Know Your Bible

VOL. 11                                                                                                                          January 13, 2013                                                                                                                            NO. 50



I have never tried it, but I am told that if you drop a frog into hot water, he will jump out. However, if you were to place a frog in a kettle of cool water and gradually heat the water, the frog would stay put and perish in a boiling death. Perhaps you wonder how even a frog could be so stupid as to be unaware of his gradually changing surroundings. Are we any wiser?

When I was growing up, most Christian parents were terribly concerned about the immoral influence of Hollywood films. Those are the old movies that today are shown on TV and judged innocent and harmless - "family pictures." Now TV news, commercials and entertainment are saturated with lust and violence. Years ago people were saying, "If it gets any worse, I'm going to toss my TV set out." Has it gotten worse? Are we a bunch of slowly cooking frogs?

The lulled frog syndrome can also be witnessed in many churches. A few years ago many members were expressing concern about churches being diverted from their work. If what is now sponsored - from church ball teams to video game rooms, from secular education to homes for unwed mothers - if churches had introduced anything like this fifty years ago, members would have jumped clear into the next county. But these changes have been introduced gradually and with little awareness; and the people of God have been lulled to sleep. How grave is their danger!

"Awake you who sleep. Arise from the dead, and Christ will give you light. See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is," Ephesians 5:14-17.

---Marvin A. Noble

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Have you ever heard anyone say, as an explanation for some sinful action, "I have become so confused I don't know what is right anymore"? As a rule, the person who says such a thing is one who has had clear convictions but has acted, or is about to act, contrary to them. 

This must be what the Holy Spirit was saying about Eve in 1 Tim. 2:14. "Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.

To say that she was deceived is not to say that she was ignorant.  She quoted perfectly what God had said: "We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat of it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die'" (Gen. 3:2,3). She was deceived when she thought there could be any valid reason for disobeying God. 

We cannot know how long Adam and Eve avoided the forbidden tree. With so many other trees from which to eat, there was no need to eat of it. There is no evidence of confusion regarding the right and wrong of eating or the wisdom of abstaining. They were happy ignoring it. 

But along came Satan to draw Eve's attention to the tree she had been avoiding. He drew here attention to the beauty of the fruit and somehow convinced her, perhaps by eating of it himself, that it was good for food. If he did eat of it, the fact that he did not die surely gave support to his contention that she would not die. One can see the confusion mounting. The arguments she considered conclusive against eating were rapidly being snatched by arguments for doing so.  Which arguments were valid? Both seemed to be. 

Had Adam been nearby, or had God spoken again, she might have been reminded once more of the strong reasons for rejecting the fruit.  But as it was, the voice of God grew weaker in her memory as the desirability of the fruit was magnified by Satan's glib lies. All that was needed to tip the balance was the final suggestion of an apparent virtue in eating -- the thought that she would become like God. Never mind the legalistic prohibition; surely one could not be blamed for wanting to be like God. 

"She took of the fruit and ate" (Gen. 3:6). Tragic words! Tragic consequences! Consequences reaching down through countless generations even to us! 

The great mistake of Eve was in allowing herself even to begin thinking about disobedience. This was the mistake of Achan when he first saw the Babylonian garment (Jos. 7:21), of David when he first saw his beautiful neighbor bathing (2 Sam. 11:2) and of Judas when he first thought of betraying Jesus. It is the same mistake each of us makes -- men and women alike -- whenever we sin. 

The Bible says much: "Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown brings forth death" (Jas. 1:14,15). 

There is ample defense available. If we are wise enough to meditate on God's laws in such circumstances, (Psa. 119:11), and to ask Him for deliverance (Matt. 6:13), He will, with the temptation, "also make the way of escape" (1 Cor. 10:13). 

But all too often, in the name of open-mindedness and objectivity, we feel we are obligated to look at the other side, to consider the "arguments in favor of" sin. We may even be so foolish as to parrot the existential line: "I must get away to myself and sort things out." If this means getting away for Bible study, meditation and prayer, fine! But this is seldom what it means. As a rule, what it means is: "I want to be left alone to rationalize my way through the sin that entices me without having to reason with those who would logically or scripturally expose my folly." 

Such conflict between conscience and passion, between logic and emotion, between authority and anarchy, between flesh and spirit will indeed produce confusion -- confusion bordering on insanity.  But it is a confusion for which we are responsible. It is the peculiar malady of "those who perish because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" and who "did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness" (2 Thess. 2:10,12). It is never surprising when such a person, "being deceived," falls into transgression. 

In Jesus' day "there was a division among the people because of Him" (Jn. 7:43). They were confused by the contradiction between His claims and the accusations of their rulers. Jesus stated clearly who would not be confused: "If anyone wants to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak of My own authority" (Jn. 7:17). 

Wanting to do God's will will save us from the confusion, deception and transgression into which our mother Eve fell. 

---Sewell Hall

Gospel Power, Vol. 16, No. 11, March 15, 2009 

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Know Your Bible" is e-mailed weekly by the church of Christ which meets at 112 Roberts Avenue in Wise, Virginia. If you know of others who might benefit from the articles contained in this bulletin, we would be glad to have you submit their e-mail addresses and we will include them in next week's mailing. If you are receiving this bulletin and do not wish to continue to do so, please e-mail us with your desire to be removed from the mailing list and we will remove your address promptly. Continue to the bottom of this page and further instructions will be given as to how you may contact us.

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