A DESIRE FOR HEAVEN
Wayne Coats (1926-2013)
It is the truth that no normal person can live in heaven without
having a strong desire to enter therein. It is said of the
ancient Hebrews that, Now they desire a better
country... (Heb. 11:16). The country in which we live is
indeed a sorry place from several viewpoints. The law of Jehovah is
spurned, rejected, denied and often laughed at. The morals of the
country are scarcely above that of rats and rabbits. Political
chicanery and dishonesty runs rampant. Faithful children of God
often despair and long for better days. It matters not how wicked
this old world gets, the Christian must continue to live and walk
by faith (2 Cor. 5:7).
We can have many desires but none can equal the
desire for a better country. We can follow the example of these
ancient Hebrews who desired a better country. Those faithful
people were busy seeking a better country (Heb. 11:14). Almighty
God does not force His abode on careless people.
Hebrews chapter 11 presents a portrait of those who offered
unto God a more excellent sacrifice. Consider the great effort
which the people expended. It was by faith that the elders
obtained a good report (Heb. 11:2). God rewards those who,
diligently seek him (v.6). Abraham desired the
city which had foundations whose builder and maker is God (v.10).
The walls of Jericho fell down after they were compassed about
seven days (v.30).
God hath prepared for His people a city which should be
desired above all else. The city of God is a heavenly place.
It is the habitation of God. The LORD looketh from
heaven; he beholdeth all the sons of men. From the place of his
habitation he looketh upon all the inhabitants of the earth
(Psa. 33:13-14). God has provided some better thing for us
(Heb. 11:40). Why will people refuse to live and walk by faith,
rejecting the better things of God?
The provision of God holds in store a better
resurrection (Heb. 11:35). Such will be a better place. There will
be no pain nor sickness in that better place. Can we not think what
it will be, and thus desire to live in heaven?
The peerless apostle not only wanted to be saved, but he
wanted others to reap the reward. He declared, ...my
hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that
they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal
of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of
Gods righteousness, and going about to establish their own
righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness
of God (Rom. 10:1-2).
The apostle wrote, For in this we groan, earnestly
desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from
heaven. If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.
For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not
for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality
might be swallowed up of life (2 Cor. 5:2-4). We sincerely
trust that each reader will earnestly desire to inherit life
eternal with the Savior. Think of the alternative.
The apostle worked and prayed that others might be saved. He
declared, And we desire that every one of you do shew
the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That
ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and
patience inherit the promises (Heb. 6:11-12).
In Philippians 1:21-23 Paul wrote, For to me to live
[is] Christ, and to die [is] gain. He spoke of ...having
a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far
better. This is what brother Wayne Coats knew to be true and
Our beloved brother and companion in Christ departed this
life for realms eternal on August 27, 2013. He was laid to rest on
Friday, August 30th, 2013, on what would have been his 87th
birthday Buddy Neal and James Boyd officiating. Interment was
at Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, Memorial Gardens. I was able to attend
and pay my respects to his wife Elaine and children Robert and
His obituary reads in part: COATS, Wayne, age 86 of Mt.
Juliet passed away August 27, 2013. Mr. Coats was a church of
Christ minister. He was an educator, an author and the former owner
of the Mt. Juliet Funeral Home and Mt. Juliet Memorial Gardens. He
was a beloved husband, father, grandfather, uncle and friend.
Preceded in death by parents,; sons, James D. Bud Coats
and William L. Bill Coats; and daughter, Jeannie Coats.
He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Elaine Wright Coats; son,
Robert Bob (Jean) Coats; daughter, Gail (Larry) Lane;
sister, Delma Frame; and grandchildren, Seth and Chance Coats.
Some months before his passing, brother Coats wrote the
article on the front page, A Desire For Heaven, and
sent it to me for publishing in Seek The Old Paths.
If its not the last article he wrote, its one of the
last. Its precious to me because it is hand-written on
notebook paper in his typical manner and style. Thats the way
he always wrote. I have several such pieces that Ive kept
through the years. He was a prolific writer. Countless articles,
manuscripts, booklets and tracts poured from his head and hand. He
began the Plumbline in August of 1995 an eight
page periodical that continued into its eleventh year (2005) when
he became unable to continue because of illness. I will be working
to include all issues on seektheoldpaths.com web page.
