The Faithfulness of God: From the Journal of Onesimus

paul-in-prisonJournal, Day 1

My master has gone insane! I realize that a slave has no call on his master. It’s not my place to argue or to take a position. But my master bought me, and he trained me as an expert in reading and writing — as a secretary.

And surely he understood that as someone skilled in language and not unintelligent — if I do flatter myself — I have opinions, but not just opinions, counsel. I mean, I’m well read, I care deeply about my master and his business, and I have training and expertise that might have been brought to bear on the question.

But, no, my master decided — without the least consultation with me — to become an atheist. He’s rejected the gods of his childhood, of his family, his guild, and his nation.

There are, of course, philosophers of unquestioned wisdom who’ve doubted the existence of the gods, but even they had the good sense to nonetheless offer the required sacrifices to — just in case — make certain that they didn’t incur the wrath of a deity.

I could have helped my master in countless ways. I could have introduced him to writings of the Platonists and Stoics and others that question the place of the gods in the cosmos. I could have counseled him on how to doubt but not anger the gods. After all, they don’t want faith. They want sacrifice and really don’t care why you choose to give them what they demand.

But to no longer sacrifice to the gods at all — well, this is hubris of the worst kind. I mean, if he’s wrong, the gods will surely destroy him and his household — and me. And if he’s right, well, he’ll still be ruined.

He can’t appear before the city officials without a sacrifice to Artemis. He can’t approach a Roman official without burning some incense to Caesar. His guild honors the gods and sacrifices to them for protection and good business. He’s going to lose his fortune — and I’d far rather be a slave of a rich man than a poor man.

Oh, and if he goes broke, I’ll be sold to who knows who to do who knows what. This is quite unacceptable, inconsiderate, and just plain wrong.

And he insists that all the food we buy from the market not be sacrificed in honor of a god — which makes shopping next to impossible. Nearly all the food in the market has been offered to a god. It’s like asking for rays of the sun that don’t come from the sky. Sometimes we have to miss a meal or two over this peculiar scruple compelled by his new religion — and I did not sign up to serve a master who won’t feed me!

There are rumors that his guild will expel him for not honoring their god. He already refuses to participate in their banquets — because he’s decided to never again become drunk on wine. But the banquets are where deals are made, orders taken, and clients are entertained by hetaerae.

He used to bring me to the banquets to write down the orders from clients too drunk to remember what they signed the next day, and when the deal making went well, he let me share in the food and the wine and the women.

But those days are gone, because my master has gone quite crazy.

Day 8

I’m out of here. I may not be a citizen and may never be a citizen, but I’ve always been loyal to the gods, and I see no reason to turn my back on them in favor of a Jewish rabbi.

I mean, it was upsetting enough when my master chose to reject the gods of Rome and our city and guild and family, but to now learn that he’s converted to worship Yeshua, a dead Jewish rabbi — well, tell me when was the last time you saw a dead Jew on Mt. Olympus?!

It’s a confusing thing. At one point, I thought he worshiped the god of the Jews — the god who has no name or, I guess to be fair, the god whose name they are unwilling to speak. (Such a barbaric, superstitious lot they are.)

This god, at least, has some history about him. The Jews say he freed them from Egyptian slavery 1,500 years ago, parted the Red Sea, and gave them Palestine as their Promised Land.

Of course, the Roman gods showed their superiority to this unnamed god when Rome marched into Jerusalem and turned Judea into a Roman tributary. Any self-respecting god would have vanquished the Roman army, and so I figure I should stay on the winning team.

I mean, the Jews are well known to be a rebellious people who would overthrow Roman rule if only they had the means — and a god who could defeat the gods of Rome. They don’t appreciate the value of the Pax Romana and the trade and military defense that Rome and its gods offer. Ingrates, rebels, and atheists.

And yet my master chooses to worship a crucified rabbi. I mean, he was crucified by a Roman court! The man was clearly a criminal — and if he was any kind of a self-respecting god, why die on a cross? Why would a god allow that?

“Oh,” my master says, he was “resurrected.” Well, I’m going to resurrect my career and get out of here.

There are stores of incense here, and there are all sorts of other articles designed for the worship of the true gods in storage. My master’s wife has had the servants and slaves busy removing all censers, altars, icons … all things associated with the gods, valuable things.

She can’t quite decide what to do with them. If she sells them, the buyer will use them to honor the gods, which she now detests. If she keeps them, then these “idols” will be in her house.

And so, I’m going to help her out! I’ll take them to town, sell them, and go to Ephesus. Ephesus is a big enough city that surely someone will know how to help a runaway slave — a runaway with money! — and board a ship to some place where I can start over.

I have skills and I will surely have opportunities aplenty. I’m out of here!

Day 15

It’s easy for a slave to live well in Ephesus on his master’s money. The Temple of Diana is an amazing edifice, clearly showing the blessings that come from honoring the city’s goddess.

