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2 Peter 1:12

Dear Readers,

September 2009

"Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Colossians 1:2). I pray that you are doing well, and that your faith is increased. 

I would like to remind you about the camp meeting at the Roan Mountain State Park in Roan Mt., TN which will be held Tuesday, September 29, through October 3, 2009. For more information call Pastor Malcolm McCrillis at 423-772-3161. 

SC Evangelistic Series: Seed of Truth Ministries is teaming up with brethren in South Carolina to host an evangelistic series in Anderson, SC October 14-17, 2009. The goal is to reach the community with the gospel of salvation. If anyone can help with any aspect of these meetings call 866-649-7333 or write to seedoftruth@comcast.net. 

E-mail Reminder: Let us know if you would like Present Truth by e-mail. 

In this Issue

Go and Sin No More

by Lynnford Beachy

The National Sunday Law (Part 11)

by Alonzo T. Jones

Something for the Young at Heart The Gospel in Creation (Part 8)

by Ellet J. Waggoner

Ye May Freely Eat?

by Jim Raymond


 Go and Sin No More 

by Lynnford Beachy 

The Bible contains some amazing statements that are both challenging and encouraging. Notice what God says about His people who will be upon the earth when Christ returns: 

"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17). 

"The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth" (Zephaniah 3:13). 

"And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God" (Revelation 14:5). 

A remnant is the final part left at the end of a job. The remnant of God"s people are those who are alive when Christ returns. They will keep God"s commandments so thoroughly that the Bible says they will not do iniquity (which is sin). This is good, for just prior to Christ"s return, He says, "He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be." Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:11, 12, 14). 

I know that many of us have been taught that it is impossible to stop sinning until after Christ returns, but notice what Jesus says will happen if we wait that long for a transformation. He tells us that if we are unrighteous or filthy just prior to His coming, then we are going to stay that way. We cannot expect to be magically transformed into righteous people at Christ"s return; it has to happen before that time. 

Jesus 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. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:21-23). 

If it is true that we can never stop sinning until Jesus returns, then it is strange that Jesus would tell people to "sin no more." He told the man who was healed by the pool of Bethesda, "Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee" (John 5:14). And to the woman caught in adultery, He said, "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11). If Jesus knew that these people had no chance of sinning no more, then why would He put such a charge upon them? 

The fact is that there is no solid Bible proof to support the idea that we cannot stop sinning until after Christ returns. This is a teaching of the devil designed to trick us into settling for an impotent shell of Christianity rather than the real thing. Paul told us that this would be the condition of the church as we approach Christ"s return. "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy," Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away" (2 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5). 

One of the primary reasons for the success of the teaching that sin can never be overcome is the hard reality that most "Christians" have never experienced freedom from sin. Jesus said that we can be free, and that we can overcome. "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:32, 34, 36). "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God" (Revelation 2:7). 

New Christians begin with high hopes of living a victorious life, and they have fresh personal examples of powerful victories over their old sins. Yet, the widespread lack of true freedom from sin among their Christian friends is infectious, and new Christians soon lose their ambition to overcome sins. Their broken dreams of freedom are further shattered by preachers telling them that they can never stop sinning. 

Preachers use for the support of this teaching, the seventh chapter of Paul"s letter to the Romans. Yet, if this chapter is supposed to discount the teachings of Jesus on this subject, it would have to contain some overwhelming evidence. Let"s look at what Paul says: 

"For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." (Romans 7:14-23). 

If this is a description of a true Christian experience, it certainly portrays a dismal picture of Christianity. It is understandable how people could read this and decide that there is no hope for overcoming sin because there is a "law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members." If Paul was describing a true Christian experience, why would he say in the next verse, "O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" (Romans 7:24). Surely, Paul would not ask to be delivered from a true Christian experience! 

If we would read just a few verses later, we would find that there is something better than this dismal experience. "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). This is good news! We can be free from the law of sin rather than in "captivity to the law of sin" (Romans 7:23). Romans chapter eight is a contrast to chapter seven, for you cannot be both in captivity to and free from the law of sin at the same time. 

Paul introduced two laws, "the law of sin," and "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." These laws are contrary to each other, one pulling us to do evil, and the other pulling us to do good. These laws are not the type of laws that give you rules to live by, such as a speed limit sign, or a stop sign. These laws are powerless to make you do anything, for you have the freedom to drive faster than the speed limit or to refuse to stop at a stop sign. Instead, these laws are natural laws, similar to the law of gravity. If I hold an apple in my hand, and release it, every time it will fall to the ground. If I do it a thousand times, it will fall to the ground a thousand times. Never will it break the law of gravity and float up instead. This is a law that forces a thing to act a certain way every time. This is the type of law that Paul was describing in Romans chapter seven. A natural man cannot stop sinning as long as the law of sin is the controlling factor in his life. This law forces him to sin whether he likes it or not. It is true that he can resist some sins, but he is not able to resist all sins. For example, not every natural man is a murderer, many can resist the urge to kill someone, but the law of sin will manifest itself in some other way. Sinful actions in any form demonstrate that the law of sin is still in control. 

