NOVEMBER ,1973 •. V ^ Î É -
OCTOBER RADIO FEATURES
President. . .
Managing Editor. . .
J. RICHARD CHASE
C O N T E N T S
* S tu d y in G a la tians
J. R icha rd Chase
* Panel D iscuss ion s
*P h ilip p ia n s
L lo y d T . A n de rson
Pu rpo se in S em in a ry T ra in in g C ha rle s L . Fe inbe rg
♦Edited Biola Hour Radio m essag es
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B io la Today Our former Biola Today newsletter will have a new magazine style format be ginning January, 1974, and will be mailed to each of you on our mailing list. Biola Today will include Bible study ar ticles, features about our alumni, news of campus activities and current educa tional projects.
LONG SUFFERING GENTLENESS GOO DN ESS MEEKNESS SELF-CONTROL
A Continuing Study In Galatians 5:22-23
By J. RICHARD CHASE
STUDY IN GALATIANS
LONG SUFFERING LONGSUFFERING DEFINED To lose one's temper can often mean unhappiness both for the in dividual on whom the wrath is vented, as well as the one who has grown tired of suffering in silence. From Galatians 5:22 we note that the fruit of the Spirit includes long- suffering. This is a quality of char acter that helps keep the Christian from "blowing his stack." It is the willing exercise of restraint in the face of strong provocation, and is a quality of character closely related to patience. In the Greek language "longsuf- fering" is a compound word similar to what we find in English. By quick analysis of the term we might as sume that one ought to be able to put up with suffering for a long period of time. In the original, how ever, it refers to the concept of en during coupled with the word for spirit or soul. Suffering does not really enter the picture. There is no indication of suffering in silence. The definite suggestion is that the problems, circumstances or people who thwart you do not cause you to become angry and to lose your temper. Literally, you have "a long spirit" or "a long soul" in the sense that you have been able to face and to live with your obstacles and dif ficulties; they do not get you down. A long-spirited person is one who even though thwarted on every hand, is not so unduly concerned that he cannot control himself. There is certainly no thought of suf fering in silence or sulking as some
people will do immaturely. The feelings are not to be stifled or "bottled up." Longsuffering is a quality to be acquired which will mark our inner life as well as all our actions. God does not want us to be miserable holding our temper in check when we are thwarted. He wants to change us so that we can live with out that terrible tension that is a part of so many people's lives. In Colossians 1:11 we read the helpful words which remind us that we are to be "strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long- suffering with joyfulness." (Notice those last two words.) This is a pic ture of one who has found the joy of this wonderful fruit of the Holy Spirit. Similarly we are told in Ephesians 4:2 that our lives are to be marked "With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, for bearing one another in love." The person who sits on the hopelessly jammed freeway, determined, even though he seethes, that he will not honk his horn or yell at the drivers in front of him, is not characterizing what it means here by "forbearing one another in love." In the same way, a husband or a wife who goes off to sulk, failing to have his or her own way, can find no real consola tion in thinking that forbearance has been achieved at least in the mate's presence. The concept of longsuffering is also related to patience. The noun "longsuffering," as it appears in
the goals we seek in life are blocked by obstacles that the real test comes. Do we lash out and lose our temper? Do we allow ourselves to say things for which we may later be sorry? Is it easy for us to sulk in silence? To ask that all our prob lems be removed, including those which thwart our personal desires, is denying God the privilege of granting us the attribute of long- suffering or patience. Longsuffering can only be displayed when the going is rough. As you consider these thoughts some simple ques tions should quickly come to mind, "Am I one who has a long spirit?" "Does this characterize my life?" "Am I allowing the Holy Spirit to operate in and control my life?" LONGSUFFERING OBTAINED Defining longsuffering is one thing, but achieving it as a personal quality of character is something else. Let me suggest two basic steps that are important in achieving longsuffering. First, since it is called a fruit of the spirit in the Bible, we may assume that it can be achieved only when you are "born of the spirit" — a Biblical phrase for salva tion. In Galatians chapter five Paul states that only the believer in Christ can produce the fruits of the spirit because only he is able to walk in the spirit. Verses 24 and 25 indicate that our relationship with Christ is the foundation for a change that will enable us to move from a life characterized by strife and anger to one characterized by longsuffering. Paul reminds us that we are to "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh" (Gala tians 5:16). The Apostle then spells Page 7
Galatians 5:22, is translated two times out of about fourteen times in the New Testament as patience. In its verb form it is frequently translated as patience and actually carries the connotation of “ remain ing behind" or "under" something. The suggestion is that one can face obstacles without letting them get him down so that he cannot con trol himself. If I get on the freeway to go from LaMirada to downtown Los Angeles I may have to "remain behind" a long stream of crawling traffic be cause of an accident. I need to tell myself, "Even though I am going to be late for my appointment there is no sense in being overly concerned about it, there is nothing I can do now that I am trapped here." This is the idea of "remaining behind" without letting it get you down which is the basic concept of pa tience. It is a willing acceptance of the condition which exists. Paul re minded the Roman believers, "We glory in tribulations also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience" (Romans 5:3). God's Word tells us that even though thwarted we can rejoice realizing that the all-impor tant commodity of patience is being perfected in our lives. We find this same truth expounded for us in James 1:2 and 3. Longsuffering can only operate under adverse conditions. To use a familiar example again, if I get on the freeway to go downtown and find no problems with traffic obvi ously I would never exercise the quality of character known as long- suffering or having a "long spirit." Perhaps longsuffering is like coffee since the benefit is appreciated on ly when it is in hot water. It is when
Dr. Chase addresses the student body during convocation exercises.
