THE BIBLE DOCTRINE OF
A definition of terms is first in order. By the Bible, I
mean the Word of God the thirty-nine books of the Old
Testament and the twenty-seven of the New Testament. This Book is
our all-authoritative and all-sufficient guide in matters of the
spirit. Doctrine means teaching or instruction. Imputed means to
count, reckon, calculate, evaluate or consider (Gary
Workman). Righteousness is right standing before God, proper
acceptance by him, justification, conformity to Gods
standard or right-doing. God declares us righteous, justified or
acceptable to him when we do his will. I propose that we look at
this subject both negatively and positively, both by noting some
ruinous doctrines that have been taught and by setting forth the
true Bible doctrine of imputed or reckoned righteousness.
THE SUBJECT VIEWED NEGATIVELY
Numerous religious leaders have gone wild with this word
imputed. (1) They want to impute Adams sin to all of
us and thus we have original or Adamic sin. This is back of the
Calvinistic concept that every person is born a sinner, actually
conceived in sin. Sin thus becomes an inherited thing.
Anothers sins are not imputed to us. No human being has ever
been guilty of Adams and Eves sins in Eden except Adam
and Eve. (2) They want to impute all our sins to Christ and thus
make him the greatest murderer, liar, adulterer, drunkard,
robber, etc., the world has ever known. It is true that Christ
became our great sin-bearer and that the God of heaven laid on
him the sins and iniquities of us all. But he was still the
INNOCENT Lamb of God becoming an atonement or sacrifice for our
sins. (3) Some think they can impute the righteousness of a
saintly person to themselves. They think of certain giants in the
faith who have lived very exemplary lives and thus have built up
a reserve of righteousness or good works beyond what they needed.
These have been transferred to a Bank of Good Works and those
deficient can borrow from someones surplus or
superabundance. (4) Many have been led to believe that
Christs own personal righteousness is transferred to us.
They think they are just as good as he is and if this doctrine is
so, they would be.
A REFUTATION OF THE FOREGOING
Adamic or original sin will not fit a single one of the
following definitions of sin, such as: the thought of foolishness
is sin (Prov. 24:9), whatever is not of faith is sin (Rom.
14:23), a failure to do what we ought is sin (James 4:17), sin as
being transgression or lawlessness (1 John 3:4) and that all
unrighteousness is sin (1 John 5:17). Ezekiel 18:20 refutes such
by affirming that the soul that sinneth, it shall
die. Sons do not bear iniquities of fathers and vice
versa. Fathers are not righteous because sons are and vice versa.
Judgment passages uniformly teach that we shall give account of
OUR works not anothers.
THE TRUTH POSITIVELY DECLARED
Jesus did bear our sins when he went to Calvary and by
his stripes we are healed (1 Peter 2:24). The Lord has laid on
him the iniquity of all of us (Isa. 53:6). Isaiah 53:5 states,
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised
for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed. Yet it was still the
case of the just suffering for the unjust (1 Peter 3:18). He died
for murderers but did not become a murderer personally; he died
for adulterers but did not become a moral misfit personally; he
died for drunkards but did not become a drunkard personally; he
died for the violent but did not become violent personally; he
died for the dishonest but did not become dishonest personally.
It is a monumental mistake to impute the guilt of our sins to
Jesus and thus make the Immaculate Son of God into the greatest
sinner of all times. Brethren who just glibly say that our sins
were imputed to Christ and stop there without further elaboration
need to be careful lest some uninformed reader or auditor
conclude that Christ really did become the greatest sinner of all
The righteousness of other people is not imputed to us.
I am not a child of God simply because someone else is; I am not
sober, righteous and godly because somebody else is. I am not on
my way to heaven simply because somebody else is. There is no
coattail righteousness taught in the Bible. In the realm of
politics a man might sweep into a lesser office by catching hold
of the coattail of a much more popular politician. But no one is
going to heaven by hanging on to the righteousness of someone
else. Transferred or borrowed righteousness is not taught in Holy
Writ. The foolish virgins in Matthew 25 thought they could borrow
righteousness, preparation and readiness from the wise five in
that famed, familiar parable. They requested of the wise five
what could not be transferred or transmitted righteousness
and readiness to meet the Lord in peace!