And so what if I donated some of my master’s money to help make the Meander River valley a little more fertile by participating in a fertility ritual with a very pretty young priestess — who sure knew how to share a blessing!

But even when I had plenty of money, none of the sailors was willing to take me on board without papers from my master. It seems that the Roman authorities are cracking down on runaway slaves — and the sailors think that Neptune will punish them if they bring a runaway on board.

I tried to explain to them that my master is an atheist, who considers Neptune a demon — not even a demigod — but they are a superstitious lot.

I really need to find someone in need of a secretary — someone not too bright, someone who won’t ask too many questions.

Day 18

Well, I’ve been hanging around the paper guild, next to the scroll sellers, figuring that anyone in need of a secretary likely needs paper as well. I’ve chatted up everyone who’s happened by. I do have a certain gift of gab, if I do flatter myself. Maybe someone will hire me. I just need a convenient lie to explain why a slave is looking for work from someone besides his master.

A young man happened by, we spoke, and he said his master was engaged in an extensive writing project but would likely not hire me. After all — and I kid you not! — his master was in prison, under house arrest, and had very little money to hire a secretary.

Well, I got out of that conversation as fast as I could. “House arrest” means “Romans soldiers,” and so I got myself as far from there as possible!

Day 28

Hunger has a way of sharpening one’s focus. I’ve spent so much time avoiding the sight of the servant of the man under house arrest that I can’t find any work. A few men approached me, and were well impressed with my skills. But I’m a slave and no one would take my word for it that my master sent me into town to seek work.

I had it figured out, I thought. I’d explain that my master had fallen on hard times and had authorized me to work for others to help raise money for his finances. It wasn’t true but was close enough to true. And a few men were ready to hire me until they asked for a letter from my master affirming my story.

And so, I’m hungry. The Meander River valley may be very fertile thanks to my many offerings to the goddess, but my offerings have done nothing to fill my belly.

I was sitting, puzzling over what a starving runaway slave should so, when a man approached me. He said, “The master says, ‘Come.’” I recognized him as a servant of the man under house arrest, but it was either follow or go back to my own master — and face a flogging, if not a crucifixion.

In fact, what at first was a petulant flight of fancy, a lust for adventure and freedom, had become fiercely scary as I saw several runaway slaves had been gruesomely crucified near the city’s center.

I’d never felt much sympathy for criminals in the past, and never questioned Roman justice before, but the brutality and agony of the crosses seemed too much — an outrageous, over-reaching effort by the Romans to rule by fear. And never before had I thought about the Romans as governing through fear. And I was very, very afraid.

And so, we walked past these grisly crosses and the corpses of runaway slaves being picked at by buzzards and crows — some even before the men were entirely dead. And I wasn’t so hungry any more.

At last, I was led to a house where a Roman guard stood at attention at the door but allowed visitors to come and go at will. What a strange sort of prison this is, I thought.

Even more strangely, as I drew near, the guards changed shifts. Upon being dismissed, the original guard was met at the door by an older Jewish man, who hugged him and thanked him for his work.

The guard returned the embrace with a special fervor and asked whether he could bring anything to the prisoner with his next shift. The prisoner said, “No, but there is a man coming to serve me as a secretary. I would not ask questions that need not be asked.” The guard smiled, said he understood, and stood aside.

And then I was ushered in, right past the guard, who did not even look at me, and so I was introduced to Paul.

Paul was an ordinary looking man, ordinary except for his scars. His body looked like he’d been brutalized for years. I mean, I’ve never seen so many scars on a living man! But his eyes were filled with life — and he ran to embrace me, a slave and a stranger.

“‘Onesimus,’ is it? Well, we’ll see whether you’re really useful [in Greek, “Onesimus” means useful]. I don’t get out much, you see (I suppose he was referring to being a prisoner, but it was hard to tell. The man had a very dry sense of humor). And so I have to write down whatever I want to say to anyone.

“You take dictation, I presume? In Greek?”

Yes, I assured him that I’m a native Greek speaker, well trained in the classics, and fluent in Latin, but apologized that I know no Hebrew.

He raised an eyebrow at my reference to Hebrew. “How sad. If you knew Hebrew, you could read the scriptures in their original tongue — you could read the very words of God! But Greek and Latin will do well enough.

“You say you know the classics. I assume then that you’ve read the scriptures of the Jews in Greek? You know the Septuagint?”

I had to apologize. I explained that by “classics” I meant the works of Plato, Seneca, and the other great Greeks.

“Spoken like a true son of Greece! And your expertise may prove of great value to me. But first, I want you to read these draft letters over here, and each place I quote the ‘scriptures’ or the Holy Spirit, I want you to confirm that I’ve correctly quoted from the scriptures.”

