The word of God says, “Hate evil, you who love the Lord…” inPsalm 97:10; and, “Hate evil, love good…” inAmos 5:15. This is certainly not going to be a hate-fomenting article; the world has far too much of that already. And, to point out what should be obvious, God (not man!) gets to determine what is “evil” and what is “good,” and does so through the revelation of His Word to us in the Bible, Galatians 5:19-25. But aside from these things, here’s the question we should be asking, “Is there a difference betweenhating what is evil andloving what is good/right?” Can one be done without the other? The answer is, “Yes,” and “Yes.” One can “hate evil,” and even be repulsed by it, without really “loving right.”
Most Christians recognize that God entrusts parents with the spiritual education of their children. This was true under the Old Law (Deuteronomy 6:6,7), and is equally true under the Law of Christ (Ephesians 6:4). From the passage in Ephesians, we recognize that the burden of this responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of fathers as the spiritual leaders in the home. At the same time, we understand that mothers have the obligation to aid their husbands in the spiritual development of the children (Genesis 2:18).
And that’s the way she says it- with a drawn out and heavy emphasis on “your.” She says it when I do something out of character, especially if it’s something she thinks is good, gracious, or extra nice, like eating vegetables, letting her have the TV remote, or watching some cooking or home-decorating show with her, instead of retreating to the bedroom to see the ballgame. Then she pretends not to recognize me and asks, “What’s your name?” It’s OK, I deserve it- and then some. But there is another side to this brief saga....
Let’s start with some hopefully not-too-boring-but-accurate definitions of terms. “Denominational” is a word used to describe a church which is bound by association to an outside organizational headquarters. How much control is exercised over local congregations by the parent headquarters varies from one denomination to another. “Inter-Denominational” is exactly what the word implies- a church comprised of members from various denominations. Such congregations often disavow controlling outside influences from denominational headquarters, but typically retain some standards, practices, and teaching of them internally. However, inter-denominational groups usually think of, and refer to themselves as “non-denominational,” despite the continued acceptance of their concepts and doctrines. By contrast, truly “non-denominational” congregations shun all denominational control, practices, organizations, and teaching. Each congregation is instead completely autonomous (self-governed), and therefore, what is taught and practiced is determined within the local congregation itself. Furthermore, in this “non-denominational” arrangement, there is no structure above or beyond the local church; there are no earthly “headquarters” or outside “organizational associations.” Now, the big question: Which of these arrangements is correct? The question is easily answered by a simple search of the New Testament to see which one God ordained. Let’s see what the Book says....
When Jesus entered the temple in Jerusalem and began to drive out the merchants and money-changers, He said, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer;’ but you are making it a robber’s den,” Matthew 21:13. What would the Savior say today upon walking into modern structures claiming to be houses of God? Would He consider them houses of prayer, or something else? Would He likewise call them “robber’s dens” because they house those using “religion” as a place of hiding while taking others’ money? Or would He just call them a:
The experience of “getting the cart before the horse” has taught us that there is often a proper if not essential order to things that must be observed to fully benefit from them. This is true with regard to how the constituent elements of our physical being work in concert to determine our conduct. Think about the following carefully, please….
“If you tie two cats’ tails together, and drop them over opposite sides of the clothesline, you may have unison, but you surely won’t have unity!” Although I’ve never seen or done this, visualizing the chaos and caterwauling that would result provides insight to “unison” and “unity.” Unfortunately, “unison” is often what we have instead of “unity” in our churches. Despite having a “tie” that binds us together, true “unity” often does not really exist. So, we act and treat one another about the same as we imagine our illustrative cats would, and the fur flies- and unbelievers have a more difficult time understanding why they should become Christians, cf. John 17:21.
There is a huge difference between being patient and being dead, obviously. This is true physically and spiritually- which is equally apparent. In our last article, the importance of “patient faith,” and trusting God and His ways, was emphasized through the story of Abraham and Sarah. Eventually, as we learned, they stopped trying “help” God (through adoption and surrogacy) fulfill His promise to give them a son. Instead, Abraham and Sarah finally learned to patiently trust and obey God. He then, in turn, blessed them with Isaac, the son He had promised. But…
When God promised a son to Abraham and Sarah, they were already old. But they had some faith, so they believed and waited- for a while anyway. However, they eventually decided to “help” God fulfill His promise. They first purposed to adopt the eldest son born in their household (the son of a servant) so that he could become the promised heir. God said this wasn’t the way. So they again waited, at least until Sarah decided she might be the problem, and gave her handmaid to Abraham as a wife so that the heir could be born through her. God reiterated His promise that Abraham and Sarah would have a son. So again, they waited. Then, as promised, Isaac was born, and the nation that was to come from the aged couple had its beginning. What has any of this to do with “The Power of God to Save”?
“Passive” means that we are not the primary one acting in an event, even though we are present and may participate to some lesser degree. Perhaps this is an over-simplification, but it is the difference between being “active” and being “acted upon.” Many believe that man is entirely “passive” in regard to his own salvation- that he is “acted upon” by God, and has very little, if any, “active” responsibility himself. Let’s see if this is how God saved Noah in the very first case of salvation. Please consider the Word of God with me: