Category Archives: GRACE (CHRISTIAN) LIVING

What Bible Book should I read first?

WHAT BIBLE BOOK SHOULD I READ FIRST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

My friend, Romans 11:13 tells us!For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office. People new to the Bible should begin in the Book of Romans.

Second Timothy chapter 3 contains the most well-known Bible verses: “[15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. [16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). “Every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” actually defines “given by inspiration of God.” God the Holy Spirit spoke words, and He wrote them down and preserved them for us in our language. In English, that is the King James Bible (or, “Authorized Version”). Other languages have their own version, but they do not concern us here.

Second Timothy 3:16 affirms three primary purposes of Scripture—“doctrine” (tell us what we should believe), “reproof” (show us what we are doing wrong), and “correction” (remedy our bad thinking). These three elements will “instruct [teach] us in righteousness.” They will show us how God wants us to live, “that [purpose or intent] the man of God may be perfect, [not sinless but] throughly furnished unto all good works” (verse 17). The Holy Bible alone teaches us everything God wants us to believe, and it equips us to do everything He wants us to accomplish. Authority is not in church councils, preachers, priests, popes, doctrinal statements, hunches, impressions, creeds, et cetera. The authority is in the written Word of God, the Holy Scriptures.

In light of God’s present-day dealings with mankind, there is a special way to use the Bible text. Failure to approach Holy Writ, God’s way, will cause us more damage than had we never read the Bible. Friends, we must remember Romans 11:13 if we are to make sense of all Scripture. Romans begins with a name—“Paul.” The Holy Spirit led this Paul to pen Romans 11:13. When we come to him in the Bible, especially his conversion in Acts chapter 9; we read about the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven reaching down and saving a man who will become His spokesman to all the world.

Acts 26:16-18 were these words of Christ to Saul: “[16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee [apostolos = “sent one”], [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

Paul thus articulates in Romans 11:11-13: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:”

With Israel’s temporary fall, salvation is coming to us Gentiles (non-Jews) through Paul’s ministry. Hence, we must go to Paul’s epistles, or letters of doctrine, to read about that salvation. While his ministry begins in Acts chapter 9, we do not read his writings in the Bible until after Acts—the Book of Romans. In other words, Romans is the most fundamental information that God gave to Paul to give us Gentiles.

It is usually said that people should start reading God’s Word in the Book of John. However well meaning this is, it is spiritually hazardous. Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John, was to and about the nation Israel, not us Gentiles: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). Moreover, John’s goal is confirming to Israel that Jesus is her Messiah because He conducted a ministry of signs, special teaching miracles, in her midst (see John 20:30-31). “The Jews [not us Gentiles] require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22).

Paul is God’s messenger to us non-Jews (Romans 11:13). Ephesians 3:1-2 elaborates: “For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward….” Romans 16:25-26 says God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) us Gentiles using three components: (1) Paul’s Gospel, (2) the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, and (3) the Scriptures of the prophets. Paul’s Gospel is laid out first, and most clearly, in the Bible in the Book of Romans, the head, or introductory book, of his 13 epistles (Romans through Philemon).

Romans is divided into four sections. Chapters 1-5 deal with justification, or how to have our sins forgiven and a home in heaven. Chapters 6-8 discuss sanctification, or how that Gospel of Grace has changed our identity from Adam to Christ. Chapters 9-11 covers dispensational changes—we are not the nation Israel, but rather the Church the Body of Christ, with Israel still having a future in God’s program. Chapters 12-16 are application, or how we are to by faith use the grace principles in Romans so our lives can glorify our Lord and Saviour!

Friend, you will not mature in grace if you begin the Bible in the wrong place. Using John as an introduction to the Bible will hinder you from laying the Scriptural foundation God intended for you. Start in Romans!

Also see:
» I am new to the Bible, so where should I begin?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Should we use the Book of John in evangelism?

What exactly is “hypocrisy?”

WHAT EXACTLY IS “HYPOCRISY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

What exactly is a “hypocrite?”

