"All material is written by
Joe R. Price, unless otherwise
"And take...the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God" (Eph. 6:17)
In this issue:
It is a time for new beginnings and a time to renew old friendships. With school starting tomorrow (at least for some), it is a good time to think about how you can “let your light shine” before your friends and classmates (Matt. 5:16).
Remember to always tell the truth. Jesus never told a lie, even a “little white lie.” Being honest with your teachers and your friends will always be the best way to deal with every situation at school. If you forgot to do an assignment, be truthful about it to your teacher (and your parents). If you have a disagreement with a friend, your truthfulness can help you make up with each other. The Bible says not to lie, but to “speak truth each one with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25).
Guard your language and keep it pure. There is a lot of vulgar and bad language spoken by children, and you will hear it at school. You may even be tempted to join in and talk like the other children: Don’t do it! I was always told that when someone used vulgar and indecent language it was because they were not able to think of anything intelligent to say. Think before you speak, and use your tongue wisely (Jas. 3:1-2). The Bible says, “Let no corrupt speech proceed out of your mouth” (Eph. 4:29).
Don’t join in with others to do what is sinful. Be careful to treat others the way you want to be treated (Matt. 7:12). Avoid dirty jokes which only fill your mind with evil thoughts (Eph. 5:4). Don’t be a bully. Be kind to everyone, even if they are not kind to you (Eph. 4:32; Rom. 12:20-21). That is what Jesus did.
Talk to others about the gospel of Christ. You can help teach others the truth, too. Use your opportunities to share the gospel with your friends. Don’t be ashamed to talk about Jesus and to live for Him (Mk. 8:38). He was not ashamed to die for you.
So, as you go back to school, live for Jesus. School is a wonderful chance for you to be a good example of godliness to those around you.
Occasionally I hear or read it said that God accepts us “just as we are.” I am not entirely sure what is meant by that statement. I would very much like for someone who says, “God will accept me just as I am” or “God has accepted me just as I am” to explain what that means, using the word of God to establish the sentiment (1 Ths. 5:21-22).
The Scriptures teach that God will not accept me “just as I am”…
1) If I refuse to believe in Jesus Christ. “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sin” (Acts 10:43). The unbeliever will not be accepted by God “just as he is”, but the lake of fire will accept him in his unbelief (Rev. 21:8). To think that Christ will save you “just as you are” while you refuse to live by faith is to be self-deceived. (Jno. 8:23-24)
2) If I refuse to repent of my sins. “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Lk. 13:5). Paul preached that sinners “should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance” (Acts 26:20). So, God will not accept the liar “just as he is” – he must repent of his lying and “speak truth with his neighbor” (Eph. 4:25). God will not accept an adulterer “just as he is” – he must repent of his adultery and stop his sinful relationship and conduct (Rev. 9:20-21). Some brethren teach people that they should continue to live in their unscriptural (sinful, adulterous, Matt. 19:9) remarriage relationship when they obey the gospel. The words of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 7:24 are twisted to support this encouragement, convincing sinners they may remain in an unholy remarriage that they believe has been sanctified by baptism. But, this passage describes people who are “with God”, and does not describe the adulterer before baptism nor does it rightly describe him if he continues to commit adultery after baptism. No, Jesus will not receive you “just as you are” if you refuse to repent of and cease your sin. One cannot continue in sin and be accepted by the Lord. (Rom. 6:1-2)
3) If I refuse to confess my faith in Christ. “…if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9-10). Do you see the conditional nature of Jesus accepting a sinner “just as he is”? If the sinner will not confess Jesus before men, then Jesus will not confess him before the Father in heaven (Matt. 10:33). He will not be accepted “just as he is” without confessing faith – he will be lost in sin.
4) If I refuse to be baptized for the remission of my sins. “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mk. 16:16) – not the one who believes but refuses to be baptized. Many souls will be lost because they comfort themselves believing God will accept them “just as I am” in spite of their rejection of the Lord’s commandment to be baptized to be saved.
5) If I refuse to be faithful to the Lord. “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do the things which I say?” (Lk. 6:46) That warning should resonant in the ear of every Christian who thinks the Lord will accept him “just as he is” even when he is living unfaithfully. Faith without works (of faith) is dead; while faith working through love avails in Christ (Jas. 2:17; Gal. 5:6-7). Christian, the Lord will not accept you “just as you are” if you are living unfaithfully.
What is your spiritual condition before God? Will God accept you “just as you are?” Not if you do not believe Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the living God; not if you believe Jesus is the Son of God but you will not confess your faith before men; not if you have confessed your faith but will not repent of your sin and remove it from your life (Rom. 6:1-2); not if you reject baptism as essential for your salvation from sin (1 Pet. 3:21; Acts 22:16); and not if you are a Christian yet are not being faithful to Jesus in your daily life (Gal. 2:20).
will accept you (save you) when you surrender to His will and do what He
wants instead of remaining “just as you are.”
Created by Chuck Sibbing -
The Spirit's Sword is a free,
weekly publication of the Mt. Baker church of Christ, Bellingham, WA