out some of these lusts as he talks about adultery, fornication, un cleanness, envy, murder, drunken ness, strife, jealousy, hatred and wrath. How tragic that these un seemly qualities should character ize so many people's lives. It is un fortunate that some who are new creatures in Christ still produce fruit of the old nature. This should not be, and will not be, if we allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control. But we have no hope with out a sure foundation in Christ. Re member Paul's challenge in verse 24, "And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affec tions and lusts." We are deliberate ly to turn our backs on the one- dimension-man who lives only for self and the flesh so that we may enjoy the fulness of our new rela tionship with Cod. Paul also says in verse 25, "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." The particular term "walk" used here in verse 25 has in mind what could mean a row of fenceposts or a series of columns around a building. When an army was marching to battle they would assemble in rows or in a particular file. In the Biblical sense this then refers in the original to one who is walking by a certain rule or a prin ciple. This means we are to follow the standard of life which the Spirit would urge upon us. This includes those vital and important truths which He helps us to see in the Word of God. Thus we are to be a new person with a new walk, fol lowing a new conduct of life. There are also new desires by which we should be characterized. Too many have envious thoughts concerning the possessions of oth
ers. Some are occupied with want ing the things of this world, includ ing perhaps its praise. These are not the commodities which bring true contentment and satisfaction. Only the things we receive from Cod will be lasting and devoid of vainglory. As an example, how important to you is the matter of praise? Most people thoroughly enjoy receiving the praise and adulation of others. How do you feel, however, if you are deprived of this because some one spreads rumors about you? This probably would frustrate us if it did not cause extreme anger to come out. Such times could dem onstrate that we are not always in control of ourselves. If you were able to get the victory over this so that you could say, "It makes no difference; to Cod be the glory!," then life could take on new mean ing. This begins to demonstrate the quality of character known as long- suffering or having a "long spirit." Such a disposition is brought about from a life which has experienced altered goals. The normally frustrat ing aspects of life no longer cause the same concern or bother. For you not only have a new founda tion in Christ, you now have the second basic element I feel is im portant in producing longsuffering. In II Timothy 2:3 and 4 we have an excellent picture of how an indi vidual's life can be transformed by focusing on new goals. Paul urges his younger friend in the Lord, "Thou, therefore, endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No man that warreth entangleth him self with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who hath chos en him to be a soldier." Timothy had become a servant of Jesus Christ, entering the Lord's army. Page 9
STUDY IN GALATIANS This is why he was not to remain entangled with the affairs of this life. No one can be a good soldier when enmeshed in all of the prob lems and cares of the world. We must not be oblivious to what God desires for us. Self-control is not something you can exercise by pull ing yourself up so to speak by your own “ boot straps." It can come only as we see new goals in life through the Holy Spirit. If we are domin ated by spiritual ideals and pur poses then we are not going to be quite so frustrated when we do not
achieve non-spiritual goals. There are times when longsuf- fering under hard circumstances is very difficult to make operational. It is to be viewed as a quality of Christian character which practical ly demonstrates that we can live as believers peacefully and without undue strain. Such victory in our daily experience marks us as those who are more interested in others and in the Lord's way than in our own personal goals. Is this true of your life? Let us pra\ daily that it may be so.
