Baptism is a commandment of Jesus Christ to every person who desires to come to Him in faith. The scriptures plainly state that several things take place and the one who believes is benefited in several ways when they submit to Christ in this sacred step. There are also things that baptism will not do. In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak, distinguish those things that occur in scriptural baptism from the things this act of obedience will not accomplish.
It’s a real pleasure to be with you today. I’m glad you are taking this time to study the word of God. Today, we’re going to talk about one of the most important things we could talk about, and that is you. Your soul, and what it’s worth in the eyes of God. Jesus asked many rhetorical questions in His preaching. On one occasion, He asked a question that cannot be positively answered.
Matthew 16:24-26 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
That’s an incredibly important question that I hope you will consider today. You know, we can place some kind of price upon most things. I know people who say that anything they own is for sale depending on how much you are willing to pay. Others will trade just about anything as long as they think they are coming out ahead. My grandfather was known as a trader. He used to like to boast that he started out early in life with a pocket watch and ended up a few years later with a farm. Some people are that way.
But Jesus says there is something that cannot be traded or bartered. What shall a man give in exchange for his soul? I’d like to challenge you today to answer that question. What is there in all of the world or within your reach, that could possibly be obtained that is worth your soul? If you think you can answer that in the affirmative, then you don’t understand what the soul is. You don’t understand the value of that soul. Many of us every day are putting our souls up for sale to the highest bidder, selling it for money, earthly gain, pleasure, fame, honor…No matter where you along the road of life, I hope you’ll pause for a few minutes today and think with me about this convicting question from the Lord Jesus Christ.
One of the most powerful and motivating things in the realm of human relations is money. Money is not an evil thing, nor is it wrong to be rich. If a man honestly comes by his gain, he can thank God for having the ability to do so, and he can even use his wealth for good and worthwhile things. More often than not though, those who pursue the wealth of the world become very poor in the things that matter most. Therefore, the Bible gives a warning about those who would be (those who desire or make their objective in life to be) rich. Those who seek the treasure of earth end up forfeiting the treasures of heaven.
In our text, Jesus calls us to be His disciples.
Matthew 16:24-25 “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.”
If any man will COME AFTER ME–not sit and let God do something to or for him – but discipleship means I come after or FOLLOW the Lord Jesus. If any man will come after Me, let him DENY HIMSELF – not live for self and selfish gain, but rather DENY self–and TAKE UP HIS CROSS – that is the cross of sacrifice, the cross of suffering, the cross of deprivation. Let him take up His cross and FOLLOW ME. For whosoever will save his life (meaning to live for things that are seen here and now, things that are temporary, that preserve his earthly existence)–whosoever will save his life shall LOSE IT – and whosoever shall lose his life (that is give up things that could be held in our hand now) for My sake shall find it.” What did Jesus mean? Well, this is one of the famous paradoxes of Jesus. If you would gain life, you must be willing to lose your life, and if you would gain life here, then you forfeit the life that is to come. We have to choose whether we want heaven or earth. Whether we want gain here below or we want to gain treasures above. You can choose pleasure, ease, maybe wealth, perhaps popularity here and forfeit eternal life, OR you can place your faith and hope in the world to come by sacrificing your life here and now for Jesus Christ.
Well, Jesus goes on to warn us:
Matthew 16:26 “For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We devote most of our attention to material things: investments, savings accounts, retirements, accumulation of property. It’s not that it’s wrong to be wise in how we manage our money, nor is it necessarily foolish to lay plans for our financial future. That’s not what Jesus is saying or condemning. The problem is that we focus and even obsess over those aspects of life. For example, we insure our property and even our lives, but we don’t insure our eternity. We worry about retirement thirty years before we get there but then face eternity thinking, I’ll worry about that when I get there. That’s very foolish. It’s a common but very foolish approach to life.