The word appears 20 times in the “New Testament” Scriptures. Matthew 6:2 is the first occurrence: Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. Our English “hypocrite” is a transliteration of the Greek term, hupokrites (“under judge”). It was used to describe an actor under an assumed identity. He or she wears a costume, mask, and/or makeup to transform into someone else. To be candid, he or she is a pretender. It would do us well to look at these verses to see just what makes hypocrites so insincere.

Reading Matthew 6:2 again: “Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” Here, a hypocrite gives alms (money/goods to the poor and needy)—not to help others or glorify God—but to be noticed and praised of men.

Matthew 6:5 mentions a second type of hypocrite: “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” They pray—not to have fellowship with God or reflect upon His Word—but to be observed and praised by others.

Verse 16 features a third hypocrite: “Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.” The hypocrite here also seeks the attention and glory of men—they advertise their fasting by using their faces. They are not interested in true mourning, deep contemplation of their sin, and so on.

Just as someone would play another role on a stage, so the hypocrite “plays his part” for all society to give him a standing ovation.

Christ famously stated in Matthew chapter 7: “[1] Judge not, that ye be not judged. [2] For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. [3] And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? [4] Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? [5] Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.” The hypocrite appears to promote righteous living. However, his lifestyle is far below the standard to which he holds others.

Jesus took what was true during the Prophet Isaiah’s lifetime and applied it to His own day 700 years later. He issued the following severe denunciation in Matthew chapter 15: “[7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias [29:13] prophesy of you, saying, [8] This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. [9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

Israel abounded with pretenders. Outwardly, they prayed to “Adonai” (the Lord), recited the Mosaic Law, and sang the Psalms of David. Yet, their internal behavior was something else entirely. The Lord Jesus saw directly into their souls: while acting and sounding like worshippers of God, they had no faith/trust in His Word. It was just meaningless, worthless religion! They actually preferred their manmade traditions to His revelation. How do we know? Did not Israel shortly conspire with the Gentiles to kill Adonai’s Son on Calvary? Had they truly valued the Scriptures of Adonai and Moses and David, they would have believed Jesus was the embodiment and fulfillment of those very words! Alas, what hypocrites.

Our Lord Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry is winding down—Calvary is a few months away at most. For three years, He has performed miracle after miracle after miracle in the midst of His Jewish brethren, but has been overwhelmingly mistreated and ridiculed. Israel’s religious leaders have striven to demean and discredit Him at every possible opportunity. In Matthew chapter 12, for the first time, they plot to kill Him (verse 14). Shortly, He begins His parables and increasingly withdraws from public ministry.

As chapter 16 opens, those Christ-rejecting Israeli religious leaders approach Him. After disregarding His other miraculous deeds, and still wallowing in their unbelief, they feign themselves as genuine truth-seekers in verse 1: “The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.” They are not interested in being converted to faith in Him; they are “tempting” or challenging Him, seeing if He will pacify them. “[2] He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. [3] And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?”

They prided themselves in studying nature to predict the weather, but how pathetically ignorant they were of more critical (eternally important!!!) matters. Discounting the earlier miracles, they had not recognized that Messiah (He Himself!) had arrived and they were outright rejecting their only chance at forgiveness of sins and eternal life! He chided them further: “[4] A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.” There are more hypocrites to come, and the Lord Jesus will soon address them with His most unpleasant words yet.

Most of the Bible’s acridest comments about hypocrites are found in Jesus’ final Temple sermon. Matthew chapter 22, verse 15: “Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.” They send allies in verses 16 and 17, “Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” Verse 18, “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” While playing like they were law-abiding citizens, they (like all Jews) had no interest in funding an oppressive Gentile government. Their only goal was to get Jesus in trouble with the Roman authorities.

Chapter 23 of Matthew is Christ’s censure of the pervasive corruption within this the ranks of Israel’s religious leadership. His words, while sharp, are necessary to expose Satan’s strongholds within the nation. The pretenders in Israel will now be uncovered for all in the Temple complex to see.

Verse 13, for example: “But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.” Despite their pious appearance, they discouraged and intimidated any and all from participating in God’s will! Verse 14: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.” In the name of religion, they stole large sums of money to “pray” for the dead!

