Category Archives: 2014 – July/Aug

Saved By Grace Through Faith – Steve Miller

Can you imagine receiving a gift that is unearned, undeserved and unrepayable? When we receive the grace of God we have secured the gift of salvation from our sins and have a home in heaven awaiting us.          

The word charis (grace) “has been distinctively appropriated in the New Testament to designate the relation and conduct of God towards sinful man as revealed in and through Christ, especially as an act of spontaneous favor, of favor wherein no mention can be made of obligation.”  

“Grace” is divine favor bestowed in the redemptive gift of Christ and independent of any inherent righteous worth resident in rebellious humanity. The original word contains the idea of kindness which bestows upon one what he has not deserved. Franklin Camp observed, “Grace is God’s graciousness, the divine influence of God through Christ and the gospel which touches man’s heart and is reflected in a life of gratitude and loving obedience.”

The Bible has much to say about grace (Gen. 6:8; Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:10; 1 Pet. 1:10). “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us,  even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—  and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,  so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-7).

Mercy, love and the grace of God are involved in making salvation from sin a reality. Man is on a course to getting that which he deserves (justice, punishment). Mercy is God withholding the punishment we rightfully deserve. Grace is God not only withholding that punishment but offering the most precious of gifts instead.

Realize Salvation is God’s Gift

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God” (Eph. 2:8).

God has planned and supplied this costly gift, making it available for all. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people,  training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” (Titus 2:11-12). This grace is recognized as being from God and Christ. “But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). “For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17). “And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24).

Receive Salvation by Godly Faith (Eph. 2:8)

I would like to quote the estimable Guy N. Woods:

“Salvation is attributable to many things in the scriptures. God saves; Christ saves; we are saved by the revelation of truth made by the Holy Spirit; we are saved by grace, by faith, by works, by baptism, by ourselves! (Acts 2:40). God saves us by having given us a plan whereby we may be saved; Christ saves us by having executed this plan, and the Holy Spirit saves us by having revealed this plan. We are saved by grace, because of God’s love for us; by faith, since it is the motivation which leads us to accept the plan; by works because through keeping God’s commandments we appropriate salvation; by baptism, because it is the final and consummating act of salvation. To select one of them-baptism, for example-and to insist that because it is said that “baptism doth also now save us” (1 Peter 3:21), we are therefore saved by baptism alone is to be guilty of grave and fatal error, but error no more grave, nor less fatal, than to assert, as some among us today do, that we are saved by grace apart from, and independent of, the conditions on which the Lord bestows salvation” (Guy N. Woods, Shall We Know One Another In Heaven? p. 160).

Reflect Salvation with Good Works

“Not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:9-10).

Meritorious works appropriate nothing in relation to our being saved from our sins (Titus 3:5).   We need to be active in good works (Tit. 3:1).   Good works are born of faith (James 2:14-17). They are fulfilled in accordance with God’s Law (Col. 3:17). A Christian’s service in doing good must be accomplished for God’s glory, not our own (Matt. 5:16).

He paid a debt He did not owe, I owed a debt I could not pay. I needed someone to wash my sins away. So now I sing a brand new song – Amazing Grace. Christ Jesus paid the debt I could never pay.

Steve Miller is the associate minister at the Gold Hill Road Church of Christ in Fort Mill, SC. He can be reached at goldhillstevem@gmail.com .

 

The Gospel of the Kingdom – Spencer Strickland

Solomon once penned the words, “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country” (Prov. 25:25). In an age when folks are daily bombarded with bad news, good news is a welcome relief. An individual can hardly turn on the television, open a web browser, listen to the radio, or read a newspaper without learning of bad news. However, no matter how bad it might seem, souls in our world need to know that there is good news. When Jesus the Christ came into the world and “dwelt among us” (John 1:14), he brought with him good news—the greatest news mankind has ever heard. He brought mankind the gospel.

Bauer defines the Greek word for gospel (euangelion) as, “God’s good news to men, the gospel” (317). Thus, “gospel” means, “good news.” Mark’s gospel account begins with the words, “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the son of God” (Mark 1:1) and closes with the instructions of Jesus to, “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). The good news came to mankind when Jesus came into the world, lived a sinless life, died upon the cross, and was resurrected from the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 15:1-4). These facts are what the gospel accounts record. This information is what Jesus wanted his followers to share with the world. Mankind already had bad news, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). The good news to mankind is, “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). Christ has brought redemption to the sin-sick world. That fact is good news!