The Lord’s question implies that your soul is more valuable than all those other things, and in fact, it is the most valuable possession that you hold. Not your body. We value our bodies. That’s evidenced by the fact that we spend in the United States alone more than 3 trillion dollars a year on healthcare – that averages out to about $10,000 we spend each year per person (if you divide the debt evenly) to try to live longer. But Jesus one time said, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Your money isn’t the most valuable thing you have – because Peter told Simon the Sorcerer in Acts 8 that his money would perish with him. At least 16 times in the last fifteen years or so, Bill Gates was declared the richest man in the world – worth nearly eighty billion dollars. Yet if he died today, you would have more money than him. It’s not your clothing either. I’m told that the most expensive dress in the world costs thirty million dollars–and it’s not only the women. The most expensive suit a man can buy costs more than $892,000. And someone will spend that kind of money for a suit of clothes. Yet, Ecclesiastes 5:15 says, “As a man comes forth of his mother’s womb, naked shall he return to go as he came, and shall take nothing of his labour, which he may carry away in his hand.”
Money, clothes, houses, land, cars, jewels, gadgets – they’re all exciting but ultimately their worthless. Jesus says there is something that we possess that outshines and outlasts all those things. In the sermon on the mount, He said this:
Matthew 6:19-21 “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
The treasures of the soul never fade, never break down, and never become obsolete and never lose their value. Your body will grow sick and old and finally die, and then it will go back to the dust that it originally came from. Your possessions will eventually lose their value. But the value of your soul is immeasurable! Why is that? What is the soul? What makes it so valuable? Don’t mistake the point: we’re not talking about self-worth. We’re not valuable to God because of what we have done; if that were the case, we would be worthless to Him. But we ARE valuable to God and that is because He made us, and He did so for His glory.
First of all, let’s look at the intrinsic value of the soul. Your soul is valuable because of what it is!
The soul, to put it very simply, is the inner man. In one sense, it’s the whole being. We focus on the outer man, on the body. But when we refer to the soul of man, we’re really talking about man and his entire being, the eternal aspect of man. When God created man, Genesis 2:7 tells us that, “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” We are made of dust but dwelling within this mortal coil is an immortal being.
God said He made man in His own image (Genesis 1:27). You see, man is more than just an animal life form; he bears the image of God in a way that no other living thing does. He bears the image of God in that he is a moral, rational, and spiritual being. You’re more than a biological being. You’re much more than a clump of cells and a mass of molecules. You’re not merely the product of electrical impulses and chemical reactions. If that’s how you think about and measure life, if that’s what you think you consist of, then you’re probably going to live according to that philosophy. But if there is more to you than that, then that changes everything, of course. There IS something beyond or something that transcends the body or the physical existence of man. The Bible describes that as man’s spirit, the spirit within him.
Now, the scriptures teach that the spirit of man has the power to think (Proverbs 23:7), it has the power to reason (Mark 2:8), and it has the ability to love (Matthew 22:37). The Bible teaches that it is immortal; that is, it will live forever! It never dies! When Jesus drew a picture of the final judgment in Matthew 25:46, He described the hosts of earth divided before Him – some on His left and some on His right– and He said, “these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” When the ancient patriarch Job was suffering miserably, death became appealing to him. One reason is because he believed in the eternality of man. He said, in Job 14:14, “If a man die, shall he live again?” Now, scholars tell us the question mark was erroneously placed there by translators. That instead, Job is making a declaration, not an interrogative. He is declaring “IF a man dies, he WILL live again,” meaning Job understood that there is something beyond the grave.
Now, that alone puts life in a totally different perspective. If, as the atheist alleges, we are merely a mass of molecules or the product of a combination of chemicals, then why does anything really matter? Why would we value life? What makes it meaningful? There is absolutely a correlation between the devaluing of life in our modern culture and the sweeping philosophy of our day of secular humanism and atheism. But, you see, there is an eternal purpose behind life. If a man lives forever in bliss or punishment, then that changes everything. No wonder Jesus said, “…what can a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The soul is valuable because of what it is: an eternal being made in the image of God.
Secondly, there is the estimative value of the soul. God not only created it but He places a high price upon it. He demonstrated what your soul is worth in giving Jesus, His Son, to die for it.
1 Peter 1:18-19 “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:”
The word redeem means to purchase or buy back. Jesus did not die for you or me because we somehow proved ourselves to be valuable to Him. No, no. Don’t mistake the point. We’re not valuable to God because of what we’ve done or what we’ve made of ourselves. That’s simply not the case. In fact, as sinners, we were God’s enemies. We were wretched and worthy only of death. Therefore, salvation is by His grace; not of merit. It’s not of self-worth or merits that we have done. It’s by His grace through faith in Christ. Yes, His death on Calvary was because of His grace. He saw our souls as something He wanted to redeem–to buy or purchase off the auction block of sin–not because of some self-worth, but because He created us in His image and for His glory. He wanted to redeem His fallen and ruined creation. The high price that heaven paid shows the divine estimate that God places upon the souls of men and women whom He created. You’re worthwhile to God because He made you—not because you made yourself worthwhile, but because He made you.