Now, verse 15: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” They diligently sought converts to Judaism—not to teach them God’s Word and lead them to salvation—but simply to get new church members. Indeed, the hypocrites have infiltrated Israel. They have permeated the professing church today as well.

The Lord Jesus thundered in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” They seemed to honor and follow the Mosaic Law, although they limited themselves. Consumed by tithing the smallest spices to obey Moses, they ignored God’s major commandments—judgment (justice), mercy, and faith.

Now, verse 25: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.” This is formalism—emphasis on outward appearance—yet again. They painstakingly wiped (and wiped!!!) cups and platters (dishes) used in religious services. How attractive were those washed vessels! When God looked into the souls of those cleaning, He saw filth and ugliness. Their motives were greed and incontinency: they could not help themselves but take, take, take from the common Jewish worshippers to support that extravagant religion!

And, verse 27: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.” Jesus employs a simile. These religious leaders are painted, decorated tombs… yet, innumerable corpses and utter impurity are hidden inside! Spiritual death personified!

Finally, verses 29-32: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.” They supposedly “lamented” their fathers killing God’s prophets of old. Nevertheless, ultimately, they will soon demand Jesus Christ’s crucifixion.

Our Lord Jesus Christ issued the grave admonition in Luke 12:1: “In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” As “a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (1 Corinthians 5:6; Galatians 5:9), Pharisaical hypocrisy throughly subverted Israel! (Its absurdity is described in Luke 13:11-17.)

Israel’s hypocrisy culminated at Christ’s barbaric crucifixion. Indeed, Calvary’s cross will forever be an emblem of God’s grace in spite of man’s sin. Yet, it will also always be a reminder of how opposed organized religion is to God’s grace. It was not thieves, drug abusers, drunkards, gangbangers, pimps, prostitutes, and atheistic evolutionary college professors who demanded God’s only begotten Son be crucified! No, it was the most “pious” people who ever lived! Religion was everything to them, and Heaven’s Best meant absolutely nothing to them! Mere hours after shedding His innocent blood, they, without one scintilla of remorse, held a religious feast—Passover!

James spoke of divine wisdom as being “without hypocrisy” (3:17). There is no deceitfulness with God; thus, the same should be true of His children. “Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). If we have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ who is anything but a hypocrite, we should therefore behave like the people we are (Christians) and not the people we are not (unsaved)!

By the way, what became of organized religion? First Timothy 4:2 says, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;….” Its proponents still masquerade as “truth-tellers.” They are non-dispensational—ignoring Pauline revelation (grace) and exalting everything else as “Christian” thought and behavior (see verses 1-16). Beware, dear friends, that ye be not hypocrites! Cast off the masks, makeup, and costumes! “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof” (Romans 13:14)!

Also see:
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?
» “Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?”
» Why do some Christians persistently behave like lost people?

Should the lack of worldwide revival in our dispensation discourage us from witnessing?

SHOULD THE LACK OF WORLDWIDE REVIVAL IN OUR DISPENSATION DISCOURAGE US FROM WITNESSING?

by Shawn Brasseaux

One theologian asserted that we will discourage ourselves and other Christians from witnessing if we go around saying there will be no worldwide revival until the Lord Jesus Christ returns. Is that true?

Personally, this author has no problem with witnessing even in the absence of a global revival. He has a biblical, healthy, reality-based perspective. He is not endeavoring to evangelize every last person on the planet, to reform and purge corrupt governments, to expose and correct every single false teaching, and so on. He does not have unreasonable expectations. This outlook saves him from disappointment whenever the masses refuse to hear him share God’s Word. Yet, there will come a day when nations will be converted. When Jesus Christ returns, all false religion will be put down, all governments will be purified, and all nations will come to know the one true God. Until then, this author reaches whomever he can, “holding forth the word of life” (Philippians 2:16).

The Apostle Paul did not endeavor to save “all;” he purposed to save “some” of his lost Jewish brethren. Romans 11:13-14: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” Did this discourage him from evangelizing as many Jews as he could during the Acts period? Absolutely not! As the passage implies, it was with that knowledge of saving “some” (not “all”) that he was conducting his Acts ministry! He confessed a similar sentiment in 1 Corinthians 9:22, “To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” Paul was not looking for every last Jew to come to Christ—he was preaching to save the remnant that did want to believe!