Concerning Jesus, the Bible informs the reader, “Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God” (Mark 1:14, emp. mine). Furthermore, as Jesus was going through various parts of the country in which he lived, the reader is told, “And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matt. 4:23; cf. 9:35). The phrase “gospel of the kingdom” is found 4 times in the scriptures and all of them are tied to the preaching that Jesus did while he walked this earth. These occurrences demonstrate that Jesus’ daily life consisted of sharing with folks the “gospel” or “good news” of the kingdom. John the baptizer had announced prior to Jesus’ preaching, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). Once Jesus began his public ministry, he spoke the same words, “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). Jesus wanted folks to know that his kingdom was coming. He identified his kingdom in Matthew 16:18-19 as the church, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

Why was the coming of the church (the kingdom) such good news? Why did Jesus place such emphasis on the building of his church—the kingdom of God? The answer is found in the fact that the kingdom/the church is the place where the saved are placed once they have been saved (Acts 2:47). What wonderful news it is to share with people that Jesus can save them from their sins (Matt. 1:21), and God will personally add them to the church that he purchased with his own blood (Acts 20:28)!

It is no wonder that Jesus gave the commission to his disciples to “Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). Mankind needs the good news of salvation. Mankind needs the good news of the kingdom, the church of Christ. Regardless of the bad news that the average person is inundated with on a daily basis, there is an abiding message of good news. This good news, as Solomon said, is like cold waters to a thirsty soul. Thirsty souls in desperate need of living water (John 4:10, 13-14) abound in today’s world. It is the responsibility of the Christian to bring this living water, this gospel of the kingdom, to these thirsty souls just like Jesus did.

Work Cited

Bauer, Walter. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2nd ed. Trans. William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich. Ed. F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1979.

Spencer Strickland is the pulpit evangelist at the St. Andrew’s Road Church of Christ in Columbia, SC. He can be reached at spencer.strickland@ymail.com.

 

 

 

 

How Baptism Unites Us With Christ – Rob Albright

There are many people who are honestly confused on the topic of baptism. There are different teachings taught by so many different people, it is no wonder we have confusion. So, the best thing we can do to find the truth is to go to God’s Word and read what He says on the subject of baptism. We are especially noting here the fact that baptism unites us with Jesus.

Paul writes and tells us we are baptized into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27) so it should be evident that if we desire a connection with Jesus it comes when we are baptized. In baptism we enter a relationship with Him. Before baptism, we are out of Christ. In baptism, we put on Christ.” There is simply no other way to get in Christ or to put on Christ, other than by baptism.

Some will point out that in Galatians 3:26-27 the Bible says we are children of God “by faith in Jesus Christ.” This is true but it is not the end of the story. The next word is “for which begins to tell the rest of the story for as many as have been baptized into Christhave put on Christ.” Yes, faith is necessary, repentance is necessary, but it is when one is baptized that one enters a saved relationship with the author of eternal salvation (Heb. 5:8-9).

Romans 6:5 teaches us that in baptism we are united together in the likeness of His death.” Our faith in Jesus and His words should be strong enough to move us to baptism Jesus himself said, He who believes and is baptized will be saved (Mark 16:16).

Now please note. Our faith is in Jesus and his words of truth. We are united with Jesus when I “trust and obey” Jesus in baptism. Baptism will test our faith. In baptism we are demonstrating, in a visible way, our faith in the Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. We trust in God’s power to wash away our sins (Acts 22:16) and raise us to a new life After all, we believe God raised Jesus…don’t we? (Col. 2:12) We believe God will also raise us in newness of life, right? (Rom. 6:4)

We simply cannot reject Jesus nor can we reject what He has taught. Baptism is “for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and baptism unites us with Jesus because our faith is demonstrated in baptism.

Allow me to just list some other things that happen because of our uniting with Christ:

  1. As we already noted, baptism brings remission of sins (Acts 2:38). This is what those that gladly received Peter’s message did in Acts 2 – they were baptized (Acts 2:41). Every one that believed, repented and were baptized received remission of sins.
  2. Baptism brings us into the Lord’s church (1 Cor. 12:12-13; Eph. 1:22-23). Those who have had their sins washed away in baptism are added to the church (Acts 2:47). Two important facts to remember. In baptism we are united with Jesus and incorporated into his body, the church.