G EN T LEN ES S Gentleness in Scripture is never made synonomous with weakness. Gentleness as a fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22 conveys far more than meets the eye. Clearly it does not convey mild ness or the image of one meekly watching the world go by. Certain ly the Christian should be gentle in the sense that he is not quickly provoked to anger. Still, this is not the intent of the term as we find it in this passage. Several translations have rightly substituted “ kindness." In the Greek it speaks of that which has some very tangible value to so ciety. We are to be worth some thing to others for Christ's sake. There is no room left for slothful ness or laziness. If a salesman is useful and prac
tical both for his company and for his family he is making sales and earning a good income. He is prac tical in meeting both his family's and company's needs. Although the King James Version translates this word gentleness it more correctly refers to someone who is practical. He is doing his job. A graphic picture of the word is given in Romans 2:4, “ Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?" The word goodness italicized in this verse is the same word translated gentleness in Galatians. Here in Ro mans it does not speak of moral goodness (God is certainly that but other words and passages convey
that concept), rather it tells us that Cod was good for He did some thing practical for sinful man. And what did He do? Titus 3:4 and 5 tells us that the kindness of God was the coming of Jesus Christ as our Saviour. (Incidentally, even the word kindness in Titus 3:4 comes from the same Greek word that was translated "gentleness" in Gala tians 5:22 and "goodness" in Ro mans 2:4. Another passage that illustrates this principle is Romans 11:22, "Be hold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, good ness, if thou continue in his good ness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." God was moved in com passion toward the Gentiles. Some branches of the tree which were unproductive because they had no personal relationship to the Lord were cut off so that we might be grafted in. This should not cause pride on our part since it is nothing we have done on our part. God has done it all for us. He brought us in to the household of faith by grace. The Lord may be very severe toward those who have turned their back on Christ but consider His good ness toward those who will accept His grace. The action is for the benefit of those who will respond. Goodness, then in their passage may be seen as being practical, ac complishing something. The old translation "gentleness" misses the boat. Gentleness, in Galatians 5:22 therefore, shows us that we as Christians are to be useful, practi cal, and accomplish something effective for the cause of Christ. Consider the so-called Great Com mission (Matthew 28:19-20) where
the apostles were given this tre mendous challenge to proclaim the Word of God. This should be our mission as well. This service can and should be narrowed down further. Consider this exhortation from Galatians that immediately follows an exhortation to gentle ness. "Brethren, if a man be over taken in a fault, ye which are spir itual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted" (6:1). We are to help those who have problems. We are not to gos sip about them but seek to restore them from the error of their ways. It is unfortunate that so many seem to get their greatest joy in hearing some kind of "dirt" about other Christians. We like to feel that may be we are better than the next per son. If some fellow believer is in difficulty seek to help him. This way your life can be more service able to Christ. The next verse urges us, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so ful fil the law of Christ" (6:2). You can do this by simply breathing a quick prayer which does not cost you anything. So often we do not want to get involved. We are afraid that it will take some of our time which we have reserved for personal sat isfaction. This is not to minimize the power of intercession. Yet there may be some very tangible things which can be achieved for the Lord. The word "bear" means we are to lift someone else's load._ We can lift the weight which has them bogged down in defeat and dis couragement. Just about a hundred years ago, what we know as the "social gos pel" came into prominence. There were people at the outset who Page 11
Crowded walkways and halls are a common sight these days with over 2,000 students on campus.
had a tremendous interest in doing things for others. Some preachers sought to get their congregations involved by seeking to alleviate the hardships others faced. Many had found themselves in deep trouble as a result of the industrial revol ution which was causing serious problems in adjustment in the labor force. Many Christians had overlooked the needs all around them. Unfortunately the involve ment in helping often took the place of preaching the true mes sage of salvation in Jesus Christ. This was, and is, wrong. The mis sion of the church is not just meet ing physical needs but primarily stressing the proper spiritual objec tives. We are called by Christ to be witnesses not simply of a work ethic but rather to His saving power. At the same time we are not excused from being practical and useful. The basic word poorly translated gentleness in Galatians 5:22 chal lenges us. We are to become in volved doing what we can to meet the needs of mankind. It was tragic that the "social gospel" lost the im pact of salvation. But it is likewise tragic that many today have the tendency to overlook, whether in tentional or not, the need for a ded icated program of outreach. One of the vital aspects of the Christian's fruit-bearing is to do something for others. We are to be useful in pro claiming the message, while also bearing the loads others have to carry. Remember, a dead branch bears no fruit; it is unproductive. May this not be true in our lives. Let us make certain, by the power of the Holy Spirit, that we are exer cising this quality of character, "kindness," which the Apostle Paul urges upon our hearts. Page 13
