By Earl Robertson
Emotionalism would not have crushed the powerful foes of the early Christians. They had conviction, knowledge of God’s wisdom, courage, and zeal. There was the power of lightning in their message and example. They did not try to destroy these strongholds with thunder. Sensationalism, excitement, and the waving of flags would never have done the job. Compromising truth in order to make friends with the dragon, the beast out of the sea, and the beast out of the earth would have led to failure. It was a fight unto the death of the weaker.
Today atheism, evolution, fornication, alcoholism, robbery, blasphemy, ignorance of the Bible, materialism, and denominationalism are as powerful as the ancient foes of Christ. Brave men who are well armed are needed now for the fight. Gideon’s army was cut down to three hundred men who would surround the innumerable host of the Midianites, hold up lighted torches, and stand in their places. God can win by few or by many. The strongholds of our day can be pulled to the ground if there can be found an army of faithful men who will faithfully follow and boldly proclaim the whole counsel of God regardless of the sacrifices.
The fornicators, social drinkers, lovers of the praise of men, blasphemers, materialists, and unconverted ignorant men are found among the influential church members in some places. If the ground should open and swallow all such nominal church members, the pure in heart that remain would make a smaller but more powerful army against the devil’s strongholds in our day. Emotionalism, compromise, and noise will not clean up our wicked world. Who has the whole armor of God at hand and a willingness to use it? The host of the Midianites heard the trumpets and saw the torches of Gideon’s three hundred brave men. The victory was not won by the men who were hidden in caves. If God be for us who can be against us?
Man is arbitrary in his ways and often refuses to allow the self-imposed law of God to govern his thinking and his life. Man’s complaint that the Lord’s actions toward him are not equal (that is, not just and right) is completely untrue and unrighteous. Repeatedly, Israel said, “The way of the Lord is not equal” (Ezek. 18:25). The prophet responded, “Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal” (Ezek. 18:25)? God’s ways are weighed out, or balanced and will completely accomplish both God’s divine objectives and man’s blessings.
There is no reason for man to doubt God. At no time has the Maker of man given ground for man’s wicked actions of doubt and unbelief. He is no respecter of persons and we should not, therefore, think that He should arbitrarily act in our behalf when such actions would violate His predetermined counsel. God worketh all things after the counsel of His own will (Eph. 1:11). Whatever disappointments we experience in life must not be attributed to God, but rather to our own miscomprehensions and misunderstandings. God did what was right!
His actions toward man in sin are equal. Man’s own sins are his problems (cf. Isa. 59:1, 2). God’s condemnation of the sinner is just and His actions to save are right (Rom. 3:25, 26). God is just and the justifier of all who believe in Jesus, says Paul. To believe in Jesus is to accept Him on the basis of His word. “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom. 10:17). Jesus says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved” (Mk. 16:15, 16), but many sinners loudly declare this will not work. They have heard some preacher present a concoction of error and some truth and are now willing to live in error the remaining days of their lives. The Lord’s way of salvation is equal; it will work!
Apostasies of brethren, with all the ramifications attendant thereto, abundantly restate the same human problem found among the Israelites in Ezekiel’s day. Human institutionalism supported by church of Christ to substitute or subsidize the Lord’s way is not equal – it will not work. Man can talk about his accomplishments, in his own way, but in the end proof will exist that it did not work!
Truth Magazine XXIII: 47, p. 760
November 29, 1979