First Timothy chapter 4 speaks of increasing apostasy within the Church the Body of Christ: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. [6] If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained.”

A few years later, the “some shall depart from the faith” (verse 1) became the sad reality in 2 Timothy 1:15: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.” Now, that did not mean every last Christian had departed from sound Bible doctrine. It meant the majority (as Timothy himself was an exception)—and that was during Paul’s final days alive! That did not prevent either man from preaching even in his last days alive. In light of that, Paul encouraged Timothy to keep preaching sound Bible doctrine anyway!

Second Timothy chapter 4: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

If realizing the lack of worldwide revival was detrimental to the ministry, why did the Holy Spirit Himself pen this advice in 1 and 2 Timothy? Evidently, it is vital information that we must always bear in mind. We are not here to see every last person saved. They all will not trust Christ anyway. Yet, we are to tell as many people as we can, we share the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) as often as we can, and we let God the Holy Spirit take care of the rest. Upon first glance, it seems hopeless that most people do not listen to us; nevertheless, the Bible already prepared us to anticipate and handle such a response. We will find most people are unsaved. They are not Christians, genuine members of the Body of Christ. They may be pious church members and Bible readers, but they are not God’s children. Most of them will want to stay lost too. They will not want to hear the Gospel of Grace. They will prefer the Law system—works-religion. Many of them will actually go to Hell anyway (Matthew 7:13-14).

We will find most Christians are confused. Most of them will want to stay confused too. They will not care to hear about grace living, as they will prefer the Law as well. They will refuse to hear Pauline doctrine. That does not mean that no one will want to listen. There are believers in Christ in every nation. It means there is no conversion of any national entity. Worldwide revival will come, just not today. In the Millennial Reign of Christ, after our Dispensation of Grace and the Second Coming, nations will be saved and the evil world system (corrupt governments and false religions) will be abolished forever!

Isaiah 60:1-3: “[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.

Zechariah 8:20-23: “[20] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities: [21] And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also. [22] Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. [23] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.

Isaiah 11:9: “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.” Habakkuk 2:14: For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» What about those who have not heard?

As Christians, should we hate our parents?

AS CHRISTIANS, SHOULD WE HATE OUR PARENTS? DID THE LORD ADVOCATE PHYSICAL VIOLENCE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 10:34-39 can be (and has been) greatly misconstrued. It therefore behooves us to reserve a study to make it as plain as possible.

To begin, we should point out that it is seldom realized that Matthew chapter 10 is the first installment of the Great Commission. The Lord Jesus Christ is issuing instructions to His 12 Apostles, as well as to all the Little Flock (instructions to bring them all the way to His Second Coming—see verse 23).

Here are some of Christ’s concluding remarks in Matthew chapter 10: “[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Jesus Christ is surely not advocating physical violence when He says, “I am not come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Read the text above once more. There is an invisible, spiritual battle manifesting itself in an outward form. It is not believers in Christ waging war on unbelievers; it is unbelievers attacking believers in Christ. The man who trusts Christ as Saviour has automatically sided against Satan, thus causing a rift between the man and his family. When you look at the Bible record, it is not believers in Christ targeting unsaved people with violence. It is lost people slandering, beating, imprisoning, and executing Christ’s followers. (Be quite careful to note Matthew 5:38-48 and Romans 12:17-21!)(And, perhaps, read Genesis chapter 4 to see who killed whom!)

Matthew 10:37 again: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The issue here is priorities. If we have to choose between pleasing people and following the God of the Bible, we should be willing to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We do not hate our parents or our children when we come to faith in Christ. Rather, we prefer to obey the God of creation than fear the possible hostile reaction of loved ones who are not Christians. We should be honored to partake in Christ’s rejection. (See 1 John 3:11-13, John 15:18-25, and John 16:1-3.)

Dear friends, whose do we seek—God’s praise, or man’s praise? “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We should endeavor to please God, not men. Yet, since it is a tough predicament, most people wind up compromising to some degree. Some Christians are willing to give up sound Bible doctrine so as to “keep peace in the family.” They do not want to offend friends with the Scriptures. They stay quiet about the Bible. They refuse to witness to anyone. They prefer not to get involved with Bible distribution, Gospel preaching, and so on.