It is also an egregious error, yet one widely held,
that Deity transfers to us the personal righteousness of God the
Father or the personal righteousness of Jesus Christ. Were that
the case, then we would be as sinlessly perfect as they. Bogard,
the Baptist, once laid claim to being as perfect in his soul as
was God himself. The consequence of this is that one would never
fear falling for absolute perfection does not fall as long as
absolute perfection is possessed. The step is very short between
an acceptance of this personal righteousness of God or Christ
imputed to one and his colossal claim of once-saved-always-saved.
The two go together like the proverbial horse and carriage.
Moses wrote of Abraham in Genesis 15:6, And he
believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for
righteousness. Both Paul and James quote this passage in
the New Testament (Rom. 4:3; James 2:23). Abraham was an obedient
believer. God reckoned, imputed or put down to his account such.
Abraham was not accounted righteous when he was disobedient and
neither are we. He was not accounted faithful when he was
unfaithful and neither are we. He was not imputed as a follower
of the Lord when he was not a follower and neither are we. He was
not accounted a lover of God while he was a hater of God, if such
he ever was, and neither are we. God put down to his account his
faith when he had that faith and counted him a person of
There are only two ways a person might be justified or
counted righteous. I know of no third alternative. (1) If a
person never sinned and always maintained absolutely perfect
obedience, he would be counted as righteous or justified simply
upon the basis that he had never violated a single statute of the
Lords will. Were this ever the case, which it is not due to
mans utter failure to keep Gods law with absolute
perfection, then man might well glory and find plenty of occasion
to boast in Jehovahs presence that he had earned or merited
his heavenly salvation. His justification then would be a matter
of debt not of grace or favor. (2) The second way is for
God to declare man justified by grace (Gods part) through
faith (mans part). Paul in Romans shows that man cannot be
righteous or justified by his own efforts. He proves conclusively
in Romans 1-3 that both Gentile and Jew have sinned, have sinned
grievously and thus have come short of Jehovahs glory. That
God, through the Gospel of Christ, is willing to impute or reckon
righteousness (justification) to the obedient is set forth
profoundly throughout Romans. In fundamental fact it is the
burden of the entire New Testament. It underlies the whole scope
of the Scheme of Human Redemption.
Let us note how Paul used the case of Abraham to
further his argument for justification by Gods grace and
mans obedient faith. Abraham was the illustrious founder of
the Hebrew people, the Israelite nation. Was Abraham saved or
made righteous by a sinlessly perfect life or by Gods grace
through his obedient faith? Not the former, Paul is quick to
avow. Had Abraham been made righteous or had been justified by a
life of absolute perfection, then his justification would have
been a matter of pure debt; God would have owed it to him. Paul
denies that this is how justification or righteousness came to
the illustrious founder of their great nation. Paul quotes
Genesis 15:6. Abraham believed what God told him. His faith was
then reckoned (accounted or set down to his account) to him for
righteousness. Abraham did not have this reckoned to him because
of Abels faith, Enochs faith or Noahs faith, all
of whom preceded him in faiths great list of worthies. It
was due to HIS faith. There is NO Biblical authorization at all
to this foolish notion that anothers personal faith or
individual righteousness is imputed to us (set down to our
account). What was reckoned to Abraham was his faith because he
possessed it and had for years when Genesis 15:6 was stated of
Righteousness is not something transferred to us. We do
not inherit it; we do not borrow it from those we think have a
superabundance of it. Peter told the first Gentiles to be
converted under Gods glorious Gospel that acceptance to God
comes from fearing (an awesome, reverential respect) God and
working righteousness (Acts 10:35). The household of Cornelius
experienced a declaration of their righteousness by God when they
heard and heeded the glorious Gospel Peter preached to them. That
is when God imputed or reckoned righteousness (justification) to
Gods righteousness (not his personal attribute of
this precious possession but his plan to make or declare men
righteous) is revealed in the Gospel from faith to
faith (Rom. 1:16,17). It is a system of faith and leads to
faith by its ardent adherents. The Romans became righteous before
God when they heard (10:17), believed (10:10), repented (2:4),
confessed (10:9,10) and were immersed in water into Christ and
into the blessed, beautiful benefits of his blood (6:3,4).
The Corinthians had become righteous when they came
into Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 1:30). Recall that they had heard,
believed and were baptized (Acts 18:8). This is when God imputed
righteousness to them or declared them justified. They had become
a washed, a sanctified and a justified people (1 Cor. 6:11). This
is how they became righteous.