He was fearless as a servant of God, having a way with
words and was not afraid to use them in both defending and
advancing the Lords cause. He was as the apostle Paul who
spoke and wrote boldly (cf. Rom. 15:15; 2 Cor. 7:4; 10:1-2; 11:21;
1 Thess. 2:2). To the church at Philippi Paul wrote: But I
would ye should understand, brethren, that the things [which
happened] unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of
the gospel; So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the
palace, and in all other [places]; And many of the brethren in the
Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak
the word without fear (1:12-14). Writing to the church at
Ephesus, Paul exhorted the brethren to put on the whole armour of
God and to stand fast till the very end. He asked for their prayers
saying, ...that utterance may be given unto me, that I may
open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the
gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may
speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:19-20). Would
to God that all who claim to preach the Gospel of Christ would
speak boldly as brother Paul and brother Wayne did. I remember on
many many occasion how that brother Coats would ask the audience,
saying pray for me. We all need prayer.
From a humble beginning in Prentiss County, Mississippi in
1926, to reaching the highest academic achievements, he used his
talents to the glory of God and never flaunted them. His desire was
simply to preach and to teach the unsearchable riches of Christ.
His human frame was racked with pain and misery for many years,
suffering many afflictions and ailments before his death. He told
me years ago that many of his family, friends and neighbors had
died of various causes, but he was still plugging along. His
suffering was a testimony of the many before him who endured such
anguish, but through it all, he had a never ending desire to
go to heaven and help as many as he could to do the same. He has
now finally gone on to his reward. I know he would say it has
surely been worth it all.
Garland M. Robinson
Table of Contents
SPEAKING IN TONGUES #3
Garland M. Robinson
HOW LONG WOULD SPEAKING IN TONGUES LAST?
The church at Corinth was plagued with a number of problems (1
Cor. 1:10-11; 12:1). One matter of concern was regarding spiritual
gifts. Chapters 12-14 of First Corinthians were written to instruct
the brethren concerning their purpose, use and temporary nature.
Though miracles had their place in the early church, the point in
chapter 13 was to show a more excellent way (12:31).
There is something better than miracles. Something that will last,
something that will continue after miracles had achieved their
purpose and were gone (ceased). They were shown to be subordinate
Lets examine chapter 13. Though I speak with
the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become
as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have [the
gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge;
and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and
have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to
feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have
not charity, it profiteth me nothing (vs.1-3).
Tongues were not to be fussed over! The Corinthian church
ranked them first, God ranked them last when it came to charity!
Brethren were to excel in charity (brotherly love, affection, good
will, benevolence, seeking the best interest of others). If one did
not have charity in their heart, speaking in tongues or
the exercise of any other miraculous gift, was of no profit.
Beginning in verse eight, Paul defines how long they would
last. Charity (love) never faileth: but whether
there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues,
they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish
away. 9For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10But when
that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be
When that which is perfect is come,
then that which is in part shall be done
away. That which is in part would no longer be
necessary. Verse eight describes the part things as
prophesies, tongues, knowledge
(including all miraculous gifts, 12:7-10). These gifts were given
in parts, here a little, there a little. When the perfect
thing comes, the part things would fail,
cease, vanish (v.8). They would be done away.
When it is established what the perfect is (v.10),
we will then know when the spiritual gifts ceased. Many
say the word perfect refers to Jesus Christ at his second
coming. However, this is not possible, not only from the context,
but also from the word itself. The word perfect is neuter
gender. The perfect is a thing, not a person.
The verse says, when that which is perfect is come. Jesus
is not a that. He is masculine gender, not neuter gender!
The context of chapters 12-14 is dealing with the spiritual
gifts listed in 12:7-10. It speaks of their purpose and duration.
