Know Your Bible
Does Moral Goodness Make One A Christian?
Many honest and sincere souls have been deceived into believing that if a person is morally good, then he is a Christian. No one can be a true follower of Christ without being on a high moral plane. However, Christianity is more than simply being good.
Acts 10 tells about a man named Cornelius whose living standard, from a moral standpoint, was above reproach. The moral life of this man would put many Christians to shame. He is described (Acts 10) as a "devout man", "a just man", and one "which gave much alms to the people." Yet, in spite of these good traits, he was not a child of God.
Peter came to Cornelius' house and told him what he needed to do to be saved. Prior to this, it is clear that Cornelius was a unsaved person. In Acts 11, Peter had to defend himself to the Jewish brethren for what he did in going to preach to the Gentiles. In doing so, Peter cited what the angel had said to Cornelius which was, "...Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter; who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved (vs. 13-14)." Thus, prior to the arrival of Peter (who preached God's Word there) Cornelius, a very moral man, was not saved.
Further, Cornelius' prayers and good deeds did not save him, nor was he saved as a result of hearing an angel. Instead, he was saved by hearing and believing (Acts 15:7), repenting, (Acts 17:30-31), and by being baptized (Acts 10:48, 2:38).
If moral goodness could save someone, surely Cornelius, a cut above most, would have been saved. Moral goodness alone could not save him, and it cannot save us today. We must not get the wrong idea, however. A Christian must be a good moral person, but it takes more than simply being a good moral person to be a Christian and to be saved.
Have You Ever Done An Investigation?
No, I'm not talking about an investigation into something you had stolen or damage that was done to your personal property. I realize none of us are detectives or private investigators. Yet, there are two areas that I would like to challenge you to investigate.
INVESTIGATE WHAT YOU BELIEVE RELIGIOUSLY.
God has given us everything that "pertains unto life and godliness" in His word, the New Testament (2 Peter 1:3). God's word is inspired of Him and we can be "thoroughly furnished...unto all good works" (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Have you ever investigated what you believe to see whether it is taught in God's words or do you believe what you do simply because it is what the preacher teaches or what your parents have taught you. So much of what is taught in the religious world is believed to be God's word when, in truth, it is nothing more than traditions that originated with man. How can you or I either one know if what we believe is a "hand me down" from man or is it's God's word unless we take the time to investigate? Are we safe to accept something to have originated with God just because it comes from a church, a preacher, or our parents? Is it not possible to be sincere and conscientious yet sincerely and conscientiously wrong? Saul was (Acts 21:3; 26:9)!
God warns us that "many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1) and "there shall be false teachers among you" (2 Peter 2:1). We are even warned that the ministers of Satan will appear as "ministers of righteousness"(2 Corinthians 11:14,15). What if the things we believe and practice in religion is because of what has come about by a false teacher? Is it OK to believe and practice these things as long as we are sincere? Can we excuse ourselves from investigating what we believe with the statement that is so often used: "What I don't know can't hurt me!"? If an unlabeled bottle of poison gets misplaced in the medicine cabinet and we drink it, will it not hurt us if we don't know it's poison? Sure it will!! We ought to not apply such logic in the area of religion, either. How can we know who are the false teachers? It's surely not going to be by their appearance. We've just seen in 2 Corinthians 11:14,15 that Satan's ministers will be "transformed as ministers of righteousness". Even Jesus describes false teachers as wolves in "sheep's clothing" (Matthew 7:15). We won't be able to perform the investigation by means of their appearance or personality. The only way to investigate and know for a certainty is to compare what they teach by the word of God. God's word is truth (John 17:17) and it will be God's word that will judge us in the Judgement Day (John 12:48; Romans 2:2).
INVESTIGATE THE CHURCH OF CHRIST WHICH MEETS AT 112 ROBERTS AVENUE IN WISE, VA.
I ask of you to do this for I fear that much has been said about the Lord's church by people who are misinformed. Misinformation can cause prejudice and prejudice can turn people off. Maybe you've heard it said about us that, "They think they are the only ones going to Heaven" or "They think they are the only ones right and everybody else is wrong". If you've heard these statements in regards to us, what was your immediate thoughts. Let me guess! You thought, "Well, if they think that way, I don't want to have anything to do with them!"
Let me tell you about us. We believe as Jesus taught. He said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 7:21). Any person that "doeth the will" of the Father will enter into the kingdom of heaven. So, we put great emphasis on doing the Father's will. His will is revealed in the pages of the New Testament and have been revealed so that we can read and understand (Ephesians 3:3-5). Anyone can read and understand! Anyone can do the will of the Father! Our sole desire is to read and understand God's word and to do His will! If that is your desire, you owe it to yourself to come and investigate us regardless of what people may say. What they are saying may be something they are repeating. They may be very sincere but you owe it to yourself to see if we study the Bible, follow it in all we do, and live our lives in accordance to it. We believe that ought to be the same desire that everyone should have. If we can agree on anything, we ought to be able to agree on what God says.
The week of Sunday April 20th through Friday April 25th is an opportunity for you to perform this investigation. The church which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Va. will be conducting a series of gospel meetings. We will assemble at 7:30 each evening and services will begin with congregational singing. A prayer will be lead followed by another song. After the singing is concluded, our guest speaker will be Douglas Eubanks. He will encourage everyone to take their Bible and follow him in the lesson he presents from God's words. He will welcome any questions to be asked him following the services from anyone who might have a question about the lesson he presents. At the end of his sermon, he will extend the invitation of the gospel to anyone who needs to obey and have the forgiveness of sins. With a closing prayer, the services will be concluded for that evening. You will not be coerced nor asked for money. We just ask you to come, bring your Bibles, and study with us. You would be an honored guest. So why not come and investigate for yourself. Find out for a fact what we believe, teach, and practice. We believe that you might be surprised to find out that we are simply a group of people striving to do the will of the Father.
---E.R. Hall, Jr.
Back To Know Your Bible Home Page