John the apostle wrote, If ye know that he is
righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is
born of him...Little children, let no man deceive you: he that
doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is
righteous (1 John 2:29; 3:7). These were Johns
little children. To God they were his children. He had imputed
righteousness or declared them justified when they obeyed Christ.
They remained in a righteous, justified or saved state as long as
they did the Fathers will.
God imputes righteous when we obey the Gospel. That is when
we are declared justified. Faithful conformity to his will for
our lives will keep us righteous, justified, saved.
Robert R. Taylor, Jr.
Firm Foundation, January 26, 1988
PO Box 464, Ripley, TN 38063
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BARREN NOR UNFRUITFUL
IN THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD #2
Garland M. Robinson
I refer you to last months issue to read the first
installment of this article. We are speaking of Christian graces
that every Christian is to incorporate into their lives.
Knowledge is correct insight, understanding, true wisdom by
which our faith in increased.
It has always been the case that we are to grow in the
grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
(2 Peter 3:18). God desires that we know and
understand the will of the Lord (Eph. 5:17). In
understanding, we are to be men, not children (1 Cor.
14:20). Grace and peace is multiplied through knowledge (2
Peter 1:2). Paul commended the church at Rome for being
...full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able
also to admonish one another (Rom. 15:14). We are to be
filled with the knowledge of His Will (Col. 1:9). Without the
knowledge of Gods Will, we cannot see what our work is, for
it is only defined by the Lords instruction. Therefore, Paul
wrote, Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of
truth (2 Tim. 2:15).
Souls are condemned for not having the knowledge they
should. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of
God, but not according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2). We must
make sure we know the truth and then practice it in our lives.
It is by the truth, the Word of God, that we will be
judged. Jesus said, He that rejecteth me, and receiveth
not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I
have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day
(John 12:48). In Revelation 20:12 John wrote concerning judgment,
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God;
and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is
the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things
which were written in the books, according to their
Temperance is self-control, self-discipline, the ability to
restrain ourselves. It is to have the mastery over our passions
and desires. We do not have the excuse to run wild and blame it
on the excitement of the moment. We are to be rational,
deliberate, reasonable, balanced, clearheaded.
There is no law prohibiting temperance (Gal. 5:23). It
is good and appropriate. It is to be desired, cultivated and
developed in our lives. Self control enables us to apply the
knowledge we have of Gods Word.
Paul reasoned with Felix of righteousness,
temperance, and judgment to come (Acts 24:15). Felix,
considering the sobering words of Paul, trembled, and
answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient
season, I will call for thee. He was unwilling to exercise
restraint in his life. He would not say no to his
passions and lusts. He was consumed by the good life
(as men call it) and would not let it go. At least for a moment
he contemplated the consequences of his actions and the impending
eternal torment he would suffer, but he resisted the power of the
Gospel and chose to continue his life as it was. Nothing more is
said in the Scriptures if he ever found a more convenient season.
We are left to believe he did not. Oh, what he would give
now in exchange for his soul (cf. Matt. 16:26)!
Patience is cheerful (hopeful) endurance, constancy, bearing
up under trials, longsuffering. It provides the consistency to
help us exercise temperance (self-control).
Patience is a characteristic of those who love the
Lord. Romans 2:7 says, To them who by patient continuance
in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal
life. As children of God, we are to be patient (2 Tim.
2:24; James 5:8). We are to be patient in facing tribulation
(Rom. 12:12). We are to be patient toward all men (1 Thess.
5:14). We are to be patient in waiting for Christ (2 Thess. 3:5;
Everyone needs patience. Dont you need some? Will
you hold up your hand and say I have plenty, I have patience
to spare. I dont expect to see any hands.
Godliness is true piety, holiness. It is God likeness, godly
character out of devotion to God. Every day that passes affirms
the fact that we are to grow closer in likeness to our Lord. Our
life in the Lord is to be quiet and peaceable in all
godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:2). We are to exercise
ourselves unto godliness because godliness is profitable
unto all things (1 Tim. 4:7-8). The teaching and doctrine of
the Lord is according to godliness (1 Tim. 6:3). We are to follow
after godliness (1 Tim. 6:11) because Titus 1:1 says that
acknowledging the truth is godliness.
