By John Foll
, finished writing 1/8/2018
© Copyright 2018 John Foll
It takes more than having the correct theory of the truth to be saved.
* This blog is not for everyone, but some may especially need to hear this message. If you are looking for a nice easy-going article that tells you that you are OK and just makes you feel good, this article is not for you. We are sorry if it appears too strong. But there are problems with the way many people believe about how they are saved. Since Jesus gave this message or a similar one to it, it still needs to be heard! But if you are not ready for it, then don’t read this article. If you would like to find out what you may lack or need to do to be saved, read on.
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Watch out and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.’” Matthew 16:6 NASB. “Then they [Jesus’ disciples] understood that He did not say to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.” Matthew 16:12 NASB.
Jesus’ statement here is still valid today! We need to beware of the leaven of the modern Pharisees and Sadducees!
Today there are two basic groups within Christianity: the left and the right.
(We are not talking about Christian denominations here.) We are not trying to hurt anyone’s feelings or put down anyone, but today there is a “general” condition of lukewarmness in many Churches that seems very hard to wake people up to, or it’s a cold spiritual state or it’s a party like happy-go-lucky state – no worries. They just don’t get it. This is similar in some ways to when Jesus walked this earth warning His Disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. What can be done to wake people up to their peril? This is our desire and ministry objective: Help people lose their lukewarm Christian state.
In our day some have been taught to presume on God’s great mercy, that everything is taken care of by grace … they don’t need to choose to let God help them, renounce the world, or make the changes He wants them to make, or they are taught that once they are saved that they cannot be lost. Some don’t think their choice plays any role in their salvation once they have become ‘saved’: it is automatic after this. Some believe that they don’t need to give themselves to God daily or don’t think this needs to be their concern, since they are ‘saved’ or because of ‘grace’ or whatever. Or they don’t give it any thought at all, since they are falsely comforted by their teachers. And many of them are taught that they don’t have to obey God; that if they try to obey Him this is works and bad. There are multiple variations and layers of this teaching, depending on which Christian denomination they are from. But the end result of all of them will be the same, unless a miracle happens and they change. There is not as big a difference between the variations of these beliefs as many might think, the end result is the same: trick people into thinking that they are safe, when they are not, so that they will be lost. Trick people into thinking that since they have ‘the truth’ or the correct beliefs, that they are good and will be saved. Some of them won’t admit that the points we are making apply to them. They hide behind their belief that because they believe ‘the truth’ or because of something that they have done or are doing that they will be saved in the end. Some people seem to think church membership is a membership into a club of the saved.
And in our day there are others who claim that they ‘know the truth’, and probably think that they are keeping it. But they really aren’t and they are often harsh and critical with others, not knowing their true need of God. Some believe that they are right because they believe ‘the truth’ and take a firm stand for it, and think that this alone makes them good – good enough to be saved. And they think that if you don’t agree with them and do as they do, that you don’t get it, implying that you are lost. They think that this is good behavior: talking about the sins and mistakes of others, but it is in fact, a terrible sin that will shut them out of Heaven, unless they repent of it. Others think that their salvation is secure because of grace, but if you don’t believe like they do, you are ‘under the law”, implying that you are lost. So this other side also believes that their belief saves them.
Many have a theory of the truth but do not have a vital connection with God, or their connection with Him is inconsistent. Many claim that the other side is in error without knowing that they are in error too. There is nothing you can learn that will save you by itself, even if it’s the truth, without the need to humble yourself before God, confess all your sins, yield to Him all the way moment by moment, and be fully converted and born again. What can be done to wake people up to these delusions? Many don’t realize that belief alone will not save them, weather it is the truth or not. Or they may think they are saved without having to yield to God, because they are saved or were saved at one time.
Do you believe?