Turn to John chapter 12: “[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: [43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Flip over to chapter 9: “[21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

Whom do we serve—God or men? Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” The Apostle Paul had already determined that he had served man long enough in Judaism. Now, a saved individual, he would not waste any more time with man-pleasing. He had become a servant of Christ Jesus!

If our parents (or any other relatives, or any friends) forbid us from trusting Christ, praying, going to church, reading the Bible, sharing the Gospel, and so on, then the choice is clear to “obey God rather than men.” There are those who say that they would rather die with their parents’ or grandparents’ religion, than believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from sins and denominational error. If that is what they want to do, they may have at it. We will not discourage them from walking down the path they have decided. The time to convince them has come and gone. God values free will, and we will not deny them their right.

We should never make decisions simply to “stick out” or “be different.” We are not trying to draw attention to ourselves. We simply believe and obey God’s Word, and let it offend whomever it offends. Nevertheless, we should not be obnoxious, contentious, or haughty about it. We should be meek and gentle, but resolute in holding to the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

One more verse. Turn to Luke 16:15: “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” One reason why people do not want to trust Christ as their personal Saviour is because they fear offending or “disrespecting” family members. Abandoning their relatives’ religion is unthinkable, far too costly. If they do manage to break away and become a member of the Body of Christ, they run the risk of being disowned, shunned, and considered a traitor. We are willing to have our parents (or children, or other loved ones) hate us for trusting Jesus Christ and following Him. In God’s eyes, we thus love Him more than we love them. We show that our loyalty is to Him, and not to them or any fallible creature.

Also see:
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What does it mean to “Take up your cross?”
» Should Christians support wars or should they be pacifists?

Can you explain Philippians 3:14?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN PHILIPPIANS 3:14?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What is the “mark?” The “prize?” The “high calling?”

Let us start at verse 1 and go through the entire chapter to get the context: “[1] Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. [2] Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. [3] For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. [4] Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: [5] Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; [6] Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. [7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

Verses 1-6 are the Apostle Paul’s background as Saul of Tarsus, when he was a Pharisee in the Jews’ religion. Verse 7 is his conversion in Acts chapter 9. He came to realize all his “good works” were nothing but “dung!” His impressive accomplishments in religion could not save his soul from Hell! Just as they cannot deliver us from Hell and make us Christians, religious works cannot help us overcome sin and keep us Christians either!! It is all about Jesus Christ and what He did at Calvary! Herein—and herein alone—lies the victory!!

Keep reading in Philippians chapter 3: “[8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

From verse 8 onward, Paul reflects on his Christian life. He aims to “win Christ” (verse 8). The verse itself qualifies this as, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” This is not a lost person getting saved, but rather a saved person maturing in God’s knowledge. Go on to verse 12: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” In other words, the Christian asks, “Why did God save me? I want to capture that answer just like Jesus Christ seized me from Satan’s clutches!”

Even after 30 years of being a Christian, Paul himself had incomplete knowledge of grace living. Yes, he had greatly matured, but there was more growth to experience in his own Christian life. Even though he was an apostle, he was not sinless. He never erred in doctrine while functioning as an apostle—the Holy Spirit never let him make mistakes while writing Scripture or speaking God’s Word—but Paul certainly did not apply grace teaching to his own life 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Go look at his struggles with the Law in Romans chapter 7. He had forgotten the grace truths of chapter 6 and finally realized them again in chapter 8. Until the day he physically died and was taken up into Heaven, Paul battled with the flesh like the rest of us. Yet, he would not be discouraged or give up!

The Christian maturing in grace teaching will not return to the old mindset and lifestyle (works-religion). Even after three decades of being a Christian, Paul recognized his incomplete knowledge of grace living. Nevertheless, he was determined to move ahead in this thinking (progress) rather than return to the former mindset (regress).

