January 23, 2018

Featured Articles

My People

By Mark Mayberry


The expression, "my people," occurs 230 times in 217 verses in the NASB. It reflects a closeness, a familiarity, a family relationship. Such blessings are found in both the physical and spiritual realms.

Special Relationship

As the people of God, we share a special relationship with Him. The descendants of Abraham were divinely chosen to be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Gen. 12:1-3; 18:19; Exod. 19:5-6). Avoiding all forms of idolatry, the Israelites were commanded to keep God's statutes and reverence His sanctuary. By so doing, they would enjoy God's continued favor: "Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. ‘I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people" (Lev. 26:1-13, esp. vv. 11-12). Today, the Lord grants a similar offer to Jew and Gentile alike. This special relationship is ours, not by birthright or merit, but by divine adoption and grace (Rom. 8:14-17; 9:19-33; cf. Hos. 1:1-11).

Special Rights

As the people of God, we enjoy special rights. Such was true for ancient Israel, not only practically, but also prophetically (Jer. 31:31-34; 32:36-44). Such is also true for disciples of Christ. The right to become children of God is granted to all those who receive Him (John 1:9-13). The right to eat of the tree of life and enter the gates of heaven is granted to those who wash their robes (Rev. 22:14-15).

Special Responsibilities

As the people of God, we share a special responsibility. Such was true for Israel of old (Jer. 11:1-17). It remains true for contemporary Christians (2 Cor. 6:14-18). Let us avoid the perils and pitfalls of disobedience, recognizing that failure carries devastating consequences (Jer. 4:22; Hos. 4:6; 11:7).


Do you desire to be a part of God's family, to benefit from His blessings, to know His grace and forgiveness? You need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb (Rev. 7:13-17; Titus 3:5-7). You need to walk in the light of His word (Ps. 89:14-15; 1 John 1:5-10).


The Life of Job

The Life of Job

By Mark Mayberry


For our instruction and encouragement, the Bible records many notable examples (Rom. 15:4-5), but none are more meaningful and moving than the life of the patriarch Job (Job 1:1-3).

God is watching from above. Like any loving father, God is pleased when His children act honorably. The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3).

Satan, the malicious accuser of the brethren (Job 1:9-11; 2:4-5; cf. Zech. 3:1-7), lurking in the shadows and roaming to and fro on the earth, constantly looks for opportunities to entice us into sin, and—through our failure—bring shame upon our heavenly Father.

What He Did Right

Job was blameless and upright—one who feared God and turned away from evil (Job 1:1). The same is expected of us (Eph. 1:4).

He was a real spiritual leader in his home, consecrating his children, and offering sacrifice on their behalf (Job 1:4-5). Similarly, we endeavor to raise our sons and daughters in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Eph. 6:4).

Despite his trials, Job did not (initially) sin or blame God, but manifested a spirit of acceptance (Job 1:22; 2:10). The NASB marginal note for "blame" in Job 1:22 is "literally, ascribe unseemliness to." While God tests us and allows us to be tempted (Ps. 11:4-5; Prov. 17:3; 2 Tim. 4:16-18), it is unseemly (and wrong) to ascribe unto Him the malicious motives of Satan (Luke 22:31-32; 1 Pet. 5:8).

What He Did Wrong

Job became too invested in defending himself. There is a place for offering a defense, but with balance and restraint (Prov. 25:27; 27:2; 2 Cor. 10:12, 18; 12:11, 19). Job blamed God for things that were beyond his comprehension/understanding (Job 38:1-3; 40:6-9).

 What He Lost

Job lost his wealth (Job 1:13-17), his family (Job 1:18-19), and his health (Job 2:1-8). He lost the support of his wife, who in a foolishly mocking tone said, "Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9-10).

Although Job's friends were initially supportive, coming and sitting on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, because they saw that his pain was very great (Job 2:11-13), yet, their counsel was flawed (Job 4:1-11) and offered no benefit (Job 6:14-18).

Initially, he faced these misfortunes with a spirit of acceptance (Job 1:20-22). However, due to the prolonged nature of his trials, and the provocation of his friends, eventually, Job lost his patience, expressing unfettered frustration with both his earthly friends and his heavenly Father (Job 3ff).

What He Gained

Joe learned the necessity of reverence (Job 38:1-11). He rediscovered the importance of humility and repentance (Job 42:1-6). Coming to appreciate the value of endurance, the patriarch gained a renewed appreciation for the compassionate and merciful outcome of the Lord’s dealings (Job 42:10-17; James 5:11).


In studying experiences of Job, we have briefly considered what he did right, what he did wrong, what he lost, what he gained? In looking at your own life, what have you done that is right? What have you done that is wrong? What have you lost? What have you gained? Do you need the blessing of forgiveness and the promise of divine fellowship? Obey the gospel while there is time and opportunity.

Note: Presented at the Adoue Street Church of Christ in Alvin, TX on 1/7/2018.  To see a video presentation of this lesson, go here.