In baptism, we are not dealing with a physical cleansing, but we are dealing with a spiritual cleansing. Baptism is the answer of a good conscience (1 Pet. 3:21). Baptism unites us with Jesus and in him are all spiritual blessings (Ephesians 1:13). May we be dedicated to going into all the world, teaching the gospel, and baptizing those believers who are repenting, and continue to teach all that Jesus has commanded (Matt. 28:18-20).

Rob Albright serves as one of the shepherds of the Lake Norman Church of Christ in Lake Norman, NC. He can be reached at Robalbright06@gmail.com.

 

The Importance of Repentance – Michael Morton

Before we became Christians, our pattern of life (what we did, where we went, how we spent our time and our money) was shaped by one of two principles.  Paul mentions these in Ephesians 2:2-3.  The first principle was that we did the things that we wanted to do.  That, Paul said, was “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind.” The other principle was that we imitated what we saw others doing. Our lives took their standard from the society of ungodly people among whom we worked and lived.  

However, when we became Christians that pattern of living had to end.  We could no longer walk according to the course of the world.  We had to do what Acts 2:38 required: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”  That means a complete turn-around in our pattern of living.  It is what Paul describes as a “transformation by the renewing of your mind” (Rom. 12:2).

All through the Scriptures we are taught that we need to repent of the things we do that are wrong in our lives.  This is not a word that is fully understood by many, even in the church today.  So, what is repentance?  It involves a confession that we realize we have not been living as God would have us to and that we have offended God by living as we want without depending on God’s help to turn our lives over to Him.  A good example is the life of the Prodigal Son. Jesus said concerning this young man, “And when he came to himself, he said…I have sinned against heaven and before you” (Luke 15:17-18).

We are to have remorse for how we have lived outside of what God would have us live (Ps. 32:5; 51:17).  As Paul said, “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).

Repentance is a move on our part to be obedient to God.  We must resist the devil and his ways and draw in a closer relationship with God (James 4:7-10).  We must also plead that God search us and find anything that is still wicked in us (Ps. 139:23-24).

The decisive principle in the life of a Christian is not that we do what we want, or that I do what others do, but that I do what God wants me to do.  The old principles have been pushed to one side to make room for the one principle of Christian living.

While encountering Christ on the road to Damascus, Paul asked, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” (Acts 22:10)   He realized that he was not obedient and he wanted to be.  He repented and began to live under God’s rules and requirements.  We need to realize that repentance is not something we say, but something we live and it is very important that we realize what that means for us as Christians.

Over and over throughout the history recorded in the Bible, God has shown the necessity of repentance. He has, through the prophets and his messengers, made numerous calls for repentance to all of his people. Through Christ Jesus, the plea comes to all people and must be handled on an individual basis. We now must understand what the full meaning of repentance looks like.

True repentance takes place deep within us and it comes from a desire to not be separated from our God. To not be moving away from Him and drifting, but to experience the pain that comes from even the possibility of that separation and a deep desire to, both physically and spiritually, turn back toward Him, and a hastening to the safety of his side. The repentant soul is the one that searches the Scripture and searches themselves constantly with the goal of correcting what they find that is outside of God’s word. The true follower of Christ realizes that this is one the most important tasks they will ever undertake and could mean the difference between eternal life in Heaven, or eternal damnation.

Michael Morton is the pulpit evangelist for the Gastonia Church of Christ in Gastonia, NC. He can be reached at mike@gastoniachurchofChrist.com.

 

What Does It Mean To Confess Our Faith? – Michael Grooms

When our Lord sent out the twelve to preach in His name, He did so with a promise and a warning. He said, “Therefore whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.” (Matt. 10:32-33, NKJV). This was spoken in context of the trials and persecutions that they and all followers of Christ would potentially face. It is clear that confession of faith in Christ is imperative for salvation. This is true in the sense of obtaining salvation, as well as that of maintaining salvation. The following is one of the most well-known and most misunderstood passages concerning confession:

“That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”  (Rom. 10:9-13)

This passage does not teach that confession alone is sufficient for salvation, as many understand it to teach. The reader should take notice of the word “unto” in verse ten. This is a translation of the Greek word eis, which is a preposition denoting an action toward an end result. One does not become righteous at the point of belief, but rather belief results in one becoming righteous. James says that even the demons believe and tremble (James 2:19)! The scripture says that one believes “unto” righteousness, thus belief begins the journey toward righteousness. The same scripture states that confession is made “unto” salvation. Again, confession is another step in the progress of reaching salvation. Confession is not equated with salvation, but rather leads one toward it. Jesus said that many who have confessed Him as Lord will be lost (Matt. 7:21-23).

