Back to Basics - Pt. 1

"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Malachi 3:6

     I recently read that football coach Vince Lombardi would start each season by standing in front of his players and show them a football. Then, he would look at them and say, "Gentlemen, this is a football." Then he'd go through the basics of blocking, tackling and other fundamentals of the game to retrain the already dominant Packers football team. As Christians it is important that we constantly return to the basics of doctrinal truth and service to the Lord. The world around us is constantly changing. It is a comfort to know that in the midst of upheaval, trials, and tribulations that God is unchangeable. This attribute of God was a consolation to God's people during the time of Malachi and it should encourage us today. We return to the basics of God's word because it is the only sure thing in this ever-changing world.

     How do we return to the basics of doctrinal truths? First we must discard the traditions of men and embrace the teachings of the Bible. One basic doctrine that has either been ignored or misrepresented by much of Christianity is the principle of election. The Bible teaches that God chose a people unto himself before the world was created. The Apostle Paul wrote of this truth in Romans 8:29-31. "For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?"

     Paul is teaching us that as God's children our eternal destiny was determined before we existed. The same ones that were predestinated by God are also called unto him irresistibly, made just through the blood of Jesus Christ and will some day (if not already) enter into Heaven's eternal glory because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. In 1 Peter 1:2, the Apostle Peter supports the doctrine of election by addressing the Lord's people as the, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." The aforementioned verses are only a couple out of many chronicled in the Bible. God did not merely look down through time and see who would accept him. He chose a people to save before anyone he spoke the world into existence. In reference to men choosing or seeking God, The Psalmist David wrote in Psalms 14:3 that, "They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one." Paul echoed this teaching in the Roman letter. If God would have looked through time, He would have found none accepting of Him. Our human nature is corrupt!

     Why is it important to embrace this basic Bible doctrine? It is crucial that we understand the doctrine of election because it gives God all of the glory. If we are going to embrace the principle of salvation by grace alone, then we have to deny that man has any ability to save himself. In Ephesians 2:8-9, Paul writes, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Works involve action on our part. This includes us giving our hearts unto the Lord, believing, committing, being baptized, etc. We are commanded to serve the lord with all of our hearts, believe/commit unto his word, and we definitely should be baptized if we Love Jesus. However, any/all of these works are a result of God working in our lives and not the cause. We do these things because we are chosen by God and saved by His grace.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Michael Green, Jr. is pastor of Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church (www.palmchapel.org) in Crestview, FL. Palm Chapel meets every Sunday at 10:30am and Wednesday at 6:00pm. Pastor Green can be contacted at (850) 689-3383 or by email at pastor@palmchapel.org. Pastor Green warmly invites you to come and worship at Palm Chapel Primitive Baptist Church

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