Peace with God

Peace with God

by Allen Dvorak

Editor’s Note: Here is an article, written by Allen Dvorak, that appears in the December issue of Truth Magazine. It is part of the theme section entitled "Peace on Earth" that also focuses on "Jesus: Prince of Peace," "Peace with Self," "Peace with Others, " "Peace, Peace, Where There Is No Peace," and "I Came Not to Bring Peace, But a Sword." If you find this helpful, please consider subscribing.  See http://www.truthmagazine.com/ for more information.

Synopsis: Maintaining spiritual focus for you and your family is a constant effort of balancing priorities, activities, and available time.

Synopsis: Through the terms revealed in the gospel, God graciously reconciles sinful men to Himself, thus fulfilling a spiritual need that could never otherwise be satisfied.

When Isaiah saw the Lord on His throne, he said, "Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!" (Isa. 6:5, ESV). Isaiah's response was similar to others in the Scriptures who found themselves in the presence of a holy God (Ezek. 1:28; Judg. 13:22; Luke 5:8; Rev. 1:17).

The holiness of God is the most important trait of deity for understanding the dynamics of the relationship between God and man. The Scriptures are replete with affirmations of God's holiness (Ps. 11:7; 116:5; 119:137; 145:17). The seraphim that Isaiah saw proclaimed the holiness of the Lord: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory" (6:3), as did the four living creatures that John saw (Rev. 4:8). Describing the righteousness of God in terms of light and darkness, the apostle John wrote, "God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth" (1 John 1:5b-6).

Peter quoted from Psalm 34 to describe the implication of God's holiness for His relationship with man: "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous… but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Pet. 3:12). Isaiah explained to the nation of Judah that their troubles were not because God was powerless to help them, but "your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear" (Isa. 59:1-2).

An individual's sin causes a separation between him and God; it fractures an amicable spiritual relationship. Paul described such individuals as "alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds," and "ungodly," essentially causing enmity between them and God (Col. 1:21; Rom. 5:10). When we sin, we become enemies of God by our own actions! To emphasize the seriousness of this separation, the Scriptures describe it as a "death" (Eph. 2:1-2, 5).

What sinful man needs is to be reconciled with God. In human relationships, it is typically the one responsible for the rift in the relationship who must make amends in order for reconciliation to be possible. On one occasion, I bought candy and flowers for my wife. The store clerk, learning that the purchases were for my wife, asked in a joking manner, "What in the world did you do, that you have to buy these gifts?" The assumption is that the transgressor should be responsible for initiating the reconciliation.

But there's the difficulty. Man, by his sin, caused the separation from his Creator, but he is unable to offer what is necessary to mend the relationship. Until man's sin is removed, the relationship between man and God cannot be restored. As Paul rhetorically asked, "What fellowship has light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14b).

The Hebrews writer stated an important principle with regard to the removal of sin: "…without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins" (Heb. 9:22b). The Law of Moses illustrated this truth by means of its sacrificial system. Atonement under the Law required the offering by the sinner of a physically unblemished animal, its blood being presented as representative of its life (Lev. 4; 17:11). No three-legged or blind-in-one-eye offering would have been acceptable—it had to be a perfect animal! The Hebrews writer also revealed that the blood of bulls and goats (a reference to the Day of Atonement ritual [Lev. 16]) was actually insufficient, in and of itself, for the removal of spiritual blemishes (10:4). So what can man offer for his sin so that his relationship with a holy God can be restored? No animal suffices and he cannot even offer himself, since he is blemished by sin!

To enjoy peace with sinful man, God did an amazing thing! He provided the perfect sacrifice necessary for the forgiveness (i.e., removal) of sins, thus permitting reconciliation. Speaking of Christ, Paul wrote:

For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him (Col. 1:19-22, ESV).

A sinless man, Jesus—God in the flesh, died on the cross, thereby offering Himself as the ultimate sacrifice for sin and "making peace by the blood of His cross." Sinful men can be "reconciled to God by the death of his Son" (Rom. 5:10). Speaking of Jews and Gentiles, Paul wrote that both could be reconciled to God "in one body through the cross" (Eph. 2:16b).

It wasn't sinful man providing a sacrifice to restore his relationship with a holy God; it was a holy God graciously providing the sin offering that could bring peace to the relationship (Isa. 53:5, 10). As Paul wrote, God "through Christ reconciled us to Himself" (2 Cor. 5:18). The story of the cross is the message of reconciliation, a message of grace and love, that appeals to sinful men to accept the reconciliation that God offers to all (2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:3-4; Eph. 2:17-18).

This righteousness provided by God is received through faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 3:21-25). Believers are "baptized into His death" that they may receive the purifying benefit of His blood shed in that death (Romans 6:3). That's how peace is made by the blood of His cross! Having been justified by faith (an obedient faith), we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, and we rejoice in God because of the reconciliation He has provided (Rom. 5:1, 11). If separation from God because of sin is spiritual death, then reconciliation through Christ is life and peace!


More Posts From Featured Articles