Our Hope in Christ Archives 2009

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  • Learning From What God Cannot Do by Jerry Fite
  • If You Had Known Me by Jon W. Quinn
  • What Happened at the Cross? by Heath Rogers
  • 1000 Marbles
  • The Lord's Church is Unique
  • The Spiritual Significance of Baptism by Mark Larson
  • Living Like No One Else by Al Diestelkamp
  • What is the Great Commission? by David Powlas
  • Peter Got It Right! by David Diestelkamp
  • When We Are Strong by Johnnie Edwards


Learning From What God Cannot Do

Jerry Fite

To say that God cannot do something seems to contradict the concept of an omnipotent or all-powerful God. Jehovah, in the face of laughing at His promising an old couple that they would have a child, challenges the doubters with, “Is anything too hard for Jehovah?” (Genesis18:14.). When the Lord’s own apostles were wondering at their failure to cast out demons, Jesus looked to their “little faith” as the problem and said that if they had faith, even as small as a grain of mustard seed, they could miraculously remove mountains and “nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20). Their abilities were tied to God through their faith in the One who has the power to do all wonders. 
While nothing is too hard for Jehovah, even miraculously removing mountains, or casting out demons, there are things the Scriptures point to that are impossible for God to do. These are not contradictions to tear down the truth that God is omnipotent, but provide for us important facts to complete the picture of God, and really strengthen our faith.

While God has the power to do all things, there are things that are impossible for Him to do for they contradict His character. For example, God cannot lie, for in doing so He would contradict his character of always upholding the truth. Lies are the character of the Devil and form the bleak picture of darkness, which has no place in God’s character (John 8:44-47, I John 1:5). 

Because it is impossible for God to lie, we can have confidence in His promises. Paul writes, “in hope of eternal life, which God who cannot lie promised before times eternal…” (Titus 1:4). The passing of time should not cause us to lose confidence in the proposition that eternal life in Heaven awaits us. Like Paul, we must focus upon God’s character of Truth. God cannot lie, so we continue to hope, knowing that the promise will be fulfilled. God promised Abraham that in him would all the nations of the earth would be blessed. His promise was accompanied by an oath. The Hebrew writer refers to these two things as “immutable” and in which “it is impossible for God to lie.” (Hebrews 6:18).

Why should we be reminded of God’s promise to bless and multiply Abraham’s seed which found ultimate fulfillment in Christ (Genesis 22:16-18, Galatians 3:15)? So that “we may have a strong encouragement, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us; which we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and stedfast…” (Hebrews 6:18-19). God “cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2: 13). His character is one of faithfulness, and to deny Himself would contradict the truth of His very being. In essence He is telling us that He exists, therefore we should remain faithful to him through life’s difficulties, trials and hardships. Man can become weak and quit “enduring” with Lord and even “deny Him” It is at this moment of doubt that we need to be reminded of what God cannot do, and rise up to serve. “If we endure, we shall also reign with Him: if we shall deny Him, He will also deny us: if we are faithless, He abideth faithful: for He cannot deny Himself” (2 Timothy 2:12-13). 

Learning what God cannot do, we are encouraged to remain faithful, looking forward to eternal life with no doubts.




“If You Had Known Me”

Jon W. Quinn     

Jesus said to Thomas, "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." (John 14:7). The apostles probably thought they knew Jesus pretty well. They had been with Him about three years and had heard many lessons from Him. They had watched Him pray and seen His miracles. He had shared many things only with them. They knew Him better than anyone else did; they were all pretty sure of that.

      But they did not know Him well enough, at least not yet.  They soon would, but their transformation was not yet complete.

      The rock, or foundation, of our faith is the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus is the expression of God in the world. The Greeks had a term for “word” or “expression.” That word was “logos.”  Jesus is referred to the “logos” of God; that He is God and was with God in the beginning and that all things were created through Him (John 1:1-3; 14). The Godhead finds expression through the Son. He has always been the Son, even before He became flesh. God did not send Him to become His Son; He sent His Son (Romans 8:3; 1 John 4:14). However, it is also true that Jesus became the Son of God in yet another sense at His conception by God's special creative act (Hebrews 10:4,5). But He had always been the Son of God even before that.