Keep reading in Philippians chapter 3: “[12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. [16] Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Verses 15 and 16—as well as verse 17 (which we have not yet read)—are Paul urging the Philippians (and us) to follow his pattern of moving forward in spiritual growth. Whatever aspects of Christian living we do not understand, we need to advance instead of go backward. We should walk in the spiritual light we have. God the Holy Spirit will use the Bible rightly divided to provide us with whatever light we lack. Using what we have discussed, we can now identify the goal, the prize, and the high calling.

Reread Philippians chapter 3: “[13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The “mark” is his goal, aim, ambition, or desire, as seen in verse 12: “…but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Paul wants to grow in God’s knowledge, that he may better understand why God saved him unto eternal life. He knows much grace doctrine, but in light of the totality, his spiritual eyesight is limited. His Christian life is not 100 percent grace-oriented because his flesh and the Law always pop up at some point (and that is true even of us).

The “winning Christ” (verse 8) is evidently “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” of verse 14. Again, this is not being saved unto eternal life (justification). This is sanctification. We do not “win” Christ as unsaved people; we “win” Him after we become Christians (after believing the Gospel of Grace—1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Winning Christ” here is Christian living, not salvation of sins. This is the maturation process of a member of the Church the Body of Christ living in the Dispensation of Grace. We possess Christ when we trust Him as our personal Saviour, but grace living is applying that identity every day. As with justification, sanctification is entirely about Christ’s righteousness—not ours. It is not religion but grace! It is our identity in Christ, not our identity in Adam! It is Christ thinking and living in and through us! This is the “Christ” to be won!

Moreover, the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is the heavenly vocation or job we have been given with the heavenly places in view. Father God has invited us members of the Body of Christ to walk a certain way—here is Christian or grace living. This can only happen in Christ. Our “in Christ” position (2 Corinthians 5:17) can become our “in Christ” practice. It is the prayerful application of grace teaching to daily life. It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ concerning the Dispensation of the Grace of God. That knowledge is all of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. The more basic information is found in Romans through Galatians; the advanced teachings are Ephesians through 2 Thessalonians. Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are grace living with respect to local church ministry. Philippians is part of the advanced doctrine, encouragement to move away from the fundamentals and get into the deeper things.

By the way, pay attention to how Philippians chapter 3 ends. You can see the progression of some saints and the regression of others. Some Christians here have gone back to the Law system, self-living, ignoring grace: they mind earthly things in that they are carnal, fleshly, habitually dominated by sin (Romans chapter 7). The grace life that God Himself wants to live in and through us believers now, it anticipates the day when we (in glorified bodies) will be the expression of that life in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

“[17] Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. [18] (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: [19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) [20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Also see:
» What does it mean to “mind earthly things?”
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» How did the Law kill Paul?

What does the Bible say about fatherhood?

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT FATHERHOOD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word says plenty about fatherhood. (Do we care to listen?)

AN UNCONCERNED FATHER. King David, a saint of the Most High God, was nevertheless a mostly terrible father. Amnon, his firstborn son, raped his sister Tamar (David’s daughter), but David neither consoled Tamar nor punished Amnon (2 Samuel 13:1-21). When David’s younger son Absalom murdered his brother for assaulting his sister, Absalom fled to a foreign land for three years (verses 23-39). Only after being pressurized did David finally send for Absalom from exile (2 Samuel 14:1-24). Nevertheless, when Absalom returned to Jerusalem, David did not see him in-person for two years (2 Samuel 14:28). After meeting his father, Absalom eventually incited a coup and David had to flee his throne (2 Samuel chapters 15–17).

In 2 Samuel chapter 18, David commanded his servants to bring Absalom alive (verses 5,12). Instead, they killed the young man! It was such a terrible, heart-wrenching life that David could have caused his son to avoid. Absalom’s many transgressions could have been minimized had his father taken the opportunity to follow Deuteronomy 6:7 and Deuteronomy 11:19. We find similar wording in Ephesians 6:4: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [care] and admonition [instruction] of the Lord.” (Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”) Upon hearing of Absalom’s slaying, David probably reflected on his parental shortcomings that had led up to this most disastrous outcome. Indeed, he had not been a decent father to any of his children here. It is no different today when men let anything and everything evil go on in their household, unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Their legacy depends on much time they had for their children when it counted the most!

