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A vehicle for venting on philosophy, religion, and the general state of things. Proprietor: C. W. Powell

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ye Shall Be as Gods!

It is the oldest of all the temptations, even older than the oldest profession! It had nothing to do with sex, even though the woman was deceived in the temptation. It had to do with whether or not man would define right and wrong independently from the word of God.

The test was a simple one. God told Adam and Eve not to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. That's what the test was about: what is good and what is evil? God did not leave it to Adam and Eve to decide: they could eat every tree of the garden except that one.

It was not that the Tree was evil in itself, nor was it evil because Adam esteemed it to be evil: no, the evil of eating the tree was evil because God said it was evil: the measure was not in Adam himself or in the tree: the measure was in the wisdom and mind of God, revealed to Adam in words.

The minister of the Gospel is obligated to "reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine." He is obliged to do as Paul told Titus: Tit 3:8 "This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men."

This did not mean that Titus was to constantly affirm that believers follow their own hearts or decide for themselves what the grace of God tells them to do, for this was simply a return to the first temptation. Adam was not to decide for himself what his relationship with the Tree was. That relationship was defined by God, and God didn't give a flip whether or not Adam had his feelings hurt or not. The church or the world is not to be governed by whether or not so and so has his feelings hurt.

A lot of people had their feelings hurt when Sodom was overthrown and when the earth opened up and swallowed Korah and Abiram. I don't suppose that Ananias and Sapphira had good feeling when they lied to the Holy Ghost and died before Peter and the church at Jerusalem. Truth is not decided by appeal to feelings.

Titus was not to exhort unbelievers to "be careful to maintain good works," for that would have been useless, but to exhort believers, which is good and profitable. This is not contrary to grace, but necessary as the Lord's commands: we should not try to be smarter than God, setting aside what He commands because of our rebellious spirits. Grace does not turn us loose as wild beasts in the Lord's vineyard.

The good works which are commanded are not to be defined by ourselves any more than Adam's were. No, the Bible speaks of them in this way:

1. They are of faith, for whatsoever is not of faith is sin. They must come from a thankful heart that knows that all its sins are forgiven by the blood of Christ.

2. They are for the glory of God, for all other works are a perversion of the image of God, who resists the proud but gives grace to the humble.

3. They are according to the commands of God, for sin is transgression of the law of God.

Every faithful minister must do these things and must be highly esteemed if he does them, as the Bible says. He is ordained and given authority to do this by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery, if his ordaination is biblical. If it is not biblical, then he should be quiet and live at peace.

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