God has introduced another law that is stronger than the law of sin, and can break its power, this law is called "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus." In Christ Jesus there is no sin. "Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin." He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil." (1 John 3:4, 5, 8). The Son of God came to this world to destroy the works of the devil, which is sin. He is more than able to destroy sin in our lives. Speaking about the Son of God coming into this world, Joseph was told, "thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Notice He did not come to save His people in their sins, but from their sins. Many people say that they are saved, but what are they saved from? The Bible tells us that Jesus came to save us from our sins. 

Despite the widespread lack of pure Christianity in this world, God has promised that He is able to break the power of the devil in our lives. He will triumphantly proclaim over His people at the end, "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12). 

God is not the only one anticipating this event, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Romans 8:22). What is the creation waiting for? "For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God" (Romans 8:19). The sons of God are going to be manifest in this world, revealed by selfless love for God and our fellow man. Jesus said, "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (John 13:35). And if we love God, we will keep His commandments. Jesus said, "If ye love me, ye will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 ASV). 

Realizing that God"s people will keep His commandments, should give us an urgency to understand how this can be accomplished. You see, those who teach that it is not possible to stop sinning are partially correct. Without Christ abiding in our hearts, it is impossible to stop sinning, ""but with God all things are possible" (Matthew 19:26). 

Yet, for this to happen we have to be prepared. "Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God" (1 Peter 4:1, 2). To overcome sin we must be armed with the same mind of Christ. "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). 

How Can We Stop Sinning? 

The Bible outlines some steps that, if followed, guarantee that we will stop sinning. John wrote, "Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not:"" (1 John 3:6). Here is an extremely valuable principle. As long as we abide in Christ, we will not sin. The only way we can sin is if we stop abiding in Christ. So what does it mean to abide in Christ? It seems strange to think that we can abide, or dwell in Christ. How can we get inside of Christ and live there? We will cover more on this point later. 

John continued by making another revealing statement. He wrote, "Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God" (1 John 3:9). Paul tells us what that seed is. "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ" (Galatians 3:16). It is true that this text speaks of Christ as Abraham"s seed, rather than God"s, yet it is just as certain that Christ is God"s seed, for He is God"s "holy child" (Acts 4:30). As long as God"s seed (Christ) remains in us, the Bible says we cannot sin. The only way we can sin is if we do not allow Christ to remain in us. If He is outside the door of our hearts knocking, then we will surely sin, but if we open the door, He has promised to come in, and as long as He stays there as the king of our hearts, we cannot sin. This is what the new birth is all about! We are born of God when Christ, God"s seed, comes into our hearts to make His abode there. When this happens, we have "the law of the Spirit of life" in us that makes us "free from the law of sin and death." 

Jesus explained how we can abide in Him, and He in us. He said, "He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him" (John 6:56). Please do not follow the example of many of those who heard these words, who said, "This is an hard saying; who can hear it?" (John 6:60). "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him" (John 6:66). Despite how it sounds, Jesus was not teaching people that they should become cannibals and eat Him. Jesus had a different meaning for the expression, "eat my flesh, and drink by blood." He said, "It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" (John 6:63). If you ate Christ"s literal flesh it would profit nothing. There is no benefit in that at all. Jesus was referring to His words as His flesh that we are to eat. 

I know it sounds strange to eat words, but notice what Jeremiah said, "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart" (Jeremiah 15:16). It is certain that Jeremiah did not literally eat written words on paper, but rather God"s word entered into his mind (which is also called heart). The Bible says, "For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat" (Job 34:3). When we eat literal food it enters into our mouths, and then gets digested to become part of us. When we eat God"s words they enter in through our ears, and then our minds digest them to become part of us spiritually. 

You have probably heard the saying, "You are what you eat." That is not completely true. It would be more accurate to say, you are what you assimilate, because only the part of your food that gets digested and then gives strength to your body actually becomes a part of you. The rest passes through without becoming part of you. To eat God"s words means more than just memorizing them. They become a part of you when they are utilized by you spiritually. Peter asked Jesus to bid him to walk on water. Jesus said, "Come." Peter could have heard the words and then failed to act upon them. They would not have become a part of him. But when Peter acted on that word, stepped out of the boat and began to walk on water, then that word became a part of him. He truly ate the words of Christ. This is eating His flesh. 