STUDY IN GALATIANS
G O O D N E S S Scripture is very careful to chal lenge us to be useful in our service for Christ. Yet, with the work in which we should be involved, there is also necessary that characteris tic of spiritual "goodness." This is found in the listing of the fruit of the Spirit as found in Galatians 5:22. Spiritual goodness reveals a person to be a new creature in Christ. He lives beyond the godless pattern of life which characterizes those who have never received the Saviour. Keep in mind that the real qualities of life are only bestowed by the Holy Spirit on those whose lives have been transformed through faith in the Lord. The word Paul uses for goodness comes from a very common Greek term simply meaning good or noble. In ancient times it could convey the idea of goodness in reference to birth. A person was good or noble if he was born into the right family. This dis tinction, however, was not that strong in the days when Paul was inspired to write this epistle. The Greek word by then simply meant good; and here in scripture it gen erally means spiritually good. But, interestingly enough, we cannot become good in God's sight unless we are born into His family. It is unfortunate that the world's stand ards are based on the idea that ef fort and determination will get one almost anything. We have all read such so-called "success stories." When we come to the spiritual di mensions of life, however, although effort and determination may be extremely helpful, yet these are not the things whereby one enters into
the family of God. This can only be realized through the new birth, as our Lord explained to Nicodemus, recorded in John 3. There is ample time to be diligent later on in our service for Christ. Once we are born into God's fam ily, how can we determine whether or not we are good from a human perspective? I suspect by living up to the standards God de sires for His family. This is certainly not to suggest that we can win favor with Him by what we do. We do have obligations, however, to live and to walk in this world in a man ner which would be pleasing to Him. This is the only possible way we can find satisfaction and con tentment in our daily existence. Al ways keep in mind that we are good in God's sight only through the shed blood of Christ. Yet, He re quests of us the kind of life that produces goodness. This markedly stands apart from the production of evil. One is the life of satisfaction, while the other is the life of misery and defeat. In the terms of I Corin thians 3:1, it is the distinction be tween a spiritual and carnal Chris tian. In Ephesians 5:9 we have this ex planation, "For the fruit of the Spir it is in all goodness and righteous ness and truth, proving what is ac ceptable unto the Lord." The Lord expects us to be spiritually good. We are not to walk in such things as fornication, uncleanness and covetous. We are not to live a life marked by corruption (Ephesians 5:1-5). We should avoid listening to those who would lure us away
from the truth (Proverbs 1:10, 15). After all, we are to live life on a different plane. We are not to have “ fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness." Rather, we are to reprove them. We are to be fruit ful in producing good things rather than those which are the result of the works of darkness. To "re prove" comes from the idea of cross-examination in a court of law. It is also used in debate where one attempts to show someone the er rors of their way. Not only does it mean taking a stand, but also show ing the falacies on the other side. There is most certainly a time for Christians to take sides and speak out for goodness and righteous ness. This quality of character naturally leads to action. We need to stand as believers in contrast to those
who have loose tongues, loose thoughts, loose morals. Any kind of questionable living is off base. Goodness therefore is a refer ence to the Christian's nature when he is living as he should before God. As a fruit of the Spirit it means that we are to produce spiritual goodness. We do it not to win God's favor for this is accomplished only through Christ. Our reason is because God desires it. In so doing we spend our energies producing good fruit rather than anger, hate, strife, and immorality (Galatians 5:16). The good qualities of life in peace, joy and the other fruit will continue to escape us as long as we produce the fruits of unrighteous ness. Let us be men and women who are wholly desirous of produc ing good things spiritually.
STUDY IN GALATIANS FAITH
It was early in the 16th century that a young monk was captivated by a pungent phrase from the epistle to the Romans. This dynamic truth impressed itself deeply upon his mind, "The just shall live by faith" (Romans 1:17). Martin Lu ther's concept of this basic truth brought a profound effect upon the pages of history. He believed man was acceptable to Cod by faith rather than through any other hu man device. Religious practices, money, indulgences, or any such work cannot avail for man's salva tion. One of the prime aspects of the fruit of the Spirit which the Holy Spirit provides for believers is faith (Galatians 5:22, 23). Faith is one of the most dominant themes in all of Scripture. In our brief study of faith we are going to ask ourselves one basic question, "What is faith?" And we will define it by using four syno nyms that could be used for the Biblical concept of faith. They are acceptance, obedience, loyalty and confidence; and they all flow quite naturally from the basic Biblical words translated faith. The purpose of our study will be to show, then, that faith is a God-given quality of character that prompts us to accept what God says, to be obedient to Him, loyal to Him, and to place su preme confidence in Him. This definition does narrow the concept of faith. It refers to faith as a function of the Christian, not as a noun that stands for a body of be liefs as when we refer to "our state ment of faith." Using faith in this latter sense came about quite nat