You do well, the demons also believe and tremble! James 2:19. The belief in the truth is a good place to start, but unless you are daily converted and born again it is not enough. But do you believe in all the truth, or just what has been “cherry picked” for you by your teachers? Have you studied out all that the Bible has to say, the whole thing, and tried to learn everything that it teaches, without trying to force it through what you have been taught to make it fit? Jesus says that we are to beware of the leaven or teaching, or the doctrines of the Pharisees (on the right) and the Sadducees (on the left). We believe that Jesus would still say in our day to beware of ‘the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees', if He were here walking and teaching on this earth. He would warn us that we are to beware of their teachings and attitudes that do not line up 100% with God’s word in the Bible. And all attitudes that do not line up 100% with God’s love or are not compatible with it, should be discarded. (We are not saying here that God will not eventually carry out justice here against the unrepentant sinner, or that rebuke to sinners is not necessary sometimes, but it is always to be given in love.)
Many think that they know the truth, but if they are not changed by it to be kinder, gentler, more forgiving, more compassionate to others, more devoted to God, and more obedient to Him, it is of little value. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven, regardless of whether you believe the truth or not. John 3:3, 5. These are not my words, but Jesus’ words.
Jesus also said to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy:
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things, and do not do them.’” Matthew 23:1-3 NASB. Jesus’ definition of hypocrisy is when people say things and do not do them. Notice Jesus didn’t say that everything that the Scribes and Pharisees were saying were wrong. He clearly indicated that the things that they taught from the Bible should still be done, but that we are not to do as they do, because they said things and did not do them. Why? Because they had no vital connection with God, and no one can live a righteous life apart from Him. All their righteousness was pretended. We think this adequately describes many of those on the left, as well as many on the right in our day too. Did you catch that? Yes you heard that right! All their righteousness is pretended.
Many on the left ‘claim’ that they believe that they are saved by grace, or that they believe in righteousness by faith, while they do not really know what saving faith is, or what it means to be born again, or they have forgotten or lost it. And they believe that since they are saved by grace, that this is all that is needed. They have a theory of part of the truth, but not the practice. (Yes, we are saved by grace!) But the way many of them live is really a form of self-righteousness (or no righteousness at all), just like those on the right who are not born again. Anyone who does not have Christ’s righteousness has either self-righteousness or no righteousness at all. No one can be good before God standing in the robe of their own righteousness or filthy rags. Isaiah 64:6. Only those who are confessing their sins and allowing God to cleanse them from all unrighteousness appear good in the eyes of God. 1 John 1:9. Because Christ will be their righteousness, He will give it to them. Philippians 1:11; 3:9; Romans 8:10. Only those who are yielding to God step-by-step, day-by-day are where God wants them to be.
Many on the right seem to think that because they believe ‘the truth’ and take a vigorous stand for it, and put down those who do not do what they say, and those who don’t agree with their views on everything, that this makes them good. What a joke. Many of them also say bad things about others behind their back, and try to assassinate their characters. (Many on the left do this too.) But this behavior is anything but good. Jesus declared: “If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY FACT MAY BE CONFIRMED. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” Matthew 18:15-17 NASB. The King James Version for this passage says that we are to ‘tell him his fault between thee and him alone.’ But even though Jesus said this, it has fallen on deaf hears, for many do not seem to know that He said it, or they just ignore what He said. This is such a big problem! This can cause souls to be lost and can divide churches! (This could cause the soul of the person being talked about to be lost, as well as those who are talking about them, unless they repent.) Belief in the truth is never enough by itself, there must also be a change of heart and a love for lost sinners, not desiring to hurt any - that all would come to repentance. It takes more than a theory of the truth! The truth must take possession of the heart. The attitude must change. What truth especially? The truth of God’s love for humanity and desire to save everyone!! We believe that some on both sides have parts of the truth, but it is not complete or is just a theory to them.
