“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (II Timothy 3:1)
I imagine most people would say that we are living in perilous times right now. These are not perilous days because of the pandemic gripping the world. These are not perilous days because of civil unrest caused by man’s hateful nature. These are perilous days because of the many issues that take our attention off of Christ. May God be pleased to stop us from becoming obsessed with society’s issues and make us obsessed with knowing and trusting Christ. May God be pleased to give us the wisdom to not become obsessed with how to govern the world (Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. (Isaiah 45:9)) and make us obsessed with the preaching of Christ and Him crucified. May God be pleased to make us obsessed with knowing Christ and resting in Him. In a few short days all of these earthly events will be forgotten, but knowing Christ will still be all important to our souls.
THE BATTLE STILL RAGES
Rather than repenting and coming to God by faith, Cain was angry with God and with his brother who believed God; so he slew his brother. The FIRST ANIMAL BLOOD shed on earth was to cover man's nakedness (a picture of Christ), and the FIRST HUMAN BLOOD shed on the earth was over whether a sinner should come to God by grace or by works. The battle still rages. The way of Cain still hates the way of Christ alone.
Assurance based upon personal holiness, personal graces, and personal works is nothing but self-righteous presumption. Lack of assurance based upon the lack of those things is also self-righteousness. True assurance is simple faith, trusting Christ alone for every particle of salvation and eternal acceptance with God.
Our Attitude and Conduct as Believers
Nothing reveals the true state of my heart, my relationship with God, and my understanding of the gospel quite like my daily, general attitude toward others, toward God’s providence, and toward my lot in life. It is one thing to be discouraged occasionally, to get upset, to disagree with someone, to feel neglected, or even to withdraw for a time to reflect on the matters at hand. But it is quite another thing to continue in a negative attitude, pouting and feeling sorry for myself, neglecting to exhort and encourage others, and showing by my countenance and conduct that I am not happy with the way things are.
“Let not the sun go down on thy wrath,” clearly teaches that we are not to allow wrath, misunderstanding, nor bad feelings to continue! Let it be over when the day is over. Forgive as you are forgiven and give of yourself to make this difficult journey easier for others. The church of the Lord Jesus Christ is a family working together, living together, and functioning as one body for the glory of God and the good of the whole. It is very important that every member of that body be in harmony. I believe if a member is in harmony with the head, he will certainly be in harmony with the rest of the body. Christ is not divided! “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
“…for we are His workmanship. Ephesians 2.10
What a relief this is for the religious man who has struggled to make something of himself! From our youth and through our lives we are told we should make something of ourselves, and I suppose that is good advice for the things pertaining to this life. But it is a fruitless and even deadly endeavor in spiritual things.
And this applies with equal force to the believer, for his flesh will continue telling him that he must continue striving to make something of himself. But we must not give in to the urge to add our efforts to the work of God! And since we must not, we need not – and there is rest in that.
We are GOD’s workmanship. The word translated “workmanship” was often applied to artistic efforts such as that of a potter who forms a lump of clay into something beautiful. In fact, our word “poem” comes from this word. I do not consider myself to be very artistic, but that does not mean I do not try my hand at a few things from carpentry to music. And there is one thing that I know about my efforts to be artistic: I do not like it when people add their own work to it. The reason is simple: Artistic works are an expression of the artist, himself, so to find fault with the art is to find fault with the artist; to seek to improve his work is to set one’s self above him.
God is the Artist of our salvation. He has predestined that we should be conformed to His image and He, Himself, has undertaken this work. We must not put our hand to it. We must resist the urge to improve upon the work of God. As with all art work, once God is done, all of His people will, once again, be in His image and they will be an expression of the character of the God Who made them – Whose work of art they are. And I am quite certain that we cannot improve upon what He is doing or how He is doing it!