Thirdly, we see the soul’s value in the fact that it cannot be replaced. Let’s think about the proposition that Jesus puts before us in Matthew 16:26: What if a man gains the whole world and loses his own soul? What would that mean? Well, if I gain the world–and Jesus says if I gain “THE WHOLE WORLD”–if I could amass all of the wealth and worth of the material universe together, how much would I have?
Merely from a material standpoint, the History Channel aired a special program a few years ago about the value of planet earth. They looked at diamonds, gold, water, lumber, and all of earth’s other resources and concluded that our planet is worth just under 7 quadrillion dollars. That’s a seven with fifteen zeroes after it. If you could have all of earth’s money, according to the 2013 Global Wealth Report by Research Institute, you would have 241 trillion dollars. If you had that in dollar bills and stacked it up, one mathematician said the stack would reach over two-thirds of the distance to the moon. Yet, if all of that was yours, what have you gained? Jesus said you’ve gained something that won’t satisfy.
Ecclesiastes 5:10 “He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.”
And how true that is! Have you ever met a rich man who was satisfied? I haven’t. Every person that I know who has a lot of money is always trying to make more money. Thinking if only I had this or that, it would be enough. I would be satisfied… but we never are. We’re always looking for ways to invest our money to make more money off the money that we have.
Alexander the Great conquered the world and then we’re told he wept because there were no more worlds to conquer. So, man is not satisfied with earthly possessions and earthly gain. Solomon was one of the wealthiest men in history. The half has not been told about his wealth, his wisdom, and his works. The wealthy king even admitted that he sought happiness in all of these things he had accumulated, but all of he could say of it was, “it is vanity and vexation of spirit” (Ecclesiastes 2:11). If you gain all of the world, you’re gaining something that will not satisfy. You’re gaining something that will eventually perish.
1 John 2:17 “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever.”
Not only that, but the world that you gain becomes a dangerous and disappointing master. Paul told Timothy to warn those who chase after riches.
1 Timothy 6:6-12 “But Godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.”
And Jesus illustrated the vanity of living for things when He told the haunting parable of the rich farmer in Luke 12 who had a great crop and said he must tear down his barns and build bigger ones and prepare for the future. But in all of his preparations–in all of his gaining the world–he wasn’t doing anything about his soul.
Luke 12:20-21 “God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
That’s exactly what many of us are doing day by day. You see, that man gained the world but lost his soul. Now, you may lose material things, but you’ve not lost everything. You may lose your home in a fire, but that home can be rebuilt. You may lose what you have in the stock market, but wealth can be re-earned or replaced given enough time and opportunity. But if there is an eternity (and there is)–if we are created in the image of an eternal and transcendent God (and we are)–if we will stand before Him in judgment after this life is over (and we will)–and if we will spend eternity somewhere – either in His presence or in hell fire (you can count on it)–then friend, if you lose your soul, you’ve lost EVERYTHING.
Now, think about that.
Jesus said in Luke 16 that a rich man died and went to hell and was in torment. There is no indication in scripture that his suffering was temporary. Lazarus, on the other hand, was comforted in Paradise and he’ll enjoy the bliss and comforts of heaven through eternity. Friend, if you miss that for mere things and pleasures here on earth that don’t last, how foolish is that? What have you gained? And more importantly, what will you have lost?! No wonder Jesus asked, “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
What value do you place upon your soul today? You may agree, my soul is the most valuable thing I possess, but you’re living as though that’s not the case. Are you making preparation for eternity or are you wrapped up in here and now and earth’s tomorrow which we have no promise of? If your soul was required of you today in a car accident, a heart attack, a stroke, a natural disaster, or if Jesus should finally break the eastern sky and sweep down from glory and the angel declared that time shall be no more, then whose will those things be that you place such importance upon and forfeited eternal and spiritual blessings in pursuit of? What will you give in exchange for your soul? Would you not deny yourself, as Jesus called you to do long ago, and take up your cross and follow Him? Make the greatest investment you will ever invest by giving to Him your life, your heart, your will, your all. Surrender to Him in gospel obedience and start laying up treasures in heaven. It will be worth it in the after-while.
