For a very long time the devil has had much greater influence in this world than has God. We should not be surprised at this because Paul told us that this was and would be the case even from apostolic times (1 Timothy 4:1-4, 2 Timothy 4:1-4 and Ephesians 6:10-17). We are at the present time in a period of heightened spiritual dissolution. The organized institutions of what might be called the Christian religion are so far removed from the Biblical pattern that there is little if any connection with the church presented in the New Testament text.
“See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.” We find these words in Hebrews 12:25. The passage is an echo from Haggai 2:6. It is a warning and an encouragement to the readers of the Book of Hebrews to be faithful to God. The book was written to keep these people from leaving the Christian faith. The argument of Hebrews is that it makes no sense to leave faith in Christ to return to the Law of Moses. Not only is it nonsense to do so; it is spiritually fatal.
We often study Paul’s letters to the Corinthians church. 2 Corinthians is a highly personal letter and reveals a great deal about the relationship Paul had with that church. That church was plagued at times with men who tried to lead them away from the true gospel which had been preached to them by Paul. He called these fellows “peddlers” of the word of God (2 Corinthians 2:17). Evidently these folks had letters of commendation from some source. Paul was not impressed.
Early on Monday morning, March 6, Mitch and Camilla Fuller and Ginger and I will leave for a short trip to the South American country of Guyana. As most of you know, we try to take this trip each year to check on our work there and make plans with the brethren for the summer campaign in Bartica. We have found over the years since the addition of the bridge over the Berbice River that we can accomplish what needs to be done by moving quickly from one place to the next without a lot of down time.
It is one thing to think about having constancy of character in general terms. It is another thing to think of this principle in specific terms. As we continue to consider this subject from Paul’s point of view in Romans 12 we can be thankful that he provided specific directions for us as we seek to be “transformed by the renewing” of our minds.
We have been thinking about some things centered about the theme of constancy. Last week we began in Romans 12 with the subject being "constancy of character." This week we continue our thoughts.
Paul deals with a number of ideas in this chapter but one of them is that even though we are many members we are still one body (Romans 12:5). He expands on this theme here. We also find this idea set in 1 Corinthians 12.
We have been thinking recently about the idea of constancy as a theme of life. The constancy I have in mind is grounded in a good and proper relationship with God. It is exemplified in Paul’s words from Galatians 2:20: ‘I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me.” Let’s consider how we can relate the principle of constancy to that which defines who we really are: our own character.
We are thinking about a set of ideas under the heading of “constancy.” Last week in this space we considered constancy at home. Today we will consider constancy as a theme of life. This may seem a bit foreign but when you think about it, our individual lives do develop a theme as we go along. Some folks come to be known as calm, others as easily agitated. Some folks are helpers; others seem always to be needing help. Some hardly ever get into trouble while others cannot seem to stay out of it. Life gets to be thematic, perhaps whether we mean for it to or not.
A theme appears in autobiographies of successful people: someone provided a sense of constancy for them while they were young. We know that this is the parents’ job but often things happen that keep the nuclear family from staying together. Most of the time the disruption is because one or both of the parents simply does not want to stay with the family. When this happens the children pay the price for these parental decisions. In the cases I have in mind someone provided the necessary constancy, perhaps a single parent, the grandparents or other family members.
When we see or read the word “plague” we think of the diseases that devastated Europe from the 6th to the 19th centuries. People who study such things estimate that the element of the plague known as the “Black Death” may have reduced the world’s population by as many as 100 million people. We pray that such a thing never happens again. But the one thing we know about the future is that we do not know it.
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