“Yes, master,” I said, grateful for the work. “You have copies of the scriptures here?”

He winked at another man there and pointed to a pile of scrolls. A very large pile of scrolls.

I could hear one of the several young men waiting on Paul whisper to him, “But he’s a runaway slave! And you don’t really need …” But Paul turned away, smiled a grandfatherly smile, and went into the next room to attend to other business.

Day 30

Paul’s eating habits were peculiar indeed — even stranger than my own master’s. Not only did he refuse meat sacrificed to the gods, he refused pork. And a long list of other things.

Fortunately, Paul was in touch with the community of the Jews in Ephesus, and they’d long ago made their own arrangements to have their own food bought at their own markets. Paul and his companions ate well, some being more concerned about pork and other Jewish peculiarities than others, but all refusing to eat anything dedicated to a Roman or Greek god.

And they shared with me, and I ate well.

However, work didn’t go nearly so well. Paul seemed to want to taunt me. He would off-handedly refer to a passage written by “Moses” or “the Spirit” or “Isaiah” but leave me with no clue as to which scroll to read to find the citation. Paul could not have made me more inefficient had he wanted to — and my previous masters had all understood the value of my time.

Eventually, I exclaimed, “The only way I’m going to get all these references checked is to start at the beginning and read the whole thing!”

To which Paul, quite nonplussed, said, “Then you should do that.” With his cane, he pointed to a scroll labelled “Beginning” [Genesis]. You could tell he thought himself to be quite hilarious, but I was not interested in his games.

Still, I prided myself as an expert reader, and so read is what I did.

Day 60

First, I read the Torah scrolls and learned the story of the Jews. I began to see why they were so unhappy as part of the Roman Empire.

But Paul did not have all the scriptures. Fortunately, the local synagogue allowed him to borrow the Isaiah scroll, which I read and found very confusing.

It obviously came from a much later time than the Torah, but Isaiah constantly referred back to the Torah over and over.

And toward the end of the book, Isaiah wrote about the Suffering Servant, who would take on the sins of the world and die just as Yeshua had died.

I did not begin to understand all this. But I could see that the world was a very sinful place, that is, I could see that it was not the way it was supposed to be. Perhaps it was the crucifixions in the street and my own sin against my own master, but I knew that things were not right — not the way any self-respecting god would want things to be.

The gods of the Greeks and the Romans stood for the status quo, for the power of Rome, for the guilds, for the temples, for crucifixions, for everything being just the way they are.

And deep in my heart, I came to realize that things are broken — and that a proper god would do something — anything — to make things better.

And Paul’s god, the god of the Jews, had done just this by sending his own son to teach a better way.

I could not understand half of what Paul said about these things, but I was convicted that if things are broken, I should be part of the solution and not part of the problem. And so I confessed Jesus as my lord, was immersed, and became a Christian. Just like my master.

Day 61

I awoke shaking in fear. I’d been celebrating my conversion to Christ with my friends at Paul’s house, had slept well, but when I awoke, I realized that I had to return to my master.

The thought of leaving Paul left me in tears. He was my father in Christ. He’d cared for me when the world was ready to throw me away, even to crucify me! And yet I could not, as a follower of Jesus, stay here — here where I most wanted to be.

I am a slave — a piece of property under Roman law — owned by my master. Worse yet, I’m a thief. My master is entitled to my services, the value of my lost services, and the value of what I stole. And I cannot pay any of this on my own. I’m penniless.

And so my master has the right to have me beaten or flogged, even crucified, and as much as it terrifies me to say this, that’s exactly what I deserve. I knew the risks and I knew the penalties. I stand without excuse.

But Paul is busy changing the world in ways that I can’t even imagine — but I can see the seeds being sown. I can see him making a difference. I can see the Kingdom spreading from village to village, town to town, and lives being transformed. And I want to be a part of what Paul is doing. I really wish I could stay.

Immediately after breakfast, I walked into Paul’s study to tell him that I needed to return to my master, tears pouring down my cheeks, and to my astonishment, Paul had already written a note, in his own hand, for me to take with me.

My hands shook as he handed the note to me. We said a prayer together, and then I walked back to my master’s house, dreading what might happen but knowing I was doing the right thing.

50 years later

“And so, we are agreed!” The chairman of the council of the elders of the church in Ephesus was plainly pleased with himself. “The first list of letters are genuine letters of Paul and should be included in our list of authentic texts. The second list should be excluded. We’ll raise funds from among our wealthier members to have copies made of all the genuine letters and distributed to congregations within our province.”

An elderly man stood, haltingly. The years had clearly worn him down, and he needed the help of a younger man to rise to his feet. Although his body was failing, his voice was clear.

“The chair recognizes Onesimus, the man who chaired this body for many years before your present chairman.”

