Sinfulness of Sin
By Guy V. Caskey
With a special chapter on
Alcohol and Drug Abuse
By David Caskey
Cover by Jack Dow
NOT TO BE SOLD
For further study of the Bible,
information about the Scriptures
or a place to worship, please contact the Church of Christ nearest you.
A free Bible Correspondence Course
is available from:
WORLD BIBLE SCHOOL
P.O. Box 9346
Austin, TX 78766, USA
Mission Printing, Inc.
World Evangelism by the Printed Page
A Work of Churches of Christ
P.O. Box 2029
Arlington, TX 76004, USA
printed: September 2000
|1.||What Sin Is||1|
|2.||The Dominion of Sin||10|
|3.||The Small Number of the Saved||20|
|4.||The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin||33|
|5.||We Are Idolaters||46|
|6.||Dangers in the Church||59|
|7.||God Gave Them Up||78|
|8.||The Reality of Sin||90|
|9.||The Sin of Doing Nothing||102|
|10.||Sins of the Flesh and Sins of the Attitude||114|
|11.||One Born of God Cannot Sin||126|
|12.||Neither was Guile Found in His Mouth||137|
|13.||Have a Drink, Brother||156|
|14.||Covetousness is Idolatry||168|
|15.||Three Evil Ways to Travel||179|
|16.||Sins Jesus Hated Most||202|
|17.||The Removal of Barriers||216|
|18.||Pride or Self–Esteem. Which?||234|
|19.||The Sin of Gambling||251|
|20.||And Now They Sin More and More||265|
|22.||An Evil and Adulterous Generation||299|
|23.||Licentiousness—A Variety of Sins||314|
|24.||Alcohol and Drug Abuse||343|
|25.||Your Body is God's Temple||358|
|26.||The Lord Will Not Impute Sin||369|
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Guy Caskey, 82, has been preaching the gospel for the past sixty-six years. He began his ministry at age 16 and his work has consisted of local work, gospel meetings, and service as a missionary in Africa and Jamaica. He spent five years in South Africa, three years in East Africa, and five years in Jamaica. His experience in the mission field and his love for the lost made him aware of the need for printed gospel literature to aid in teaching the truth.
A few years after returning to the United States in 1974 to become the pulpit minister of the Randol Mill Road Church of Christ in Arlington, Texas, he was instrumental in establishing Mission Printing. Beginning in 1981, he served as director of Mission Printing or 17 years. His work consisted of preaching and teaching to congregations throughout the brotherhood, writing numerous gospel articles and books, and raising funds for Mission Printing. He is known for his scholarly and studious approach in his preaching and writing, and strives to always be in harmony with God's Word.
Although presently hindered by illness, Guy still feels the urgency to teach and save the lost through is writing and work at Mission Printing. Through his long years of uninterrupted service, many have been taught the truth and have obeyed the gospel.
After serving as a missionary in Africa and Jamaica, Guy Caskey saw the need to provide written material that would bring the lost to Christ. The culmination of his dream was realized some twenty years ago when Mission Printing was established. Thus a dream became reality.
Mission Printing has its own facility which provides adequate space for its volunteers to work. Men and women print and assemble materials which are used to preach the gospel around the world. All of these materials are sent free of charge. Letters (about 250 a week from 150 countries) are received which tell of many conversions and baptisms, and requesting additional materials.
Some one hundred books are printed, consisting of from eight to four hundred pages on almost 100 Bible subjects. Millions have been printed and sent and some books have been translated into about forty languages. Sixteen different books have been translated into the Paite language of India and 80,000 copies were sent. Last year, Mission Printing sent about forty–five tons of books all over the world to help spread the pure gospel of Christ. The postage alone was over $60,000 and these figures are growing every year.
Many are investing in the future of Mission Printing. Some have left this work in their wills, some have given paid–up life insurance policies, and others have given an Endowment Fund so that in the future the interest on that money will help pay for part of the paper postage, and other necessary costs. Mission Printing is a non–profit organization and is entirely dependent on contributions. If you can help in this way, or you know a friend or brother who is interested in spreading the Good News of Christ, we would be deeply grateful for that help. After all, the Lord left His church here in this world that we may see to it that it goes to "the uttermost part of the earth."
If there are questions you wish to ask, address your letters to
Mission Printing, P.O. Box 2029, Arlington, TX 76004, USA.
The Depravity of Man
“That man is a fallen creature, is evident. If we consider his misery as an inhabitant of the natural world: the disorders of the globe we inhabit, and the dreadful scourges with which it is visited; the deplorable and shocking circumstances of our birth; the painful and dangerous travail of women; our natural uncleanliness, helplessness, ignorance, and nakedness; the gross darkness in which we naturally are, both with respect to God and a future state; the general rebellion of the brute creation against us; the various poisons that lurk in the animal, vegetable, and mineral world, ready to destroy us; the heavy curse of toil and sweat to which we are liable; the innumerable calamities of life, and the pangs of death.