Some suppose that gaining wealth and prosperity in this
world is godliness, but they are sadly mistaken according to 1
Timothy 6:5. Faithful Christians are to have nothing to do with
those who so believe and teach. We must come to believe and know
with all surety that godliness with contentment is great
gain (1 Tim. 6:6).
Some have only a form of godliness and are hypocrites
(2 Tim. 3:5). Knowing that the world will one day pass away
prompts us to live soberly, righteously and godly in this present
world (Titus 2:12). Hell to shun and heaven to gain are great
incentives to live a holy life in all godliness (2 Peter 3:11).
Are you seeking to do such?
Brotherly kindness is fraternal affection, love of and
toward brethren. First Thessalonians 4:9 says, But as
touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye
yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
Nonetheless, were told to Be kindly affectioned one to
another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one
another (Rom. 12:10). That means I had rather see you
commended, recognized or praised rather than me. As we measure
things, I may have done something greater than you and worthy of
the praise, but because of brotherly love and kindness, it
pleases me that you receive the praise while my deeds go
unrecognized. Brotherly love must continue (Heb. 13:1).
Can you imagine what a far greater world it would be if
its citizens had a heaping helping measure of brotherly kindness?
It starts with us. Have you already started? Are you willing to
Charity is sincere and genuine interest in the welfare of
others. It is active goodwill toward those in need. The English
word love is often referred to today in place of the
word charity. However, I like the word
charity best because it defines more closely the good
will, interest and promotion of others. When we extend charity,
we do so based on our own genuine desire to work ūgood
toward others. Its certainly true that love prompts
us to do that, but charity expresses more fully the motive
behind the good will.
Some proud individuals have been heard to say, I
dont want your charity. They recognize the hand
out from those who are extending charity, but they are so
proud they dont want it. Christians help others and do good
to others because of their pure heart of charity. When we find
ourselves on the receiving end of charity, we ought to appreciate
it and be thankful for the kindness and love shown to us. My
counsel and advice is to accept the charity that is offered to us
because we could very well be denying the giver a blessing if we
do not. The Lords people are always interested in being
good, doing good, giving good and receiving good. Can you imagine
what a world it would be if everyone lived this way?
First Corinthians 14:1 tells us to follow after
charity (cf. 2 Tim. 2:22). We are to do all that we do in
charity (1 Cor. 16:14). Colossians 3:14 says, And
above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of
perfectness. First Timothy 1:5 says, Now the end of the
commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good
conscience, and of faith unfeigned. We are to be an example
in charity (1 Tim. 4:12). And above all things have fervent
charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude
of sins (1 Peter 4:8).
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PROGRESSIVE SIN AND ITS
Sin is the transgression of Gods law (1 John 3:4). A
good illustration of this fact is seen in the Old Testament. God
tells Moses that ...the iniquity of the Amorite is not
yet full (Gen. 15:16). The Hebrew word for
iniquity means perversity. A synonym for perversity is
wickedness. The sinfulness (wickedness) of the Amorites had not
(when God spoke to Abram) reached its fullness. The name
Amorite, according to Bible scholars, is used
representatively of all of the (then) inhabitants of the land of
Since the iniquity of the various tribes that
inhabited the land of Canaan had not yet reached its fullness, we
have here an illustration of the progressive nature of sin. As
with nations, so it is with the individual. No person is
instantly as perverse as he may become. Man is not born a sinner,
but he becomes a sinner by transgressing Gods law and
allowing sin to have its progressive influence in his life.
But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse,
deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Tim. 3:13).
Eventually, there comes a day of accounting for
ones life (2 Cor. 5:10). In the case of the tribes that
inhabited the land of Canaan, most of them were defeated when
Joshua and his army entered the land and began the conquest (see
the book of Joshua). God intended for Israel to defeat and drive
out these wicked people, but Israel only partially obeyed the
Lord. Later, this proved to be a thorn in the side of
the Israelites, for these heathen nations (tribes) that remained
in the land led them into idolatry, which in turn caused the
northern kingdom (Israel) to go into Assyrian captivity in 722
B.C. and the southern kingdom (Judah) followed about 135 years
later, going into the Babylonian captivity. No sin goes
unpunished. In the case of the Amorites, we see that there comes
a time when the stench of sinfulness in a nation reaches a point
when God will no longer tolerate that nations existence.