The elderly man pulled from his sleeve a single sheet of papyrus, ancient, cracking, and yellowed. “I apologize for my lateness, but my health has kept me away from these meetings. But if it pleases those present, I wish to add this epistle to the list of genuine letters of Paul. This is a copy of a letter sent by Paul by my own hand to Philemon, who was a longtime member of this congregation before he passed away some 20 years ago.”

The older men nodded in reverential memory of his name.

“This is the letter by which I was freed to come here to Ephesus to serve the great apostle. It’s only a few words. It’s nothing like these other letters. It’s more of a personal letter. It’s not a great work of theology, but it means a lot to me. And something tells me it needs to be preserved.”

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
This entry was posted in Paul and the Faithfulness of God, Philemon, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to The Faithfulness of God: From the Journal of Onesimus

  1. Mark says:

    Why is this posting not used as a cofC sermon? This was interesting. Far better than using 1 sentence as a proof-text.

  2. rich constant says:

    isn’t it nice when you begin to realize what
    theological anthropological ontology really means.
    by the way J happy to see that you picked up the net Bible over the last couple years.
    blessings Richard constant

  3. Anthony Hipps says:

    Wow. To read that beautiful story of Onesimus (and by extension Philemon) was such a blessing and an eye opener. Thank you. Very well done my brother.
    Anthony Hipps

  4. Jay Guin says:

    Anthony and Mark,

    Thanks for the kind words. I don’t often write in this style, but occasionally I try to channel my interior Max Lucado.

    Although I don’t write this way often, I do try, in reading the text, to put myself in the shoes of one or more of the characters. It helps be avoid the temptation to treat these great stories (true stories, of course) as merely an excuse for a moral lesson. I think we get much closer to the Spirit’s intent when we try to step into the story.

    And when we do this, we begin to see questions and answers that might never have come to us any other way.

    By the way, there is a bit of history here. According to church tradition, there was a bishop overseeing the church in Ephesus named Onesimus at about the same time that the slave would have been old enough to be an elder. Many a commentator has speculated that this is the same man, although “Onesimus” was a fairly common Roman name.

    So it’s quite unprovable that this same Onesimus became an elder at Ephesus, but it may have really happened that way. See this letter from Ignatius to the church in Ephesus —

  5. Randall says:

    Above Mark wrote “Far better than using 1 sentence as a proof-text.” He has a point. but I would like to follow his lead a little further. How about a one word proof text, and a preposition at that. Namely the word translated “for” in Acts 2:38, though I believe the King James uses the word “unto”. How many sermons have been preached that make the point that baptism is “for” the remission of sins meaning that one’s sin has not been forgiven unless they were baptized in order to have their sin forgiven. Nearly all denominations believe we ought to be baptized but few regard it as being done in order to be forgiven.

    In English prepositions are used with a lot of latitude and this is quite true of the word “for.” FOR example, When I was a kid you could buy a loaf of day old bread at the grocery store FOR a dime (in exchange for). I have heard of a person being executed FOR murder (because of). I am writing this to Jay but it is actually FOR those that follow his blog (with this goal or end in mind). Prepositions are also used with latitude in Greek but look at all the arguments (in the CofC) FOR translating eis with the genitive to mean that it is the magic moment at which one’s sin is forgiven; provided of course one lives a good enough life FOR him/her to be saved in the end. Time goes on but little changes.

  6. rich says:

    boy oh boy , Randall…
    YES ,YES
    and so it goes…
    hope your well…
    rich constant

  7. R.J. says:

    Excellent writing…

    Though I was a bit confused on calling the Septuagint the classics. As they were written in Koine style(through with a Jewish flavor much like the NT). Unless your alluding to how the Jews looked-up to the OT writers as the Greeks looked up to their heyday writings.;)

  8. Jay Guin says:


    Granted that we Moderns use “classics” to refer to Plato et al. and not the Septuagint, but it’s not hard to imagine that, in the First Century, Paul might ironically (remember: dry sense of of humor) use “classics” to refer to the LXX to make the point that the LXX, among Greek-speaking Jews, defines not only their religion but their worldview and way of life in much the same way that Plato etc. had come to define the worldview and way of life of Greek pagans. Hence, Paul’s comment would be a way of introducing a pagan Greek to the intellectual and cultural roots of a new worldview: Judaism as redefined and fulfilled in Jesus.

    We Modern Christians would likely start in the Gospels or Acts, but those works did not yet exist — and in Paul’s mind, the “scriptures” were what we call the OT. Far from being “nailed to the cross,” Paul would have seen Jesus as the fulfillment and epitome of the LXX, the person and event to which the entire LXX was pointing.

    Hence, he’d want his new secretary to learn to see the world through the lens of the LXX just as Onesimus had once viewed the world through the lens of Plato, Seneca, et al.

  9. Monty says:


    Which way is the arrow pointing with eis (unto) below?