Verse thirteen of Romans 10 is often quoted as an answer of “how” to be saved, usually along with an explanation that one should pray a prayer to accept Jesus. This is commonly referred to as the “Sinner’s Prayer.” Actually, Romans 10:13 says nothing about praying a prayer. It is not even answering the question of “how” to be saved. It is answering the question of “who” will be saved. The previous verse states that there is no distinction between the Jew and Greek (Gentile) in terms of salvation. The point is being made that “whoever” (Jew or Gentile) calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! Calling on the name of the Lord is submitting to His authority in obedience to His will. Jesus said, “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). If one is to “call upon the name of the Lord” then one will obey the Lord by being baptized for the remission of one’s sins (Acts 2:38). Thus Ananias tells Saul, who became the apostle Paul, “… arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord (Acts 22:16b, emphasis added).

Confession of our faith is essential. We cannot be saved without it. The initial confession of our faith as it relates to salvation follows the example of the Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8. It is revealed that Philip “preached Jesus unto him” in verse 35. As they came to water, the Ethiopian expressed a desire to be baptized (v.36). Notice in verse 37 Philip responds, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” The man’s belief alone did not save him, but he was led by his belief to obey, resulting in salvation. The first action the man took, upon hearing the word, was to make a decision to repent of sin and follow Christ. This was followed by his confession of faith that “Jesus Christ is the Son of God” (v. 37). While there is no set verbal formula for making this confession, one must confess that Jesus is the Son of God. This confession alone does not save us, but leads us unto obedience in baptism for the remission of sins. The confession of the Ethiopian Eunuch was immediately followed by his baptism into Christ (v. 38). At this point, he was saved and the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, as his work was done (v. 39).

After one is baptized into Christ, confession of faith continues to be an essential part of a Christian’s life. This confession of faith is to be both in word and action (James 2:18; Matt. 5:16). The Christian should also be in the habit of another kind of confession, that of confessing sin to God (1 John 1:9) as well as to other Christians (James 5:16). When faith is made manifest by confession and obedience, the Christian can be assured that God is well pleased.

Michael Grooms is the pulpit evangelist for the Boiling Springs Church of Christ in Boiling Springs, SC. He can be reached at gospelpreacher@charter.net.

Faith Comes By Hearing the Word of God – David R. Pharr

“Faith” is the trust that results from believing true testimony.  The gospel (good news) of Christ is the message concerning him, his requirements, and his promises.  We can know the message because he appointed men as his “witnesses” to testify what is the truth (Lk. 24:46-48; Acts 1:8; 2:32; 10:39-42).  They “preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (1 Pet. 1:12).  Though people may use the term “faith” in various, and often careless ways, the only saving faith is that which comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17).         

“Hearing” does not suggest a mere listening, or even mere thoughtful consideration.  Rather, it is being made aware of essential truth and trusting that it is accurate. One may hear it from an explanation of the Scriptures (Acts 8:30ff) or by his own reading of the word of God (Eph. 3:4; Luke 1:1ff).  It never comes by superstitions, intuitions, or feelings.         

That “faith comes by hearing” is demonstrated in every conversion story in the book of Acts.  Jesus had said that “repentance and remission of sins” would begin to be preached in Jerusalem.  On the day of Pentecost Peter and the other apostles, guided by the Holy Spirit, used the prophecies of the Old Testament and their own testimony as Christ’s witnesses to convince a great audience “that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” The text continues: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart . . .” (Acts 2:36f).  It was hearing the truth that turned them from being ignorant unbelievers into convicted sinners.  They were told to “repent and be baptized . . . Then they that gladly received his word [hearing of faith] were baptized . . .” (Acts 2:38-41).

The ministry of Stephen in Samaria gives the same emphasis.  Philip preached Christ “and the people with one accord gave heed unto the things which Philip spake, hearing, and seeing the miracles which he did” (Acts 8:5f; cf. vs. 12).  Later in his encounter with the Ethiopian eunuch Philip explained the meaning of scripture and “preached unto him Jesus.” When the man heard what Philip taught, he was convinced to believe and obeyed in baptism (Acts 8:26-37).