Brethren, an entire Old Testament book (Daniel) is
devoted to the theme that our God rules in the kingdoms of
men. Since God rules over all nations, how long will he
allow our nation to exist? Of course, no one knows the exact
answer, but the Scriptures warn us about the progressive nature
of sin and its consequences. And, this was written for our
learning (cf. Rom. 15:4). God has richly blessed our nation, but
his blessings will not continue indefinitely if we remain in a
downward slide into gross immorality. The taking of innocent
lives (abortion) and the recognition of same-sex
(homosexual and lesbian) marriages are two examples of our
progressing further and further into wickedness.
Since God is no respecter of persons (or nations), and
when Americas iniquity is full, he will surely hold us
accountable. Think about it.
1336 Spring Lake Rd.
Fruitland Park, FL 34731
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A Tribute To My Father
On Saturday, April 17, 2010, my father Richard Carlson
passed from this earthly life unexpectedly. In this brief article
I would like to discuss a few aspects and things from his life.
A GOSPEL PREACHER
Of all the things my father did in this life, he was first
and foremost one who faithfully proclaimed the message of Jesus
crucified (1 Cor. 1:23). He did so in a simplistic manner so that
all who heard could understand.
He was one who was an unwavering supporter of all other
men who devoted their lives to the Gospel and was always ready to
offer an encouraging word to anyone who was in need of such. You
might think of him as a Barnabas (Acts 4:36). He was very
supportive of my decision, almost two years ago, to enroll as a
full time student at the Tri-Cities School of Preaching and
Christian Development (near Elizabethton, TN). He was always
ready and willing to assist me in my studies.
Dad was a faithful husband. He and my mother were married
for twenty-six years. From as early back in my child-hood as I
can remember was the devotion he had for mom, truly following the
words of Paul in Ephesians 5:25, Husbands, love your
wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for
it. By his example and preaching, he no doubt taught
others how a husband and wife are to treat one another.
He was a father, not just any type of father, but rather one
who truly brought me and my sister up in the nurture and
admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). He trained us up in
the way we should go (Prov. 22:6). Furthermore, he taught us
Gods word (Deut. 6:6-9), instilling in both of us a proper
understanding and respect for the Scriptures. It is because of
this and his example, that my sister and I are both members of
the Lords church.
Dad set the right example for us in the companions that he
chose (1 Cor. 15:34). Some of my earliest memories include being
in the company of several different wonderful Gospel preachers of
whom I have had the honor, over the last several years, to get
the opportunity to know and have likewise influenced me by their
examples of service to God.
While much more could be written about my father this will
be sufficient. Dad was one who was devoted to God, family and
friends. Even though he is no longer with us here, he will live
on by his example and life. He, like Abel is dead but still
speaks (Heb. 11:4) and like Enoch who walked with God (Gen.
1697 Highway 91
Elizabethton, TN 37643
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THE WORK OF ELDERS #1
Ben F. Vick, Jr.
Appointing men to serve who are not qualified
is wrong, and the church that appoints them
is heading for trouble. Each one of the
qualifications listed is necessary for each
man to have in order to serve.
Paul and Barnabas, on their first missionary journey
together, ordained elders in every city (Acts 14:23). Thus, in
each congregation it is the Lords will that a plurality of
men, having met the scriptural qualifications found in 1 Timothy
3 and Titus 1, be appointed to serve as overseers of the flock.
Paul said that if any man desired the office of a bishop he
desired a good work (1 Tim. 3:1). Elders are servants, not mere
figureheads to be listed on the church letterhead. The fact that
men were ordained or appointed to serve as elders indicates that
there was a work for them to do. What is the job description
When Paul met with the elders of Ephesus at Miletus,
among other things he told them, Take heed therefore unto
yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost
hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath
purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28). This one
inspired statement lays out the job description for elders
(overseers) of the flock. Elders are first to take heed to
themselves. This is an on-going job. What is true of elders, is
also true of all members. One cannot help another unless his own
life is right. If he fails to do this, his influence for others
will be nil. The devil works as hard to get elders and preachers
as any other member of the church. The devil does not have to
worry about those he already has. Thus, elders must be vigilant
regarding their own lives. Peter admonished: Be sober, be
vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion,
walketh about, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
Elders are to take heed to all the flock. The
words take heed translate a Greek word which means
to be in a continuous state of readiness to learn of any
future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately; to
pay attention to, to keep on the lookout for, to be alert for, to
be on ones guard against (Louw and Nida). Jacob
was a steward for Laban twenty years. Jacob said, Thus I
was; in the day the drought consumed me, and the frost by night;
and my sleep departed from mine eyes (Gen. 31:40).