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Jesus once posed a rhetorical question that one can not affirmatively answer: “What shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Most people are thoughtlessly trading their most precious possession for things of little to no worth. What is a soul and what makes it so invaluable? In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak, we consider The Worth Of Your Soul. Take a few moments and watch. It may affect where you spend eternity.
The book of Malachi is the last book in the Old Testament and its prophecy came about one hundred years after God’s people returned to Jerusalem from Babylonian captivity. That was a time of great joy and great relief, to return to their homeland and rebuild the city and the temple. But, a hundred years is a long time. It may not seem like it when you consider the whole span of Bible history, but from the perspective of a life or a particular generation of people or the history of a nation, a hundred years is really a long time. A lot can change in a hundred years. Attitudes can shift, things can be forgotten and can go by the wayside. Sure enough, that was the case with Israel.
In this period of one hundred years, a lot had changed. Whatever excitement there might’ve been at returning and rebuilding was now gone. The nation had reverted to its old self. The services of the temple had become common and profane. The nation was once again in sorry shape, spiritually, and they blamed God for their troubles. Despite His forbearance, they had the audacity to accuse God of not loving or caring about them. And once again, the fires of God’s judgment were smoldering, except that there was one thing that kept Him from destroying them altogether. Read with me.
Malachi 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.”
God made a covenant, promising that a Messiah would come from their people and bring salvation to the world through them. God did not destroy them because the promises that were made to them still had to be fulfilled through them in Christ, and God would not break His word. They deserved to be destroyed, but God did not destroy them because of His covenant.
The prophet Balaam, knowing how capable he himself was of deceit and knowing how he could be tempted by bribery to change from one course to another, said this of God:
Numbers 23:19 “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”
God does not change. We can’t think of God in terms of humans. People change their minds, attitudes, sometimes their personality over time. But God never changes, and He succinctly states that on more than one occasion in His word: I do not change. But not only does He not change, but He cannot change. Today, we’ll study what it means to serve an unchanging God.
It’s difficult for us to imagine one who never changes because everything in this world changes with the passing of enough time. Everything about our lives is changing from moment to moment, day to day, and year to year. Even the earth and the heavens are changing. Things that look to us like they never change are surely, slowly, and constantly being reshaped by the forces of time.
Psalm 102:25-27 “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands. They shall perish, but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment; as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed: But thou art the same, and thy years shall have no end.”
Everything from the microscopic atom to the sun’s solar system and universe are all in a constant state of flux, transition, and change. Everything God has created is changeable, but God does not change. James made this contrast.
James 1:17 “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights (speaking of heavenly lights: the sun that rises and sets and the stars that are born and later burn out), with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”
One may say, Hasn’t God changed throughout the course of human history? Isn’t there an old covenant and a new covenant? Haven’t the economies through which God has dealt with people in different times changed? But those things don’t mean that God has changed. The Bible is not merely a compilation of books and writings; the Bible has a continuity about it. It is a story. Paul refers to the mystery of the scheme of redemption that spans the ages, from eternity to eternity as “the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11). The word manifold means variegated or many-colored, like a grand mosaic work of art. Each part or piece of the divine story–beautiful and significant within itself–every interaction between God and man down through the stream of time seems independent to itself, but it’s not, because when all of it is arranged in place by the master artist, a larger picture emerges. That picture here is Christ Jesus and the redemption of the world. There is a continuum from Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 and everything that has come to pass has all been according to the purpose that God has had from eternity. He is not playing it by ear. He created the world with purpose, He created man with purpose, and His dealings with man have been with purpose.
2 Timothy 1:9 “Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,”
So, God’s plan throughout the ages has involved change and has brought change, but the plan never changed and God never changed. He does not change and He will not change. But not only is God’s purpose unchanging, God’s attributes and personality are unchanging. Some almost seem to believe that the Bible is a story of at least two different Gods: the God revealed in the Old Testament and the God revealed in the New Testament. On one hand, a God of rules, law, of wrath, vengeance, and judgment. On the other, a God of grace, mercy, love, kindness and understanding; a God who is not all that concerned or angered by sin, but who basically handed us the reins to live and worship as we please. But that’s not accurate.