Drinking His blood also has a spiritual meaning. The Bible says, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood" (Leviticus 17:11). Drinking Christ"s blood is drinking in His life. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman." Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples" (John 15:1, 4-8). The life-blood of a grapevine flows from the roots through the vine into the branches. Separated from that life-source, a branch cannot survive. The same is true with us. If we do not abide connected to that vine, then we have no spiritual life in us. 

Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life" (John 5:39, 40). "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). To have the Son we must eat His flesh and drink His blood, which is to allow His words to become a part of us, and allow His life to flow through us. Only then can we truly be His disciples. For if we are separated from His life, then we have no life in us. Jesus said, "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you" (John 6:53). Jesus said that if we eat His words and drink His life, then we are abiding in Him, and He in us. As long as this continues, the Bible says we cannot sin. This is the experience we all need if we are going to be ready to meet the Lord when He comes for His people. 

Walk in the Spirit 

Paul wrote, "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh" (Galatians 5:16). Fulfilling the lust of the flesh is committing sinful actions. Paul explained, "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,"" (Galatians 5:19). Paul listed many more and then wrote, ""they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (Galatians 5:21). So if we walk in the Spirit we will not commit sin. It is important for us to know what it means to walk in the Spirit. To walk in the Spirit we do not have to physically walk, for a cripple can walk in the Spirit just as well as an athlete. 

Paul also wrote, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). Here we are told to live in the Spirit as well as to walk in the Spirit. Walking is something that we do a lot, but not all of the time. Living is something we do every moment of the day. God wants us to live in the Spirit all of the time. Walking in the Spirit includes living our lives in the constant knowledge that God"s Spirit is in control of our lives. God is our master, and we are His servants. 

Paul wrote, "For we walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Corinthians 5:7). We are to walk in the Spirit, and this can only be done by faith. Paul expressed, "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" (Galatians 2:20). Paul lived his life in the constant knowledge that he was dead and Christ was the one living in him. This is living in the Spirit and walking in the Spirit by faith. 

Paul also wrote, "Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:11). We are to reckon, or consider it to be a fact, that we are dead to sin but alive to God. The force that pulled us to sin, "the law of sin and death," is to be considered dead to us, and the force that pulls us to God, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," is to be considered alive to us. We are to live knowing that we are no longer the ones living, but it is Christ living in us. "Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin" (Romans 6:6). This is all done by faith. This is our only hope. Jesus said, ""thy faith hath saved thee" (Luke 18:42). 

John wrote, "For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1 John 5:4). Faith is vital to our spiritual lives, for everything in our spiritual life must be done by faith. The Bible says, "The just shall live by faith" (Galatians 3:11). 

The Bible says, "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him" (Colossians 2:6). In the same way that we receive Christ, we are to walk in Him. We receive Christ by faith, and walking in Him, can only be done by faith. As a side note, walking in Christ is the same as walking in the Spirit, for "The Lord is that Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:17). 

Paul wrote, "For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:14-20). These verses are powerful! We learn here that Christ dwells in our hearts by faith. If we have invited Him into our hearts, and believe that He has come in because He promised, then Christ will dwell in our hearts. We must constantly live our lives aware of this fact, then His life will be manifested to the world instead of our own. "For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3). 

What is Faith? 

We have learned that to overcome sin we must abide in Christ, let Him abide in us, and walk in the Spirit. We have also learned that all of this can only be done by faith. But what is faith? The Bible says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). This is a Bible definition for faith, but it is a little vague. Let"s look at a real-life example of what Jesus called, "great faith." 

"And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him, And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel" (Matthew 8:5-10). 

This centurion wanted something done, and he said to Jesus, "speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed." Great faith, then, is trusting the word of God only to do what that word says. Faith has to be grounded upon something. Faith in fantasies is not true faith. For example, I could say, "I have faith that it is going to rain tomorrow," but unless I have something solid to base this faith upon, I cannot be certain that it will happen. I could base my faith upon the weatherman"s predictions, but how certain is that? Elijah told king Ahab that it was going to rain (1 Kings 18:41). Elijah knew that it would rain because God said that it would (1 Kings 18:1). Elijah"s faith was grounded upon the word of God, and it rained. This is true biblical faith, and nothing else is. There is no such thing as true faith separated from the word of God. 

So to overcome sin by faith, we must claim God"s promises and live every moment knowing that what is said is true for us. "I am crucified with Christ." "Christ liveth in me." I am "dead to sin." Sin does not have "dominion over" me anymore. I am "free indeed." I am a "new creature." I "cannot sin" because "His seed remaineth in" me, and "in him is no sin" (Galatians 2:20; Romans 6:2, 14; John 8:36; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 John 3:9, 5). These are strong promises, and almost too good to be true, but they are true. 