    For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation-(Romans 10:10)

    When is the “magic moment”? Or has it already occurred?

  10. Randall says:

    Couldn’t the arrow be pointing both directions? That is, I have been saved; I am being saved; and, I shall be saved. As to the magic moment, we are bound by time and space so I guess we place more emphasis on exactly when… IMHO, salvation occurs in time and space when a person comes to faith (knowledge, assent and trust) in Jesus as their savior. I believe that may be the point in time when a person is regenerated. However, it is logical to believe regeneration precedes faith as a spiritually dead (and deaf and blind and at enmity with God) person would find it difficult to come to faith. Perhaps the unregenerate person would have no interest in the things of God, unless it was to rebel against them. I still find the following to be true:
    Romans 7:14-25
    English Standard Version (ESV)
    14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am of the flesh, sold under sin. 15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

    21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin.

  11. Larry Cheek says:

    Would you assume that Saul was was confused in his narration about his conversion and that Ananias misunderstood about the presents of Saul’s sins in his instructions for him?
    (Acts 22:16 KJV) And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
    (Acts 22:16 NIV) And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.’
    (Acts 22:16 NRSV) And now why do you delay? Get up, be baptized, and have your sins washed away, calling on his name.’
    Could Paul’s sins have been so great that the intense prayers that he had been praying could not remove them? Was not Ananias instructed of the Lord what to say to Saul?

  12. Randall says:

    Hi Larry,
    There was nothing Saul could do to wash away his sins. Only God could do that. Are you suggesting God washed away his sins in exchange for him being baptized. Boy, mention baptism in the CofC and look at all the attention that arrives!

    As I said at the beginning “Nearly all denominations believe we ought to be baptized but few regard it as being done in order to be forgiven.” I will add that the biblical accounts suggest the most appropriate time to be baptized is immediately upon recognizing that one has come to faith in Jesus. I prefer that to waiting until the grandparents can be present, but that is my preference.

    Are you arguing that baptism is the magic moment, and that without it there is no redemption?

    I was a slave to sin and Jesus redeemed me. Hallelujah!


  13. rich says:

    almost all could not tell you why they try to say or talk about the exact time of their justification,in most denominations, because ,
    most all think of scripture and the gospel something other than gods work of the deliverance
    from law,sin and death ,also something other than the true servant’s work fulfilling the prophet’s words and showing law’s utter inability to bring about righteousness.thus an anthropological view where the faith and a righteous act on their part (baptism or belief) brings about salvation.
    as a consequence also have no idea because of ontology they are predisposed .to see ,hear and believe,what the are taught and to degrees not what god did through Christ. “which is the title of this book.” also the scripture cited rom 3…
    to say nothing of the first 7 verse’s of rom 1 wait till wright deals with verse 1:17-18 TO SAY NOTHING of rom 3:21-27 and gal.2:18-21…and gal.3:13-29 thank god for the net bible jay so at least u can see where i am coming from…
    and its name is christoligical and not anthropological
    my salvation nothing to do with me other than being grateful for the true loving kindness of god.
    and me being aloud to try to imitate the servant the author and perfecter of faith.

    blessings Randall
    all i am saying here randall is i think you are peeing up a rope and not expecting to get your feet wet…
    lv ya bud.
    love all that you say and you know that…
    rich constant

  14. rich says:


  15. Randall says:

    Hi Rich,
    Thanks for your kind words and concern for my feet. I knew I would get my feet wet when I mentioned baptism as it always happens in some circles. None the less, thanks be to the Father, the Son and the Spirit for what they have done/are doing in each of us that love them.

    As you know, there is no requirement that we all agree on every aspect of doctrine.

  16. rich says:

    🙂 boy oh boy ain’t that the truth…
    god continue to bless us all on our journey.


  17. rich says:

    and might as well change this

    christoligical and not anthropological

  18. rich constant says:

    although iam4th generation Church of Chris generation 4th generationndall thinking about it all day long . I learn more from JM and you getting technical or anyone else that can get technical with JM. about doctrine, when u two engage. prompted you the other day or other month .
    To me there’s nothing better than backing John Mark into a corner. all and good-natured serious fun . about doctrine. Randall I’m 4th generation Church of Christ. Texas tradition. guess how far I’ve come buddy…
    in the last 45 years
    love you big bunches where it is wherever you are
    dang it just what makes me mad is John Mark just doesn’t get challenged enough.
    we all know he’s smart enough.
    I sure love that young man
    and that ´s a to compare to what.
    ohwell that’s me..
    its just to me we needed more engaging conversation on doctrine.

    poor jm
    although I say the same thing about my oldest daughter and her husband.
    my first wife i Q was 169.
    I call my my first two children the evil twins
    oh well its just too much fun. I get a side ache every time I talk to them from laughter and of course thrire both Christians
    you want to talk about Engage. love you buddy
    blessings rich constant

  19. Larry Cheek says:

    I am very curious, did you read Jay’s book “Born of Water”? It’s free and all you need is your time.

