"A Jealous God"
In the long, long ago God said, in presenting the ten commandments: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments." (Ex. 20:36). The same writer continues: "For thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God." (Ex. 34:14). Yes, in days of old, God was a jealous God, and my friends I am here to tell you that God is still a jealous God. Under the old covenant he would not tolerate his people to bow down to idols and man-made gods. Those who engaged in such foolishness were cut down, and yea, paid for their terrible mistake. Under the New Testament law the Lord would have us to understand that he is to be first, or not at all. But as far as those who bow down to the other things of this life, they will have to suffer the consequences for the same, especially in the world to come.
God is a jealous God when it comes to his word. He deplores the sight of those who would turn his will aside for the manuals, disciplines, and creed books of men. He despises every man made book that would suggest a plan of salvation different to his own. He hates the many opinions, conceptions, doctrines, commandments, dogmas, etc., which have been substituted for his word. Thus John, penned: "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book." (Rev. 22:18, 19). Listen friend, you cannot play with the word of God and get by with it. Of course, we are all aware of the fact that every thing under the sun is being taught in the name of religion, and when asked for their authority, the Bible is given as their source book. But listen to me: The Bible presents nothing but the truth-so if all were following that book, all of us, would be nothing more than Christians. Hence, the Bible is not the author of the many doctrines that are being propagated; they are penned by the imagination of man and kept alive by his own folly. Many then will have to answer to God one day for the way they have, dealt with the word of truth. God is a jealous God and consequently would have all to recognize his word, and believe it with all of one's heart. For after all, it is the truth and the truth only that can make one free. (John 8:32).
God is a jealous God in relation to the gospel. He would have all to accept and believe the plan which has been revealed. But what about those who refuse to obey the gospel? The apostle Paul answers that question: "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power." (2 Thess. 1:7-9). Hence, those who obey the gospel of God are blessed, but those who reject it will be punished for the same. But coming on down to those who obey the gospel, the Lord would have these peope to carry the truth to those who are around about them. He would have them teach the plan of redemption just as it is revealed in the Bible. Oh yes, many different gospels are being preached, but what about them? They are nothing more than counterfeit gospels, man-made gospels, false gospels, or perverted gospels. But if one is to please God, he must preach the gospel that has been revealed through the divine plan. Paul recognized this fact, and thus wrote: "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1:6-9). So it is a serious matter to deal with the gospel of Christ. Paul says that the gospel of God must be preached, and woe be unto the soul that preaches it otherwise. Listen to me, friend, you may come along and believe just any thing in preference to the gospel but someday you'll have to answer for it. Yes, one may preach a false gospel if he chooses, but don't forget he'll answer for it. God is a jealous God with respect to the gospel. He wants all to obey the truth as revealed, and he wants that same word preached in its purity and simplicity. Again, woe unto the soul who fails to abide by the gospel.
God is a jealous God pertaining to the kingdom, or the church. God sent his Son unto the world for the purpose of establishing the church, and yet there are those who are so bright and scholarly that they claim the church is of no importance. Where did such a doctrine come from? Not from God; not from Christ; not from his word; but from the devil. The church IS important. The very fact that Christ established it makes it important. (Matt. 16:18; Acts 2). Moreover, since Christ shed his blood for it, that makes it important; yea, it is as precious to God as the blood of Christ is. (Acts 20:28). But continuing, it is important inasmuch as Christ is the saviour of the church, he is the head of the church, and so on. (Eph. 6:23). Now in the light of all of this, consider the Lord's statement: "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousnes; and all of these things shall be added to you." (Matt. 6:33). Yes, the kingdom of God, or the church of God, is so important and so essential when it comes to the salvation of the soul, that the Lord explains that we are to put it f irst in our lives. My friends, God is a jealous God. He is not pleased with these people who say that the church is not important, and I'll tell you something else, he is not pleased with this man-made doctrine that one church is as good as another, or that there are many churches and one may join the church of his choice. No, God is not pleased with such. There is only one true church and one must be a member of it to be saved. Please read Eph. 4:4, 1 Cor. 12:13, and Acts 2:47.
God is a jealous God with respect to worship. It is said that one may worship with the church of his choice. Furthermore, it is propagated that one may worship as he pleases just so long as he is honest and sincere, but good neighbors don't deceive yourselves and nither allow anyone else to deceive you. This matter is not left in man's hand but the Lord has had something to say about the matter. We read: "God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John 4:24). Now watch it! The Lord says that our worship MUST be in spirit and in truth. Hence, worship, in order to be acceptable worship, must be according to the Lord's pattern, not man's. But what about all of this other worship? It is in vain, so says Matt. 15:9. God is jealous when it comes to our worship. He wants us to worship him as he has stated within his word. He will not accept any other kind of worship.
God is a jealous God in speaking of the name. He wants every soul who obeys him to wear the name he has designated-the name Christian. Now the only way we can please him is to wear that name. Tacking some manmade title before the name Christian or after it will not work. He wants us to be Christians and nothing more. This is in harmony with Peter's statement: "Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf." (I Pet. 4:16). Also read Acts 26:28 and Acts 11:26 on this matter. Now you can come along and wear some manmade name if you want to, but as sure as you do you'll have to pay for it. I remind you again of the fact that God is a jealous God and if you are going to be his then he wants you to wear the name he has given. Not only is such true when it comes to the individual but the same is true in respect to the church. (Rom. 16:16; Acts 20:28).
God is a jealous God in terms of living the Christian life. Paul explains to a group of Christians: ". . . present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1). Beloved, if we are to serve God, he wants us to serve him, rather than living the Christian life one day and living a sinful life the next. God is jealous and he is not willing for his people to dabble in sin or walk with the world in the least. So in order to belong to him one must hate sin with all of his being. Some people claim to be children of God, but at the same time, are just as sinful and ungodly as one could possibly be. But remember, all people will have to reap what they sow. (Gal. 6:7, 8).
Yes, God is a jealous God. Friends, choose you this day whom ye will serve -God or Satan. But keep in mind, if you choose God, he demands faithfulness unto death. (Rev. 2:10). One must be willing to give this kind of service to the Lord in order to be saved in this world and in the world to come.
Truth Magazine I:11, pp. 7-8, 10-11