“Again, it is evident, if we consider him as a citizen of the moral world: his commission sin; his omission of duty; the triumph of sensual appetites over his intellectual faculties: the corruption of the powers that constitute a good head, the understanding, the imagination, memory, and reason; the depravity of the powers which form a good heart, the will, conscience, and affections; his manifest alienation from God; his amazing disregard even of his nearest relatives; his unaccountable unconcern about himself; his detestable tempers; the general outbreaking of human corruption in all individuals; the universal overflowing o fit in all nations.
"Some striking proofs of this depravity may be seen in the general propensity of mankind to vain, irrational, or cruel diversions; in the universality of the most ridiculous, impious, inhuman, and diabolical sins; in the aggravating circumstances attending the display of this corruption; in the many ineffectual endeavors to stem the torrent; in the obstinate resistance it makes to divine grace in the unconverted; the amazing struggles of good men with it; the testimony of the heathens concerning it; and the preposterous conceit which the unconverted have of their own goodness."
(Theological Dictionary, Charles Buck, pp. 142–143)
Our generation might be remembered as, The Age of Denial. We are preoccupies with analyzing and labeling the ills of our society with terms that gloss over the cause of our predicament. Sin is seldom mentioned, lest we cast blame on the individual and make him responsible for his own behavior. The teachings of the New Testament are preoccupied with the message of transforming power of the gospel, and the mercy, grace, and forgiveness of God, made effective in the sacrifice of Jesus.
This must seem sterile in the absence of being convicted of sin, and of finding an external scapegoat for every heinous deed. Mass media is clogged with stories of murder, violent robbery, rape, plunder, sexual abuse, and chemical addiction. Lives are destroyed, society is a jungle, and misery is the common form of existence.
Change must be motivated by awareness. We need again to hear the powerful preaching of the prophets in a world numbed into apathy. This book, The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin, is a scholarly and practical expose of all the Biblical words that give us understanding of sin and its consequences, as well as our deliverance from the grasp of the evil one.
Though designed to provide material for sermons and Bible class lessons when placed in the hands of national preachers and teachers in Third World countries, this book will serve well to encourage all who seek relief from the struggles and disappointments of life by knowing and adapting to the wisdom of him in whose image we are made.
Missionary to the Bahamas
Over a period of many years the author has constructed the lessons found in this book. Originally, they were either lessons taught in a classroom or sermons delivered from the pulpit. From time to time, they have been modified, rearranged, and hopefully improved.
It is my sincere hope that the national preachers in other countries for whom this book is primarily published will find good use of these materials in their work among their fellow countrymen. If it will enable them to make a contact, prepare a lesson, or preach a sermon that will touch and turn the life of some interested individual, I would seek no higher motive in sending it forth.
And those young men in this country who are now preparing themselves in our Bible training schools to preach the gospel, and who expect to into the difficult mission of this and foreign countries may find in this book useful materials that will enable them to construct their own lessons to be able to establish the Lord's church and help bring young congregations to greater spiritual maturity. No higher encomium could ever be paid me than for them to feel that these lessons are applicable and appropriate to their use.
Having lived and preached in a number of distant lands, and having associated closely with the people in those countries, I have some understanding of the great dearth of Bible writings accessible to them, particularly in their own languages. We in the church in this country have not been as concerned with this deficiency as we ought and the famine, through our neglect, has been perpetuated. Let us pray that it will not be extended further or prolonged into the future. We must know the importance of writing the gospel down on paper, else how could we cherish our Bibles as we do? And how could we expect to share the message of life and salvation within its sacred pages?
May God move our hearts to share the Good News in this way as well as other ways with people all over the world. Their hope for eternity is contingent upon our doing so.
—Guy V. Caskey
Many times through the years I have said in Bible class lessons and sermons that the word forgiveness is the most meaningful, beautiful, and soul–stirring word to be found in the vocabulary of the language of any people. To me it is the most eloquent word in the Bible. What makes it eloquent is its value to every human being on earth—provided that person takes advantage of God's invitation and proposal to receive and enjoy the inestimable benefits of it.
How could two people, committed to one another in the relationship of marriage, make that alliance work if it were not for forgiveness? One of the first lessons young children are taught in the home is to forgive one another. It is eminently true in the church. “And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:32). There is no way for people to be friends over any extended period of time without this distinctive feature that is so Godlike—without this Christian attribute of wiping the slate clean, so to speak.
This book is primarily about sin. I counted more than fifty words in the English language that are synonyms of the term. The study of each corresponding word would be a great lesson within itself. They may not be the exact equivalent in each case, but they are at least counterparts and correspond in meaning. This gives us a larger view of the subject and helps us in a more comprehensive understanding of what God is telling us about the ugly, damaging, and destructive nature of sin. There are almost as many words in the Bible for sin as are found in the English vocabulary.