    Do you realize that if you classified Saul’s or anyone’s Baptism as a work that earns the washing away of sins, then Baptism would be useless for anyone.
    Peter delivered the first sermon and I believe that he understood exactly what was intended in the act of being Baptized. Men would like for you to believe that you you could not be saved by allowing your self to be Baptized by the hands of someone else, something that you are not doing at all. But, no one else can believe for you and you be saved and it is identified in scripture as a work that you must do, and I have not found anyone that would contend that you can be saved without believing.
    (1 Pet 3:21 KJV) The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
    (1 Pet 3:21 NIV) and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    (1 Pet 3:21 NRSV) And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you–not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
    The Water saved all mankind in these eight persons, yet men claim that it cannot do what Peter’s instructions say. Could it actually be a message from the deceiver as he understands the value placed in the submission to Baptism?
    (1 Pet 3:20 KJV) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
    (1 Pet 3:20 NIV) who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water,
    (1 Pet 3:20 NRSV) who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water.
    How hard it is for men to believe that God used water to cleanse or destroy the sins and abominations of those living prior to the flood from the earth, and begin the life of mankind again upon the earth. This same example is explained in Peter’s message about the use of water today. Men would rather give God instructions that he cannot wash away sins by using water, maybe they should also explain that God should have just waived his hand, said some words, or just performed a thought process to wash (cleanse) the earth and allow Noah and his family to survive.
    Oh, have you noticed, did Noah claim his work of building the Ark earned his salvation? .
    Explain how far God changes from his planning and examples.

    Can we be assured that Satan cannot abort the born again process by tricking men into believing a lie?
    Jesus stated that:
    (John 3:5 KJV) Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
    (John 3:5 NIV) Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.
    (John 3:5 NRSV) Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
    This is not the water in the womb for there is no human that did not enter in that manner. No one would ever have to be born again.
    If a man could be added to the Kingdom prior to being born of water, then Jesus must have lied to us.

  20. rich says:

    he… he… this is on u bro
    i don’t know how to am a frunicial ieliuiteric .dang spell check couldn’t even correct that
    i just read
    and so it goes ……randall

  21. laymond says:

    Larry said; “Do you realize that if you classified Saul’s or anyone’s Baptism as a work that earns the washing away of sins, then Baptism would be useless for anyone.”
    Larry, baptism is an act of obedience, not a self expressed work of gain, I believe it is an act of faith in what Jesus said we are to do. Unless faith is followed by action, I believe James said faith was dead. It is not for us to decide why Jesus picked baptism as an act of faith, but the bible tells us he did, that should be sufficient reason to be baptized. If Jesus said it was for cleansing of sin then that is good enough for me.
    Larry, if you are one who claims to “KNOW” you are saved, just when and how did you come to “know” that. Maybe that could answer a few questions.?

  22. We know these things by the Spirit. Romans 8:16. Hard to imagine you did not know this.

  23. Larry Cheek says:

    I am glad that you understand my point, that the act of being baptized does not earn your salvation, but it is for certain that it is an important act in being born again.
    As I contemplate your other question about “knowing” when I was saved. I have seen this question discussed several times and the answers given from scripture do not appear to satisfying the questioners. Therefore, I am going to approach the answer from a different setting.
    When your life began from your mothers womb, were you considered to be one of your parents children? I will assume that the answer would be “yes”. Will you ever not be a child of those parents? I will assume that the answer would be “no”. Your parents cannot alter the fact that you are their child, they could disinherit you to remove any possibility of you receiving an inheritance but even that will not remove you from being their child. Their death or your death cannot remove you from being their child. You can take action to alienate yourself and refuse to believe that they are your parents but even that cannot remove that relationship.
    Nothing anyone can do will reverse the facts concerning the relationship between you and your parents.
    When did this relationship begin, well it began when you were born. When will it end, “never”.

    Christ has claimed many times that you must be born again to become a child of God. When you decide to become a child of God in the way he has authorized, you have his assurance that you will become a brother or a sister to his only begotten Son (Jesus Christ) translated that means that you are saved. You will also share in his inheritance.

    So let us assume that you made that commitment to the Savior, by and while doing that you were added to the family of God, a new born child. In order to become that new born child you had to cleansed of all previous sin. Did you perform that action or was that action performed for you? My point is that you had to be washed by shed the blood of Christ, you were not capable to cleanse yourself. After that event could you on your own merits remain sinless? I hope that you would realize the answer is “no”. Therefore, the blood has to be continually cleansing you or you will be sinful. He (Christ) is continually cleansing you. He will continue to cleanse you until you refuse to be cleansed. When you abandon your faith in Christ’s power to cleanse you then you could become unsaved or lost. I said could because remember the parable of the lost Sheep? He will exert the utmost effort to bring the lost Sheep back into the fold. If you are not experiencing the encouragement that Christ can exercise to bring you back into his presents then, in MHO you are not lost, if you are not lost then you are saved.