urally. The message that so clearly required the function or commit ment of faith became known as the message of faith. In fact, Romans 10:8 refers to the "Word of faith." But such usage does not alter the basic sense of the word. The pri mary sense of the word faith is, I believe, a special attitude or re sponse on our part toward God. FAITH IS ACCEPTANCE Faith involves acceptance of God and His message. In fact, in the Greek "faith" and "to believe" come from the same word. "Faith" is a translation of the noun and "to believe" is our translation for the verb form of the same Greek word. John 3:16 then asks us to believe in Christ, but it conveys just as well the idea of faith in Christ—they are one and the same. Faith is belief in Christ, faith is acceptance of Christ as Lord and Savior. In Romans 10:9, 10, we can see the significance of faith which is simply accepting what God says to us. We are to confess with our mouths the Lord Jesus and to be lieve in our hearts that God has raised Him from the dead. This sig nifies acceptance and a verbaliza tion of our decision. This is faith in operation. The individual must hear the message and respond to it (Ro mans 10:11-17). Many times I have been at an air port waiting for my flight to be called. When announced I know that it is time to go to the gate. The fact is if I do not get on board I will never get to my destination. I ac cept the message and act upon it. While the message of salvation has
believe it, and I am going to help it to come to pass." The king's de sires would now be his own. This illustrates obedience as an impor tant concept of faith. Benaiah un derstood the command, he agreed with it, he wanted to bring his sov ereign's word to pass, and he ac cepted his own obligation to do all he could to fulfill the program for the future. "Amen" is a word of to tal commitment. Sometimes this particular concept is translated "faithful" and demonstrates Cod's obedience to His own promises (Deuteronomy 7:9). Jehovah is in deed "the faithful Cod." Obedience is also seen in the life of Abraham who went out really not knowing for sure where he was going. Cod had told him and that was enough (Hebrews 11:8). He was confident that God would direct his future. Noah was also known as a man of faith because he obeyed God in building the ark. Obedience also characterizes the believers at Thessalonica. Paul commends them, "For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing (I Thessalonians 1:7-9). Their faith embraced obedience and made Paul's ministry much more effec tive. The third concept concerning faith is loyalty. We are reminded that "The just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him" (He brews 10:38). We are not to forsake our commitments to the Lord. He expects loyalty to follow conver sion. While discussing the subject Page 17
been proclaimed, just having heard it will not mean that you have faith. Faith is not some intangible mys tery. Again, it is accepting Cod's Word and acting upon it. Faith, in this sense, is far more than just hav ing a head knowledge. That is not what saves a person. There is also a need to agree with Cod concerning what we have heard. The Creek term for "con fess" is better translated "agree." We need to concur with what the Lord has to say about us and our sinful hearts which need redemp tion and cleansing. This message cannot be altered to suit our own interests. If you desire the Lord's forgiveness you will need to accept His provision and His evaluation of your life. Many years ago we had a Presi dent of the United States who went through the entire Bible and cut out all the Scriptures that he liked. He then pasted them into a scrap book and claimed that this was his Bible. He did not seem to be bothered that he had excluded all the por tions he did not like. This is quite a picture of some people today. They have simply concocted their own religion but it may well be a distortion of what Jesus Christ pur chased for us on Calvary's cross. Faith is accepting and agreeing with what God has said and receiving His free gift of salvation. Faith also involves doing what the Lord desires for us. In I Kings 1:32 to 37 we find that King David had called together some of his leaders telling them his son Solomon was to be set apart as future king over the nation. Benaiah answered his sovereign, "Amen" (vs. 36). This is a Hebrew word which meant that this faithful servant was saying, "I
of faith, Philo Judaeus, the head of the Jewish community in Alexan dria during the time of Christ, wrote, "Now he who has sincerely believed in Cod has learned to dis believe in all else, all that is created only to perish." Though Philo did not write spe cifically upon the Christian faith, his comments do help reveal a nec essary dimension of the word faith known to the people of that day. We should make certain that our only commitment is to Jesus Christ (I Corinthians 4:2). We should be ready to follow through on our stewardship. Do we have a ready willingness to do the Master's work? It is because of this concept of loyalty or firmness that we have the idea of faithfulness presented as an essential part of the fruit of the spirit in Galatians five. While all the qualities of character in Gala tians 5:22 and 23 need to be found in our lives, loyalty should clearly mark our walk with Jesus Christ day-by-day. FAITH IS CONFIDENCE There are some important words given in Scripture which indicate the importance of salvation. In our study we have seen how some im portant synonyms are acceptance, obedience and loyalty. Faith is really a quality of life which com mits us to act in a particular man ner. It should be a sign to observers that we have placed our confidence in the Lord. Faith is an act on our part of accepting Christ, showing obedience and loyalty to Him. It is a symbol to the world and a sign to God that we mean business for Him. Our fourth synonym, confidence, shows to others that our commit ment to God is real. Faith should Page 18
Sheri Link is from La Mirada, Calif.
