This World and That

Irvin Lee
Hartselle, Alabama

We live in this world, and it is natural that we show an interest in events and happenings about us. Our lives are touched by many international, national, and local decisions and actions. There are good things on this earth for us. It is proper for a man to work with his hands that he may have enough of earth's treasures to provide for himself, and family, and for his neighbor who is unable to provide for himself. (Eph. 4:29; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12; 2 Thess. 3:10-12; 1 Tim. 5:8.)

The Care for Riches

Sin abounds in our crooked and perverse generation. The only pleasure some seem to know is the pleasure of sin. This lasts but for season and then leaves bitter regrets, loss of good name and self-respect, and leaves one without hope and without God. One may be enslaved by a consuming desire to possess excessive amounts of that which is legitimate within itself. This desire to be rich is filled with great danger since it is hard for a rich man to go to heaven. "But godliness with contentment is great gain: for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. But the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (I Tim. 6:610; See also Luke 12:15-21; 1 John 2:1517; Heb. 11-25; Matt. 19:23, 24.)

It is a fortunate thing when one learns to be content and grateful to God for a reasonable amount of this world's good, and to abhor that which is evil. We are not to abuse ourselves to win the praise of men or to acquire excessive wealth. The cares, riches, and pleasures of this world can prove to be thorns to prevent our being useful fruit bearers. A proper sense of values is important. "For what shall a man be profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and forfeit his life? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his life?" (Matt. 16:26; Luke 8:14)

The World to Come

The full and confident realization that there is another world will help one to develop the ability to discern between the good and the evil. "Exercise thyself unto godliness: for bodily exercise is profitable for a little; but godliness is profitable for all things, having promise of the life which now is, and of that which is to come." (1 Tim. 4:8.) Godliness is in the way to the more abundant life here, and it is in the way to the heavenly home. The atheist does not know this. The Sadducees were materialists and aware of this world only, when they tried to trap the Savior in asking Him about the woman and her seven husbands. His answer made reference to this world and that world. (Luke 20:34, 35.) Too many ideas and decisions grow out of ignorance of that world. In speaking of the sin against the Holy Ghost, the Christ said, "It shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, and neither in the world to come." (Matt. 12:32.)

Much that is written in the New Testament is to prepare men for the world to come. If Christ and His apostles spoke often of the other world, we should not hesitate to do the same. Modernists tell us that we are too much "other worldly." The truth is there is too little thought given to the eternal life. The very best citizens of this world are those who look for a city that hath foundations. They believe in honesty, honest labor, unselfishness, purity, and sound speech. What could be better? What could do more for this world than a great increase in respect for these good traits? The man who is laying up treasures in heaven is as salt of the earth or as a light of the world. He is as harmless as doves. "Beloved, now are we children of God, and it is not yet made manifest what we shall be. We know that, if he shall be manifested we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. And every one that hath this hope set on him purifieth himself, even as he is pure" (I John 3:2, 3.) This hope has a wonderful purifying effect. Real hope for things not seen is included in precious faith. Things that are seen are temporal. We are taught that to depart and be with Christ is very far better, just as our building of God is better than the earthly house of this tabernacle. (2 Cor. 5: 1; Phil. 1: 23.)

The Failure of Denominationalism

Modern denominationalism is without foundation. Doubts are where faith should be. They say they are seeking to make a better world here and now, so they play games, march with protest groups, enter into labor disputes, and campaign for socialism. This, to them, is relevant religion. What they are succeeding in doing is in taking away faith and leaving men without hope and without God in the world. These seminary-trained preachers have a great love for the popular concepts of philosophy and worldly wisdom. They talk of evolution and deny miracles; they emphasize the fellowship hall, and teach no certain doctrine; they think of the Bible as a book written by men searching for truth and boast of how they tolerate all doctrines. These modernists are actually infidels, and they lead people to think of themselves as animals. No group that I know has done more to undermine the morals of the people and to bring about the crime wave.

Catholicism and Protestantism are killing themselves in their own worldliness. It is a shame for churches of Christ to turn to the low road in imitation of these religious bodies that are similar to country clubs on the one hand, and like political parties on the other. We need to tell every one of the good news concerning God's love and of the death of Christ that we might have remission of sins. We need to tell of the perfect example set by the One who left His Father to come to earth to be our Redeemer, and Teacher, and then to return to prepare a place for us in heaven. God has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by this Man (Acts 17:30, 31). We are about our Father's business when we present the evidence so they can believe in Christ as the Son of God who is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. These informed believers will want to repent and be baptized for the remission of their sins. (Heb. 11:6; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15, 16.)

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 26, pp. 6-8
May 6, 1971