Their purpose was to guide and direct the infant church
during the absence of Gods written revelation (the New
Testament). Their duration would be only until Gods
written revelation had been completed. This is clearly explained in
other passages as well. The need for miraculous gifts would only
exist until that which is perfect is come
when the revelation of the New Testament had been
Notice Ephesians 4:1-16, but especially verses 11-13,
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some,
evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of
the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the
body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of
the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,
unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the
fulness of Christ. The unity of the faith
has come! Jude verse 3 says it (the word of God) was once and for
all time delivered. Christians everywhere are exhorted to
...earnestly contend for the faith which was once
delivered unto the saints. Read 1 Peter 1:3. We have
been given all things to pertain to life and godliness.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith is
explained by some to mean that all who believe in Jesus will one
day be united and that there will no longer be any division in
Christianity. But that is not at all what its saying. Its
not speaking of ones personal faith, its
speaking of the faith the system of faith
given by the Lord. It is the Gospel, the Word of God, the completed
will of the Lord, the New Testament, the 27 books of Matthew
through Revelation. The Lords new covenant (the faith) is that
which governs the church. It will not pass away (cf. Matt. 24:35).
Paul explains that the use of spiritual gifts (such as
speaking in tongues) is like things a child would use. On the other
hand, proponents for speaking in tongues today say they
are for the spiritually mature. They say it is evidence of one who
is filled with the Holy Ghost. But God says speaking
in tongues is that which is related to the immature, babies,
those who were yet children. Verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 13 says,
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I
understood as a child, I thought as a child: but
when I became a man, I put away childish things.
Paul compares the exercise of spiritual gifts to ones
childhood. Children need toys: rattles, dolls, trucks childish
things. The illustration is that when one becomes an adult,
childish things are put away. They are no longer needed. Adults do
not play with things as they did when they were children.
The same point is seen when scaffolding is used in the
construction of a building. It is necessary. It aids in the
building of a structure. However, its not an essential part of
the building and therefore not intended to be used once the
building is completed. Why would anyone want such a thing to
obstruct the view of a completed building? No one wants to see
that. Scaffolding is only temporary. It is taken out of the way
when the job is done. Its no longer needed. This is the point
of First Corinthians 13 in relation to speaking in
tongues and all the other spiritual gifts! They were only
temporary. They had fulfilled their purpose when the word was
delivered, confirmed and recorded. They were thus taken away
Those claiming to perform miracles are acting like babies!
Instead of being strong in faith, they are weak in faith. They
desire the artificial reinforcement of miracles to bolster their
lack of faith!
Paul explains that for the time being, miraculous gifts were
necessary because the revelation of the New Testament was not yet
complete. For now we see through a glass, darkly;
but then face to face: now I know in part; but
then shall I know even as also I am known (1 Cor.
13:13). During those years the Scriptures were being revealed and
written down, it was as one looking into a mirror and only able to
faintly (darkly) see the image. They were only seeing glimpses,
pieces, parts of it. So it was with the revelation of the New
Testament. The books were being given part by part piece by
piece. Paul gave some. Peter gave some. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John,
James and Jude all gave parts of the New Testament. But, when it
was completed, the perfect (thing) finished, they would see it
face to face, i.e., clearly, distinctly.
James 1:25 identifies that which is perfect as the
perfect law of liberty. But whoso looketh into
the perfect law of liberty, and continueth
therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work,
this man shall be blessed in his deed. The perfect
law of liberty is the complete New Testament.
The conclusion of chapter 13 puts the emphasis upon that
which abides (faith, hope, charity) and not that which is temporary
(miracles). That which remains (after the spiritual gifts have long
since ceased) is charity. And now abideth faith,
hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is
charity (v.13). The point of the chapter is that
spiritual gifts are temporary but charity is
permanent. If spiritual gifts were to last until Jesus
comes again, how could charity remain? There will be nothing left
on earth for anything to remain!
This is easily understood when one rightly divides the
word as 2 Timothy 2:15 sets forth. Study to shew
thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be
ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
To properly understand any scripture, one must handle
correctly the word of God. The Bible is in complete harmony
with itself. To learn the truth on any subject, one must gather all
the available evidence and then reason, using that evidence, to a
Gods word sets forth the truth of speaking in
tongues and leaves it VERY CLEAR concerning their
purpose and duration. They were only temporary and
ceased when the New Testament was completed.