But while forgiveness is such a beautiful word, sin is everything but beautiful—particularly in the sight of God. Most men in our day are not disturbed by it; they sleep soundly without any compunctions of conscience over having committed it. In the sight of God, it is different. It is the most terrible, dreadful, deplorable word in the language of any people. Without question, it is the most abominable word in the Bible. It is discussed hundreds of times throughout man's history recorded in that sacred Book. Words which help define the term flood in upon my thoughts—flagrant, scandalous, shocking, abominable, dis–
gusting, despicable, reprehensible—are just a few that etch themselves in the minds of Christians we see sin in some measure as God sees it!
In the study of this book, The Exceeding Sinfulness of Sin, an effort is made to aid you to see sin as God sees it—as wickedness, iniquity, immorality, depravity, corruption, profligacy, and a hundred other monstrous things sin is in the view God has of it and the pictures He draws of it so vividly for us in His word.
It will be shown that sin is lawlessness (anomia)—breaking God's laws (I John 3:4); it is wrongdoing (adikia)—falsehood, injustice, deceitfulness (I John 5:17); it is a failure to do what we know is right to do (James 4:17); it is a falling short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Someone has said that sin is a lack of conformity to the moral law of God, either in act, disposition, or state. When one is at variance with the law of God, it becomes sin, however innocent or insignificant it may seem. For Adam and Eve to eat the fruit of a tree in the Garden of Eden must have seemed rather harmless and inoffensive, but inasmuch as God had forbidden them to do so, it was a sin—and a sin with far reaching consequences and grim penalties (Genesis 2:17).
When Saul, King of Israel, saved Agag, king of Amalek, alive and spared the best of the sheep and cattle for sacrifice, that must have seemed humane, affectionate, or at least the compassionate thing to do. But God had issued a command, a mandate, to destroy the Amalekites utterly, with all that they possessed. When we sit in judgment on God's actions and decide that our own judgment and decisions constitute a better ruling, we are treading on exceedingly dangerous grounds. That is nonconformity with the will of God and a departure from His rule. It initiates human arbitration and choice and embarks upon a clear course of disobedience.
David and his choice soldiers decided to bring the Ark of the Covenant back to the house of the Lord. They set it on a new cart and the two sons of Abinadeb drove it—Ahio led out, walking before the cart, and his brother, Uzzah, walked along by it. “... And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled." (II Samuel 6:3–6). To keep the Ark of the Cove–
nant from falling to the ground seemed to be the sensible thing to do. What impropriety could be found in such a practical and reasonable move? Listen to the consequences: "Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzzah and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God" (II Samuel 6:7). This was a flagrant, arrogant, obvious atrocity.
The reason for it was that God had already set out certain simple rules for the who and the how of transporting this sacred box that contained the Ten Commandments. To ignore or transgress those rules given by the Lord was deadly disobedience. God forbids one to do evil that good may come! One of the ugliest and most discomforting pictures of sin is found in the list Paul gave the Roman church (Romans 1:18—3:18).
It is really a discourse on the universality of sin. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
John discussed the subject in the same vein when he said, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one” (I John 5:19). Besides the universality of sin, he also discusses in these same verses the nature of the disease. He started out in a kind of interview communicating the broad categories of the sins of the Gentiles—heathens, pagans— under the headings of perversion, depravity, debauchery, and the most shameful and unnatural immorality—men having sexual relations with other men and women having unnatural sexual relations with others of their own sex.
These sins shock and horrify decent people. The Jews would be scandalized by them, even if they were guilty of some of the same sins! Generally speaking, however, the sins of the Jews were quite opposite. You see, the sins they committed were the offences of believers; of religious, nice people! The infractions were not as serious, and the law breaking was not in the same classification as misdeeds of the despised Gentiles.
May I make it plain that both species and genre were equally abhorrent to God and threatened the whole of society and brought down God's displeasure and retribution upon them.
In continuing to look at this list furnished by Paul, he itemizes some of the ugly pollution and wickedness in this catalog of offenses.
He points out some things that may be of interest and help to each of us if will carefully observe them:
1. Sin is the choice to do wrong. This is strongly emphasized in this portion of his dissertation on the subject: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and God head, so that they are without excuse,” (Romans 1:18–20).
You can see that these people chose the course in which they walked—and for several reasons: (1) they suppress the truth; (2) what may be known of God was manifested to them; (3) God has shown it to them; (4) it was clearly seen and understood; (5) they were without excuse. Men have exercised this ability to ignore, suppress, or postpone the will of God, however plain and explicable it is. God gave man, when He created him, the power of volition and He will not take that from him; but it places an awesome and fearful responsibility upon man to make the right choice.
In this connection we are averse and reluctant to brand sin as sin. We wish to call it something else like an illness or a disease. We are unwilling to face up to the fact that alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, overeating, spouse abuse, child abuse, homosexuality, adultery, and such like, belong in God's list of moral corruption, wickedness, and vicious wrong doing. The church is a purified people and that means chaste, virtuous, good, moral, honest, righteous, and uncorrupt, but, in our generation, most people treat sin so capriciously and unimportant that few are diverted from their course or feel any distress from involvement in it.