Jesus said, "Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3). One outstanding quality of little children is that they believe everything their parents tell them. They simply trust in their word. When it comes to faith in God"s word, we need to be like little children, believing just what God said, because He said it, regardless of how strange it seems. God told the Israelites to simply march around Jericho and shout and the walls would fall down. They trusted enough to do it even though it seemed silly. Noah was told to build an ark because it was going to rain. Even though water had never fallen from the sky before, Noah built a large boat far from the sea. It looked ridiculous, but Noah was faithful enough to believe God"s word. Great things will happen if we just take God at His word. This is true faith. 

Doing the Impossible 

One night the disciples were in a boat on the sea during a storm, and Jesus came walking upon the water. They thought they had seen a ghost, but Jesus said, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?" (Matthew 14:27-31). 

Peter did not dare get out of the boat until he had something to base his faith upon. He stepped out of the boat by faith placed upon the word of Christ alone. The water did nothing to hold him up, he just as easily could have been walking on air across the Grand Canyon. Peter was walking on the word of Christ. That alone was able to keep him from sinking. God has said, "my word" shall accomplish that which I please" (Isaiah 55:11). As long as his faith in that word was strong, he could walk on water; he could do the impossible. It was only when he lost sight of Christ and the power of His word that he began to sink. He looked around at his circumstances, the mighty storm that raged around him, realizing that if he sank he would drown, and becoming fearful he sank. He allowed himself to believe that the forces trying to pull him down were stronger than the force holding him up. This was a great mistake! Jesus rebuked him for having little faith and doubting the word of Christ. 

You and I also have circumstances around us that seem overwhelming, stronger than any power that can keep us up. We may be struggling with temptations strengthened by years of failure. We may think that the habits we have formed are stronger than the power of Christ. That could not be further from the truth. The fact is that God "is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us" (Ephesians 3:20). God "is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy" (Jude 1:24). 

You may have some desire to give your life completely to Christ, but you also have a desire to continue practicing the sins that you have come to enjoy. Yet, God is able to remove those sinful desires from you, and give you a heart that loves righteousness and delights to do God"s will. God promised, "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them" (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). 

Jesus said through the Psalmist, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart" (Psalms 40:8). God promised, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them" (Hebrews 10:16). The new covenant is God"s promise to give us a new heart with God"s law written therein, so that we will delight to do God"s will. If your desires are not in harmony with God"s will, ask Him to give you new desires, and then believe that He does it because He promised, and submit unto Him, like Jesus, "not my will, but thine, be done" (Luke 22:42). 

Friends, it is time to put away all doubt, and get out of the boat to come to Christ. Take the first step of faith toward Christ. You will have nothing to base your faith upon but the word of God, but that is the most dependable thing you can possibly have. You may look at the powerful winds blowing against you, such as all the preachers and teachers telling you that what you are doing is impossible. If the learned men of the day had diagnosed Peter"s decision to walk on the water, surely they would have ridiculed him. They could have said, "None of your contemporaries have ever attempted such a thing. The forces of nature are against you, gravity will pull you down, the wind and waves will overpower you." 

You may have no Christian friends who have ever dared to believe God"s word concerning His power to give them the victory over every sin. They may have been taught slick ways to evade the plain statements of the Bible on overcoming sin. If you are going to step out in faith and take God at His word, you are going to have to go against the grain, and swim upstream. Do not despair, God is on your side, and you are guaranteed victory if you abide in Christ, let Him abide in your heart, and walk in the Spirit. "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live" (Romans 8:13). 

"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God" (2 Corinthians 5:17, 18). So let it be done in you, Amen. 

Something for the Young at Heart 

This month we are continuing a series of crossword Bible studies based on a series of Bible Lessons written by Lynnford Beachy, entitled, "God"s Love on Trial," taken from the book by the same title. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections"Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line. (The KJV is required.) 

Questions Answered (Part 1) - Lesson 11 

Note: In the last ten lessons we learned that "there is but one God, the Father" (1 Corinthians 8:6), that Jesus Christ is "the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:18), and that the Holy Spirit is "the Spirit of your Father" (Matthew 10:20), coming to us "through Jesus Christ our Saviour" (Titus 3:5, 6). We also learned that Jesus Christ died, both soul and body, for God made "his soul an offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10) and that God, the Father, "raised him from the dead" (Ephesians 1:20). Despite the overwhelming biblical evidence on these points, there are some verses that seem to contradict these statements. In this lesson we will examine some of these verses. 