STUDY IN GALATIANS represent to everyone that our con fidence is in Christ's shed blood for our atonement. The Old Testament saints gained approval by their con fidence in Cod (Hebrews 11:2). It was not just a case of having a pleasing disposition or an intense interest in social projects. Total confidence in Cod was what was important then as well as now. Noah built an ark when there was absolutely no human reason for such a vessel. It is this same kind of supreme confidence in God which caused Abraham to leave his home, traveling to a new land as he was commanded. We, too, need to take Him at His word. We should live such a life that our commitment to Cod is a sign to others that we are His. This is the proof of our rela tionship. Since Cod commends to us such excellent Old Testament saints as examples, we should dem onstrate to others about us that we have placed our confidence in the Lord. Faith is both an act as well as a sign. Faith is complete confidence in God. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen" (Hebrews 11:1). Carefully consider the words sub stance and evidence in this verse. First, faith is the substance of things hoped for. That is, faith is confi dence in God's leading for the fu ture. Most of us have questions about what is going to happen in the days ahead. There is uncertain ty about the unknown. Yet we need have no fears or unseemly concerns for our belief is firmly fixed on the One with whom there are no to morrows. What a tremendous testi mony to read, "As for God, His way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried; He is a buckler to all them
who trust in Him" (Psalm 18:30). We repeat, faith, at its verse core, is a clear sign (substance) that we have placed our confidence in God concerning the future—to God and to those who observe us. This al lows us to face tomorrow without undue concern or worry. This was certainly what happened in Abra ham's case (Hebrews 11:8). The same was true with Joseph (He brews 11:22). He knew that he and his family were just strangers in Egypt and that God would bring them back to the promised land in His own time. He was so sure that he ordered his own burial to be back in Canaan. And this was hun dreds of years before the act finally was to be accomplished. Then, too, "faith is the evidence of things not seen." The focus here is not just the future but primarily the past. None of us were there at the cross or the grave when the Lord died and was resurrected. Our confidence is in the evidence of the Bible. We accept its record and know with a certainty that these things happened. This is what is meant when we read, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do ap pear" (Hebrews 11:3). This illus trates how faith is really confidence in the fact that God could do exact ly what He said He was going to do. It is evidence that is incontrovert- able. The Greek word for evidence in Hebrews 11:1 is no weak and vague term. It is solid and requires firm confidence in God's word. Faith is that which separates us from the agnostics and atheists of the world. It is a definite sign to God that we mean business. It is a
positive testimony to those about us of our devotion to Christ. It re veals that we are ready and willing to do what the Lord asks. We pos itively believe the record of His Word. What a tremendous quality M E EK N E S S A meek person is a small frail man married to a large overbearing woman. Perhaps this is the picture which comes to our minds when we consider the characteristic of meekness. However, this is far from the picture of the Biblical quality mentioned in the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians'5:23. Actually, meek ness is basically submission to God's will as opposed to the asser tion of our own desires and pro grams. But it calls for vigor, deter mination and strength and is a far cry from the picture of a spineless creature. In the day in which Paul was in spired to pen this epistle the word frequently referred to a wild ani mal which had been successfully broken to the bit. It meant strength under control, not lack of spirit. Several years ago we had a quar ter horse which the children loved to ride. Children could hang on his tail or walk between his legs and he was as gentle as could be. Yet, with a competent horseman in the saddle he was an eager and power ful roping horse. This is a good picture of meekness. Rather than a broken down old nag which just could not do anything but give children a slow ride around the corral, Pancho was spirited yet sen sitive to control. In James 1:21 we are exhorted,
is faith. It should be found in each Christian's life. This means not only accepting His truth, but also show ing obedience, loyalty, and solid confidence in all that He is and has done for us.
"Wherefore, put away all filthiness and superfluity of wickedness, and receive with meekness the en grafted word, which is able to save your souls." We are to turn our backs on our old ways so that we may be submissive to God, accept ing the true Word which flows from Him. There's nothing here which denotes a powerless, spineless, fla vorless individual. Again, it is pow er, but under a new master. We see the word "meekness" again in Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye who are spiritual restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, con sidering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." This does not mean that we need to be afraid of talking with a person who has a problem. Nor are we to act as a confident know-it-all. We confront them rath er in love. We should be willing to get involved, showing a concern for others that is both prompted and directed by God. In a sense, we are broken to His bit and sen sitive to His rein. We are to do all things in the spirit of one who is under the authority of Christ. All of our abilities and talents are to be for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ rather than for self. Consider the life of Christ Him self. We find His presentation to the people, "Tell ye the daughter Page 21
STUDY IN GALATIANS of Zion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass" (Matthew 21:5). (Yet, reading on, we see that some of His ac tions on that particular occasion were not too weak!) He had a bold stand against sin which ultimately led Him to go before Pilate suffer ing the indignities of ridicule, per secution and finally crucifixion. He was obedient to the Father, for His desire was, "Not My will, but Thine be done." In Acts 7 we read about Stephen whose faith cost him martyrdom. Yet his dying breath was for the forgiveness of his murderers (Acts 7:60). He too, was submissive to God. He did not assert his own will. Perhaps you recall Acts 26 where Paul stands before Agrippa and testifies of how he had met the Lord on the road to Damascus. He could avow, "I was not disobe dient unto the heavenly vision" (vs. 19). Here he was before a mighty ruler telling simply of his commitment to Christ. Despite the peril and danger his meekness led him to the place where he could shine in confidence for the Saviour. SELF-CO N TRO L We are urged in many different ways and instances that if we would survive in this "pressurized" soci ety we should simply relax and do whatever seems to bring us the most pleasure. Though this sounds tempting, it could quickly lead to even greater problems. Such a phi losophy cannot be accepted on face value. It is a royal privilege, through salvation, to be free from God's