Concerning the Greek word glossa (tongues), W. E.
There is no evidence of the continuance of this gift after
Apostolic times nor indeed in the later times of the Apostles
themselves; this provides confirmation of the fulfillment in this
way of I Cor. 13:8, that this gift would cease in the churches,
just as would prophecies and knowledge in the
sense of knowledge received by immediate supernatural power (cp.
14:6). The completion of the Holy Scriptures has provided the
churches with all that is necessary for individual and collective
guidance, instruction, and edification.1
One writer has rightly said,
Without fear of successful contradiction, we may conclude
that after the death of the last apostle and the death of the last
person upon whom an apostle had laid his hands, there has never
been another miracle performed, through the instrument of man, upon
this earth. With the gospel revelation completed, established, and
confirmed, its perpetual validity must be accepted without
additions or subtractions. When men claim to speak in tongues by
the power of the Holy Spirit, such is a denial of the power and
validity of the gospel! To pervert the gospel, or preach another
gospel, though claimed to be revealed from heaven, is to be
accursed of God. The inspired apostle concluded: But though
we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than
that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed
Speaking in tongues is not possible today because:
1) Holy Spirit baptism is no longer available (it was for
the apostles, John 14:26; Luke 24:49-52; Acts 2:1-4),
2) Laying on of the apostles hands is no longer
available (Acts 8:18, they are all dead),
3) The New Testament (that which is perfect) has been
completely revealed (Jude 3; 2 Peter 1:3),
4) The New Testament has been confirmed and written down (1
Cor. 13:8-10; Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:3-4).
1 W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary Of New
Testament Words, 1966, Vol. 4, p.143.
2 V. E. Howard, Speaking in Tongues,
35 Years ARE YOU LISTENING?, 1971, pp.479-480.
Table of Contents
WHY IS IT?
We must get back to having the proper attitude toward God
and His Word (Col. 3:17; Eccl. 12:13). That proper attitude must
manifest itself in practicing and proclaiming what MUST be
a priority in our life (Matt. 6:33; Col. 3:1-3). Only then will we
be properly preparing for the hereafter (Phil. 1:21; Matt. 7:21).
- We find time to read the newspaper, magazines, etc.,
but cant find the time to read, study and
meditate upon Gods Word? (1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim.
2:15; Psa. 1:1-3)
- When it comes to politics, we dont mind letting
others know where we stand politically, but then are
afraid and embarrassed to let others know we are
Christians, members of the church of Christ. (1 Peter
4:16; Rom. 16:16)
- We are so concerned about the physical things of this
world, and we neglect spiritual things? (Matt. 6:33;
Col. 3:1-3; 1 John 2:15-17)
- We are so concerned about whether or not animals are
being mistreated, but are not concerned when unborn
babies are being killed every day? (Rom. 12:9-10;
13:9-10; Gal. 5:19-21)
- We faithfully attend ball games, business related
meetings, social gatherings, club meetings, but are
not faithful in attending all the services of the
church, including Sunday and Wednesday evening? (Heb.
10:24-26; Acts 2:42)
- We as parents will make sure our children will be in
school every day possible, but then are not so
concerned about their attendance in Bible classes.
- We want to remove God and the Bible from our schools
and our society as a whole. Is there any wonder why
there is so much lawlessness, disrespect and
irreverence in our world today?
PO Box 1385
St. Peters, MO 63376
Table of Contents
THE TRUTH ABOUT SAFE SIN
Marvin L. Weir
According to the name I scribbled on the page, the two quotes
that follow are from the pen of Mike Jackson. He says: I like
coming up with oxymorons. These are expressions or statements which
are apparently self-contradictory but make a point nonetheless.
Some examples are: cruel kindness, heavy
lightness. And some on the lighter note include: clean
dirt, and tough love. As a rule, these words just do
not go together.
I shall add another one to the list, safe sin.