John 1:1 

  • In the beginning was the ____. John 1:1"16 Across 
  • John beheld the glory of the Word as of the ___ ___ of the Father. John 1:14 (2 words)"12 Across 
  • In the beginning God ____ the heaven and the earth. Genesis 1:1"17 Across 

Note: The term "the beginning" was used several times in the Bible, and must have reference to some point in time, it must be the beginning of something. John does not tell us what beginning he was talking about, but simply said, "in the beginning." John later wrote, "the devil sinneth from the beginning" (1 John 3:8). This agrees with the words of Jesus where He said, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning" (John 8:44). We know that the devil was not a murderer nor a sinner from the beginning of his own existence, for God said to him, "Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee" (Ezekiel 28:15). So the beginning was not Satan"s beginning, but the beginning of this world. 

    Some people have mistakenly concluded that the text should read "Without beginning was the Word." However, there is no basis for this conclusion. The exact same Greek phrase is used in the following texts: "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15). "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only" (Philippians 4:15). In each case "the beginning" has a specific reference to the beginning of something. "In the beginning" when God created the world, "the only begotten of the Father" was with God. 

  • The Word was ____. John 1:1" 4 Across 

Note: The Word was with God and God at the same time. It is certain that the Word was not the same God He was with, for you cannot be with yourself. Biblical Greek Scholars generally agree that the second time the word "God" is used in John 1:1, it is used as a "qualitative noun" to describe the qualities of "the Word." Harner says that nouns "with an anarthrous [no article] predicate preceding the verb, are primarily qualitative in meaning." (The Journal of Biblical Literature, Philip B. Harner, article "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns: Mark 15:39 and John 1:1.") "The clause could be translated, "the same nature as God." This would be one way of representing John"s thought, which is, as I understand it, that ho logos ["the word"], no less than ho theos ["the God"], had the nature of theos." (ibid.

Matthew 28:19 

  • We are supposed to teach all ____. Matthew 28:19"1 Down 
  • We are supposed to teach them to ____ what Jesus commanded. Matthew 18:20"6 Across 
  • According to Jesus, His ____ is the God of the Jews. John 8:54" 2 Across 
  • Jesus said His Father is the ___ ___ God. John 17:3 (2 words)"11 Down 
  • Jesus said that He is the ____ of God. John 10:36"7 Across 
  • Jesus said the Holy Ghost is the ____ of your Father. Matthew 10:20"10 Down 

Note: Compare Matthew 10:18-20 with Luke 12:11, 12, and you will notice that "the Spirit of your Father" and "the Holy Ghost" are the same. Jesus said that we should "teach all nations" to "observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you." In order to fulfil this great commission, we must teach people the same thing that Jesus taught, especially concerning the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. 

  • Jesus said we should baptize in the ____ of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Matthew 28:19"8 Down 
  • Peter said we should baptize in the name of ___ ___. Acts 2:38 (2 words)"15 Across 
  • The brethren in Samaria got baptized in the name of the ___ ___. Acts 8:16 (2 words)"5 Down 
  • Peter commanded the Gentiles to be baptized in the name of the ____. Acts 10:48"14 Down 

Note: "The Lord" in the New Testament almost exclusively refers to Jesus Christ. "But to us there is but one God, the Father, and one Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 8:6). 

  • The Ephesians were ____ in the name Jesus. Acts 19:5"13 Down 

Note: There is no record in the Bible of anyone baptizing in three separate names of three individual persons. Now there are three possibilities that could explain this. 1) The disciples were in direct rebellion against Jesus and purposely disobeyed His command. 2) The disciples understood the command of Jesus differently than most Trinitarians understand it today. 3) Jesus never gave the command to baptize "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." The most logical and reasonable of these possibilities is choice number two. If we use His statement to teach people that God is a trinity, then we are doing the opposite of what He told us to do. This would contradict what Jesus and the rest of the Bible writers taught. Jesus Himself said that His Father is "the only true God" (John 17:3). 

  • Those who are baptized into Christ are baptized into His ____. Romans 6:3"9 Down 

Note: It only makes sense that we should be baptized in the name of Jesus, for He is the one who died for us. 