2. Sin is the refusal to glorify and thank God. “Because, although they knew God, they did not glorify His as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hears were darkened.” (Romans 1:21). There is nothing more necessary for our happiness and well–being than to recognize that all we have comes from God. He is the great Source of our supply. One has to be miserable and wretched not
to know this; he has to be an ingrate, indeed, not to be thankful. What has been difficult for me to imagine is how ten lepers—men infected with the terrible contagion of an incurable disease—could all be cured of this dreadful, communicable, death dealing disease and only one out of the ten returned to give thanks to his benefactor. It was a transmittable disease; more than that, it was lethal. they escaped from that fatality and yet, in their thanklessness, they did not even take the time to return to Jesus to express their appreciation. Is there a sin more monstrous? Is there an outrage more outrageous? This was not just some impropriety or indecorum, this was the neglect and indifference of a bunch of thankless scoundrels!
What about us? Do we go our merry way each day with scarcely a thought of whence these countless blessings flow? Who pauses with any regularity to give thanks to Him who has provided everything necessary to life and godliness? There are two great wrongs in all this: (1) non–recognition of the origin of our blessings—life and every attendant blessing and (2) non–acknowledgement—no conceding, no attributing, no accrediting, and imputing to God the benedictions that attend every minute of our lives. What great fortune is ours. It may not always be a bed of roses, or the affluent life; we may not always live off the “fat of the land.” The very blessing of life itself, the air we breathe, the measure of health we enjoy, and the food He provides should be considered by us as the “smiles of fortune,” and for fortune's favor we should be thankful.
It is not just a gift here and there and now and then from God. It is not just a donation or some subsidy He occasionally rations out to us. It is, instead, a constant care and provision for us each minute of each day, else we would perish in the blink of an eye!
3. Sin is the exchange of immortal for mortal. Listen to Paul's rather extended and graphic description of this very sin in this same context: “Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever” (Romans 1:22-25).
With hearts darkened by self–centeredness and eyes blinded to the true values of life, man has placed himself at the center of his own world and lavished his affections upon those things he can see and touch and which gave him immediate gratification by assuaging his lusts and quenching his erotic appetite. One need but look casually around him in this old world to see how the majority have turned to worship of the worldly. Men are captivated by the materialistic, infatuated by the one-religious, and seduced by the unsacred. They treasure and idolize the fleshly and the profane; they are ensnared and seduced by the charm and charisma to the unspiritual and the ungodly.
This is what Paul meant by exchanging the immortal for the mortal. And you may also say that men changed the moral for the immoral—and times have changed little in these two thousand intervening years, except perhaps to grow worse!
4. The sins of sexual immorality. Paul's discussion of the libidinous is lengthy and varied. It is not the sexual urge or instinct which he faults and condemns, but the wanton driving force behind this human action. The sexual urge or instinct is not wrong in itself. God gave it to man to be used for his good and for the procreation of the race; but it is the voluptuous misuse of this God–given impulse that the apostle laments. When the sensory, the enthralling, the gratifying, and the physical pleasure giving takes precedence over everything else, it becomes the sin Paul graphically describes in the Roman chapter. Outside the relationship of marriage and the home, the sensual delights and pleasures arising from and producing sensuous gratification is a heinous deviation. It is a scandalous wickedness and it is reprehensible to God.
Here is what he has to say about some forms of it: “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness ... For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting” (Romans 1:24–28). Among those many
sins which he said were not fitting, he named “sexual immorality” (verse 29). He said they were filled with all unrighteousness. Not only were they habituated, they were depraved and degraded. And such action, driven by lower instincts, severs man's relationship with God. One becomes bestial in his behavior, perverts his own sexuality, fractures any friendship with his Creator, and completely dicotomizes the lineage with God and cuts off any association with Him. That's how serious the matter is.
5. The conscience subordinated to and dominated by sin. First, I want you to notice the list of sins Paul gives and then the ultimate deprivation of freedom of the conscience as a result of being held captive by those sins. One becomes enslaved to all these forms of wickedness. All of them are addictive. some are more habituating than others, and leave the sinner wholly dependent upon these evil habits. “Being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness, full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil–mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful [without understanding]” (Romans 1:29–31).
Now notice what the practice of all this does to the conscience: “Who, knowing the righteous judgment of god, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:32). Consciences become seared, unfeeling—Paul says they are past feeling (Ephesians 4:19). It is like using a branding iron. One becomes indurated and impervious to feelings of right. When one is overwhelmed by the continued practice and power of sin in his life, the consequences of it recede into the background of his mind and he escapes any feelings of regret or fear. Sin is a terrible and ugly thing and make havoc of ones conscience.
6. Sin blinds us to our own particular sins and imposes a judgmental view of the sins of others. Paul strongly rebuked and reprimanded the Jews for sins of which they were guilty, but they were unable to see the same guilt and misconduct except in the lives of the detested Gentiles. The apostle's language, in the opening verses of Romans 2, was
what one would call chiding. He upbraided them, blamed them, and reproved them. I think we may go a step further and say that he blasted them, and there is no doubt they needed it.