Please let me explain. These are good sins (theres
another one). Acceptable sins, sins that are laughed about! If put
to a vote, these would be removed from the list of sins altogether.
It is obvious that the world in which we live would like
nothing better than to vote certain sins out of the realm
of sinfulness! Our government evidently decided long ago that it
would become the expert on sin, and now it informs us about the
so-called social ills of society. The psychologists and
sociologists have influenced most folks more than the Bible, thus,
sin has now become a disorder, a disease, a fault of ones own
heredity, etc. Never mind that the inspired Word of God says that
sin is lawlessness (ASV) or transgression of the
law (KJV) (cf. 1 John 3:4)! It does not matter with most that
they must ignore the fact that the Bible declares, the
wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). And, since some one or
some thing can always be conveniently blamed for ones acts and
condition, it would be unthinkable to think the soul that
sinneth, it shall die (Ezek. 18:20). Since, according to
worldly wisdom on human behavior, changes must continually occur in
the way folks think and act, it would be a total surprise to learn
that the Bible states, For ever, O LORD, thy word is
settled in heaven (Psa. 119:89). In other words, sin has
always been just that, sin, and always will be! Nothing that man
can do or say will change this Biblical truth. At the great Day of
Judgment, every soul will be reminded that Christ compassionately
warned, 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).
The world has indeed done a number on most
peoples thinking. How many people do you know who simply smile
upon hearing a filthy joke? What about one eagerly listening to
another tell of their sinful encounter? How often do you hear of
someone referring to a persons sinful action as
cute? Or, one may exclaim, Its just the way
that boys/girls are today. Another boldly declares, We
are living in the 2000s, not the 30s or 40s. Someone else
says, society has changed, as if such an explanation
makes sin acceptable today. The wisdom of the world would have one
believe that the passage of time changes everything. Such is the
devils lie. There is no truth in what Satan says (cf. John
8:44). God never changes (Malachi 3:6), and His word/truth will
never pass away (Mark 13:31).
From the beginning of time, sin has been the problem of man
(Gen. 3:1-19, 22-24). It is sin that separates one from God. Isaiah
recorded, Behold, the LORDS hand is not shortened,
that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and
your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not
hear (59:1-2). Sin will not change, and neither will the
truth that sin separates one from God change! People who commit the
sins this world has deemed to be normal and
acceptable behavior, glamorous and exciting, will one day
learn that they who do such things shall not inherit the
kingdom of God (Gal. 5:21).
Listen carefully, no matter what one chooses to believe,
there is no such thing as safe sin! The high price of sin
is the devils best-kept secret! Sin is always costly, but the
devil will attempt to disguise the high price that one will pay for
sinful living. Yes, one can live in sin! The apostle Paul notes,
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth;
fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence,
and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things sake the
wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which
ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them
One will do well to never forget that Gods word is true
(John 17:17). Gods Word also abideth for ever
(1 Peter 1:25). Jesus Christ, the One who came to save the world
(Luke 19:10), will at His next coming judge the world (Rom. 2:16).
At that great day, every knee will bow and every tongue will
confess, Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father (Phil. 2:10-11).
Keep in mind there is no safe sin. All will one
day not be accountable to worldly wisdom, but they will
give account to him that is ready to judge the living and
the dead (1 Peter 4:5).
484 CR 44700
Blossom, TX 75416
Table of Contents
WHO IS JESUS?
This question is asked several times in the New Testament (Luke
7:49; 9:9; Mark 4:41; Matt. 21:10).
Jesus is: the Messiah (John 4:25-26); the bread of life
(John 6:35); the light of the world (John 8:12); the good shepherd
(John 10:14); the door of heaven (John 10:9); the way, the truth,
the life and none could come to God but by Him (John 14:6); the
true vine (John 15:1), the very Son of God (John 10:36).