  • We are to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with ____. Matthew 3:11"3 Down 

Note: "Baptize" means to immerse. Jesus was not giving a formula to be recited at baptism, for if that is what He intended, none of His disciples obeyed. Jesus wanted us to fully immerse people into the truth about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit just as He taught. Peter fulfilled this commission on the day of Pentecost when he said, "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:38). We are to have "repentance toward God [the Father]" (Acts 20:21), be baptized into Christ"s death, and then receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Answers to Last Month's Crossword

You May Freely Eat?

by Jim Raymond 

(We are beginning a series of articles on food science and nutrition. Brother Jim Raymond has been a food scientist for many years, and has agreed to share some of his knowledge with us.    Editor


(Other names - cochineal, carminic acid, Crimson Lake, Natural Red 4, C.I. 75470, E120) 

A couple of years ago one of my grandchildren came to visit me sporting a half pint sized bottle of a carbonated beverage named, Bug Juice. He boastfully announced that it was his favorite. After a bit of technical information, I"ll tell you how bugs crept into my juice too, and if you look closely, you might find them in yours too. 

You"ve probably noticed the name Carmine or Cochineal appearing on food ingredient labels more frequently. This compound is a naturally occurring colorant producing shades of pink, red, and purple. Carmine started its economic life as textile dye and art pigment. Today it is widely used in the food, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries to shade their products. Examples of carmine tinted (tainted, if you will) food products are as diverse as beverages, juices, ice cream, yogurt, and candy; the most notable cosmetic products are lipstick and eye and facial shading. 

Now the news: Carmine is derived from plant parasite insects. Yes, and it is in one of my favorite "100% Juice" drinks. This declaration raises several issues to me, but mostly, it reminds me that the worldly system in which we live is not in harmony with God"s principles " not even the numerical ones. Many people call God "The Great Numberer." And rightly so: every aspect of creation bears the divine mathematical skill. 

"He made the stars" And God set them in the firmament of the heaven" (Genesis 1:16, 17). 

"He counteth the number of the stars" (Psalm 147:4). 

He "bringeth out their host by number" (Isaiah 40:26). 

God "hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out the heaven with a span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance" (Isaiah 40:17). 

"The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matthew 10:30). 

In our world of marketing and merchandising (evinced by this label), 100% allows room for "OTHER NATURAL FLAVORS AND INGREDIENTS."  Five of them to be exact! None of which are juices. I suppose this is to be expected in a culture that forgets that three is composed of three ones (3 = 1 + 1 + 1) " whether it is derived by addition, multiplication, or division. 

Thanks to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, in the United States, in January 2009, the FDA passed a regulation requiring carmine and cochineal to be listed by name on the label. Food industries were aggressively opposed to the idea of writing "insect based" on the label and they finally agreed to simply putting "carmine." 

You will see these ingredients increasingly being declared on product labels as companies move toward the compliance deadline on January 5, 2011. 

Though allergic reactions are relatively few, compared to other allergens, they can be very severe including anaphylactic shock. So there are good reasons to look for carmine or cochineal on the label, especially if the product is new to you or to whomever you may introduce to the product " especially children. 

I"d like to leave you with a glimpse into the arena of food science and industry. The product which inspired this topic is a name brand pink grapefruit juice. My favorite juice is grapefruit, pink or not (yet always without the bug juice!). 

Why would carmine be used in pink grapefruit juice? The carotenoid (a chemical sibling of carotene) that puts the pink in pink grapefruit (and watermelons, tomatoes, etc.) is lycopene. The lycopene content or shade can vary from batch to batch; also some processes used to make the concentrate, or used to pasteurize the juice can produce an off color. This is undesirable to a manufacturer that wants to present a strong brand image. Color sells! The solution is to add colorant to optimize the consistency of the eye appeal. But there are alternatives to insect colorants. Some producers add colorants derived from grape skin or beet root. I choose to reward these producers with my meager purchasing power. 

Most companies provide phone or internet access methods for consumer comments and complaints " use them. 

Take away points: Truly natural does not always equate to truly desirable (or even ethical). Read those labels, and "bug" the producers that try to bug you.

(If you have questions, concerns, or comments relative to this article, or if you would like to suggest ideas for future topics on anything related to the fields of food science or nutrition please contact us. Your input is greatly appreciated.    Editor

The National Sunday Law (Part 11) 

by Alonzo T. Jones 

(The following is a portion of an argument of Alonzo T. Jones before The United States Senate, December 13, 1888, opposing the Blair Bill that promoted a Sunday law.    Editor

Mr. Jones: If these preachers and church members will not keep the Sabbath in obedience to what they say is the commandment of God, will they keep it in obedience to the command of the State? 

Senator Blair: Certainly the hard working man needs rest; the preachers, church members, and millionaires may do as they please: the bill comes in here and says that the national government, taking part of the jurisdiction of the civil government of the United States by a concession made by the States, by virtue of its control of interstate commerce, and the post-office business, and the army and navy, will take advantage of what the States have given to the general Government in the way of jurisdiction, and will not introduce practices which destroy the Sabbath in the States. That is the object of this legislation. That is all that is undertaken here. It is simply an act proposing to make efficient the Sunday-rest laws of the State, and nothing else. 

