Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Choosing Sides

Exodus 32 records the sin of the Israelites in making and worshipping a golden calf. When Moses came down from the mountain, he first confronted Aaron for allowing the people to commit this iniquity (v. 21). Then he turned his attention to the people.

It is important to note that Moses did not immediately condemn the people. This is consistent with the character of God who gives men the chance to repent and come to Him (cf. Ezekiel 18:32; 2 Peter 3:9). So Moses extends this invitation -- "Whoever is for the Lord, come to me" (v. 26).

Sadly, most did not answer this call. Only those of the tribe of Levi came to Moses (v. 26). They did not think of the consequences of their decision or what might be expected of them after responding. They simply responded that they were on the Lord's side, no matter what that might mean.

But what of the others who did not respond? If they were not on the Lord's side, whose side were they on? They were on the side that opposed the Lord. Therefore, they were worthy of punishment (v. 27-28).

E.M. Zerr, in his commentary on the Old Testament, makes a good application of these verses to us today. "If a man refuses to take his stand outwardly in favor of a righteous cause he is considered as being on the wrong side" (Old Testament, Volume 1; p. 168). Refusing to take a stand is not an option. We cannot ride the fence. We must make a choice.

Of course, Jesus makes this same point, and Zerr cites this passage to back up his statement. "He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me scatters" (Matthew 12:30).

Are we willing to take an open stand on the Lord's side, regardless of the consequences? There are pressures all around us -- the world, our family and friends, sometimes our own brethren. We must have the resolve that we will stand with the Lord, even if it means not standing with those we love.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Belief or Disbelief?

"He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned" (Mark 16:16).

This is a pretty easy verse to understand. Jesus specifically states two things that are necessary for salvation -- belief and baptism.

Yet many claim that this is not what the passage teaches. Most of the "Christian" religions teach that baptism is not necessary for salvation. How do they explain this passage then? They see that the second part of the verse says disbelief results in condemnation, and then point out that it does not explicitly say that not being baptized will cause one to be condemned. Therefore, they say, baptism is not necessary for salvation. This type of reasoning is exactly what Paul warned about: "trickery of men...deceitful scheming" (Ephesians 4:14).

Read the passage again. "He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."

Jesus said the one who believes and is baptized shall be saved. Therefore, both belief and baptism are necessary for salvation. Do you believe His statement? If so, and you want to be saved, that is what you will do. But if not, "he who has disbelieved shall be condemned."


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

BOTC - March 2008

The new issue of Banner of the Cross is now online and contains the following articles:

His Name Is John by Andy Sochor
Explaining and Giving Evidence by Andy Sochor
A Better Sacrifice by Andy Sochor

Banner of the Cross

Saturday, March 1, 2008

PBT - March 2008

The March issue of Plain Bible Teaching is now online with the following articles:

How to Approach the Bible by Andy Sochor
Making Sacrifices by Andy Sochor
Genesis: A Book of Beginnings by Andy Sochor

You can read the new articles by clicking on the link below. I hope you may find the new material helpful to you.

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