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3-29-2017 Christ’s Cost

Paul wrote: “walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma” (Ephesians 5:1-2 NKJV). His love for us caused Jesus to give Himself as our “offering,” to express thanksgiving; our “sacrifice,” or blood-offering to atone for our sins; “a sweet-smelling aroma” shows how acceptable to God our atonement is! Jesus said He came “to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28 NKJV). “Ransom” is the price for a slave who is then set free. His part, as He said on His cross, “is finished” (John 19:30 NKJV).  We must renounce our slavery to sin by repentance, and be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38 NKJV). His sacrifice saves, not all, but the “many” who obey.

This is Johnny Polk, with “Words of Wisdom” brought to you by the Oneida church of Christ.

#aroma, #offering, #ransom, #sacrifice

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(#66) The Proverbs of Solomon 13:8-Too Rich To Be Saved?

Since God Created humans, only God can provide specific understanding of human behavior. God gave Solomon Divine Wisdom (1 Kings Chapters 3 and 10) to explain what and why behavior is as it is, and Proverbs 10:1-24:34 are randomly written, as if they were Solomon’s judgments about individual cases brought to him, or simply God-given explanations about life. New Testament passages may help see the continuation of Wisdom offered through Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 13:8: “The ransom of a man’s life is his riches, But the poor does not hear rebuke.”

Riches may have their advantages, but they also present many problems. A rich person becomes a target for the stealth of thieves, strength of thugs, and socialism of tyrants. The rich are singled out by suspicion as racists, covetous, cold-hearted, or idle. The rich must, therefore, use their riches for added security, insurance, fees, staff, taxes, and assorted extortioners, just to keep the “hounds at bay” as it were! Truly, the rich often must use their wealth as a “ransom” to buy back their freedom and independence. Elihu asked a penetrating question: “Will your riches, Or all the mighty forces, Keep you from distress?” (Job 36:14). Riches cannot buy: 1) a soul’s redemption or prevent death (Psalm 49:6-9); 2)A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, Loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Proverbs 22:1); 3) Permanence. “Will you set your eyes on that which is not? For riches certainly make themselves wings; They fly away like an eagle toward heaven” (Proverbs 23:5); 4) “For riches are not forever, Nor does a crown endure to all generations” (Proverbs 27:24). David had said: “If riches increase, Do not set your heart on them” (Psalm 62:10). Truly Jesus warned that it was possible for riches to kill faith before it can begin, for one “who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful” (Matthew 13:22).

An advantage of being “poor” is not to have these cares or concerns. The “poor” may think only of the advantages of being rich, and thereby become covetous, which is a sin (Colossians 3:5). “A man with an evil eye hastens after riches, And does not consider that poverty will come upon him” (Proverbs 28:22). Without wealth, it seems that: “All the brothers of the poor hate him; How much more do his friends go far from him! He may pursue them with words, yet they abandon him” (Proverbs 19:7). But remember that: “The rich and the poor have this in common, The LORD is the maker of them all” (Proverbs 22:2). Jesus’ statement proves true: “”Children, how hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). Hard, but not impossible. Riches are oftentimes a stumbling-block to both the rich and poor!

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

#bible-study, #extortioners, #poor, #practical-lessons, #proverbs, #ransom, #rich, #riches, #sin, #wisdom