our personal concern. Probably this verse is in the Law of Jesus Christ in Romans 12:16: “Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion.”

Verse 2: “A weaned child” has made the transition from suckling to satisfied.  Comfort in the mother’s breast is no longer also the child’s sustaining food. “A weaned child” has learned that life is no longer dependent upon mother alone. The process of maturing has progressed. To be a Christian, one must be “converted and become as little children, [or else] you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Then spiritual progress in the faith is expressed by Peter: “Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:1-3). Many who do not become Christians have refused the humility of repentance and baptism “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Many of those who have become Christians have refused to be “weaned” from the “milk” of the Word of God. “For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil” (Hebrews 5:13-14). Spiritual growth is stunted without study.

Verse 3: “O Israel, hope in the LORD From this time forth and forever.” This is a challenge for David’s brethren to move forward in their faith. The church of Christ is thus challenged: “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of your love for all the saints; because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:3-5).

 All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

#bible-study, #book-of-psalms, #children, #church-of-christ, #contentment, #daily-bible-reading, #faith, #gospel, #haughty, #humility, #milk-of-the-word, #obedience, #salvation, #teaching, #weaned-child

Faith Toward God is not Faith Alone

Many teach that sola fide is the ‘end all, be all’ with God and faith, but Hebrews 5:12-6:3 teaches that the important faith to God is the faith that’s only the beginning of people coming to Him. Read 2 Peter 1:3-10 and you’ll find that faith is not the whole flight of stairs to Heaven – it’s only one of the steps that make up the stairs! A vital step for sure, but only one of the vital steps.

Faith toward God is not faith alone. Faith is meant to be a lifestyle – not a one moment decision! Romans 1:16-17 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith.”” God’s word plainly says the just shall live by faith, but it never says they will live by just faith!

Because of erroneous teaching many people do not understand what it means to believe/have faith toward God. They read verses like Romans 13:11 and say, ‘See, salvation was brought to Paul and the Romans when they believed and so it can to me too.” But to pretend that ‘believed’ only means a mental/heart acknowledgement (faith alone) is to ignore what Paul and the Roman Christians did to accept the gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). They all heard the word of God (Romans 10:17), they all repented of their sins (Romans 2:4), they all confessed the faith in their hearts (Romans 10:6-11) and they all were baptized for the remission of their sins (Romans 6:1-4). Did you notice all the scripture references came from the same source – the Romans (along with Paul) who ‘believed‘ back in Romans 13:11 did more than “just believe.”

Faith toward God is powerful and wonderful, but faith alone falls short of both!

#faith, #faith-alone, #justification-by-faith, #milk-of-the-word, #romans, #salvation