Welcome to the Tiftonia church of Christ
ServicesPlease join us! ALL are invited
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Bible Study 10:00 am
Worship 11:00 am
Bible Study: 7:00pm
Sunday July 27, Sermons
A.M. The Transfiguration of Christ—Mark 9:5-7
P.M. DANIEL: Lessons on Prophecy—Daniel 2:26-28
THE SCRIPTURES COMPLEMENT ONE ANOTHER AND NEVER CONTRADICT ONE ANOTHER
A “letter to the editor” of the Times Free Press recently made the effort to discredit the sacred Scriptures by saying they contradict one another. The author interjected a number of topics logicians refer to as “red herrings,” but I will simply comment on the assertions that the Bible contains contradictions and inaccuracies. I sent this reply to the paper in order to defend the Sacred Scriptures, but it was not selected for print. So, here now is the “letter to the editor” and my response for your consideration.
SEARCH FOR BIBLE ANSWERS
The Bryan College controversy revolves around one central question: Is the biblical Creation story literally true and without error?
If the scribes who wrote the Creation story in Genesis were God’s inerrant stenographers and recorded his words exactly as he spoke them, why didn’t God tell them the earth was a globe, an oblate spheroid? They wrote from a geocentric, flat-world perspective, the prevailing belief in their pre-scientific world.
If the Genesis Creation story is reliable, which one are we talking about? There are two distinctly different Creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2. Biblical literalists can explain this away, but the two stories are basically different particularly in the order of events. Fundamentalists and other members of the Flat Earth Society fear that if any part of the Holy Scriptures is subjected to historical or scientific scrutiny, the entire basis for our morals and ethics is in danger of immediate collapse. This is ludicrous.
Fundamentalists claim the Bible “says what it means and means what it says.” But when it is proven that the Holy Scriptures contain contradictions and inaccuracies, they immediately switch and begin interpreting like fuzzy-headed old liberals. They must want it both ways.—George B. Reed, Jr., Rossville
George B. Reed, Jr. tried to divide the Scriptures in Genesis 1 and 2 in his “letter to the editor” by saying these two chapters of the Bible contradict each other. Note please, that the only allusion to alleged contradictions he provided in his comments is that “the order of events” is different. His fuzzy reference means he failed to provide any actual proof for his complaint about the Bible. His approach is typical of those in error.
Two statements Jesus made come into view here. One, He said, “The Scriptures cannot be broken” (John 10:35). And, two, Jesus also said, “But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female” (Mark 10:6). The statement of Christ inseparably links Moses’ presentation of the creation in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 because both deal with happenings “in the beginning of the creation.”
The failure in reasoning, of which Mr. Reed is a part, is in refusing to recognize how the Bible record complements itself by giving additional details of the creation in Genesis 2. The Scriptures complement one another and never contradict one another.
Mr. Reed really should read his Bible because it knows nothing of “scribes who wrote the Creation story in Genesis.” No one could be more reliable than Jesus Christ on who wrote Genesis, and in the Gospel of Matthew Jesus tells us Moses wrote Genesis 1 and 2 because He quotes from there and attributes it to Moses (Matthew 19:1-9).
REASONS CHRIST DIED ON THE CROSS
“O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39b). The “cup” Jesus mentioned in this prayer to God, the Father, was a reference to the “cup” of suffering He was about to endure on the cross of Calvary (cf. Matthew 20:22-23; 26:42; John 18:11). It is with a desire to promote greater appreciation for the suffering and death of Jesus that we will look for a moment at five “reasons Christ died on the cross.”
Christ died on the cross because of the respect He has for His Father. Jesus said, “I do always those things that please Him” (John 8:29). And, further He said, “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work” (John 4:34).
Christ died on the cross because purging man’s sins required a blood sacrifice. “Without shedding of blood there is no remission” (Hebrews 9:22b). Peter affirmed, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God” (1 Peter 1:18-21).
Christ died on the cross because it was essential in order to bring the church of Christ, His bride, into existence. Ephesians tells us this, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).
Christ died on the cross because of His love for sinners. Paul spoke to this point in Romans 5:6-8, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
Christ died on the cross because His death was necessary in order for Him to become our faithful and able High Priest. Hebrews 2:17 says, “Wherefore in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” The worship of God is viewed in a new light in consideration of the sacrifice Jesus made which gives us the opportunity and ability to approach God in worship through our High Priest, Jesus Christ (John 4:23-24).
In summary, Christ died on the cross because He respected His Father, because shedding His blood was necessary for sin’s to be forgiven, because He wanted to bring His bride, the church, into existence, because of His love for sinners, and because He wanted to become our High Priest. Oh, what love! What matchless love!
