|Volume 22 Number 9 September 2020||
David Q. Fisher
“But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him” (Acts 2:24). Jesus was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power (2 Corinthians 13:4).
God stunned evil. He caught it off guard. God scorned evil’s arrogance. In the midst of evil’s thickest darkness, God dispelled the darkness with the light and the power of the resurrection of Christ. This is our hope, its foundation. God is the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were (Romans 4:17). This is our hope in the midst of the darkness of the evil that seeks to destroy our faith, our hope, our love and our lives. This is our hope when in the darkness we find ourselves battling anxiety, hopelessness and despair. As we look at Jesus, we have hope. In Jesus, we see the goodness of God that surpasses all the evil in this world. In His resurrection, God’s goodness is seen in all its power. Jesus Christ was crucified in weakness, yet He lives by God’s power (2 Corinthians 13:4).
As we travel through the darkness, in God, through Jesus Christ, we travel with hope. It is a living hope, sustaining us by our faith that God gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were. A living hope confident…
…God will lead us through the darkness, just as He did His Son, giving us strength to persevere and to overcome.
…God can and will transform the darkness, the evil assaulting us into His instrument for good.
…that as long as we are drawing breath, God is with us and working in our lives.
…that though now we do not understand, we entrust our lives and the lives of those we love to God, knowing He does understand and that His love never forsakes us.
…God, by the power with which He raised Christ Jesus, will raise the dead to life, a life beyond anything we can imagine.
[Editor’s Note: If it were not for hope underwritten by God, promised by the Holy Spirit and founded upon Christ, often, life would be unbearable for many upon earth. In the throes of man’s deepest and darkest hour, the faithful child of God, nevertheless, has hope of divine origin (Romans 8:18; Matthew 19:27-29). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
Same Soap – Different Lather
When the late and beloved Marshall Keeble was 18-years-old, he worked for the Cassity Coal Company, where he operated a soap press. Years later, he laughingly related that they pressed three different bars of soap from the same stock. “We colored, shaped and perfumed it differently, but it was all from the same stock. There was Tokyo, Clarimax and Cracker Jack all made from the same stock. Some swore by one, some by another. Each had his own reason for liking his bar best“ (J.E. Choate. Roll Jordan Roll, 17).
People and things have changed very little, it seems, although many years have passed. If one should make a concerted study of ideas and attitudes concerning the saving Gospel over the last few decades, it would soon become apparent that all start off with the same Gospel, in one way or another, but it doesn’t take very long for someone to change the shape, color or smell to suit one’s own personal fancy.
Think of what has been done to the original idea of baptism. At first, it was thought to be Scriptural only if done for the remission of sins, in the form of an immersion. So-called infant baptism, sprinkling and pouring were thought to be anathema. What happened? Someone decided to shape it a bit differently, give it another form and make it smell more appealing to the masses, by saying that it was an outward sign of an inward grace (not in the Bible). Some contended that baptism was mandatory (as the Bible teaches!), while some said one doesn’t have to be baptized (which contradicts plain Bible teaching!). Some said one has to be baptized for the remission of sins (a clear biblical teaching), but some said one should be baptized because his sins have already been forgiven (certainly not a biblical truth!).
Look at the shaping, coloring and perfuming done to biblical faith! Bible students know that “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17). Yet, there are legions who concoct their own formulation of faith without regard for the clear teachings found in God’s Holy Word. Masses proclaim that one’s personal faith is the summation of whatever one believes, and that it is different for each individual. Look at what the Psalmist had to say about one devising his own kind of faith. “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
Mankind must be doubly sure that he does not incur the wrath of a vengeful God, Who has plainly indicated that a man has no right to try to aid or abet God as noted in the following verse. “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). A similar prohibition from the Old Testament is just as clear. “Ye shall not add unto the Word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish aught from it…” (Deuteronomy 4:2).