Submissive Obedience

“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

When will men and women learn that submissive obedience is the only act of human will that will save them?  It is God who saves through His Son.  There is no salvation except complete acceptance of His will for your life.  Being baptized is one indicator of submission to His will … but only one.

Acting out of love, God mercifully makes every penitent, immersed, submissive “alive with Christ”.  This action of His was pre-formed before actual obedience was exercised by man.  The Lord Jesus accomplished the favor of God in order that men and women would have that to which they could respond.

Salvation is not automatic.  There are two aspects of it, i.e. that of God’s and that of man’s.  God acted first in order that man might have that to which he might respond.  Salvation is based upon the action of Jesus; it is not initiated by man.  It is based in the will of God, not the will of man.  Man’s possibility for eternal life is to accept – without quibble, nor reservation, nor modification – what God has done and what God orders.  That is faith – the complete and utterly unreserved acceptance of the will of God.  This is why repentance is such a vital part of the process, for it is the utter admittance that all reservations about the will of God are unacceptable and that all inclinations of selfish regard and desires are to be discarded.

Submission is key.  A man might be baptized and the human assumption may be made that he is saved.  But is he?  Whether he is or not is not a matter of human decision.  We can only assume from the evidence set before us that he is saved.  But God knows more than we.  Whether salvation has been granted will depend on whether God has seen a heart bowed low with godly sorrow and whether He has observed a will which has utterly surrendered to His will.

As John urged those he baptized to show forth fruits of repentance, the fruit of a person’s life after baptism indicates the genuineness of the repentance.  If a man is truly submissive, he will continue to desire to know the word of God and to do it.  Those who are baptized, but who show disinclination or reluctance to study more, to worship regularly and to walk in the pattern of the New Testament, may have understood the significance of baptism, but not of submission.

Without submission, baptism is reduced to ritual, an act of getting wet.  Faith in the validity of baptism can be expressed, but the faith that saves is expressed in submission to all the will of God, not just a portion of it.

  • Frank J Daniels, pulpit minister & teacher

Your Whole Heart

The concept of seeking and serving God with one’s whole heart was set forth by Jesus when He said that the first and greatest commandment was “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37). This is familiar to the modern Christian.

Thus, Christians today can appreciate what God said to Jewish exiles in Babylon: “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). This verse is two verses after the one which says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). This latter verse is being quoted widely and its popularity is understandable. We want to believe that God does good things for us. But note, that the experience of the good things depends on our wanting to know God. How devoted we are to the process of seeking God will determine whether we receive the results of His good plans for us.

Many people attend church once or twice and then complain that they do not find anything satisfying in the experience. Others are not regular in their attendance to the assembly of the saints and worship, study, social fellowship, and service. These are so disconnected from the Body of Christ, their experiences and disappointing. Many more do not devote time to the study of God’s word. It was designed by Him to equip godly men and women (2 Timothy 3:17), but the time necessary to understanding, discernment and application of truth is not devoted. Many others so prefer the fulfillment of their own wishes, desires, and passions that the simple, unadorned worship God designed is not enough for them. They are constantly looking for the new experience. Seeking to fulfill your own heart’s desires rather than God’s is idolatry.

Seeking is the key. But not seeking your own way. The Lord said finding Him depends on “seeking [Him] with all your heart.” In fact, He promised that you will find Him if your whole heart is devoted to the effort. No partial effort will be sufficient. No haphazard effort will suffice. Priorities will have to be set. For it is His kingdom and His righteousness which have to be sought first (Matthew 6:33). You have to apply yourself. You have to work at being His child. You have to “always obey, continuing to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Drawing near to God requires humility, perseverance, resistance of the devil, single-mindedness, and purity of heart (James 4:7-8). You will have to “handle the word of truth correctly” in order to “present yourself to God as one approved” (2 Timothy 2:15). The effort is one vigilance and steadfastness, for you are to “always give yourself fully to the work of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 15:58).

The apostle Paul made a wonderful declaration. He did so by inspiration. Thus, we find it to be in complete harmony with the promise made in Jeremiah 29:13. The declaration is this: “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). Loving Him calls for our complete dedication to His purpose – and not our own. Loving Him calls for our complete adoration of Him. Loving Him calls for us to be wholehearted in seeking Him. If you truly want the good things, you will seek Him with all your heart.

Pew Paper
September 14, 2003

Truth; Relative or Absolute?

Contemporary thinking suggests, “What is right depends on the situation.” Many believe “there is no body of eternal, unchanging truth;” that “truth is relative and may vary from group to group or from time to time, having no objective.”

Is this right?

There are two standards of morality: man’s and God’s. History demonstrates that man’s morality is governed by a changing mode of relative values. This is because every code of human law falls short of absolute justice and equity. Whatever human intelligence designs or regulates must fall into the class of relative values. No human authority can tell us how to act so that the greatest good will come to the race.