Mr. Jones: But those laws are to be enforced, if at all, by those who are so strongly in favor of them. 

Senator Blair: No, by the State. If these people were in favor of them, or not in favor of them, or violated them, that is another thing. A man may be for a law which he violates. A great many of the strongest temperance people in the world use intoxicating liquors. They say that they realize the evil, and that they are in favor of the enactment of law which will extirpate those evils. The strongest advocates I have ever seen of temperance legislation are men who have come to realize that the grave is just ahead of them. They cannot get rid of the appetite, but they pray the government: for legislation that will save the boys. 

Mr. Jones: That is all right. I am in favor of prohibition straight; but not Sunday prohibition. 

Senator Blair: You cannot adduce a man"s practice as a reply to the argument on a question that touches the public good. It does not vitiate a man"s principle because he fails to live up to it himself. 

Mr. Jones: But the secret of the whole matter is this: As an argument for the Sunday law, these men assert that the great railroad corporations desecrate the Sabbath, and by persistently running Sunday trains, also compel the railroad men to work and to desecrate the day. They at the same time assert that the men who own the railroads belong to the churches. If, then, the railroads compel their men to desecrate the day, and the owners of the railroads are church members, then who is it but the church members that are compelling people to desecrate the day? 

Further than this, they quoted at Chicago the statement of a railroad president, that the roads "get more requests for Sunday trains signed by preachers" than they do from other people. But as the church members own the railroads, and the preachers request them to run Sunday trains, then who is to blame for the "desecration" of the day but the preachers and their own church members? Can"t the preachers stop asking for Sunday trains without being compelled to do so by the civil law? In the Chicago convention last month " November 20, 21 " Dr. Knowles, who is secretary of this National Sunday-law Union, said that by the influence of William E. Dodge, even after his death, the Delaware & Lackawanna Railroad Company had resisted the temptation to run trains on Sunday until the present year. But five hundred ministers met in conference in New York and used competing lines on Sunday, and by this the hands of the Sunday observance committee have been tied ever since. After that, when the Delaware & Lackawanna directors were asked not to run Sunday trains, they replied: 

"How can you come to us pleading for us to run no trains on Sunday, when your preachers by the hundreds on Sunday use our rival lines, which do run on Sunday. If your preachers ride on Sunday trains on other roads, we cannot see why they and other people cannot ride on our trains on Sunday. And if it is all right for these other roads to run trains on Sunday, " and certainly ministers of the gospel would not ride on them if it were wrong, " then we cannot see how it can be such a great wrong for us to run Sunday trains." 

That is a very proper answer. No wonder the Sunday committee"s hands are tied by it. And yet that very conference of five hundred preachers, assembled in New York last summer, took the first decided step toward the organization of the National Sunday Association, of which Dr. Knowles himself is secretary. 

By these facts there is presented the following condition of things: (1.) Church members own the railroads; (2.) Preachers sign requests for Sunday trains; (3.) The church members grant the request of the preachers for Sunday trains, and the preachers ride on the Sunday trains, and other church members go on Sunday excursions; (4.) Then the whole company " preachers and church members " together petition Congress and the State legislatures to make a law stopping all Sunday trains! That is to say, they want the legislatures, State and national, to compel their own railroad-owning church members not to grant the request of the preachers for Sunday trains. In other words, they want the civil power to compel them all " preachers and church members " to act as they all say that Christians ought to act. And they insist upon quoting all the time the commandment of God, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy." But if they will not obey the commandment of God, which they themselves acknowledge and quote, what assurance have we that they will obey the law of Congress or State legislature when they get it, especially as it will rest entirely with themselves to see that the law is enforced? Will they compel themselves by civil law to do what they themselves will not otherwise do? The sum of this whole matter is that they want the civil power to enforce church discipline; and that not only upon themselves, but upon everybody else. The whole system, and all the pretensions upon which this Sunday law is demanded, are crooked. 

As to the enforcement of the law, it will fall to those who are working to get it; because certainly those who do not want it will not enforce it, and the officers of the law are not given to the enforcement of laws which are not supported by public opinion. This is proved by the fact that the state of Illinois and the city of Chicago now have Sunday laws that ought to satisfy any reasonable person, and yet not one of them is enforced. And the preachers of that city and state, instead of seeing that these are enforced, call convention after convention to work up more Sunday laws, both state and national. 