      That is what Jesus meant when He was talking to Thomas. God expressed Himself to the world through His Son. If you see the Son, you see the expression of the Father.  We come to know God only through Jesus. "I am  the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.” (John 14:6).

      It is not enough to know and accept some of the things about Jesus without accepting this rock of truth upon which Jesus built His church.  Some accept that Jesus was a great moral teacher. Others that He was a prophet of God; perhaps the greatest  prophet of all. Some will say He was a great philosopher. That is well and good, but not enough. Consider some of the claims of Jesus.

The Son of God

      “But He answered them, 'My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.' For this cause therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.”  (John 15:17,18). The Jews who opposed Jesus understood the import of referring to God as “My Father.”  They also knew the difference between “My Father”  and “Our Father.”  Jesus was saying that God is His Father in a unique sense, including that He shared the Father's Divine nature. They also knew the difference between being “a son of God” and claiming to be “the Son of God.” (John 10:36). Jesus used this aspect of His relationship with the Father to claim equality with God; that is, that He is of the same, eternal nature.

The Source of Eternal Life

      Jesus did not claim to be “a” source of eternal life  but “the”  source. We read earlier that He claimed to be “the way, the truth, the life” (John 14:6). Jesus claimed to be able to give His disciples water that would “become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. " (John 4:14). He also said that we must put our trust in Him to receive eternal life (John 6:40).


      Jesus claimed to have existed previous to His coming to earth as a human being prior to His conception and birth. During that time, He dwelled in Heaven and shared with the Godhead the glory of God, even from before the beginning of time (John 17:5). He came to earth, leaving His place in the heavenly courts, to do the Father's will (John 6:38). The Scriptures describe this as being rich, but becoming poor, so we might become rich (2 Corinthians 8:9). Jesus would use the term “I Am” to identify Himself, the same term by which God identified Himself as the eternally existing one out of the burning bush (John 8:23; 56-59).

Unique Knowledge of God

      Nothing I know about God is unique to me. I have the same access to the knowledge of God as every other person does, and I can choose to learn it or ignore it, just like everyone else. God has no special insight for me that He does not have for you, if we want it. But Jesus had access to knowledge that you and I do not have. This is reasonable because of His pre-existence in heaven and His identity as God's Son, both of which we have already noticed. Jesus is the only one who completely knows the Father. Jesus said, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son, except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father, except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27).  We can know more about God through the Son's revelation of Him (see also Hebrews 1:1,2; John 17:25,26).  The world holds many false concepts of God. Any concept about God that contradicts the Son is a false concept that ought to be discarded.

Absolute Authority

      Jesus claimed to have absolute authority. He appealed to no higher authority than Himself in His teaching on moral issues (Matthew 5:21,22; 7:28,29). Heeding His words determine where we will spend eternity (Matthew 7:24-29). He referred to Himself as the “Lord of the Sabbath” when some of His enemies accused Him of breaking the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). He spoke of the Father giving Him “all authority in heaven and on earth.” (Matthew 28:18). In short, Jesus' authority is supreme. He is king. His word is law.

Forgiveness of Sins

      Jesus claimed the power to forgive sins. This is appropriate for the reasons we have already seen. Jesus enemies correctly observed that it would be blasphemy to forgive sins because only God can do that (Mark 2:7). But it is not blasphemy for Jesus to do so for the reasons already given; He shares God's nature as God's Son. He is God and equal to God. So, Jesus forgives sins (Mark 2:1-12).

      “If you had known Me...” Jesus once said to Thomas. If we know the truth about Jesus, we know all these things we have been discussing, and more. The claims Jesus made were lofty indeed, but the evidence that He spoke the truth is overwhelming. By all means, get to know Him!