God’s laws are absolutely perfect. As Creator of all, He knows what is best for the whole of mankind. Being all wise, He knows without experimentation what will work for the best. He sees the end from the beginning. His laws are not relative. They are timeless. They need no revising.

God has two kinds of laws, natural laws and spiritual, moral laws. The laws of nature are absolute and unchanging. The law of gravity is as true now as in the beginning, in America as in China. God’s spiritual, moral laws are as absolute and unchanging as the laws of nature. “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). “The word of the Lord abides forever” (1 Peter 1:25). His word is final and complete, and men are warned, “Do not add to His words, or He will rebuke you and prove you a liar” (Proverbs 30:6).

Today, decisions about attitudes and behaviors are considered to be a matter of personal inclinations, of likes and dislikes, based on mood and the convenience of the moment. There is also less inclination to accept responsibility. “Others” or “the circumstances” are blamed for what happens. Personal responses to what others do and to what happens in the environment are considered to be outside of one’s control. Admittedly there are often happenings over which there is little personal control and there are detrimental circumstances which come to us unbidden, yet how we act [or react] is within our grasp. We can be held accountable for our responses. And will be. [See 2 Corinthians 5:10]

The fact that “old ways of life corrupted by deceitful desires” can be “put off” and “new self” can be “put on” (Ephesians 4:22,24) indicates that self-control and adhering to a standard of conduct can be practiced. The fact that it could be said of some who had indulged in immorality “that is what some of you WERE” (1 Corinthians 6:11), indicates it is humanly possible to exercise control over one’s personal actions, reactions and choices. It is possible for men and women to adhere to God’s spiritual, moral law.

While whatever human intelligence devises falls into the class of relative values, whatever divine intelligence designs falls into the category of absolute value. Whereas “men suppress the truth by their wickedness” (Romans 1:18), God’s truth remains the same. It does not change to suit the whims of men. Thus, the decision for which every person is responsible is this: to follow the way of moral relativity or to adhere to the way of moral maturity and sensibility.

The Southside Pew Paper
Make 2006 count for heaven
October 24, 2020

Assessing Morality

Consider this method of determining the value of a piece of property:  Property A is worth $x because it is of the same dimensions and character as property B.  However, the value of property B is worth $x also because it is of the same dimensions and character as property A.  The value of B was set by comparison with A, the value of which was set by comparison with B.

Consider this method of determining the accuracy of a time:  Clock A has been set by way of its time-keeper listening for the noon whistle of the nearby factory.  The noon whistle is sounded by a fellow who sets his timepiece by comparison with clock A each morning.  The accuracy of A is maintained through reference to the noon whistle, the daily accuracy of which is dependent upon A.

Consider this method of determining the relative morality of a behavior:  Behavior A is considered to be acceptable because certain characteristics of it are similar to behavior B.  And behavior B is known to be acceptable because comparison with behavior A has shown it to be.  And because group Y practices behavior A, then group X should be allowed to practice behavior B.  If one group is allowed their lifestyle choices, then the other group should be allowed theirs also.

The real value of each piece of property cannot be determined by comparison with each other.  There must be a standard against which each can be compared.  They may be of equal value, but there must be a mean by which value can be assessed.

The accuracy of the timepieces cannot be established by dependence upon one another.  There must be a standard by which at least one of them can be set.  Whether they are both marking noon accurately will be determined by their being compared with a mean.

The validity of a lifestyle choice cannot be determined by comparison with other choice of lifestyle.  There must be a standard by which morality can be assessed.  If the styles contrast with one another, to any degree, then only that one which agrees with the standard can be considered to be valid (moral).

No person, no matter what is his/her choice of lifestyle, is the standard by which morality can be assessed.  The following words were set down in the context of boasting about works, yet they are relevant to the matter of dismissing man as his own standard for morality.  “When they measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, they are not wise (2 Corinthians 10:12)”.  Man is not his own standard for morality.

By recourse to 2 Corinthians 10:13, we find advice about how to live morally.  We must not (exceed) proper limits, but confine our (behavior) to the field God has assigned (emphasis mine).

God has assigned the limits … for the expression of sexuality … for the promotion of life … for the care of the weak … for the protection of rights … and for the ultimate destinations of the obedient and the rebellious.

  • Frank J Daniels, pulpit minister & teacher

P.S.  One group may contend that their claim to the same rights as those possessed by another group is valid.  However, if their behavior exceeds the limits of what God has assigned, no man-made legislation will protect them against ultimate condemnation.  On the other hand, if they were to repent and obey …

2020 Kendall-Balls Autumn Report

Beloved partners & friends,

Here is our latest news, on the heels of a second targeted lockdown in the UK. This lockdown is hitting a lot of people harder than the first one, but we are more at peace with being more isolated.  We really miss getting together with other Christians and technology has been a big boon.  One thing that is becoming increasingly obvious for us here in Falkirk area, is that ‘church’ is going to be radically different for a long while to come.