‘Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers’ Philippians 3:2 NASB:
Beware of the false teachings and bad attitudes of the left and the right. To some, the left appear to be more correct, because they talk much of God’s grace and love, which is true and can be found easily in the Bible. But to others, the right appears to be more correct and in line with more Bible truths. (Some on the right believe that they are saved by grace too.) But many Christians are not born again or have lost it, and think that because they believe ‘the truth’ and try to keep it that that it is enough to be saved, or for others who do nothing at all, because they think that all works are bad and are careless of God’s requirements. Those who are not listening to God do not know their own true spiritual condition: that they are blind, miserable, and naked. Revelation 3:15-20. Those who don’t see their need to obey God’, or seek His help to obey Him are blind to their true condition. But God’s Holy Spirit is given to all that obey Him (Acts 5:32) and to those who want to obey Him. And those who don’t want to obey Him (or don’t think that He can help them obey) most certainly do not have the Holy Spirit and are not born again. If someone is not wanting to obey, or do not think that they can obey Him by His power, you can be sure there is a big problem in their life that they need to confess, repent and forsake. There is nothing too hard for God that He wants to do for His people, if they want His help. Jeremiah 32:17, 27. If you are born again you will have the love of God in your heart for others, and will have pity for those who are erring, and will not talk bad about them. And you will also love to obey God, and be sorry when you make a mistake or sin. You will not seek to excuse sin, but get forgiven, and receive God’s sweet Holy Spirit into your life again. When you are born again, sharing God’s love for others is a delight for you, and your life is oriented around unselfish service to God, and for the salvation of souls, or for doing whatever God has given you to do to help others. (God gives different gifts to each person who belong to Him.)
The Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees are the partial truths, the half-truths, and the falsehoods that they believe are the complete truth, without knowing they are missing something essential. For some of them, it is their attitude towards others that is wrong, more than their beliefs. These beliefs make them think that they are safe, OK, and right with God, when in fact they are not. They surround themselves with teachers who tell them they are OK as long as they have the correct beliefs. They both believe that they are right and that the other side is wrong. They say some things which are true, but do not do them. Both need to be born again, or re-born again. This is one of the ways the devil confuses people, he gets them into focusing on someone else as being in error, while they ignore their own errors. He holds up another group as being wrong, and gets them on a crusade against them. Unfortunately a lot of people in both of these groups are lacking the Holy Spirit dwelling in their heart, that all are required to have in order to be able to enter the kingdom of Heaven. John 3:3, 5. You must be born again to enter the kingdom of Heaven. This is not a statement about someone’s beliefs, but a statement about what they are or are not – born again or not born again. Belief will not save anyone, being born again will. (We are not talking about faith here, just people’s beliefs.)
Beware of the teachings of the Pharisees and Sadducees!
Beware of those who say they believe the truth but do not do it!
Beware of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees!
Beware of the dogs, beware of the evil workers.
It’s not ‘what you know’, but ‘Who you know’ that saves you:
Jesus says, ‘depart from Me, ye that work iniquity’ ‘for I never knew you’. “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'” Matthew 7:21-23 NASB.
‘Do you know my Jesus? Do you know my friend? Have you heard He loves you? And that He will abide till the end?‘ Oh sinner, waste not a precious moment! Make the Savior your friend before your life is over. No one knows how much time they have left on this earth. Don’t believe for a moment that you are OK because you know the truth or that you are automatically saved by grace, and that you do not have to make a choice to humble yourself before Him, love, serve and obey Him.
* From the song ‘Do you know my Jesus?’ by Vep B. Ellis and William F. Lakey
‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?’ Acts 16:30 KJV.