Reprinted From the Bradley Banner    
Bradley Church of Christ
Bradley, Illinois
October 14, 2001



What Happened at the Cross?

by Heath Rogers

The death of Jesus on the cross was the greatest and most important event the world will ever see. In a day in which things are being stripped of their importance and trivialized, I want us to look again at the cross and see what the Bible says happened there. Some people refer to John 3:16 as "the gospel in a nutshell." I believe the gospel is too great to be fully grasped so easily. It is simple enough to be understood, yet complex enough to be pondered for a lifetime. Thus the greatness of it's author -- the Lord God Almighty. Just what happened at the cross?

1. Atonement was made for our sins. In the garden, God told Adam that he could eat freely from the fruit of every tree, "but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die" (Gen. 2:17). Adam ate of that tree, and he died. He began to die physically that day, but more importantly, he died spiritually. His sin caused a separation between himself and God (Isaiah 59:1-2). He needed to make atonement for this sin, but was powerless to do so. Thus began the great theme of the Bible, God's scheme of redemption.

Death was the penalty for sin, that was the price that had to be paid. The Law of Moses called for the sacrifice of bulls and goats. Their life was given and their blood was shed, but to no effect, "For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). It couldn't be just any death. It was a man's soul that was lost in the garden, atonement required a man's death. But, it couldn't be just any man. A sinless soul was lost in Eden, only a sinless man could make atonement. Thus, the perfect Son of God had to die. "For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21). Only in the death of Jesus is this wrong made right and God's righteous judgment satisfied. In the cross we see the painful reality of what has been said, "He paid a debt He didn't owe because we owed a debt we couldn't pay."

2. Prophecies were fulfilled. Our Lord's death on the cross was no accident. It was planned in the mind of God before time began (Acts 2:23). It was foretold to the world through the prophets. The suffering servant of Isaiah 53, the pierced hands and feet of Psalm 22, no broken bones of Psalm 34, given gall and vinegar in Psalm 69, and beaten and spat upon in Isaiah 50. All of these pointed to Calvary.

One of the proofs of the inspiration of the Bible is fulfilled prophecy. Jesus' death on the cross is a part of that. This wasn't made up, nor was it an accident. Matthew uses fulfilled prophecy to convince the Jews of his day that Jesus was the promised Messiah. Jesus Himself also foretold His death (Matt. 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:18-19). If He hadn't died on the cross, He would have proven Himself a liar and a false prophet (Deut. 18:15-22).

3. The Old Law was put away. "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross" (Col. 2:13-14). That old law was nailed to the cross with Jesus. When He died, the veil of the temple was torn in two (Matt. 27:51), signifying the end of the law it represented.

That law of Moses was taken out of the way. God said it would be: "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord" (Heb. 8:8-9). We now live under the law of Christ (Gal. 6:2). We don't live under a combination of the law of Moses and the law of Christ. Some principles are carried over from that old law, but we are living under and new and better covenant.

4. Enmity was abolished. "For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity" (Eph. 2:14-16). The law that separated Jew from Gentile is gone. The gospel truly is for all. "Then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him'" (Acts 10:34-35).

5. The love of God was displayed. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Rom. 5:8). Could God have done any better? What more could He have done? Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). Hours after He said this, He did it. He laid down His life for His friends, His enemies, you and me. If you ever begin to doubt God's love for you, ever wonder if He really knows and cares about you, remember the cross. There has never been a greater act of love.

Perhaps you have read the following before: "I asked Jesus how much He loved Me. 'This much,' He answered, then stretched out His arms and died."

6. A perfect example in suffering. Times of suffering are going to come to all of us. We will all face trials various times in our lives. How can we make it though it? Jesus' death on the cross left us both encouragement and an example. "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness - by whose stripes you were healed" (1 Peter 2:21-24).

Jesus' death on the cross not only paid the penalty for our sin, it also showed us that we can endure any suffering that we have to face. If Jesus can endure the cross for us, then we can endure anything for Him.