Even Saul of Tarsus had to be “told” the Lord’s message (Acts 9:6).  It is significant that Christ did not plant the truth directly (miraculously) into Saul.  It was necessary that he hear the message from Ananias (Acts 22:12-16).           

Peter was sent to Cornelius to tell him “words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved” (Acts 11:14) The entire account is found in Acts chapters ten and eleven.  However, it is in Peter’s later recall of the events that a special point is made about how Cornelius’ faith came by hearing.  Peter said, “Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe” (Acts 15:7).        

Luke, in the history of Acts, records the preaching in Philippi that led to the conversion of Lydia.  He says she “heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul” (Act 16:14).  That she “attended” to what she heard means that she was receptive and obedient, being baptized.        

The jailer at Philippi asked what to do to be saved.  The first thing he was told was that  he must “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  It order to believe, however, one must first hear. “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14).  Thus, the text says,  “And they spake unto him the word of the Lord . . .” (Acts 16:30-34).           

In the Great Commission Jesus had said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  What must not be overlooked is how this connects with the preaching of the gospel.  To believe one must hear and it is the gospel the apostles preached that must be heard (Mark 16:15-16).  The way the Bible records the conversion of people at Corinth shows a perfect correlation with what Jesus said in the Great Commission.  “Many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized” (Acts 18:8 emp. added).  Later Paul would remind them of “the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received [heard and believed]” (1 Cor. 15:1).         

In Acts 19 Paul had to explain to men at Ephesus what was the difference between the baptism of John the Baptist and baptism in the name of Christ.  “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).  It should be noted that others through the centuries and today may not have been scripturally baptized because they have not heard the truth on the matter.

“But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience” (Luke 8:15).

 

The Good News About The Resurrection – Paul Kirkpatrick

Have you ever had someone come to you and say, “Well, I have good news and bad news.” Usually the one telling you this is in a white coat with his/her name embroidered on the left side pocket.

As one who has survived Colon Cancer I can find humor in my own suffering. I made up a joke that goes like this: The Doctor comes into my hospital room and says, “Well, I have good news and bad news.” 

I reply with, “Give me the bad news first.”

He says, “The bad news is you have cancer and are going to die.”

“What’s the good news?”

He says, “You only have to do this once.”

When Jesus came to the home of his good friends Lazarus, Mary and Martha, his visit on this occasion was to perform a miracle that would seal his own death. Lazarus had been dead four days and the proof was in the nostrils of those attending the home (John 11:39). This would be a miracle wherein no one could deny its validity. There were many guests there and Lazarus smelled of death.

John 11:35 portrays the love that Jesus had for the man. “Jesus wept.” Not just that he was dead (for Jesus would have known what he was about to do) but that he would raise Lazarus and Lazarus would have to die again. Lazarus was in a safe place. He would have no more sorrow or pain. Jesus cried for Lazarus because Lazarus would become the visual aid for the power of God and whose life would be in danger. Do you think the Sanhedrin would let Lazarus live long? Though this is an example of a single resurrection and not the general resurrection from the dead, it shows that God has the power.

Like good news and bad news, the bad news is that sin will cause us to lose our spiritual life. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Though man has a beginning that occurred at conception, he has no ending. The spirit of man has a never-ending future. However he can choose his own destiny. He can choose to do absolutely nothing and his future will be determined by his inaction. One might call it a default status (i.e., Hell.) On the other hand, one can choose to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and by doing so he accepts God’s glorious gift of eternal life spent with the Father, son and Holy Spirit. That’s GOOD NEWS!

We have a promise of the resurrection found in several places in Scripture, but this gift is appropriated in the culmination of our obedience to Christ when we submit to Him. The apostle Paul assures us that when our sins are washed away, the new life begins. Romans 6:3-6 provides the context of that gift.

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection.

We don’t talk much about resurrection. It usually comes up during Easter week or the many times we preach funeral sermons. Funerals are a time when many are feeling the loss of a loved one. It has been my experience that incorporating thoughts and information about the resurrection are not just helpful in understanding eschatology (last things), but are also words that give comfort to those of us who are left behind. How sad it is when a husband and wife have been together for many years yet are now suddenly separated at the passing of the other. Many find comfort in the knowledge that faithful Christians have the hope of eternal life by the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ.

That’s GOOD NEWS!

Paul Kirkpatrick preaches at the Warner’s Chapel Church of Christ in Clemmons, NC, and is the director of the North Carolina School of Biblical Studies. He can be reached at preacherpaul58@yahoo.com.