Carefully listen to his words: “Therefore you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things. But we know that the judgment of God is according to truth against those who practice such things. And do you think this, O man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God" (Romans 2:1–3)?
Do you see in this reprimand a reflection of our own character and doings? Have sin and depravity really changed very much in those two thousand intervening years? Are we still blind to our own mistakes and make every effort to excuse and extenuate ourselves when our evil doings are brought to our attention and exposed? I shout to the top of my voice the blatant deviations of others—particularly those for whom I have little respect—in the hope that in loudly proclaiming their blunders and misdemeanors my own will go unnoticed by the distraction!
Have you ever noticed what a formidable and massive blind spot with which iniquity so generously endows us? But Paul points out to the Jewish Christians in the church of Rome that by underlining the sins of others, they were highlighting and amplifying their own profligacy. It was, in fact, a feature of their vise they had not quite expected. They evidently thought that by tipping God off with a clue to the sins of the Gentiles, their own misconduct would go unpunished.
7. Sin and God's justice. This section of the Roman letter analyses the various facets of sin as thoroughly and completely as any inspired writings. Here is an extended composition of the subject of the justice of God and what we may expect in the premeditated infraction of His will. “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each one according to his deeds: eternal life to those who by patience continuance
in doing good seek for glory, honor, and immortality; but to those who are self–seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness—indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, on every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek” (Romans 2:4–9).
There is a time in the life of almost everyone of us when we decide that God will never actually execute justice. We may thing that He has forgotten our blunders and offences because it has been so long ago. We may feel that the lapse of time has diminished the severity of the trespass, or God no longer considers the omission or the blunder reprehensible. Maybe He has granted, out of His goodness, a reprieve and has passed over what was, at one time, an outrage and He has wiped the slate clean. “Forgive and forget.” We doubt that God will ever get around to “balancing the scales.” So, we go on sinning blithely—in a kind of light-some way, because it is not nearly as serious a matter with us as it is with God.
8. Sin makes the sinner arrogant. Because we line so close to sin and are so enveloped by it, we consider it to be unhurtful and unobjectionable. Almost everything in the long list of wickedness most people consider innocuous and benign, if not altogether acceptable. So, in our moderate view and our tolerable acceptance of sin, we become arrogant and haughty and insolent; filled with pride and sureness of ourselves and our standing.
Indeed you are called a Jew, and rest on the law, and make your boast in God, and Know His will, and approve the things that are excellent, being instructed out of the law, and are confident that you yourself are a guide to blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, having the form of knowledge and truth in the law. You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not stead, do you steal? You who say, ‘Do not commit adultery,’ do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles because of you ... For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is on inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart,
in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God” (Romans 2:17–29). Paul, here, toppled their ladder of arrogance. These same sins today are characterized by the aggression that marked these Jews and it is with the same belligerence and combativeness by which these people were so well known. There pugnacity about their own righteousness moved them to invade and make conquest of the non–Jews around them and with a spirit of intrusion they felt they had gained a great victory over the pagan and enhanced their standing with God.
GRACE IS THE ANSWER
The honor and justice of God require that He judge sin, condemn sinners to eternal banishment from His presence, or provide a way of escape. This is the hope He holds out to us, for He has made ample provision to save everyone who will come to Him through Jesus Christ. It was interesting to me that the word grace itself is found 156 times in the New Testament. Having seen such an ugly picture of sin drawn in the Bible, it lifts our hopes and expectations to the very highest points of expectation to read these beautiful passages about the love and mercy of God and the rich provisions He has made that men might be set free from sins iron chains of habit and destruction.
What could be more beautiful and inspiring than that through the grace of God and the Lord Jesus Christ there is the possibility and promise that we can be acquitted, absolved, exonerated, and discharged from the terrible consequences of sin? What peace and consolation are infused in the heart of one who thus gives himself wholeheartedly and unreservedly to the will of Christ? Take delight in these passages filled with expectation and happy anticipation. “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus ... God has passed over the sins that were previously committed” (Romans 3:24–25). “Through Him we have received grace ... for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name” (Romans 1:5). “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly ... But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been
reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:6–10). What could be more exhilarating to the heart of one who wants to be saved through eternity than this promise: “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more” (Romans 5:20)?
This should not only gladden one's heart but stimulate him to a dedicated and committed life to Christ who made all this possible for him. “Because of the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, of which you heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel” (Colossians 1:5). “In hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began” (Titus 1:2). The inspired writers speak often of grace. Out of the 156 times the word is found in the New Testament, it often appears as the “grace of God,” and the “grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The inspired writers also speak of “grace,” “thanks,” and “favor” to God, which should be a constant practice in prayer to Him who provides us grace by which we are saved.