If you know that you are not born again, or find that you have been in error on any of the points we discussed in this article, or any others, and God is convicting you on it, you can get a clean slate right now with God! * He is always willing to forgive! Just humble yourself before Him right now, and tell Him you are sorry that you didn’t love Him enough to yield to Him all the way before, and obey Him in everything He asked you to do, or for putting it off. Tell Him you are sorry that you haven’t given your heart completely to Him before. Ask Him to help you be born again and fill you with His sweet Spirit. Ask Him to help you to love and obey Him in all things. Ask Him to help you become meek, gentle, lowly, and kind. Always obey Him willingly whenever He asks you to do something; ask Him for the help to do it. If you want to do your own thing, God will not force you to change or stop you from doing it, but it will make Him sad, because He loves you! If you decide to go your own way you cannot have this wonderful peace, love and joy in your heart that He wants to give you, and you will lose your earthly and heavenly security. But there is no reason for you to do this when you can have all the eternal riches that God wants to give you! And you can start to gain some of them right now! Do you want these eternal riches dear reader? They are yours if you will claim them! Give your heart to God now and every day and they will be yours! You will be so glad that you did! There will be a sweetness in your life that you probably never had or noticed before. Your attitude will change towards others who used to get you upset before, and you will want to obey God. And there will be Son-shine in your heart! Amen!
May the grace of God be with you, as you decide if you want to give your heart to God all the way. We hope and pray that you do. We want to see you in Heaven, and know the joy of the eternally saved! Amen.
* From the Song ‘He’, music written by Jack Richards, with lyrics by Richard Mullan.
There is a way to tell from the Bible if you are born again or not, if you will study it out. You should, your eternal life depends on it. But it must be more than a theory to you, you need to allow God to change you and you must give yourself to Him all the way. It must be your desire and practice. I.e. what you do, not just what you say. Only God can do this for you, but you must submit to Him completely, every day, if you want to be born again and stay that way. Amen, let it be so!
#Beware #Leaven #Pharisees #Sadducees #Hypocrisy #Left #Right #Liberal #Conservative #Grace #Truth #Lukewarm #Saved #Good #Harsh #Critical #Backbiting #Choice #Humble #BornAgain
By D. T. Bourdeau
"The tongue," says James, "is a little member, and boasteth great things.Behold, how great a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and it is set on fire of hell." James iii, 5, 6.
This is said of an unsanctified tongue, and shows that though the tongue is a small member yet it exerts a mighty influence. It sustains a relation to and exerts an influence over the whole body. It is compared to bits that we put in the horses' mouths and by which we turn about the whole body; and to a helm by which the mighty ships are turned whithersoever the governor listeth. Verses 3, 4. Such is the importance that James attaches to governing the tongue that he declares, "If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able to bridle the whole body." "If any among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain." Verse 2: Chap. i, 26. And Solomon must have been forcibly struck with the necessity of governing the tongue when he wrote, "Life and death are in the power of the tongue." Prov. xviii, 21.
The tongue, as an instrument of speech, is one of
those prerogatives which exalt man above the beast, and was designed by the Creator to express holy and virtuous thoughts. It is an index to the heart; "for out of the abundance of the heart," says our Saviour, "the mouth speaketh." Matt. xii, 35. The use that is made of the tongue indicates the moral condition of the heart, and consequently the character of the whole man; and there are as many ways in which men sin with their tongues as there are in which they sin with their thoughts, tempers and actions.
It is readily seen that the sanctification of the tongue is a vast subject. But we will confine ourselves to some leading principles and thoughts, and to some of the many Bible instructions on the subject.
And first, the tongue is rightly used in speaking of and addressing the Creator with reverence, according to his holy and exalted perfections and our dependence upon him. If we do this from the heart we shall not be guilty of taking God's holy name in vain. We shall realize his goodness and love, and will not be inclined to murmur against him, but will be grateful to him for his dealings with us, and for the least blessing we receive at his hand.
But while the tongue is properly used in speaking of, and addressing, God in a manner compatible with his holy perfections and our dependence upon him, it should speak of, and address, others with respect, according to the relations they sustain to us and the Creator. In speaking of the wrong use of the tongue, James says, "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing My brethren, these things ought not so to be." James iii, 9, 10.
It is not a small matter to curse others with the tongue. If we curse our fellow creatures who are made in the image of God and have God for their Father, we offend God, and are not in a condition to bless or exalt him, and he cannot accept a blessing from us, Indeed, he cannot look on any thing that we can say to exalt him as a blessing. What we say of him proceeds from the same heart that leads us to curse those whom he has created, and over whom his care, love and mercy are extended. This is clearly illustrated in the following verses: "Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh." Verses 11, 12.
