“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” 2 Peter 1:3
Weekly Reading: The Book of Romans
Hymn of the Week: In Christ Alone – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QekPh9XfhM0
I am a preacher for the church of Christ and that carries some preconceived ideas. At times accusations of a ‘holier than thou’ attitude is thrown around. “You don’t believe in the Old Testament!” some may say. “You think you’re the only ones going to heaven!” I hear often. I ask you to direct your attention to the book of Romans for a few moments.
The whole purpose of the book of Romans is to establish the fact that the gospel of Christ is the saving power to all men regardless of their background. This was not the mindset of the Gentiles or the Jews in the first few chapters. The entire focus of chapter one is toward the Gentiles and their lack of knowledge of God and retaining of God to make Him into a Being that truly was not God. I would encourage you to study in depth this chapter, especially verses 18-32. There are many actions and practices that take place today that society would call a ‘natural’ process or deserves rights. The Gentiles were practicing actions that perverted who God truly is. Yet regardless of their actions, they were found to be in sin. The Jews in Rome would love these remarks and cheer Paul on to continue!
Chapter two, however, turns towards the Jews. The ones who held a ‘holier than thou’ attitude towards the Gentiles or anyone who was not a Jew. These are people who meditated on the law (Law of Moses), “lived” their life according to the law, yet did not practice what they were teaching. The Jews were a bunch of hypocrites! Paul reprimands them by stating they had esteemed themselves as superiors because of a ‘natural bloodline’ from Abraham to be God’s chosen people, but Paul states the same conclusion Peter did (Acts 10:34), God is no respecter of persons. In the Greek, the idea is someone seeing another without seeing their face, or as we would say: stereotyping. The Jews were just as guilty as sinning as the Gentiles were! Paul would conclude the argument of these two by stating that ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!
Today, these same two people exist. I’m not talking about Jews & Gentiles, but rather the ideas they held on to then are still held to today. People who turn God into a Creator that He is not. Those that know of God, but refuse to understand Him according to scripture and devise a false god who is NOT the God of the Bible. They end up forgetting God and speak of Him through ignorance of how they think God should act, love,accept and etc. (just fill in the blank!). On the other hand, there are those that have devoted their life to God, BUT have developed a self-righteous attitude that they’re too good for life and everyone else is going to perish in hell for eternity. That seems rather harsh, but that is how people see reality! They believe that hearing of God’s word is plenty enough to go to heaven, yet Paul specifically states that it is not the hearers, but the doers will be justified (Romans 2:13) or those that follow God’s commands will be found righteous in His eyes.
To make things perfectly clear, I do not know what attitude you hold in your life, but the introductory comments I made, I wish to enlighten you as I know of them. If any one is to be condemned, I will always point the finger at me before I accuse anyone. I have to try hard daily to keep myself out of sin and fall short too many times than I desire to tell. If you meet anyone from any belief who uses God as a crutch to exalt themselves, look at Romans chapter 2 and 1 Peter 5:6. Humility will take you a long way in life. Do not assume that one congregation, or family, or person represents the totality of a belief. That would be stereotyping, and I can fully assure you, there are people trying to be humble in this world and acceptable to God. They’re trying to glorify God (Matt. 5:16).
As to the Old Testament, read Romans 15:4 “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.” I believe every word of the Old Testament. Hebrews 11 would not exist if the Old Testament was not important. I find comfort and patience in reading and learning of the lives of others, but I am not held accountable to the law the children of Israel were under, otherwise Christ brought nothing to us. Remember that the Old Testament points to the cross, while the New Testament points back to the cross. It points to the death of Jesus Christ who nailed the Old Law away and placed a New Law (Col. 2:14; 2 Cor. 3, Romans 3, Gal. 3-5).
As for the only ones going to heaven…there are those who do not have the mental capacity to understand. God is a righteous judge, so I know He will hold them accountable differently, if at all (Rom. 2:12). I firmly believe that even some people within the church of Christ may not make it to heaven either due to self-righteous attitudes (SOME, not all remember) or refuse to repent of a sin they tried to justify. According to Ephesians 4, as long as you know for a fact you are a part of the ONE body (the body/the church (which is His body) of Christ Eph. 5) of ONE Spirit (the teachings of the Spirit written down by the apostles) desiring that ONE hope (eternal peace in life everlasting with God) to remember ONE Lord (Christ) through the ONE faith (the right belief) by ONE baptism (being born into Christ for the remission of your sins) to praise and worship the ONE God (The Almighty, Creator of all). If you know that you are a part of the Church that believes and practices those things, you are in the right place 🙂 The ones who will go to heaven are the righteous before God, those that live their life honestly before God and all men. Those that practice and do good works to glorify God. Those that make it their number one priority to love God, seek Him with all of their heart, do those things He has commanded, and live faithfully through this dark world. Does my righteousness hinge off of the name of “the church of Christ” on the building? No, BUT READ THIS CAREFULLY: If you attend a place that does not bear Christ’s name, why do you call yourself a Christian (one like Christ) but go to a place that does not bear the name of His church? (Matt. 16:18 & Eph. 4-5) These are important questions to ask yourself. Do I attend a congregation that 100% practices what the Bible says to practice and omit those things which the Bible is silent on? Think on these things critically and be a Berean (Acts 17:11) and search to find God backing you up in what you do. If God is with you, who can honestly be against you? No one. Ponder these things as you sit under the oak today!
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to message or contact me! My soul is worth everything to me and so is YOURS!