Shepherds are on call 24-7. They do not punch a clock. Their work
is certainly not limited to making decisions. Like good
shepherds, they are to be always on guard.
The Holy Spirit makes them overseers by their meeting
the qualifications given in the New Testament. This is not done
in any miraculous way. Men read the qualifications found in 1
Timothy 3 and Titus 1 and strive to conform their lives to them.
It takes a long time to grow an elder. It may take a generation
or two to do so. Appointing men to serve who are not qualified is
wrong, and the church that appoints them is heading for trouble.
Each one of the qualifications listed is necessary for each man
to have in order to serve.
Elders are overseers. The Greek word for
overseers is from episkopos which means an inspector,
overseer; a watcher, guardian, I Peter 2:25; in N.T. an
ecclesiastical overseer.... (Bagster, p.160). Thayer says
the word means an overseer, a man charged with the duty of
seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any
curator, guardian, or superintendent. Elders are
superintendents. They are charged with the duty of seeing
that things to be done by others are done rightly. A young
man assigned to lead singing was dilly-dallying around prior to
worship services. It was an hundred waiting on one. An elder told
him that it was time to start. The young brother rebuked the
elder, accusing him of being crass in suggesting that
an elder had the right to tell him to start on time. Such
demonstrates a lack of respect for the eldership and is a failure
to understand a part of the elders role. Eventually this
young brother left the congregation, began worshiping with and
troubling another congregation until he saw that he could not
rule it. He left that congregation and started another
congregation, drawing disciples after him. Wrong attitudes toward
those in authority will lead to that.
Brother Jack Lewis teaches that elders have no
authority in the local congregation, except by example. But if a
man has authority in his home, then elders have authority in the
church (1 Tim. 3:4-5). They are not to abuse their authority (1
Peter 5:1-3), but the abuse of authority does not mean they do
not have any authority. Can anyone imagine a school
superintendent not having any authority? How can one be charged
with a duty, yet have no power or authority to execute the duty?
Perhaps the view that elders have no authority in the local
congregation has influenced some men to allow anything to be
taught or practiced in the church. Is it any wonder that so many
churches are departing from the truth?
Elders are to feed the flock of God. Peter said,
The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an
elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a
partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of
God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by
constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready
mind; Neither as being lords over Gods heritage, but being
ensamples to the flock (1 Peter 5:1-3). The American
Standard Version of 1901 says, Tend the flock of God.
The New King James Version says, Shepherd the flock of
God. If elders shepherd or tend the flock,
they will lead the flock in the right way. A shepherd will lead
his flock, but he does not drive them (Psa. 23). Likewise, elders
are to lead Gods flock as the New Testament teaches. Elders
lead by example poor examples are poor leaders. It is for
this reason that Paul said that elders must have a good report
from them who are outside the body of Christ (1 Tim. 3:7). Those
who have a bad reputation in the world, if they serve as elders,
will fall into reproach; that is, they will fall into disapproval
and are subject to just criticism. They also become a snare of
the devil. The devil can use them to catch others. Since a little
leaven leavens the whole lump, if an elder is living an immoral
life, it may cause others to fall into the same trap. Sins can be
forgiven, but a reputation lost may never be regained.
A shepherd will tend the flock. This indicates
he will be observant of the flock. What are the needs of each
individual? Some may have a need for special attention. The needs
may be spiritual; the needs may be physical; or they may be both.
A good shepherd knows his sheep (John 10:14). Thus, elders must
know the flock. In my minds eye I see a shepherd overseeing
his flock, and when he sees a small weak lamb that needs to be
carried over rough terrain, he picks it up and carries it until
the pathway is smooth. He tries to strengthen it. He may also see
an old cantankerous goat that needs a little prodding. He must be
able to distinguish between the two. Sometimes that comes only by
experience. Elders or shepherds must be ready and willing to do
Shepherds are to try and bring back sheep that have
gone astray. Jesus said, How think ye? if a man have
an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not
leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and
seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it,
verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of
the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the
will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little
ones should perish (Matt. 18:12-14). A young preacher
and his wife began working with a congregation that had
overseers. As the preacher and his wife were getting to know the
members, it was discovered that a good sister was in the nursing
home dying of cancer, while her husband, also a member of the
church, was committing adultery with a woman who was living with
him. The elders had not been to see him about this matter. It
fell the lot of the young preacher and his wife to go and talk
with this man about his sin.