The scriptures speak of Him as: the only savior (Luke 2:11;
Acts 4:12); the one mediator between God and man (I Tim. 2:5); our
only hope (I Tim. 1:1): our peace (Eph. 2:14); our life (Col. 3:4);
our High Priest (Heb. 2:17-18; 7:25; 9:24); the King of kings, Lord
of lords (I Tim. 6:15); Gods final spokesman to the world
(Heb. 1:1-2; Matt. 17:5; Acts 3:22); the judge of all (Acts 10:42;
17:30-31); the one who has all authority (Matt. 28:18-20; John
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
Table of Contents
A QUICK, SIMPLE ACT WITH PROFOUND MEANING
Victor M. Eskew
Faithful Christians and churches of Christ emphasize water
baptism in the plan of salvation because the Bible puts it
within that framework.
On the day of Pentecost, thousands of people were asking
what they needed to do to be saved (Acts 2:37; cf. Acts 8:36-37).
Peters answer was simple and straightforward.
...Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and
ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:38).
It was the first time the question had been asked on this side of
Calvary. Those who believed were told to repent and be
baptized for the remission of sins.
The Ethiopian eunuch had been told something that caused him
to desire baptism the moment he saw water (Acts 8:36). To be so
urgent, he must have been told the same thing those on Pentecost
When Ananias came to Saul in the city of Damascus, he found
him as a penitent believer. Saul, however, was not rejoicing in his
condition. He was waiting to find out what he needed to do
to be saved (Acts 9:6). Ananias was his teacher. Here is how
he instructed Saul. And now why tarriest thou? Arise, and
be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of
the Lord (Acts 22:16).
These individuals, and others, were doing just what the Lord
Jesus Christ had instructed to be done in the Great Commission.
He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;
but he that believeth not shall be damned (Mark 16:16).
The action of baptism is a burial (Rom. 6:3-4;
Col. 2:12). In other words, an individual is immersed, completely
covered up, in water. It is a quick, simple action. There have been
times when this writer has baptized inmates from a local jail. They
were brought to the building. In a matter of minutes, the inmates
were immersed and heading back to their cells. It takes less than
a minute to baptize a person. Yes, the act is simple and quick.
What needs to be emphasized is that the act has a profound meaning.
When a person is immersed in water for the remission of
sins, every sin that person has ever committed is completely
forgiven. Thayer says that the word remission in Acts
2:38 means: forgiveness or pardon of sins (letting them go as
if they had never been committed). In Romans 6:17-18, Paul
writes about this forgiveness. He states: But God be
thanked that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have
obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was
delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the
servants of righteousness. The phrase, that form of
doctrine, involves dying to sin, burying the old man of sin in
the waters of baptism, and rising from those waters a new creature
in Christ (Rom. 6:3-4,6). It is a perfect representation of our
Lords work at Calvary. He died, was buried, and rose the third
day (1 Cor. 15:1-4). When one obeys from the heart that form
of doctrine, Paul declares that he is then made free from
sin. This is profound. For unless one has his sins forgiven,
he faces the sentence of death (Ezek. 18:20; Rom. 6:23). That death
involves the suffering of ones soul eternally in the fires of
When a person is immersed in water for the remission of
sins, he/she comes forth as a new person. Prior to baptism,
he/she was an old man of sin. That person was crucified
and buried. Knowing this, that our old man is crucified
with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth
we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6; see also Eph. 4:22;
Col. 3:9). When one rises from his burial (baptism), he begins to
walk in newness of life (Rom. 6:4). He is a new creature in Christ
(2 Cor. 5:17). The new person he has become is none other than
Jesus Christ to be like him. Paul understood this about his
conversion. In Galatians 2:20, he proclaims: I am crucified
with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in
me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith
of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
Yes, a sinner is turned into an image of the Christ. That, dear
reader, is a significant event!
When a person is baptized, he is also moved from one
locale to another. This is not a physical translation, but a
spiritual one. The sinner had been living in the evil and
corruption of the world. It is a realm that is overseen and
controlled by Satan (John 12:31; Eph. 2:2). The new convert is
taken out of that realm. He is placed into the precious body of
Christ, the church. On the day of Pentecost, about three thousand
individuals obeyed Peters inspired admonition to repent and be
baptized (Acts 2:41). Those individuals, according to Acts 2:47,
were added by the Lord to the church. Praising God, and
having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church
daily such as should be saved. The church is the body of
Christ (Eph. 1:22-23). Thus, it is not surprising to read that we
are baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13). In like
manner, the church is the kingdom. Therefore, Paul told the
Colossians that they had been removed from the power of darkness
and were translated into the kingdom of Gods dear Son (Col.