    More clearly, if you have ever made the commitment to become a child of God, he saved you and you will remain saved until you chose to be lost. I also fully believe he will make you fully aware when you have reached that point.
    Some will say I cannot live up to what I expect a Christian to be, and I would say if you ever do feel that you have lived up to your own expectations then you probably are lost.

    Refuse to have Faith equals lost, Faith equals remaining saved.

  24. laymond says:

    Larry, the way I understand your explanation is that you are initially saved by the blood of Christ, but you remain “saved” by your own initiative. “Refuse to have Faith equals lost, Faith equals remaining saved.” . Yet you say this which I see as contrary to what you said about remaining faithful. ” Therefore, the blood has to be continually cleansing you or you will be sinful. “.
    Larry, which is it, are you continually cleansed, so you can not be lost, or can you condemn your own soul by your own actions.
    Larry, is it not enough that Jesus’ blood cleansed you from your past sins (at baptism) is he responsible for keeping you clean, or is that left to you, and the way you live your life thereafter.?
    I believe Jesus said “if you have faith in me and what I say, you will live as I say” (paraphrase) am I wrong Does Jesus not have the right to expect anything of us other than to claim faith in him?

  25. Randall says:

    There is a point there. Are we saved by Jesus, saved by what we do or saved by a combination of both. In the latter two cases just what must woman/man do and how much of it in order to successfully contribute her/his part? is a person still saved if they are not faithful enough or claim to reject the faith altogether? Will God be faithful though every man be false?

    Second little issue: Perhaps there is a difference between having a true faith in Jesus and simply claiming faith in Jesus. But there are those who try to equalize the make believer to the status of the true believer – or vice versa.

    Another little issue: There are those who try to remove water baptism from human effort altogether by claiming the human is passive i.e.he is baptized by someone else. This is like saying I didn’t tie my shoes (or lace my sandals) someone else did that for/to me (there is FOR again). This is a not quite right. Being regenerated, or even born the first time we are passive in that our will had nothing to do with it. It is something that happened to us apart from our choosing it. In baptism (except Christening an infant) we may a decision. That is something active that we do. We walk down the aisle, we change clothing, get into the water and cooperate with the process. I suppose if a person was completely alone and came to faith and remembered their teaching on baptism they could even baptize them-self. Typically being baptized is not being passive. It is doing something with the assistance of someone else.

    p.s. almost time to return to the deer camp

  26. Charles McLean says:

    Laymond asked, “Larry, is it not enough that Jesus’ blood cleansed you from your past sins (at baptism) is he responsible for keeping you clean, or is that left to you, and the way you live your life thereafter.?”

    DING DING DING! A question from the studio audience, and an answer!

    Yes, yes, YES, Laymond, Jesus takes the responsibility for our sins AFTER we are born again, not just before! It can be no other way. We do not, by virtue of the baptistry, become suddenly capable of conquering our own sins as we vigorously towel off in the dressing room. This idea of Jesus’ sacrifice being the “down payment” for sin, with us left to pay off any future debts over a lifetime of “do and don’t” is a heresy of the first water.

    Jesus is our past and future tense Savior, not just our past tense Savior. Salvation is not merely a resetting of the trangressor’s odometer, but a disconnection thereof. The unspoken concept of the born-again believer stepping out of the water and saying, “Thanks, Jesus. I can save myself from here!” is an arrogance of Trumpian magnitude. It says, in essence, “I do not need a Savior, just a little boost.”

    Indeed, Jesus has the right to expect much of us as believers, but cleansing ourselves from sin henceforth is NOT among those expectations. He knows we cannot deliver ourselves from sin, which is why HE has done it. Not just once, but for all time.

  27. laymond says:

    Charles did Jesus know he was commanding these people to do something they had no way of doing ? “SIN NO MORE” I don’t see where he added or do the best you can. Did I miss that part?

    Jhn 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
    Jhn 8:11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
    Hbr 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

  28. laymond says:

    Charles said, ” This idea of Jesus’ sacrifice being the “down payment” for sin, with us left to pay off any future debts over a lifetime of “do and don’t” is a heresy of the first water. ”
    Charles was Paul also wrong when he said Baptized Christians were raised in the image of Christ.
    If Paul was right, and you perchance are wrong , Is it not written that Jesus lived a sinless life, and if we are raised in his image, what makes it impossible for a Christian to live a sinless life after baptism?
    NIV 2 Cor 2-18
    And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

  29. Alabama John says:

    Jesus died on the cross for the sins of those in the old testament as well as those of us in the new. Did he die only for some sins committed by those in the old whether they knew them to be sins or not, or for all?
    Will the judgment for those of the old be on a sliding scale, given a minus for those committed that are unforgiven and a plus for those uncommitted that they knew were wrong? Or, were ALL forgiven back then because of Jesus dying for ALL mens sins?
    What is the difference in the forgiveness degree for them and us?
    Baptism is an act of obedience like many other things, nothing special about the water.

