By Connie W. Adams
While having breakfast with one of the elders of a west Texas church back in the fall, the subject of the A.D. 70 doctrine came up. He asked for some information as to what that doctrine involves. After discussing it for a time, he said, “Well, if the resurrection is past already, we might as well all go to the house.” For you city slickers, that means there is nothing more for us to look forward to. Everything that matters is already over.
Listen to the Country Folks
Our politicians would do well to listen to the country people. They might not always be right, but they have a down-to-earth, common-sense, get-to-the-bottom-of-it attitude that is lost on those who have escaped their country roots. For instance, a certain rural area was having trouble with hot-rodders racing up and down a country road late at night, scaring the cattle and keeping people awake. The local sheriff’s department was called and he called in the highway patrol (they don’t run for re-election). They sent a fine new cruiser, with the latest equipment out there to be “visible.” The patrolman met a pickup truck coming over a hill. The driver of the pickup waved his arm at the patrolman and shouted “Pig, Pig.” That infuriated the patrolman who shouted back “Sodbuster.” Then he went right over that hill and hit a 600 pound hog and tore up that fancy new cruiser. Moral? When a country boy tells you something, you ought to pay attention!
Chance or Hope?
Every now and then I hear brethren express in prayer the idea that Jesus died on the cross so we might have a “chance” of eternal life. That sounds like we might just beat the odds somehow and make it to heaven. Now I realize the Bible teaches that a child of God can fall from grace (Gal. 5:4) and there are many admonitions for us to continue in the faith (Col. 1:21-23). But Paul said we are “in hope of eternal life, which God that cannot lie, promised before the foundation of the world” (Tit. 1:3). Hope looks to the future and embraces the ideas of both desire and expectation. There is every reason for a faithful child of God to expect to receive that desirable prize promised to those who serve the Lord. If we don’t expect it, then we stand in need of some correction.
Knowing Christ After the Flesh
“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Cor. 5:16). The earthly lineage of Christ was important. It established his claim to be the Messiah of prophecy. But after he died for our sins and arose for our justification, we do not know him after the flesh anymore. The notion of the dispensationalists concerning Israel and the land of Canaan, the rebuilding of the temple, the reestablishment of the Levitical priesthood and of animal sacrifices, all place emphasis on Christ after the flesh. Paul said that now in Christ, “he is a Jew that is one inwardly” (Rom. 2:28-29). He also wrote, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Gal. 3:29). The Jew is entitled to the gospel the same as the Gentile. God will accept either one or both by faith, but neither of them by flesh. It is wrong to teach the Jew to glory in his fleshly ancestry. We know Christ now according to faith, not flesh.
“Let brotherly love continue” (Heb. 13:1). Something cannot continue which has never started. Once started, a precedent has been set and the practice more easily flows. I have long been convinced that some brethren just don’t like each other. Brotherly love is not expressed because it does not exist in the heart. All of us must be on guard against whatever would interrupt the continuance of brotherly love. Brotherly love has suffered much from pride, jealousy, lack of forbearance and forgiveness, not to mention simply misunderstandings. I am not obligated to agree with everything my brother may say or do and may even find it necessary to publicly say so. But I am responsible for maintaining active good will toward him, for seeking his best interest and for keeping my own spirit free of rancor or bitterness. “Let brotherly love continue.”
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 4 p. 3-4
February 16, 1995