Meekness has nothing to do with weakness from the standpoint of any inability to act boldly for God. All our God-given strength, power and effectiveness ultimately must be demonstrated or we are meek in this Biblical sense. From the Reformation we can recall Martin Luther and few would call him meek. Yet in April of 1521 he was asked to report for a special trial held at Worms. Here he was told to turn his back upon his com mitment to live a life of faith. After careful and prayerful thought, he refused to do so. He had come to the conclusion that his faith in the Lord was essential and all that was absolutely essential before God. He is reported to have confirmed his belief by saying, "Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen." Luther was certainly sub missive to what he believed God had called him to do. Here Luther demonstrated both meekness and boldness. Meekness, I again submit, is not weakness. Rather, it characterizes a person's life when he has given his all to Jesus Christ. condemnation. We are not under an obligation to prove to God how good we are. We conduct our lives in a manner pleasing to Him be cause of our love for the Saviour, and this calls for discipline. Free dom and discipline are combined in the Christian life. Galatians 5 majestically begins, "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke
of bondage" (Galatians 5:1). The Apostle closes this same chapter, however, by calling for a demon stration of temperance or self-con trol (Galatians 5:23). We should overcome problems of hatred and envy, as an example, by walking in the Spirit. The good is to displace the bad. The ability to control one's life should be a sign of our conversion experience and our walk with the Lord. Temperance is a Greek com pound word combining the ideas of power or strength and the con cept of mastery or control. It is the picture of a powerful influence that has been mastered and neutralized. Self-control assumes there is a strong counter pressure which will urge another course of action in certain situations. As an example, suppose you are on a very strict diet. You are trying to lose as many pounds as you possibly can over the next few weeks. Doubtless you have a strong desire to eat because you are hun gry. The counter pressure comes in your desire to drop off excess pounds. As long as you do not eat, going beyond the confines of your particular diet, you exercise tem perance. You have control over your body's desire for food. Sup pose, however, you just get up from a huge meal. You have eaten everything you could possibly de vour. When you reject that third dessert it does not take a great deal of self-control. Why? There is now no powerful urge that has to be mastered; you are already stuffed. There is no benefit in boasting about self-control when there is no pressure that urges another course of action. In other words, if the Christian is to exercise self-control,
he must assume there will be temp tation. Paul declared that he wanted his life to count for Christ. He did not want anything that would ruin his effectiveness in reaching others. He points out, "And every man that striveth for the mastery is temper ate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible" (I Corinthians 9:25). In a race there are counter pressures opposed to having the body driven so hard. Yet, to win calls for rigorous discipline. The Apostle reminds us that there are going to be pressures in the Chris tian's life which might result in our giving a poor testimony if we suc cumb to some of them. The flesh always seeks the supremacy. Self- control indicates that a person has gained victory over strong pres sures which would encourage a different course of action. Theological implications of this subject take for granted that nor mally our old nature, the flesh, is going to demand certain patterns of life. Such things as hatred, jeal ousy, envy, impure thoughts seek to control us. Satan wants to have the supremacy. Yet, there is a greater power, the indwelling pres ence of the Holy Spirit, which can bring us victory. A productive Christian applies himself to the task of serving and living for Christ. This is the work of God. Willing effort on our part, however, is apparently needed for Paul constantly chal lenges Christians to a life of disci pline. The baby Christian will all too soon fall back into sins of the flesh. Self-control assumes that you will exercise the provisions Cod has made for our own welfare. This does not mean that Christianity is Page 23
STUDY IN GALATIANS a religion of works. It is entered by faith alone. The resources available to the believer are for effective liv ing in the new life given through Christ. The Lord provides the en abling power in giving us new desires for a spiritual life (II Corin thians 5:17). But we put them into operation. In a sense, God provides but man must utilize. Paul realized the strength avail able to believers when he testified, "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me" (Philippi- ans 4:13). He knew that once re.- ceiving Christ as Saviour we are given inner resources for produc tion of true Christian living. After being baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, He wants to fill us day-by-day. Remember you cannot have love, joy, peace
and self-control proceeding from a life which is filled with hate, anger, envy, and uncleanness. The fruit of the Spirit only flows from a Spirit- filled life. This is the reason why all sin should be confessed and the believer's entire life surrendered to the Lord. Only in this manner can there be a moment-by-moment re liance upon the Spirit. None of this is automatic. Satan is strong. He constantly endeavors to direct our actions in such a man ner that we taste only spiritual de feat. Exercising self-control is work. Remember, however, you cannot even exercise self-control unless you have temptations that confront you. The spiritual walk is a matter of victory over conflict; not retire ment to a placid place of inactivity.
Q. Seattle, Wash. "What is the 'day of visitation' and when does it oc cur?" A. The aspect of visitation has sev eral meanings in the Old and New Testaments. It suggests the concept of coming to bless or to bring judg ment. Jeremiah 23:2 gives us both in the same verse. The first mean ing is seen more often in Scripture than the second. In the gospels we read of God the eternal Son com ing for our blessing and enrichment (Luke 19:41-44). Israel had become spiritually blind to the salvation with which the Lord wanted to pro vide them. God is now visiting all men in this day of grace. We know that now is the time of acceptance of the Saviour. Q. Grants Pass, Ore. "Is it scriptur al to raise money for churches
through such things as bazaars and clothing sales?" A. The Bible prescribes that we are to bring stewardship to the fellow ship for the Lord's work. In the New Testament the tithe is the ba sic aspect although we should keep in mind the importance of pro portionate giving. Someone who makes ten thousand a year may give a thousand. On the other hand one who gets a hundred thousand annually should be able to give more than ten thousand. The ques tion is how much is left over. In some areas and at certain times in life there are people who have no money. The only thing they can tithe is their time. So they make certain commodities which are then sold to others. The proceeds are then given to the church. The people who worked on such things certainly receive glory and honor Page 25
Q. Humboldt, Calif. "Does every child have a guardian angel?" A. Our Lord speaks of the Father's concern for His own, "Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven." Yes, guardians of little ones is a prime occupation of angels. This, however, is not re-
from the Lord because of their efforts in His name. The danger comes in when those who have the money and who buy these things think they are giving to the Lord. Actually that does not relieve their responsibility for they are buying something for themselves. In this situation, as well as many others in the Christian life, it is more a matter of the heart's attitude in our rela tionships to Christ.