What, then, is the next intention? " It is to make it a political question in both state and nation, and make the enactment and enforcement of Sunday laws the price of votes and political support. This is proved by the following resolutions adopted by the Elgin Sunday-law convention: 

"Resolved, That we look with shame and sorrow on the non-observance of the Sabbath by many Christian people, in that the custom prevails with them of purchasing Sabbath newspapers, engaging in and patronizing Sabbath business and travel, and in many instances giving themselves to pleasure and self-indulgence, setting aside by neglect and indifference the great duties and privileges which God"s day brings them. 

"Resolved, That we give our votes and support to those candidates or political officers who will pledge themselves to vote for the enactment and enforcing of statutes in favor of the civil Sabbath." 

Such a resolution as this last may work in Illinois, though it is doubtful, but with their own statement made in that convention, it is certain that this resolution can never work under the Constitution of the United States. They stated in the convention that the Sabbath is "the test of all religion." To demand that candidates or political officers shall pledge themselves to vote for the enactment and enforcement of statutes in favor of the Sabbath is, therefore, to require a religious test as a qualification for office. The national Constitution declares that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under this Government;" consequently, no Sabbath or Sunday-law test can ever be applied to any candidate for any national office or public trust. 

It is true they use the word civil in the resolution, but that corresponds with much of their other work. There is not, and there cannot be, any such thing as a civil Sabbath. The Sabbath is religious wholly, and they know it; and in all their discussion of this resolution and the subject generally in the convention, it was as a religious institution, and that only. 

To be Continued" 

(This article was taken from pages 113-118 of the book entitled, The National Sunday Law, by Alonzo T. Jones. Some editing was done for this publication.    Editor

The Gospel in Creation (Part 8) 

by Ellet J. Waggoner 

CLOUDS AND SHOWERS OF GRACE: Just as many people are frightened when they see clouds in the sky, so are many people needlessly troubled concerning clouds that arise before their minds. How often have we heard people say that they have known the blessing of the Lord and have rejoiced in it, but that clouds have arisen of late, and they have no peace! Well there are different ways of considering the clouds. 

We may say that clouds are very unsubstantial things. The sun can dissipate them; and since the Sun of Righteousness is ever shining, we need not go on under clouds of doubt. There is such a thing as getting above the clouds, and those who have had that experience can testify that it is a most glorious place to be in. Never have I been able to imagine a scene of more wonderful glory than burst upon my view one evening after I had long been toiling up the eastern slope of a mountain. We gained the top just before the sun set, and the valley on the other side was filled with clouds, lighted up by the splendor of the setting sun. It was not only a glorious sight for the eyes, but it impressed a lesson that can never be forgotten. 

But more still should we remember when the clouds arise, God dwells in the midst of them. "The Lord reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. Clouds and darkness are round about Him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne" (Psalm 97:1, 2). It was from the midst of the cloud that God"s law was given in love; and we know that "His commandment is life everlasting" (John 12:50). Yea, even though the clouds be thick and dark, we will yet be glad, for God is there still. "He made darkness His secret place; His pavilion round about Him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies" (Psalm 18:11). The cloud that shuts out God from our sight is but the assurance to us of His presence. 

From the clouds come rain, and this is a symbol of the free and abundant grace of God. When God calls us to buy of Him wine and milk, without money and without price"to come and find abundance of pardon"He gives us this assurance: "For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: it shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it" (Isaiah 55:10, 11). 

As the water bound up in the thick clouds is to remind us of the mighty power of God, so is it to remind us of His gospel of grace; for that is but the power of God unto salvation. The gospel is the good news of salvation from sin, and everything that speaks the power of God tells us of the power He has to give us righteousness. "Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness; let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it" (Isaiah 45:8). And carrying out the same figure, the prophet Hosea says: "Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy: break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you" (Hosea 10:12). 

Thus from the power that is exhibited in the clouds that give rain upon the earth, may we learn the power of that grace that will visit those who accept it, and will bring "showers of blessing": 

O worship the King, all glorious above, 

And gratefully sing His wonderful love; 

Our shield and defender, the Ancient of Days, 

Pavillioned in splendor, and girded with praise. 

O tell of His might, and sing of His grace, 

Whose robe is the light; whose canopy, space; 

His chariots of wrath the deep thunder clouds form, 

And dark is His path on the wings of the storm. 

Thy bountiful care, what tongue can recite? 

It breathes in the air, it shines in the light; 

It streams from the hills, it descends to the plain, 

And sweetly distills in the dew and the rain. 

Frail children of dust, and feeble as frail, 

In Thee do we trust, nor find Thee to fail; 

Thy mercies, how tender! how firm to the end! 

Our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend! 

To be Continued" 

(This article was taken from pages 72-75 of the book entitled, The Gospel in Creation, by Ellet J. Waggoner.    Editor


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