April 17, 2019
This was to be my April 3 article, but I didn’t have all the necessary information to submit it before that issue’s deadline. So here it is now.
March 1 was a sunny 77 degrees at Tucumcari, and March 2 also was nice. But, March 3 and 4 didn’t get over 30, with lows around 10 and snow. March 31 was 65 degrees, immediately preceded by 50 and followed by mid-70s.
So, what happened? Did March come in like a lamb with mild weather or like a lion with sunny weather as opposed to the next few days, which were either white like a lamb or harsh like a lion? The same question could be asked about March 31, which was 10 degrees cooler than March 1, being preceded by much cooler weather and followed by warmer weather.
Do we only use March 1 and 31 as the basis for deciding how March came and went, or should we include a couple of days before and/or after the beginning and/or end of March? I don’t know if there’s any right or wrong answer to that question. It’s certainly not of any eternal consequence.
But a lot of people have the same question about the Bible: Is it OK to base an entire doctrine on a single Bible passage without using the context surrounding it, which actually includes the rest of the Bible?
For example, some claim that, because Ephesians 2:8-9 says we’re saved by grace through faith and not of our works, we’re to do nothing to receive God’s grace for salvation; however, many other passages in the New Testament mention specific acts of obedience necessary for salvation [1 Peter 1:22-23; Romans 10:9-13; 6:3-8; Galatians 2:20-21 (the “law” here refers to the Old Testament Mosaic Law; read the context); 5:24-25; 3:26-27; 4:6-7; Acts 2:36-39; 22:16; 20:26-27].
Others ask: Should we use the Bible only as our guide for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:2-11) or is it OK to also follow what uninspired men say? That question’s answer could be “Yes” on both accounts, with some caveats. The Apostle Paul, one of God’s inspired messengers, claimed to be the worst of sinners, but he also said to follow his example as he followed Christ (1 Timothy 1:15-17; 1 Corinthians 11:1). We’re to consider the outcome of our religious leaders’ way of life and imitate their faith without following anyone who teaches their own commands rather than God’s (Hebrews 13:7, 17; Matthew 15:7-14; Acts 4:18-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22). We can know the outcome of their way of life – where they’ll spend eternity – by what they do and teach (Matthew 7:15-27).
There’s a deadline for us to accept God’s grace in providing for our salvation by obeying his commands, and even those who’ve been misled about grace will give an account to God (Acts 17:30-31; Hebrews 9:27-28; Matthew 24:31-44; 2 Corinthians 6:1-2; 5:10; Romans 13:11; 1 Samuel 15:22). Have you accepted God’s grace obediently on his terms?
Leonard Lauriault is a member of the Church of Christ in Logan who writes about faith for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at [email protected]