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1,000 Marbles

One day, a man was explaining to a younger man how he was able to determine the correct priorities. He explained to him his theory of a “1,000 marbles.” “One day,” he said, “I sat down and did a little arithmetic. The average person lives about 75 years. I know, some live more and some live less, but on average, this is what I can expect. I then multiplied 75 times 52 and I came up with 3,900, which is the number of Saturdays the average person has in their entire lifetime."

"It took me until I was 55 years old to think about all this in any detail,” he went on, “and by that time I had lived through over 2,800 Saturdays. I got to thinking that if I lived to be 75, I only had about a 1,000 of them left to enjoy. So I went to a toy store and bought every single marble they had. I ended up having to visit three toy stores to round up 1,000 marbles. I took them home and put them inside a large, clear plastic container in my garage. Every Saturday since then, I have taken one marble out and thrown it away. I found that by watching the marbles diminish, I focused more on what is really important in life. There is nothing like watching your time here on earth run out to help get your priorities straight.”

David once said that “our days on the earth are as a shadow” (1 Chronicles 29:15). Peter said that “the glory of man [is] as the flower of grass” which will wither and disappear (1 Peter 1:24). Get your priorities straight! Through your faith, repentance, confession of Christ, and baptism you can enter into a new life of righteousness.

Kyle Campbell




  1. Was planned and purposed by God before time began. Eph. 3:8-11
  2. Was built by and upon Jesus Christ God's Son.  Matt. 16:16-18
  3. Was purchased with the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28
  4. Has Jesus Christ as its Savior and Head. Eph. 5:23
  5. Has no creed but the New Testament. Acts 2:36
  6. Has no rule of faith or discipline except Christ's Word. Jn. 14:20-23
  7. Has no earthly headquarters. Eph. 1:21-23
  8. Is composed of all the saved. Acts 2:47
  9. Is sanctified and cleansed by Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:26
  10. Works and worships in the name of Jesus Christ. Acts 4:12
  11. Urges the unity of all believers in Jesus Christ. Eph. 4:1-6
  12. Will be gloriously presented unto Jesus Christ. Eph. 5:27



  • Hear the word of God. Acts 15:7
  • Believe in Christ. Heb. 11:6, Jn. 3:16
  • Repent of sins. Lk. 13:3,5; Acts 17:30
  • Confess Christ before men. Matt. 10:32
  • Be baptized into Christ. Rom. 6:3-4; Gal. 3:27

All spiritual blessings are found in Christ! Eph. 1:3



The Spiritual Significance of Baptism

by Mark Larson

"Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:3,4).

Clearly, baptism is no mere symbol or ritual. Baptism is what enters us into union with Christ! Baptism into Christ establishes a real spiritual connection to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Baptism Into the Death of Christ

Baptism is not just about receiving the forgiveness of our sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16), it is our union with the death of Jesus! "All of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death" (Romans 6:3). Jesus the Savior died for our sins. Sin is what brought Him to the cross. Rather than a continued desire for sin after baptism, there should be a hatred and rejection of sin, the very thing that caused Jesus to die in the first place. "And He Himself bore our sins in HIs body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed" (I Peter 2:24). Baptism into Christ is absolutely essential to putting to death our sins: "For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, that our body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin" (Romans 6:5,6).

Buried with Christ

The word baptism literally means "Immersion." Every person including Jesus, who was baptized was immersed (not sprinkled or poured) in water (e.g. Mark 1:9,10; Acts 8:38,39). That is why the apostle Paul says to the Christians at Rome: "We have been buried with Him through baptism" (Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:11,12). A burial best represents baptism (i.e., immersion). There is great spritual significance to being buried with Jesus. Just as a real burial involves a real death, so does baptism (which is a "burial" ) result in a real spiritual death to sin. Baptism is not merely a "good work" nor is it to be done as a public display of becoming a member of a local church. Baptism into Christ is essential to putting to death our sins!

Raised with Christ

Baptism into Christ introduces us to a new life! "Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4). Baptism is necessary "so we too" may rise to live a new life. Just as Christ was raised or "born again" from the dead (Revelation 1:5; Colossians 1:18), we too are raised or "born again" to a new life after baptism (John 3:3,5). "Newness of life" entails all spiritual blessings that are given in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). Specifically, we are not longer "dead in sin" (Ephesians 2:1,2), but instead "dead to sin" and "alive to God in Christ Jesus" (Romans 6:11). There is "newness of life" because each Christian is now a new person in Christ, living life in service to God, not sin: "Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come" (II Corinthians 5:17). Only those who have been baptized into Christ are "in Christ" and are living the new life in Him.

Salvation Through Christ

"And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you -- not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). This straight forward passage about baptism makes it perfectly clear that baptism is fopr our salvation. Those who dismiss baptism as non-essential or optional, ignore this plain statement of Scripture. Baptism does not in any way diminish the achievement of Christ on the cross for our sins. Instead, baptism is a commandment we must obey to gain access to the saving power of Jesus. Notice what makes baptism powerful: Not the water itself ("the removal of dirt from the flesh"), but the appeal we make to God "for a good conscience -- through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (I Peter 3:21). Jesus is still the means of our salvation, eternal life is still a free gift (Romans 6:23), we are simply meeting the Lord's condition for salvation as commanded in Scripture: "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelived shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

Added to the Body of Christ

When a person is baptized into Christ, they are also, at the exact same moment, added to the body of Christ: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit" (I Corinthians 12:13). His body is the church: "And He put all things in subjection under His feet, and gave Him as head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18). To belong to the Lord's church, there is no waiting for a "church committee" to give their approval. Instead, when you are baptized into Christ you are automatically added to His church and belong to the saved! "Then Peter said to them, 'Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit...Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. ... And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:38,41,47). See also Hebrews 12:22,23.

Make Sure You Have Been Baptized Into Christ!

No one is a disciple of Christ until he or she has been baptized into His name (Matthew 28:18-20). No one is "in Christ", a part of Christ, or has fellowship with Christ until he or she comes to Christ in faith to be baptized into Him. "For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ" (Galatians 3:26,27). If you have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God (John 3:16; Acts 16:31ff), are willing to confess Jesus as Lord (Romans 10:9,10; Acts 8:37), then you are ready to be baptized! If you have not yet done so, be baptized into Christ today!



By Al Diestelkamp

Syndicated talk radio financial advisor, Dave Ramsey, urges his listeners to "live like no one else, so you can live like no one else." His message is to live frugally while you rid yourself of debt so later on you can live comfortably. For callers with overwhelming debt he often prescribes a "beans and rice; rice and beans" budget.

Since Ramsey often peppers his advice with scriptures, I trust he will not be upset if I "borrow" his motto to make a spiritual point. After all, our Lord does ask us to "live like no one else" while in the world (Jn. 15:19).

As with every analogy, we must be careful not to carry this one too far. Yes, we have an overwhelming "debt" we cannot repay, even on a spiritual "beans and rice; rice and beans" lifestyle. We cannot work our way out of the debt of sin merely by right living, but must throw ourselves on the mercy of God.

That being said, when God extends His grace to us by paying off our debt with the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, He requires we "live like no one else" (cp. Rom. 12:1-2). When we think we have it hard, living righteously while the world endulges in sinful pleasures, we need to remember Jesus promises if we "overcome," we will live "royally" in eternity (Rev. 3:21).




QUESTION:  "I've heard religious people talk about something they call 'the great commission'.  What is that and why is it so great?"

ANSWER:  The commands of Jesus Christ recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 and Mark 16:15-16 are commonly referred to as "the great commission".  [I do not know who coined the expression.]  Since that specific phrase is not found in the Bible, is it really appropriate to apply such a designation to His commands?  A "commission" is an authorization to perform/execute specific acts.  What Jesus commanded certainly does match that definition; but, in what sense is it "great"?  Please note some reasons why "the great commission" is indeed "great"...


