Better To Not Vow…

One of the least understood aspects of Christianity is church membership. Even among fundamental Baptists there is little more than a cursory understanding which often consists of believing that showing up and warming a pew regularly is fulfilling the covenant. However, the truth is much different. It is not well understood today that the LORD has never changed His view regarding covenants — especially those covenants where individuals vow to serve Him.

Because the modern day Christian lacks understanding of this issue, churches suffer greatly and have little influence in this society. Unfortunately, I do not expect the situation to change anytime soon. The following lesson is to at least take a step in the right direction.

May you find it profitable.

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Better To Not Vow…

In Christ,

Paul W. Davis


The word covenant is a very interesting word in the English language. Its roots are Latin and Old French with The Compact Edition of the Oxford Dictionary of the English Language giving its first quote from 1300 AD. This word’s Latin equivalent convenire means “to agree, be of one mind, come together .” The Old French word is convenant, which means “an agreement.” Both of these words were used to develop the English word covenant which carries the very same meaning as both root words. Since 1300 AD, the English language has taken this word and expanded its application to cover the various forms of agreements found in civil society, religion, and law. However, in all the various applications, the essence of the word remains the same:

We are of one mind concerning . . .

This word also has certain synonyms that are frequently used when the construction of the language permits. Among these are testament, contract, pledge, and engagement. In the case of the Bible, the Old Testament and New Testament are referred to occasionally as the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. This is not inappropriate as that is exactly what is covered in each of them. The Old Testament refers to the Lord’s covenant with Israel, and the New Testament covers the Lord’s covenant with His church.

This is a point that perhaps we should study more carefully; this covenant the Lord has with His local, visible, independent church. If we consider what we are supposed to be of one mind about, and who it is that we are of one mind with, we ought to come to some serious conclusions about our duties under this covenant. In other words, this is not a light, trifling matter. Rather, it is a very serious issue to be concerned with. We are engaged with someone who does not take the shirking of duties well at all.

But first, how many of us really know what our duties are under this covenant? Did we not enter into this covenant willingly? Isn’t it then incumbent upon us to find out what we are supposed to do. The Lord declared that He would be faithful, and has always been so. Thus, He conveyed to us one of the first duties we are to fulfill:

Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:1-2

Interestingly enough, this is also one of the first duties of a soldier.

How many people, who are members of a church are actually “of one mind” with their brethren?

How many are actually “of one mind” with the Lord Jesus Christ?

Just something to think about . . .

His Unspeakable Gift?

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (II Corinthians 9:15)

Judging from the way a lot of folks behave when asked about serving the LORD, you would never know the above statement is true. After all, they refuse to change their lifestyle, they refuse to serve in a proper church, and they refuse to continue learning about the things of God along with changing their way of thinking to the LORD’s way of thinking. Now, I am not talking about those who are very young in Christ and are learning what the LORD desires of them in some of the more elementary things, who continue to follow after Christ. Rather, what I refer to are those who, after they are saved, begin to rebel against putting things out of their lives, and submitting themselves to the will of God in service to Him in His church. It is as if they are not at all cognizant of what the LORD has done for them in Christ, and what it means to owe everything to the Lord Jesus Christ for the saving of their soul.

That is what brings one to consider what the apostle Paul meant when he, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, penned the statement above. For instance, what does make this gift “unspeakable?” Moreover, why should we thank God for it? And, Just what are we thanking God for?

I think it is lost on so many people who claim Christ, precisely what He has done for them, and what the gravity of the entire situation is when one is without Christ, and dead in trespasses and sins. After all, they still walked around on this earth. They still breathed air, worked a job, etc. etc.. In brief, physically, nothing changed at all. What did, or should have changed was their spiritual life. They should have experienced a radical change in their relationship with the LORD God. They should have gone from having the unease and tension of being in constant conflict with the LORD God, to having peace in their soul. Moreover, that terrible fear of death and the dread of it should also have passed away. However, since most people shove the very thought of dying out of their minds totally, I suspect this was not particularly noticed when it happened. Nonetheless, what everyone who is saved should have been well aware of, is an absolute change in where they were headed upon passing form this life to the next. Undoubtably, those who are lost do know that hell awaits them upon drawing their last breath. Even so, one who is saved ought to remember that dread and fear, and know the Lord Jesus Christ saved them from that, and their eternal destiny is with the Lord in heaven. These things alone make the gift “unspeakable.”

However, those things are not all. It was not man that was able to reach to the righteousness of God. No, only God Himself is and was capable and willing to stoop down to bring man back from the abyss, the pit that all men were destined to enter. No, all we could do is dread the day of our death. In man’s feeble attempts to appease God and make himself righteous and acceptable to God, we erred all the more. Man’s ideas of what pleases God were and are utterly skewed and far from the mark. For this alone, those who are saved by the grace of God in Christ, ought to be fully cognizant and utterly appreciative.

So then, what are we thanking God for? It is not merely that we have eternal life. It is not merely that we get to go to heaven. And, it is not merely that we allowed to fellowship with God. Don’t get me wrong, those are not “mere” things at all. Nonetheless, so many professed “believers” act as if they are, and that their salvation is a light thing. No, it is none of the above things in and of themselves, rather, it is that we are actually alive.

You see, before we came to know the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we were dead. Yes, we walked around, talked, ate, slept, and did all those thinks that we associate with living. However, that which we do in the physical is not life, but a shadow of life. Why? Because real life is spiritual.

If we remember, it was the Lord Jesus Christ who stated specifically:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)

As an aside, grammatically, the three things Christ mentions above (way, truth, life) are all addressed as singular. Plainly, it is conveyed that only one way exists to come to the Father, only one truth exists, and there is only one source of and for life — the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. Thus, to physically cease to function without Christ is to be sealed forever in a state of death. Moreover, this state is not a state of unfeeling and unconsciousness in which one rests. No, the LORD God intends for everyone leaving this life without Christ to understand they have utterly disregarded His express commandment to repent and believe the Gospel. Hence, the LORD designed a place of eternal torment in which the suffering is unimaginable. Those who elect to go there will know and experience pain and agony beyond anything that can be inflicted on this earth. Moreover, it is inescapable and unending. For those who elect death, and to remain dead and without Christ, this is their expected end.

For those who have chosen to trust Christ, life is given. One is made spiritually alive and able to personally communicate with the LORD God on a one on one level without any intermediary. Moreover, this life gives access to understanding and wisdom that the world cannot know, and cannot see. Whereas those without Christ do not know, and cannot be assured of the future, the believer can be, and is assured the LORD God has all well in hand and the end will be what He states it to be. Not only this, but a promise is given to the child of God in Christ — that we can come to God anytime, anywhere, and ask whatsoever we need to know, and He will answer. In addition, we can look forward to an everlasting time of constantly learning about the things God has done. It is indeed the comfort and joy of being with the source of all life, for all eternity. On considering this, I am reminded of the passage from Colossians, chapter 2:

For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. (Colossians 2:1-3)

That alone is such a gift — to have access to all the wisdom and knowledge that exists. However, the gift the child of God in Christ has been given is indescribable. As the Apostle Paul put it:

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift. (II Corinthians 9:15)

This being the case, why is it some who claim to be children of God in Christ, cannot seem to appreciate it? Why is it they seem to be utterly unwilling to submit themselves to serving the LORD who has done so very much for them?

Perhaps they cannot understand how wonderful the gift is, as they have never really received it?

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Romans 8:9)