A CONCERNED FATHER (BUT STILL ANOTHER COMPROMISER). Let us read 1 Samuel chapter 2: “[12] Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD…. [22] Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [23] And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. [24] Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress. [25] If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.”

The Priest-Judge Eli discouraged his priestly sons from following Satan (Baal worship), but they disregarded his words. Yet, God censures Eli for not doing more, accusing Eli of thus: “[thou] honourest thy sons above me” (verse 29). Perhaps Eli was late in his rebukes of their waywardness. He obviously should have barred them from the priesthood, and based on Deuteronomy 13:6-18, they really should have been executed for their idolatry! Yet, he let them continue to live and serve as priests. Hence, God killed those two sons in battle, and promised to remove Eli’s other descendants from the priestly line. Samuel and his sons would form a new line of priests (see verses 27-36; cf. 1 Samuel 4:1-22).

A NURTURING STEPFATHER. Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother Mary, was a great stepfather, as Matthew chapter 1 shows: “[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

Joseph took care of His wife and her Boy the Christ Child. He followed the Lord’s instructions and did not abandon them. In fact, Joseph made sure they safely escaped into Egypt when King Herod began slaughtering the Jewish children (Matthew 2:13-23). We are not entirely sure what happened to Joseph after this, for Scripture never again mentions him directly. He was definitely a good financial provider for his family. A carpenter by profession, Joseph taught young Jesus that same trade (Matthew 13:55; cf. Mark 6:3).

A FALSE-RELIGION FATHER. Unbelieving Cain is distinguished for slaying his righteous brother Abel (the very first murder!). Most do not realize that Cain was a wicked father as well. As punishment for killing Abel, the LORD God commanded Cain to be a wanderer, a vagabond in the earth (Genesis 4:14). Cain, a farmer, was not to settle in one particular area: he was to be a nomad, moving constantly. Yet, he rebelled: “[16] And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. [17] And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” Interestingly, Cain, with his false works-religious system (see verses 1-13), founded a city. He did the exact opposite of what the LORD told him! Instead of drifting, he permanently settled in a specific geographic region. Moreover, he began a culture—a religious (!) culture—that opposed the one true God. It continues even today, for its members persecute and kill Christians (see 1 John 3:11-13; cf. Luke 11:47-51). They were the religious leaders of Israel who crucified Jesus, and will be followers of the Antichrist beyond our day. As we saw from Genesis, Cain named the city after his son Enoch. Cain was not a good father. He polluted his family with false religion, and the whole world since.

A WISE FATHER. Dying David counsels young King Solomon, somewhat redeeming himself from his previous parental failures: “[1] Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, [2] I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; [3] And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: [4] That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel” (1 Kings chapter 2).

Around this time, David also advised Solomon: “[20] And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. [21] And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment” (1 Chronicles 28:20-21).

ANOTHER WISE FATHER. The Holy Spirit used King Solomon to write most of the Book of Proverbs. Here is how the first chapter opens: “[1] The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; [2] To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; [3] To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; [4] To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. [5] A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: [6] To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. [7] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. [8] My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: [9] For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. [10] My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not….” The wise father—in this case, Solomon (writing to Rehoboam; 1 Kings 11:43)—cautions his son to walk in true wisdom. Fearing the God of the Bible, revering Him and believing His Word, is key to avoiding sinful thoughts and deeds.

EVIL, UNGODLY FATHERS. Ahaz, King of Judah and father of Hezekiah, was certainly not a virtuous parent. No different from the pro-abortion fathers of today, he actually offered at least one of his sons in a human sacrifice to pagan idols. “But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 16:3). Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, continued his grandfather Ahaz’s idolatry: “And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger” (21:6). Second Chronicles 33:6 says of Manasseh: “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” Ahaz and Manasseh polluted their families and nations with pagan idolatry. There was no Bible doctrine in either man’s life, and many suffered because of it. Manasseh was one of the primary reasons why God used Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem (read 2 Kings chapter 21)!

GODLY FATHERS. Titus chapter 2: “[1] But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: [2] That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience…. [6] Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. [7] In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, [8] Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” These traits are for Christian men in general, but they should especially be true of husbands and fathers. They are to be examples to women and children!!