You see, the Bible does not give us two revelations of God because God hasn’t changed. The Bible, from Genesis to Revelation is one revelation of God, all pointing to Christ. Yes, He has established different covenants at different points in time, but all of that has to do with His overarching purpose, and He has not changed. It’s not that God has decided not to change, by the way. He didn’t just arbitrarily say, I won’t change; it’s that God cannot change, because if He changed, He wouldn’t be God.
Think about it this way: the perfection of God demands His immutability. If something changes, that change will result in something either being better or worse. If it makes no difference, then it’s really not a change. Well, God cannot become more perfect, nor is it possible for God to no longer be perfect. God is simply God. He has an immutable nature. He is who He is. He didn’t just decide to act a certain way and be a certain way. God is God.
For example, the Bible doesn’t say that God merely loves or can love; it says that God IS love. He didn’t become love; He IS love, and He has always been love. The Bible doesn’t say that God chooses to be holy or that He can be holy and separate from sin; it says that God IS holy. God told His people through Moses in the Old Testament and through Peter in the New Testament, and it is repeated several times in God’s word, You shall be holy, for I am holy. God was not holy in the Old Testament and then became love and grace in the New Testament, as though there is some contradistinction between the two. God has always been holy and He is still holy, and God has always been love, and He is still love. He will always be all of those things.
God showed incredible grace to His people in the Old Testament. I mean, where do people get the idea that there was no grace under the old covenant? God was a great God of grace even in that dispensation. Can we not read that Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord? God could’ve immediately destroyed Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden, but He didn’t. His grace made a way and His mercy spared them. They paid a price for their sin, but God was still acting in grace. God spared His own people as we read in our text and gave them space for repentance beyond what they deserved. Yes, even back then, God was a God of grace.
By the same token, God promises His wrath even in the New Testament age. In fact, time and again, we are told by Paul, Peter, Jude, and others that the divine strokes of punishment that fell on the people of old are examples to erring and apostate children of God today. To go even a step further, the Hebrew writer indicated that the judgment and punishment of God is even worse for one who turns from the truth today, because now we have the full revelation in Christ Jesus. God hasn’t changed.
The difference is that now, we have the realized blessings and promises of God that are all found in Christ. Those before Christ looked forward to Christ and all of those events pointed forward to Christ. God’s dealings with them were preparing the way and creating the expectation and hope of Christ. Praise be to God that now, we know the fulfillment of those promises, covenants, and blessings. But, you see, God has not changed. God still hates sin as much as He ever did. God still promises to punish sin. And yes, He still loves sinners like He always has. He is the same God who went searching for the rebellious pair in the garden and made a sacrifice and covered their nakedness. He is the same God who told Cain, “If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted?” (Genesis 4:7) That same God sent His holy and spotless Son down the golden staircase of heaven into this awful, sin-filled world to save it.
God hasn’t changed. He has been acting according to the same purpose in accordance with His own attributes from eternity and He will to eternity. He has not gone from being some raging, jealous, vengeful, wrathful, thundering God of old to being some aging, senile, doting, docile grandfather today. He is the same God today that He was to Adam, that He was to Noah, that He was to Abraham, to Moses, to the Jews of Malachi’s day, to the church of the first century, to the church a hundred years ago. God simply does not change.
Not only does God’s personality not change, but neither does He change in His pronouncements. Just as God is immutable Himself, His word is unbreakable. God cannot lie, the Bible says.
John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Not sometimes truth, was truth, can be truth or will be truth—thy word IS truth. It’s much like when Jesus said, Before Abraham was, I AM. God’s word is eternal and unbreakable, and the Bible is as relevant and authoritative in our lives today as it was to the early churches to whom the apostles wrote. Time has not rendered it null and void. Cultural, technological, and societal achievements and advancements have not made the word of God irrelevant. Some suggest that God’s view of things, His standards and expectations have changed with the times and so should we, and that God just sort of follows our lead. But that’s not what the Bible says.
2 Peter 1:24-25 “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.”
Mark 13:31 “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.”
Let me remind you that what the Bible calls sin is still sin. Living in a modern world does not change that. The ebb and flow of culture does not change that. God’s word is immutable. Sin is still sin, even if the world ignores what God says about it.