Paul told the Christians in Galatia that they had “called you in the grace of Christ” (Galatians 1:6). What an encouraging statement he made to the Ephesian church: “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). And in Ephesians 4:7, we have this favorable word: “But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift.” And, as you know, that was an unspeakable, immeasurable gift!
Despite the hideous eyesore sin is—the repulsiveness and unattractiveness of it—the future prospects and the cheerful expectations provided by the grace of God far outweigh the grim, bleak, and despairing rubbish engendered by sin—because all this has been blotted out. One has been released from the bondage of sin and the whole of it has been effaced from the memory of a loving and forgiving God. This, however, is not done without the consent o four will and without our heart felt response to the beautiful proffer of His grace to lost humanity. I pray that this book on the malignity of sin will cause us to resolve to stop the practice o fit in our lives, motivate us to turn 180 degrees, facing toward God, and induce us to seek and receive His saving grace provided for all mankind.
APOSTASY – A child of God can “die” – Romans 8:12–13, Revelation 3:1–5, Also can be “disinherited” Numbers 14:11–12. See also James 5:19–20, I Timothy 4:1–3, Galatians 5:4, I Corinthians 10:12 & 9:27, II Timothy 2:17–18, Hebrews 3:12, I John 1:7–10, II Peter 3:17, Revelation 2:4–5, II Peter 2:20–21, Hebrews 10:26–30, Matthew 13:40–42, Galatians 6:7–8, Ezekiel 18:24. Eternal life already given like, Joshua 6:1-3.
ATTENDANCE – Hebrews 10:25–26 (and Isaiah 54:7), Matthew 6:33, Titus 3:1, Psalms 122:1.
AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE – II Timothy 3:16, Deuteronomy 18:20, Revelation 22:18–19, Deuteronomy 4:2, Numbers 24:12–13, Luke 16:15; Proverbs 14:12. The final revelation – Galatians 1:8–9, John 16:13, II Peter 1:3.
Purpose: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:15–16, Acts 22:16, I Peter 3:20–21, Acts 10:48; John 3:5, Luke 7:30, Read II Corinthians 5:17 with Galatians 3:27.
Candidates. Those taught — Matthew 28:19 (See also Isaiah 28:9), Believers — Mark 16:15–16, Acts 8: 36–37, Must repent — Acts 2:38, Must confess faith — Acts 8:36–38, Matthew 10:32–33.
Infants not need: Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:13–15, Ezekiel 18:20; Romans 14:12.
Holy Spirit baptism: See “Holy Spirit” (Separate listing).
Hear: Romans 10:17, Matthew 7:24-27.
Believe: Hebrews 11:6, Mark 10:13–15 (Not faith only — James 2:24, John 12:42).
Repent: Acts 2:38, 17:30, Luke 13:3.
Confess: Matthew 10:32–33, Acts 8:36–37.
Be baptized: See “Baptism.”
Remain faithful: Revelation 2:10 (See also “Obedience” and “Conversion”).
CHURCH – Matthew 16:18, Ephesians 5:23–27, Acts 27:28. The church is the “Body of Christ,” Ephesians 1:22–23, Colossians 1:18 & 1:24, There is one body — Ephesians 4:4–6, I Corinthians 12:12–13, Colossians 3.15, “Churches of Christ” — Romans 16:16, Saved “Added by the Lord” — not “Voted in,” Acts 2:47, II John 1:9-10. Religious division is sinful — see “Division,” Name — see “Name.”
CONVERSION, EXAMPLES OF
1. Pentecost — Acts 2:22 & 2:36–47, 2. Samaria — Acts 8:4–13, 3. Ethiopian eunuch — Acts 8:26–39, 4. Paul (Saul) — Acts 9:1–20 & 22:6–16, 5. Cornelius — Acts 10:1–48 & 11:1–18, 6. Lydia — Acts 16:13–15, 7. Phillipian jailer — Acts 16:23–34, 8. Corinthians — Acts 18:8.
Division — sinful — I Corinthians 1:10–13, John 17:20–21. Only one body — Ephesians 4:4 & 1:22–23, I Corinthians 12:13. See “Church.” To support false teacher is sinful — II John 1:10–11, Isaiah 5:20, Proverbs 17:15.
Divorce — Matthew 19:8–9 & 5:31–32, 1 Corinthians 7:10–11, Luke 16:18, Romans 7:1–3, Mark 6:16–18, Ezra 10:1–3.
ELDERS & DEACONS — Titus 1:5–9, I Timothy 3:1–13 & 5:17, Acts 20:28; Hebrews 13:17.
ETERNAL PUNISHMENT — Matthew 25:41–46, Mark 9:43–48, Matthew 10:28, Luke 16:19–31, Matthew 13:40-42, Revelation 14:9–11 & 21:8, Punishment worse than death: Matthew 18:6 & 26:24, Hebrews 10:28–29. Wicked raised for this — John 5:28–29, Acts 24:14–15, Daniel 12:2. Wicked at future judgment: Matthew 10:15, Luke 11:31–32.