MORE GODLY FATHERS. One of the most central passages about fatherhood is actually found among the qualifications for bishops and deacons. Titus chapter 1: “[6] If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. [7] For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; [8] But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; [9] Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

First Timothy chapter 3: “[2] A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; [3] Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; [4] One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; [5] (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) [6] Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. [12] Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Bishops and deacons should be the spiritual leaders in their home: the husband-father is head of the wife as Christ is Head of the Body (Ephesians 5:23-24). This is how all Christian men should function, bishops or not, deacons or not. According to God’s Word, if these men cannot lead their own family—especially their children—into spiritual maturity, they have proven themselves not to be capable of bringing a whole congregation to appropriate Christian thought and behavior! They should therefore not be appointed bishops or deacons (1 Timothy 3:4-5,12)! Let this author say something personal and frank. It is graphic but it must (!!!) be stated. If the Christian man is unwilling to bring his wife and children to spiritual maturity, sound grace teaching (Pauline theology, Romans through Philemon), he should not (!!!) marry any woman or father any children with her or anyone else! More societal and spiritual damage will result than good if the Christian man desires to function as nothing but a “legal partner” and a “sperm donor.” Think on that long and hard, my friends, think on it long and hard!!! (Women need to be quite careful about with whom they get involved romantically. Beware, beware, beware!!)

CONCLUSION

My dear brothers in Christ, if you endeavor to be fathers in and through whom the Holy Spirit will work mightily, you must give heed to and believe these verses. As we saw, the Bible features respectable fathers and depraved fathers. Some were flagrant idolaters; others trusted and loved the God of creation. Some were caring whereas others were dreadfully inhumane. Some taught their children God’s Word; others led their progeny to worship Satan. Some fathers were hardworking, and the rest were slothful.

Having read these passages of Scripture, you know exactly what mistakes not to repeat. You saw precisely what temptations our male ancestors faced long ago. You have already been given counsel in the Holy Bible as to how you are to think and conduct yourselves if the Lord Jesus Christ is to be glorified. It is up to you now to make the choice. You can either take your stand by faith in these verses, or you can just continue “doing your own thing.” Just remember the disasters that resulted when fathers failed to believe God’s Word. Just remember the benefits that came when fathers trusted God’s Word. Choose life… choose the grace life! 🙂

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

“By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee” (Psalm 71:6).

Also see:
» What does the Bible say about motherhood?
» Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?
» Is it normal for me to be too busy for daily Bible reading?

What is “purloining?”

WHAT IS “PURLOINING?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:9-10). What exactly is “purloining?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “purloin” is the formal term for “to steal.” Another English dictionary says, “to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.” When used in the context of “servants” and “masters” (as in Titus), it acquires the sense of stealing from one’s employer or boss. The legal term is “embezzlement” (misuse of entrusted money or property). (The English word is from the French purloigner “put away,” from pur- “forth” + loign “far.”) What is most painful is the identity of the purloiner—usually it is the most trusted member of the team!

Experts tell us that theft in the workplace causes American businesses to lose an estimated $50 billion annually! Whether stealing parts from inventory, taking money from cash registers, using company equipment and accounts for personal gain, check fraud, swiping so much as ink pens and pencils, it costs the company. Over many years, a worker can siphon and remove the merchandise or funds little by little. It is difficult to notice. The median age for purloiners at the workplace is the late 40s (both men and women). Women are more often guilty of it.

Rather than stealing from the company, the Christian worker is to “shew all good fidelity.” Faithfulness or trustworthiness should be demonstrated, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” The purpose of a Christian’s on-the-job honesty is to make God’s doctrine attractive. If the Christian employee talks about how Satan lies and Jesus Christ is “the Truth,” but then steals from his company, he will lose both his job and his testimony! Rather than being attractive, the Bible will be hideous before the eyes of lost men. They will not care to hear from hypocrites who say one thing and do something else. Let us always bear this in mind when on the job!

Also see:
» What is “shamefacedness?”
» What is “chambering?”
» What does “concupiscence” mean?