Sunday, August 5, 2018
In our last article we discussed the great privilege of being permitted to be a Christian, to become a “son of God” (I John 3:1-3). When we “obey from the heart that form of doctrine delivered” we then become “free from sin” and “servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:17-18). This places us “in Christ” (Gal. 3:27; Rom. 6:3) where “all spiritual blessings” reside. Becoming a Christian is just the beginning. Remaining faithful (Rev. 2:10) involves Christian activity. Some seem to think they have eternal salvation secured just because they have been baptized. While baptism is essential to salvation and is the final step in putting us into Christ, it is still just the beginning of our journey toward heaven. Too many want to receive the reward of heaven by just remaining idle. I remember hearing my dad, who preached the gospel for many years, state it like this: “Many want to sit on the stool of do-nothing and whittle on the stick of do-less.” By this he meant that far too many obey the gospel and then are dilatory in living as a Christian must.
Notice the exhortation to Christians in a number of passages that indicate that there must be Christian activity to remain faithful. We are to “walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4); we are to be “stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58); we are to be “doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22); we are to “observe all things whatsoever I (Jesus) have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20). These scriptures are just a few of the many that teach Christian activity.
Christian activity includes vigilance and being watchful; thus it includes protective activity. Peter exhorts, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (I Pet. 5:8). It includes taking heed to ourselves “lest we drift away from the things we have heard” (Heb. 2:1-2). We must be on guard “lest any man spoil you through philosophy, and vain deceit” (Col. 2:8). We are also to “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God” (Heb. 3:12). Don’t forget that we must take heed lest we fail to profit from examples (I Cor. 10:1-11; Rom. 15:4), become too self-confident (I Cor. 10:12; Rom. 12:3), and thus begin to “think himself to be something, when he is nothing” (Rom. 6:3).
This vigilance, this taking heed, is necessary because our adversary is persistent and he is deceitful. “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (II Cor. 11:13-15). Paul speaks of the devil’s “wiles” (Eph. 6:11), and his “devices” (II Cor. 2:11). John writes that he “deceiveth the whole world” (Rev. 12:9). How about you? Are you staying active as a Christian, being watchful, and taking heed to yourself?
Paul M. Wilmoth