THE SALVATION IN CHRIST
The subject of salvation is viewed by the voice of inspiration as something to be “obtained.” Paul wrote to the evangelist Timothy, “Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10). The Bible discusses many features of salvation that draw the reality and meaning of the subject clearly into view.
The God of heaven is the saving Lord. Peter proclaimed, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (II Pet. 3:9). God is referred to as the “God of our salvation” in Psalm 68:19. “Salvation is of the Lord,” declared Jonah from the whale’s belly (Jon. 3:2; Matt. 12:40). Known all too well is the answer “no where” to the refrain of the beautiful Christian hymn “Where Could I Go but to the Lord?”
God’s planning (Eph. 3:8-11), Christ’s performing (Heb. 10:7), and the Holy Spirit’s revealing (I Cor. 2:9-10) have brought about “the salvation in Christ.” The entire human family can know about it because it stands unassailably codified in the eternal word of the living Lord (Psa. 119:89; Matt. 24:35). James wrote, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (Jas. 1:21).
The gospel message is God’s power unto salvation, “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). The sinner cannot be redeemed without sufficient power exerted upon the sinful condition of the soul to save him or her from spiritual ruin and death. That saving power is the gospel of Christ. The entire gospel system presented in the New Testament stands upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Paul wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (I Cor. 15:1-4).
Another feature of “the salvation in Christ” is God’s amazing grace. Saving grace is made known by “the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). In his word he said, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us . . . For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:4, 8-9). Four kinds of works are mentioned in the New Testament. One, works of self-aggrandizement, “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:5-7). Two, works legitimate under the Mosaic system, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). Three, works of human merit, which are those works being considered in the passages initially presented from Ephesians 2:4-9. And, four, works of faith, “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?” (Jas. 2:18-20). The recipient of “the salvation in Christ” must be “rich in good works” in order to be saved by grace (I Tim. 6:18).
“The church doesn’t save you” is a statement often made today. Usually those uttering it mean that it makes no difference concerning the church in which one has membership or the church is not crucial or vital to “the salvation in Christ.” None of the features mentioned in this study unconditionally save. Obedience to God is mandatory. The writer of Hebrews said, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Heb. 5:8-9). The truth is that no one is saved outside of the church of Christ because the church is “in Christ,” “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:4-5). The one body is “in Christ” and the one body is the church of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23; Rom. 16:16). Paul wrote, “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body” (Eph. 5:23). All the saved are added to the church by the Lord (Acts 2:47). The church is an integral feature in “the salvation in Christ.”
ARE YOU “IN CHRIST”?
The vital importance of being “in Christ” is seen in the many New Testament references to it. 77 times the New Testament mentions the phrase “in Christ.” Let’s explore several of these occurrences and see what may be gleaned from the pursuit.
The Faith Is “In Christ”
“And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ” (Acts 24:24).
Redemption Is “In Christ”
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).
Life Is “In Christ”
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).
Love Of God Is “In Christ”
“Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 8:39).
The Truth Is “In Christ”
“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 9:1).
“Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity” (I Tim. 2:7).
The One Body Is “In Christ”
“So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another” (Rom. 12:5).
Sanctification Is “In Christ”
“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours” (I Cor. 1:2).
Wisdom Is “In Christ”
“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised” (I Cor. 4:10).
Hope Is “In Christ”
“If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable” (I Cor. 15:19).
Triumph Is “In Christ”
“Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place” (II Cor. 2:14).
Simplicity Is “In Christ”
“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:3).
Liberty Is “In Christ”
“And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage” (Gal. 2:4).
Unity Is “In Christ”
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).
The Faithful Are “In Christ”
“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 1:1).
All Spiritual Blessings Are “In Christ”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Eph. 1:3).
All Things Are “In Christ”
“That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him” (Eph. 1:10).
Created “In Christ”
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).
His Promise Is “In Christ”
“That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel” (Eph. 3:6).
His Eternal Purpose Is “In Christ”
“According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:8).
The Saints Are “In Christ”
“Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons” (Phil. 1:1).
“Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you” (Phil. 4:21).
Consolation Is “In Christ”
“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies” (Phil. 2:1).
Rejoicing Is “In Christ”
“For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3).
The Prize Is “In Christ”
“I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
Faith And Love Are “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Grace Is “In Christ”
“And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:14).
Salvation Is “In Christ”
“Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory” (II Tim. 2:10).
Are You “In Christ”?
How Do You Get Into Christ?
“For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal. 3:26-27).
“Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?” (Rom. 6:3).
". . and upon this rock I will build my church . ." -- Matthew 16:18.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.