Know Your Bible

VOL. 14                                                                                                                         March 15, 2015                                                                                                                            NO. 52



A number of years ago a friend of mine had a classic automobile.  He really took care of that car.  Every so often, he would have it painted and would keep it polished to a showroom shine.  He took good care of it mechanically.  Any work needed, from rebuilding the motor to rebuilding the transmission, was done.  People admired his car.  Sometimes someone would ask if the car was for sale, and he would reply, "Everything that I have is for sale . . . for the right price."

If we think about it, that statement would be true for most of us with almost anything that we own.  If someone were to ask me if our two cars (both having over 100,000 miles on them) were for sale, I would say that they were not.  But, if the person said he would give me $100,000 for the two cars, my answer would change.  I would say, "Where do I sign?" 

But, we do possess something that is more valuable than any earthly possession. It has so much value that it is worth more than all of the wealth in the world.  That possession is our soul, and we should never "sell" it.

Note what Jesus said in Matthew 16:24-27: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

It would be impossible for people to gain the entire world with all of its riches, honors, and pleasures. By earthly standards, they would be considered wealthy with far less. But, even if one could possess the entire world, their soul would still be worth more.

Consider two questions. For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?   The answer is he would not be profited anything. If a person loses his soul, he will dwell eternally in hell instead of heaven. Next, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? The answer should be "nothing." Eternal life (heaven) is so valuable a person should do whatever God requires to obtain it, and once it is obtained, he should not give it up for anything, not even for all of the wealth on earth.

The apostle Paul had obtained high status in the Jewish religion, but he was willing to give this up, and anything else, for Christ. He pointed out in Philippians 3:7-8, "But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ."  In Galatians 2:20, he said, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."

What choices are we making today? Are we putting Christ first? Sadly, many are exchanging eternal life for that which is material and which only lasts for a short time. What are you giving in exchange for your soul?

—Mike Johnson




One of the first forms of logical reasoning that children learn is the significance of the particle, “if." Unfortunately, many forget the meaning of the term in adulthood  especially in religious matters.

Grammatically speaking, "if" is identified as a conditional particle. That is, it mentions conditions or circumstances upon which certain consequences follow. "If" has a great variety of applications; they may involve blessings, punishments, opportunities, etc. "If" does not stand alone. It is a component of the “word neighborhood" in which it is found.

"If" is one of the first words a child begins to associate with logical thinking. The youngster as yet does not know anything about the formal process of reasoning from a logical vantage point, much less does he know of "conditional particles." But children quickly can fathom the significance of “if." "Bobby, if you eat your carrots, mommy will let you have some ice cream." Down go the carrots because Bobby already has learned the significance of "if."

As one grows, the "ifs" come fast and furiously, and they whip us into logical submission many times each day. "If you finish your homework, you may go out and play." "If you complete your chores, you may use the car this weekend." "If you take this medicine, it should relieve your symptoms." "If you service your car regularly, it will last much longer." On and on go the "ifs."

Why is it that "if" is so well understood in virtually every realm of life  except that of religion? That is a terribly strange phenomenon. And it reveals how stubborn some religious folks are.

One of the vilest doctrines ever to be foisted upon humanity by Satan is the idea that a child of God can never lose his/her salvation no matter what he/she does. This notion of "the impossibility of apostasy” is taught by the disciples of John Calvin (and some who are not formally identified with the Swiss reformer). Consider the following promise by Christ: “If a man keep my word, he shall never see death" (John 8:51).

Does this text affirm that no one will ever be lost regardless of how he lives? Of course it doesn't, and most acknowledge that. It does affirm that no one, who “keeps [Christ's] word" (the verb implies abiding action), will be lost. But the particle "if" is crucial; it states a condition. 

Note the following passages that equally are appropriate to this brief study. 

IF we hold fast the word, we will be saved (1 Corinthians 15:2).

IF we faint not, we shall reap in due season (Galatians 6:9). 

IF we continue in the faith, we will be unreprovable before Him (Colossians 1:22-23). 

IF we endure, we shall reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). 

IF we add the Christian virtues, we shall never stumble (2 Peter 1:10). 

IF we walk in the light, Christ''s blood keeps us clean (1 John 1:7). 

In each of the texts cited above, observe the leading conditional particle. Further, note the action verbs that are connected to these particles. How can any reasonable person, in light of these texts, contend that the retention of one's salvation is unconditional? That God will save us no matter how we live?

One gentleman, with whom I recently discussed this matter, responded to this line of evidence in the following way: “You place too much emphasis on ‘'if''." Isn't that a compelling statement? Actually, it disregards the value of the inspired words of the sacred text. There is little one can do to help the person who flings logic to the wind and refuses to see the truth.

These passages, and numerous others, make it absolutely clear that our salvation is dependent upon our sincere and determined effort to pursue the will of the Son of God.

—Wayne Jackson

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