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stricted simply to children (Mat thew 15:10). They are designated to minister to all of us (Hebrews 1:14). What a wonderful promise to realize that “ The angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that fear Him, and delivereth them" (Psalm 34:7). Q. Whittier, Calif. "Why was David always praying that God would
annihilate his enemies? Does the Bible not tell us that we should love our enemies?" A. More prayers of David are re corded in Scripture than anyone else's. The fact is, he was not al ways praying for the defeat of his foes. It is in the New Testament that we are told by our Lord Jesus Christ to love our enemies. Keep in mind that David was ready to call down judgment on himself more than once. He was ready to be judged by the Lord for his failures. It was not a case of his carrying personal antagonisms toward oth ers. If that were true he would cer tainly have prayed for the death of King Saul. No one persecuted him more. Yet the record is clear. Twice in the power of David the wicked king was forgiven. Psalm 139:21 shows us the answer, “ Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?" This is not a matter of some personal grudge but rather a perfect hatred for those who were the enemies of God. Keep in mind that David was ruling in a theocracy under the Lord. Nowhere do we find Jehovah displeased with him for being zeal ous for God's honor and glory. Q. Royal Oak, Mich. "Is the Chris tian's conscience a good guide to follow?" A. If it is guided by and sensitive to the Holy Spirit's leading. Unfor tunately, we are all too prone to give in to our own desires and goals. Our conscience must be brought into constant conformity to the revealed will of God as shown in His Word. Scripture would be a much better source for Page 27
direction. Without our even know ing it, the conscience can be seared and benumbed through repetitious conduct which may be displeasing to the Lord. In this concept we are bibliocentric since Scripture must be our central and final authority. Q. Vancouver, Wash. "In Revela tion 1:4 we read of the seven spirits of God. Just who are they?" A. We state immediately that they are certainly not seven Holy Spirits. There is only one Who is the third person of the eternal Godhead. It will help in understanding this question to consider Isaiah 11:1, 2, “ And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom, and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." Here we find beautifully expressed the sevenfold fulness of the Spirit of God. This shows in a marked way the amplitude of His power. Q. Olympia, Wash. "What part should foreign missions have in a church as well as in the life of an individual believer? Do you think that a missionary program really stirs up a church?" A. There is no question but that a growing congregation is one which is vitally interested in the whole missionary program of the church around the world as well as here at home. In addition to praying for these ambassadors of the cross we should be willing to invest liberally in their outreach of faith. Some churches which are prospering spiritually have set up policies such Page 28
as for every dollar spent at home another dollar is expended for mis sions. That is certainly a commend able goal toward which to strive. There is no question but that mis sions give the church purpose and make it an active and effective wit ness for Christ. As we look onto the whitened harvest fields may our hearts be deeply challenged for what we can do for the Lord. Q. Tumwater,Wash. "Should Chris tians have life insurance as well as some kind of similar protection for property and possessions? What does the Bible teach on this sub ject?” A. There is nothing wrong or im proper with having insurance. In fact, handled wisely and in accord ance with good budgetary plan ning, this type of approach to life is most commendable. There is a danger many times that the things some people refer to as faith are really more aspects of presump tion. We need to be careful that we use the good common sense with which the Lord has endowed most all of us. In I Timothy 5:8 we read, "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied his faith, and is worse than an infidel." Insurance is a method of modern protection and provision for our needs as well as for our loved ones. Q. Mt. Vernon, Wash. "Will a per son really be happy in heaven if he knows that his loved ones are in hell? Also will we recognize every one in heaven?" A. First of all, realize that the God of all the universe will do that which is absolutely just and right.Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8 Page 9 Page 10 Page 11 Page 12 Page 13 Page 14 Page 15 Page 16 Page 17 Page 18 Page 19 Page 20 Page 21 Page 22 Page 23 Page 24 Page 25 Page 26 Page 27 Page 28 Page 29 Page 30 Page 31 Page 32 Page 33 Page 34 Page 35 Page 36 Page 37 Page 38 Page 39 Page 40 Page 41 Page 42 Page 43 Page 44 Page 45 Page 46 Page 47 Page 48 Page 49 Page 50 Page 51 Page 52
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