FAITH ONLY — James 2:24 & 2:26, John 12:42. See "Works" and "Obedience."
FALSE TEACHERS — II Corinthians 11:13–15, II Timothy 4:2–4, I Timothy 4:1–3, Matthew 24:24, Acts 20:28–30, Galatians 1:7–9, Deuteronomy 28:21-22. To support is sinful — II John 1:10-11.
GRACE — Justified by grace — Romans 3:23–24, but not by grace only — Titus 2:11 and Matthew 7:13–14. See “Obedience.”
HOLY SPIRIT — Member of Godhead — Matthew 28:19, I John 5:7-8, “He” — John 16:13 & 14:16–17, Acts 8:29, Gave us God's word — II Peter 1:21, “Sword of Spirit” is "word" — Ephesians 6:17.
HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM — Ocurred twice
1. On Pentecost— To give power to the apostles—Acts 1:8 & 2:1-4
2. At Cornelius' house— To show that Gentiles accepted — Acts 11:15–18 & 15:7–8
Paul later wrote that there is now only “One Baptism” — Ephesians 4:4
Baptism in the name of Christ is water baptism — Acts 10:47–48 and Acts 2:38. It is commanded of everyone — Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:16.
INSPIRATION — II Timothy 3:16, II Peter 1:21, I Corinthians 14:37, I Thessalonians 2:13, Galatians 1:11–12, Matthew 10:19–20, Luke 1: 68–70, Galatians 1:8–9.
JUDGMENT — Hebrews 9:27, Acts 17:30–31, Matthew 25:31–46, Luke 11:31–32, II Peter 2:9, II Corinthians 5:10-11. See “Eternal Punishment.”
KINGDOM — “At hand!” — Matthew 3:2. To come in first century with “Power” — Mark 9:1, but “Power” to come with Holy Spirit — Acts 1:8. This happened on the day of Pentecost — Acts 2:1–4. The kingdom was in existence in Paul;s day — Colossians 1:13. It is the Church — Matthew 16:18–19.
LORD'S SUPPER — Matthew 26:26–28, I Corinthians 11:23–29, “Upon first day of the week” — Acts 20:7. Note: This is the same wording used for the weekly contribution — I Corinthians 16:1– 2 and for the Sabbath — Exodus 20:8.
MUSIC — New Testament church used only vocal music — Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, Matthew 26:30. It is sinful to add to or take from God's word — Revelation 22:18–19, Deuteronomy 4:2. See “Authority.” Vain worship — Matthew 15:9.
NAME — Romans 16:16, Acts 4:12, Matthew 16:18, Philippians 2:9-10, Isaiah 62:2, Colossians 3:17.
OBEDIENCE — Matthew 7:21, Acts 10:34–35, II Thessalonians 1:7–9, John 14:15 & 14:23, I Peter 1:22–23, Hebrews 5:8–9, I John 2:4 & 5:3, Romans 6:16, James 2:24. See “Works.”
OLD TESTAMENT (LAW) — For our learning — Romans 15:4. Changed — Hebrews 7:12 & 8:7 & 8:8 & 8:13 & 10:9, Ephesians 2:13–15, Colossians 2:14. Ended at death of Christ — Hebrews 9:15–17, Galatians 3:19 & 3:16 & 3:24–25, Galatians 5:4 & 5:18. Sabbath to Jews — Deuteronomy 5:2–3 & 5:15. Made known at Sinai — Nehemiah 9:13–14.
ONCE SAVED, ALWAYS SAVED — See “Apostasy” and “Obedience.”
SIN mdash; What is sin? — I John 3:4, James 4:17. “All have sinned” — Romans 3:23. Sin is not inherited — Ezekiel 18:20, Matthew 18:3, Mark 10:13–15, Romans 14:13.
SINCERITY NOT ENOUGH — Paul was — Acts 23:1 & 26:9–11, I Timothy 1:12–16, Acts 7:58–60 & 8:1. Cornelius was — Acts 10:1–2 & 11:13–14. See also Proverbs 14:12, Luke 16:15, Isaiah 55: 8-9.
WORKS — James 2:14–17, 2:19, 2:24, 2:26, John 12:42, Galatians 5:6, Acts 10:34–35, Matthew 7:21, Hebrews 5:9.
KINDS OF WORKS
1. Works of the flesh — Galatians 5:19– 21
2. Our own works — Acts 7:41, II Timothy 1:9
3. Works of the law of Moses — Galatians 2:16
4. Works of obedience — Acts 10:34–35, Luke 6:46, John 6:29. See “Obedience.”
WHAT MUST I DO TO BE SAVED?
BELIEVE — “Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6; John 3:16; 20:30–31). When the Bible speaks of believers being saved, it means obedient believers and not disobedient ones (Acts 16:34; 2:44; Galatians 5:6). Faith alone will not save (James 2:24).
REPENT “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3, 24–46, 47; Acts 17:30–31). To repent means to change one's mind and conduct (Matthew 21:28–29).