Cursing is the opposite of blessing, and we can curse others in various ways. And the ungodly are not the only ones that are guilty here.James is here admonishing and correcting his "brethren."
We curse others with the tongue in slandering and backbiting.The unsanctified tongue is said to be full of deadly poison, and its deadly and poisonous influence is felt by others. It would be considered a heinous crime to put a portion of strychnine or arsenic into food prepared for others; but many consider it a light thing to poison the character of others, and injure their feelings by slandering, backbiting or talebearing. By these, thousands of innocent characters have been shamefully and maliciously martyred.
Many professed Christians are not guarded enough, and fail on this point. If they are tried with a brother or sister, and see or hear any thing unfavorable about them, they are sure to tell it to others, and perhaps in their tried condition they will put a wrong construction
on what they have learned; and if their remarks take and they are not checked, they will tell it to others, and then to others, and so on; and some are not satisfied till they have spread their slanderous reports among the enemies of truth. And then the poor, blinded, deceived souls may think they have done a noble work. But what have they done? They have got the sympathy of some, who will perish with them unless they repent. They have blown on and fed the fire of hatred which they in weakness suffered Satan to kindle in their breasts, till it has grown and kindled a great matter, and others have been set on fire of hell. They perhaps have discouraged weak and well-meaning brethren, who have not sufficient experience to meet their influence, and some of whom may never recover from the shock they have received. They have caused the good way to be evil spoken of, and some may have been shut out of the kingdom. The Spirit and lovers of peace have been grieved, and Satan and his contentious host rejoice.
It is not strange that those who know not God, and the power of his truth, should indulge in slandering and backbiting; but for those who profess to know God and his truth, for professed followers of Jesus Christ, to backbite and slander, is shameful and criminal in the extreme.
But thank God, those sins need not exist in the church of God, if gospel order and discipline are carried out. Says Christ, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone," etc. Matt. xviii, 15-17. Here is the proper course marked out by the Saviour. First go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone. He does not say, go and tell his fault to everybody
in the church and to everybody in the world. Those who do this err, and need to be immediately labored with themselves. If those who are tried with their brethren, would go directly to them with their grievances, they would not have so much to say, and much trouble might be saved.
But some will here say, if ever wisdom is needed it is in doing this duty. This is true. But James says, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally and upbraideth not, and it shall be given him;" chap. i, 5; and he describes heavenly wisdom as follows: "The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." Chap. iii, 17. If every trait of this wisdom were fully examined, and strictly followed, this would be an easy duty to perform.
The following scriptures show how God looks upon slandering, backbiting and talebearing: "He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that uttereth a slander, is fool." "Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes." "Whoso privily slandereth his neighbor, him will I cut off." "For I fear, lest when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults." "Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer
among thy people. . . I am the Lord thy God." "He that goeth about as a talebearer revealeth secrets: therefore meddle not with him that flattereth (or enticeth, margin) with his lips." "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out; so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth." Prov. x, 18; Ps. 1, 20; ci, 5; 2 Cor. xii, 20; Lev. xix, 16; Prov. xx, 19; xxvi, 20.
One of those sins of backslidden Israel over which Jeremiah was grieved, and which ripened Israel to receive the lingering wrath of Jehovah, was slandering. Jer. ix, 1-4. And when David undertakes to describe the man who will abide in the tabernacle of the Lord, and dwell in his holy hill, among other things he says, "He that backbiteth not with his tongue." Ps. xv, 1-3.
We should never use the tongue in speaking of others in any way to injure them. We should guard against bearing false witness. This is often done unintentionally by exaggerating. It is better to say nothing about the faults of others, than to speak of them in a manner to defame the character. When it becomes necessary to speak of the sins of our fellow creatures, we should show that while we hate sin, we love and pity the sinner. When we are about to speak concerning the faults of others, we should ask ourselves questions like these:Will what I am about to say benefit any one? Will it be rightly handled? Will it benefit the cause? Am I going to speak as I would like to have others speak of me if I were in the same condition?