1:13). Christ is the head of the body (Col. 1:18). It is He who is
the overseer of this domain. He is the King over His kingdom (1
Tim. 6:15). Yes, at baptism, a person leaves an evil realm
controlled by Satan and enters into an organization that has Jesus
Christ as its Overseer (1 Peter 2:25). Again, this is profound,
There is no doubt that baptism is a quick, simple act. The
sinner allows another person to lower him into the water, and he
rises therefrom (Acts 8:38-39). It takes only a few seconds to
complete. However, what is done spiritually to that individual
during those few seconds is profound. All of a persons sins
are forgiven. The person rises in the image of Jesus Christ. The
individual has been translated into the kingdom of Gods dear
Son, the church. Individuals need to appreciate these things after
their conversion. They need to rejoice and give thanks for the
salvation. They need to live in such a way that gratitude is
expressed for all that God has done for them.
No doubt, their baptism was quick and simple, but it was
also extremely profound.
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THERE IS NO SHORTAGE
During a visit to Guyana, South America there was a shortage.
For most of the two weeks of a Gospel campaign there was a shortage
of water for drinking and bathing. Thank God there was no shortage
of water for baptizing. Many chose to put on Christ in baptism.
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). While there was a shortage
of water, there was no shortage of Gods grace, mercy, love and
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF GODS GRACE
For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath
appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and
worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in
this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious
appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave
himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and
purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good
works (Titus 2:11-14). Let us therefore come
boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find
grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16). Wherever you
find a heart that is truly penitent, you will find the throne of
Gods grace. Wherever you find a godly Christian praying, you
find the throne of Gods grace. In Christ and Him crucified,
Gods grace shines. Being justified freely by his grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Rom.
3:24). There may be a shortage of water but not of Gods grace.
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF GODS MERCY
By coming before the throne of Gods grace, mercy is
obtained. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of
grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of
need (Heb. 4:16). By keeping Gods commandments, you
walk the path of mercy and truth. All the paths of the Lord
are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his
testimonies (Psa. 25:10). God shows tenderness and mercy
to mankind. Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye
have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the
Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy
(James 5:11). Mercy seems to relate to our pardon or forgiveness of
sins. Once we have obtained mercy we can then find
grace to help in time of need. Mercy and truth are met
together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other
(Psa. 85:10). There may be a shortage of water but not of Gods
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF GODS LOVE
Gods love is shed abroad in our hearts. And hope
maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Rom.
5:5). The goal of every Christian should be to stay in Gods
love. Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life (Jude
21). Gods love was manifest in the giving of his Son.
In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because
that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might
live through him (1 John 4:9) Jesus declares God to man.
Jesus declares Gods grace, love, mercy, will and mind.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son,
which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him
(John 1:18). Gods love cannot cease or change because it is
love flowing from the fullness of God. There may be a shortage of
water but not of Gods love.
THERE IS NO SHORTAGE OF GODS FORGIVENESS
And be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving
one another, even as God for Christs sake hath forgiven
you (Eph. 4:32). Forgiveness is possible only through
Christ. God forgives us for Christs sake. Christ is
glorified each time God forgives sins. Christ took the shame of
Calvary that he might receive the glory of forgiving sinners. God
forgives our sins in and through Jesus Christ. Know ye not,
that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized
into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into
death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory
of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of
life (Rom. 6:3-4). There may be a shortage of water but
there is no shortage of Gods forgiveness.
Grace, mercy, love and forgiveness are all found abundantly
in Christ. Are you in Christ? To be in Christ one who truly repents
must be baptized (Gal. 3:26-27; Rom. 6:3-4). After baptism
comes the new life. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he
is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things
are become new (2 Cor. 5:17).
If your life is not rich in grace, mercy, the love of God
and forgiveness it is either because you are not in Christ or are
not faithful to him.
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