CONFESS — “Whosoever therefor shall confess Me before men, him will I also confess before My Father who is in heaven, but whosoever shall deny Me before men, him will I also deny before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32–33; Romans 10:9–10; Acts 8:37). One is not to confess that he is taking Jesus Christ as his personal Savior, or that God for Christ's sake has pardoned his sins, but that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Acts 8:37).
BE BAPTIZED — “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38, 22:16; Mark 16:15–16; I Peter 3:21; Galatians 3:27).
BAPTISM IS A BURIAL IN WATER — “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” (Romans 6:4, 6:17; Colossians 2:12; Acts 8:17–39).
WHAT MUST I DO TO STAY SAVED?
FOLLOW AFTER THE THINGS OF THE SPIRIT — “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1, 8:13; Galatians 5:19, 23; I Corinthians 9:27).
LIVE A GODLY LIFE — “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hat appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11–12; Colossians 3:5, 12; Revelations 21:8, 21:27).
FAITHFULLY FOLLOW THE TEACHINGS OF CHRIST TO THE END OF LIFE — “Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 10:22; Revelation 2:10; I Corinthians 10:1, 12). When one departs from the commands of Christ, it is worse that if he had never known them (II Peter 2:20, 22; Hebrews 6:4, 6; 10:26, 29).
ADD THE CHRISTIAN GRACES AND BEAR SPIRITUAL FRUIT mdash; “And besides this giving all diligence, add to your faith, virtue and to virtue, knowledge, and to knowledge, understanding, and to temperance, patience; and patience, godliness, and to godliness, brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charity...for if ye do these things ye shall never fall” (II Peter 1:5, 10; John 15:1–6).
REPENT, CONFESS, AND PRAY — When we sin we must repent of it, confess it, and pray that we may be forgiven. “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee” (Acts 8:22; I John 1:8, 10; James 5:16, 19).
WHAT CHURCH MUST I JOIN?
NONE — Nowhere in the New Testament can you read of men joining a church. The New Testament church is the spiritual family of God, and men are born into it (I Timothy 3:15; John 3:5).
THE LORD ADDS THE SAVED TO HIS CHURCH — “Then they that gladly received his word, were baptized and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls” (Acts 2:41). “And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47; I Corinthians 12:18). Thus, it is impossible to become a Christian or be saved and stay out of the Lord's Church.
THE LORD HAS BUT ONE CHURCH — “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). Nowhere in the New Testament can we read of any church except the Lord's (Ephesians 5:23, 27).
THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST — “And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:22–23, Colossians 1:18).
THERE IS BUT ONE BODY — “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling” (Ephesians 4:4; I Corinthians 12:12, 12:20). This one body is the Lord's one Church which is the one spiritual family of God into which all men are born when they become Christians. No one should ever have any desire to be a member of any other church. Division is condemned in the Bible (I Corinthians 1:10, 13; John 17:20–21).
HOW MUST I WORSHIP SO AS TO PLEASE GOD?
REGULARLY — “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 1025; Acts 2:42). God is not pleased when we let weeks go by without worshipping him.
GIVING GLORY TO GOD IN THE CHURCH THROUGH CHRIST - “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end” (Ephesians 3:21). All worship must be directed to God through Christ and in His name [by his authority](Ephesians 2:18; Colossians 3:17).
IN SPIRIT — “God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24). To worship in spirit means to worship sincerely and earnestly. Our worship must be free from all hypocrisy and pretention (Matthew 6:1–, 15:8).
IN TRUTH — To worship in truth means to worship according to the teaching of God's word (John 17:17; John 4:24; Matthew 15:9).
GOD'S WORD COMMANDS
1. Prayer: I Timothy 2:8; Romans 12:12.
2. Lord's Supper: Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:23, 27.
3. Bible Study: II Timothy 2:15; Acts 2:42.
4. Contribution: I Corinthians 16:1–2; II Corinthians 9:7)
5. Singing: Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16.
WHAT THE NEW TESTAMENT SAYS
ABOUT GOD'S FORGIVENESS
Every person is separated from God because of sin.
God has always sought to form a close relationship with people.
I Peter 1:1–11
I John 3:1–10
God has reached out to people in a personal way by sending Jesus Christ.
I Peter 2:10–25
II Timothy 1:3–11
God's forgiveness through Jesus Christ is available to every person.
I John 1:5–10
New life in Christ calls a person to live in a Christ–like way.
I John 4:7–21
What must I do to obtain forgiveness of my sins?
Hear the word of God (Matthew 7:24).
Believe in Christ as God's Son (John 8:24).
Confess Christ as the Son of God (Romans 10:10).
Repent of your sins (Luke 13: 3–5).
Be buried with Him in baptism (Romans 6:3–6).
As a Christian, God commands us:
To pray (I Timothy 3:8).
To eat the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7).
Study the Bible (II Timothy 2:15).
Give our our money (I Corinthians 16:1–2).
Sing praises to God (Ephesians 5:19)
Share the gospel with all men (Mark 16:15–16).