• God has made salvation from [forgiveness of] sin available to every sinner (John 3:16; 1 John 4:14).

• In spite of God’s benevolent actions, most human beings are spiritually lost (1 John 5:19; Matthew 7:13-14).


• Violating God’s law makes us sinners (1 John 3:4), spiritually separates us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2), and dooms us to eternity in hell (Matthew 23:33).

• God ["the Word"] became a human being named Jesus (John 1:1,14-17).  He lived sinlessly, i.e., a human life "without sin" (Hebrews 4:14-15), then died to make atonement for all sinners (Romans 5:6-11).


• Sinners cannot remove their sins by their own efforts alone (Matthew 16:26; 19:23-26).

• When sinners believe and obey the gospel of Jesus Christ, they receive the forgiveness of sins by God’s grace (Acts 2:36-39 & Ephesians 1:7) and become righteous (Romans 4:1-8).

• God has promised eternity in heaven to all who are righteous (1 Peter 1:3-5; Matthew 25:31-34,41,46).

The Bible reveals at least three reasons why "the great commission" is truly "great".  I do not know who originated the expression; but, Jesus Christ originated the spiritual mandate!

••• Posted 07-14-09 on http://lowerrichlandchurch.org/,  Written by David Powlas.  Unless noted otherwise, all verses cited and/or quoted are from the NewKing James Version [NKJV] of the Bible.


Peter Got It Right!

By David Diestelkamp

When Jesus asked, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matt. 16:18), He illustrated that man’s religious conclusions and definitions may not be the same as God’s. Some people thought things about Jesus that simply weren’t true. Their belief, however sincere it may have been, didn’t make Him John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets (Matt. 16:13-14).

Peter was correct when he answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16:16). The others, however sincere, misguided, or deceived, were wrong. Saying, “My Jesus is…” or “The Jesus I accept allows…” was the thinking of people who reached wrong conclusions about Jesus. Peter’s understanding of the truth came from God, not from men (Matt. 16:17). Our thinking must perceive what God means and then conform to it.

Peter was able to sort through the quagmire of incorrect religious positions and controversy and find the truth. Saying, “If the experts can’t agree…” or “Maybe we need to go with the polls,” would have been disastrous. It is possible to confidently know the truth, even in a confused religious world.

Peter’s statement of truth gave the solution to division. The difference in what people believed about Jesus was more of a problem because it differed with God rather than with each other. Division over who Jesus was could only be resolved by all accepting who He really was, not by everyone agreeing to a palatable compromise (i.e, He was Elijah). Generally, unity will naturally occur when all accept and apply the truth. Any other unity is more adhesion than oneness and does not produce unity with God.




When We Are Strong

By Johnnie Edwards

The emphasis men place on strength may not be the same God places on it. Paul said, ". . ..for when I am weak then am I strong" (2 Cor. 12:10). Paul said he was strong when he was being persecuted and when he had infirmities and reproaches for Christ's sake. Let's take a look at real strength. We are strong:

(1) When we have respect for the authority of the Bible. Paul said, "And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of 'he Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him" (Col. 3:17). We are strong when we recognize that we must have Bible authority for all we do religiously.

(2) When we are not ashamed of the gospel. We need more people who say as did Paul, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek" (Rom. 1:16). We are strong when we want only the gospel preached and that in its fulness.

(3) When we practice what we preach. We need the teachings of Paul to the Romans when he said, "Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? . . . (Rom. 2:21). There is a great demand for the people of God to practice what we preach. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; . . ." (Gal. 2:20).

(4) When we are filled with zeal and knowledge. Paul prayed that the Colossians might "be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding" (Col. 1:9). Couple zeal and knowledge in a child of God and you have strength.

Truth Magazine XXIII: 11, p. 190
March 15, 1979


November 2017