Evil-speaking is strictly and repeatedly prohibited by the Scriptures; and under the head of evil-speaking, is speaking evil of dignities. Jude 8. The
evil of this sin is not realized by all. Some are liable to overlook the sacred position of those whom God calls to help in leading out his people toward the rest that remains for the children of God. Like ancient Israel, they look upon these agents as though the work with which they are connected was merely a human work, and speak accordingly. Some, like Korah, Dathan and Abiram, and a host of others, not realizing the weight and responsibilities of this work, will envy the position of those who are called to it. Num. xvi. They think they are of consequence and that the servants of God take too much upon themselves. They despise dominion, attribute the cause of their trials to dignities, and murmur when they are corrected for their sins. By pursuing this course they despise God, and murmur against him."He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." Luke x, 16.
The fate of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and the punishment of others spoken of in the Scriptures, are sufficient to teach us how God regards this sin. But besides this, we have in the backsliding and fall of many within our own recollection, a clear demonstration of God's disapprobation for this sin, and of the necessity of guarding against it.
We curse others with the tongue in speaking angry words, in freting and scolding. No good has ever resulted from so doing. Angry words, fretting and scolding, have never benefited any one. They have often proved a curse and a source of much evil. They may overpower and intimidate the fearful for the time being; but they will never reform them. They are destructive of peace, affection, and
happiness. Peace and angry words do not exist together, and who can love habitual fretters and scolders with a love of approbation? Such are more dreaded than loved.Even the meek will feel an uneasiness while in the society of such. Though they may bear with, and pity them, they will feel as if among nettles and thistles.
[Editor removed: ‘
On the’ preceding ‘they have often’]
Thousands of families are made miserable and unhappy by irritating words. In many instances, parents fail here. Instead of speaking kind and cheerful words; they complain and fret and scold. As they do this, they are shut up to each others' faults. The husband sees no virtue in his wife, and the wife sees no virtue in her husband. Separation often follows. Many a husband has been driven to the tavern by a fretful and peevish wife, and many a wife has been discouraged / and made miserable by a fretful and complaining husband.
But the evil is not confined to the heads of families: the children generally imitate their parents. They do not obey them through love, but through fear and dread, and perhaps to not be annoyed by their fretting and scolding. Some children will conceal from their parents important matters, and tell falsehoods to avoid a scolding.Home has no attractions to such children; and many in discouragement will leave their parents.
Prov. xii, 18: "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health." While the unsanctified tongue causes discord, sorrow, gloom, discouragement and death, the sanctified tongue brings peace, joy, light, courage, health and life to those who use it, and to those who eat of its fruit.
It is quite an easy matter to speak pleasant and
cheerful words to the meek, to those who always bless us; but it is more difficult to speak words of pleasantness to those who address us with angry words, to such as curse and revile us. But we are expressly commanded to bless them that curse us, to bless and curse not, to not render railing for railing. Luke vi, 28; Rom. xii, 14; 1 Pet. iii, 9. "For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example that ye should follow in his steps. . . . Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously." 1 Pet. ii, 21-23.
"A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger." Prov. xv, 1. In our intercourse with our fellow-creatures, a spoonful of oil is better than a quart of vinegar. By taking revenge of an injury we are only even to our enemy; but by passing it over we are superior. And a more glorious victory cannot be obtained over another than to return injury with kindness. Those who give away to anger and speak angry words, manifest real weakness of soul. They may at times think they gain victories over their enemies; but they are overcome by Satan and their own corrupt propensity. They are apt to say things that they would be ashamed of if they were in their right mind. For instance how liable some are to call others fools, devils, etc., when they are angry with them. But Christ shows in what light he views these rash and irritating expressions when he says, "Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca (or vain fellow, margin), shall be in danger of the council; but whosoever shall
say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire." Matt. v, 22.