John 12:48 “…the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”
Sin is still sin even if the majority celebrates and embraces it.
Exodus 23:2 “Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil;”
Sis is still sin even if it’s legal. There is a court much higher than the supreme court, I promise you that.
Acts 5:29 “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
Sin is still sin even if you don’t see the harm in it and you don’t recognize it as sin. It is still sin if the Bible teaches that it is sin.
Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”
Sin is still sin even if the church tolerates and accepts it. We see people in religion tolerating and accepting many things that were unthinkable just a few years ago. Some people get the idea that it must be alright then, but it’s not alright. God said not to pagans, but to His own wayward people:
Isaiah 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!”
Sin is still sin even if wicked people try to justify and defy it. People twist the scriptures. Jude 4 speaks of some who would attempt to turn the grace of God into lasciviousness. Sin is still sin even if we’re persecuted for believing in preaching it.
1 John 3:13 “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
Immorality is still a sin and will always be a sin in God’s eyes because that’s how His word describes it. Sins of the flesh, sexual sins that are defined in the word of God—time has not changed that. The supreme court can’t change that, the president can’t change that, nobody can change that. God’s word is immutable and His word cannot be broken. We may ignore or dismiss sin, we may become flippant about sin and immorality, but it’s still sin, and it’s a big deal in the eyes of God, whether our culture sees it that way or not.
Unscriptural practices are still unscriptural in God’s eyes. It doesn’t change over time. God gave a pattern for the church. God revealed His church when He built it in the first century. We have this book to guide us in all matters of faith and practice and that doesn’t change. Men may change and drift away from that pattern, but that doesn’t mean that God has changed that pattern or that His commandments or examples that were set forth for us no longer matter. You see, God’s word and His pronouncements do not change.
God also does not change when it comes to His promises. It’s tempting to doubt the promises of God. It’s tempting to look at circumstances and current events, and either forget what God has promised or let our faith in his promises waver. It’s easy to allow time to cause the fires of excitement and anticipation to burn low and eventually go out. But I would remind you that God often takes a lot of time to bring His promises to pass. It took nearly four thousand years for God’s seed promise to Eve to be fulfilled, but in the fullness of time, Christ was born. The Bible says it happened in the fullness of time, or at the right time. It took one hundred twenty years for God’s warning of judgment to come to Noah and the antediluvians of judgment to come to pass. But finally, sure enough, the sky grew dark, the thunder rumbled, the heavens opened, and it started to rain. It took a long time for Abraham and Sarah to have a son, the son of promise. In fact, it was perplexing to them why it took so long, especially considering their age after God made the promise. But fifteen years later, despite their presumptuous scheme regarding Hagar and Ishmael, baby Isaac was born.
So, you see, God keeps His promises. The Hebrew writer warns Christians not to turn away and go back to the sacrifices of the temple and the services of the Jewish economy, but to remain steadfast in Christ. Not to waver from the good confession that they at one time had made. It was tempting to turn away because of the persecution that was bearing down upon them. It was tempting to think that God was not in what they were a part of or that He had forsaken them because of their circumstances.
Hebrews 10:23 “Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)”
God has made those who will believe and obey Him many promises and He is true to those promises. He will not go back on those promises. God cannot lie, even when from our human vantage point, we simply can’t see how it will work out or how those things can be true. Do you have faith in what God says? Jesus made another promise I want you to look at.
John 14:2-3 “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
It’s been two thousand years since Jesus made that promise but it’s true. One day, He is going to burst through the blue. One day, He is going to return and bring this world to judgment. Are you ready for that time? You need to be, because God will not forget His promise. God does not change.
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The finite mind cannot fully comprehend something or someone infinite. The tendency of mankind, therefore, is to reduce God to human likeness. Since people change, some assume that God changes with the passing of time as well but such is not the case. God is immutable. He does not choose to be so, He IS so because He is God. Change implies something improving or declining; getting larger or smaller; etc. but God cannot change and still be God. How could we truly know God, much less place our faith in One who vacillates and changes from one age to the next? But how do we reconcile this with changes we observe in the word of God itself? Is this a contradiction or does it mean that God has changed? In this broadcast of Let the Bible Speak, we look at the God who is unchanging in His purposes, His person, His pronouncements, and His promises.