Elders are to watch the souls under their care. This
means they are duty bound to try to restore the wayward (Heb.
13:17; Gal. 6:1).
4915 Shelbyville Rd.
Indianapolis, IN 46237
Table of Contents
FIVE THINGS THE GOSPEL OF
THE CHRIST CANNOT DO
Roger D. Campbell
The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Mans
true hope of going to heaven through Jesus is revealed in the
Gospel. Yet, there are some things the Gospel cannot do.
1) The Gospel cannot save a person that is determined
to live in rebellion against God. The Gospel has the power to
make believers and save obedient believers (Rom. 1:16,17), but it
cannot save those who will not repent of their past sins and
submit to Gods word.
2) The Gospel cannot help a troubled marriage as long
as both spouses refuse to hear and heed what the Gospel says. The
New Testament has specific, helpful instructions for every wife
and every husband (Eph. 5:22-33). When such teaching is carried
out properly, marriages will not only survive, they will bloom.
But, as long as neither spouse is willing to do things Gods
way, the Gospel cannot help their situation.
3) The Gospel cannot do the work of the church. The
church must go and preach the Gospel because the Gospel does not
preach itself (Mark 16:15). The Gospel tells us to help the
needy, but the Gospel itself cannot feed the needy. Gods
Gospel can motivate Christians to be compassionate, but His
children must step up and share their bounty. The Gospel contains
complete instructions that can strengthen and equip the church,
but the Gospel itself cannot take what Christians have learned
and teach it to others so that they, too, can teach. The task of
training faithful workers belongs to saints (2 Tim. 2:2).
4) The Gospel cannot serve as a substitute for prayer.
The same Savior that tells us to preach the Gospel also tells us
to pray (Luke 18:1). The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to write that
the Gospel is Gods power unto salvation (Rom. 1:16), but He
also led that same apostle to pray for opportunities to preach
the Gospel (Col. 4:2,3). We live the Gospel, teach the Gospel,
and defend the Gospel, but we still bring our petitions and
thanksgiving before our heavenly Father in prayer (Phil. 4:6,7).
The Gospel is great, but it cannot take away the need to pray.
5) The Gospel cannot take the place of faith. We
have the Gospel. What else could we need? It is true that
faith comes by hearing Gods word (Rom. 10:17). And, it is
equally true that the word of God can build us up and give us an
inheritance among the sanctified (Acts 20:32). However, we must
not be deceived into thinking, Hey, we have the Gospel, so
why do I need to have faith? Faith is mans proper
response to the Gospel message. The faith which pleases God is
the faith that acts by love (Gal. 5:6). There is no benefit or
consolation in having several copies of the Bible in our house if
we are not going to put its teaching to use in our lives. It is
still true that without faith it is impossible to
please God (Heb. 11:6) and the just shall live by
faith (Heb. 10:38).
I am so thankful that precious people taught me the
Gospel. I thank God for the power of the Gospel to change
peoples lives and peoples eternal destiny. But, there
are some things that even the Gospel of the Lord Jesus cannot do.
120 Will Lewis Dr. SE
Cleveland, TN 37323
Table of Contents
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WHERE ARE THE PROTESTERS?
There is considerable attention focused upon the protestors
to nuclear energy by the news media. Personally, I believe most
of their fears are unfounded. I have a few questions every
American would do well to consider on this subject: What
If 40-50 people were killed every day by a malfunctioning
nuclear plant? What If that malfunctioning plant seriously
injured 1,500 others every day? What If the presence of
nuclear plants drove 8-20 people to commit suicide every day?
What If nuclear energy caused 200 broken homes every day?
What If it caused 250 people to suffer permanent brain
damage every day, besides the other injuries already described?
What If it caused 125 parents to abuse their children or
to assault other loved ones every day? What If it caused
5-6 billion dollars direct damage and inestimable indirect damage
every year? Now, if you will just double every figure I have
quoted, you will have a partial picture of the effects of
beverage alcohol! Where are the protestors? (Author
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