Christ pronounces a blessing upon peace-makers. He says, "They shall be called the children of God." Matt. v, 9. In striving to make peace they imitate their Creator, who has done so much to bring peace into this revolted province, and to reconcile us unto himself. God sacrificed his dearly beloved Son for this object, and can we not deny ourselves a little, by not indulging in angry expressions? Can we not encourage and enforce the principles of peace by a meek and godly conversation?
The tongue is wrongly used in lying, and should be employed in telling the truth. The Lord has spoken clearly and repeatedly on this point, both in the Old and New Testaments, showing the evil that is caused by lying, and setting forth the awful consequences that await liars, and the advantages and blessings that result from telling the truth.
Lying originated with the Devil, who is the father of lies, and a liar from the beginning. He lied to Eve and beguiled her, and since then, lying has been practiced in many ways, and for various purposes.
But the lying tongue cannot be relied upon. It is ever looked upon with suspicion by the prudent. But it is considered safe to confide in those who are always known to tell the truth. He that sets out to tell a lie is not sensible of the task he undertakes; for he may be forced to invent many more to support it.
Lying is often practiced to get gain. This is seen in buying and selling.It has almost become a universal custom for those who sell to speak too highly of the articles they hold out for sale, and to say little or nothing about their defects, thus making an impression
that these articles are worth more than they really are; and for those who buy to undervalue the articles they wish to buy, and to say little or nothing about their qualities, thus conveying the idea that they are worth less than they are in reality.
And just here we would notice the case of Ananias and Sapphira.They sold their possession, and kept back part of the price, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet. They lied in trying to convey the idea that they had brought the whole price. But what language was used to convey this false idea? Peter said to Sapphira, "Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea for so much." Acts. v. And the fate of Ananias and Sapphira is known to all Bible students.
Doubtless if many at the present time were in the condition of Ananias and Sapphira, and were permitted to live and speak for themselves, they would justify themselves somewhat as follows: Why, I did not lie: I said I sold it for so much. I did sell it for that and something else. But would such be more justified than were Ananias and Sapphira?And will not the punishment of such be as certain as was theirs?
One common way of lying is to attempt to uphold error by the word of the Lord. Those who do this knowingly, or ignorantly when they might have known but refused to know, may be classed among liars. In order to give force to what they say, and make their remarks appear truthful, they must intimate or affirm that the Lord has spoken when he has not spoken; that the Bible says thus and so when it does not.
Cases of lying spoken of in the Bible are sometimes referred to, to prove that guile may be used on certain
occasions to bring about a good end; and falsehoods are often told to cover sin. But the Bible nowhere justifies lying. It teaches that we should not do evil, that good may come. None of those who used guile in Bible times were blessed of God for lying; but such as were blessed of God, were blessed for good traits that they possessed; and their lives would shine brighter in the heavenly records if they had not spoken guile.
No consideration should lead us to practice deceit. It is better to frankly confess our sins than to tell falsehoods to cover them, and to lose by telling the truth, than to gain by using guile. Of the holy Pattern we read, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth." 1 Pet. ii, 22. And of the last church it is written, "The remnant of Israel shall do no iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth." Zeph. iii, 13. "And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God." Rev. xiv, 5.
The tongue is wrongly used in speaking vain and idle words. "But I say unto you, That for every idle word that men shall speak they shall give an account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned." Matt. xii, 36, 37. If all were duly impressed with the truthfulness of this solemn declaration of the Saviour, vain and idle words would be fewer than they now are. But men will have to give account for their idle words in the day of judgment, whether they realize it or not. By our words we will either be justified or condemned in that day.
"How careful then ought we to live,
With what religious fear,
Who such a strict account must give
Of our behavior here."
By D. T. Bourdeau, from his book: “Sanctification - SANCTIFICATION OR, LIVING HOLINESS”, 1864, p. 55 - 67.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thess. v, 23.
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