  30. Laymond, my brother, I don’t disagree with Paul, just with you.

  31. laymond says:

    Charles, I will guess you are against “Obama care” too not because it is wrong, but because you don’t want to admit He is right.

  32. laymond says:

    Alabama John said; “Jesus died on the cross for the sins of those in the old testament as well as those of us in the new.”

    Is that what the bible says John ? If that is what the bible tells us ? Does that include those people who lived before the flood, the people who God saw so evil they did not deserve to live. Did Jesus’ shed blood cleanse those people also. ?

  33. Larry Cheek says:

    It must be an art that Laymond has learned, to be able to read a statement and attempt to impose a completely opposite concept to the view than is explained in the statement. I really began to believe that he was attacking the very concept he promotes. Of course, he tried to cover a little of both sides of the concept and not define his own opinion.
    It seems though that we have triggered a response that brought out his concept that after becoming a Christian we will by our own association with Christ be just like him and be able to never commit another sin. We’ll actually save ourselves from that point forward. If that would be true then our prayers could be just shopping lists containing our wishes. Surely he would believe that it would still be possible to fall away and need restoration.
    Could we suppose that he considers himself sinless? I guess that could be the reason that he cannot be for sure whether or not he is saved. That conscience inside him is sure that he has not been able to live a life sinless like Jesus, and he is not sure that forgiveness is still available to him now. It really does take Faith to believe that forgiveness is ongoing, as anyone sees how easy it is to disobey and how often we fall victim to it.

  34. Larry Cheek says:

    You are correct there is a difference in submitting (which would be participating) in the action of being baptized, and someone baptizing you against your will. One will be in obedience and receive the rewards of being born of water and God adding the participant to the Kingdom the other would just the act of getting wet.

  35. laymond says:

    Larry, I have read Hebrews ch 10, just as you have,but if we all sin and we know we are sinning, is that not wilful sin?
    And does Hbr 10:26 not apply in such a case? Aren’t we assuming that Jesus sees this the same was as we do, or does he say so in scripture?

    Hbr 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,
    Hbr 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

    If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,
    but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

    Dear friends, if we deliberately continue sinning after we have received knowledge of the truth, there is no longer any sacrifice that will cover these sins.
    There is only the terrible expectation of God’s judgment and the raging fire that will consume his enemies.

  36. Alabama John says:


    As you and Hebrews 10 say so well, “After we have received the knowledge of the truth” is the key.

    Those that never received it are judged differently from those that have. WE all agree that includes those not mentally able to receive it, but disagree somehow about those never having the opportunity to receive it..

    Jesus sacrifice covers all those that have not, regardless of the earth time or their mental capacity. I read no distinction written and its stated pretty plain and simple in Heb 10.
    Rolled forward is the term we hear used most often for those sins of the folks living in old testament times that Jesus died for. Rolled forward to what? The sacrifice of Jesus!

  37. Randall says:

    I wonder if there is a difference between being born again/born from above and being baptized in water? Some seem to equate these two things, or at least think they happen simultaneously; with being born again the result of water baptism plus faith.

  38. Nancy says:

    Wait, wait…don’t forget to add 1 John 1:8 to the list of verses. You know, the one about if you claim to have no sin then the truth is not in you. Oh wait, that may not help your case.

  39. Alabama John says:

    Does a mentally handicapped child or adult have sin? How about a child underage, what ever age that be?
    Is the truth not in them?
    We sure can get things confused can’t WE. I thank God He is doing the judging!!!!

  40. laymond says:

    Larry said, (speaking of me) “It seems though that we have triggered a response that brought out his concept that after becoming a Christian we will by our own association with Christ be just like him and be able to never commit another sin.”
    I have heard CoC preachers say “people come to baptism with expectation that they will feel differently afterward, and when they don’t they feel cheated. And their faith is strained.

    Well I don’t know how anyone can read 2 Cor 2 . without expecting to feel differently, after baptism.
    I felt differently about many things immediately after baptism , and still do today.
    I don’t see how anyone could believe they were just rescued from the fires of hell, and not feel differently. If one does not feel and act differently, how can they believe they were just added to God’s family. It is my opinion that many who are baptized are not automatically added. But if they are truly ready to leave a sinful life behind, and join God’s family, how could that happen without experiencing joy.

  41. laymond says:

    John asked, “Does a mentally handicapped child or adult have sin? How about a child underage, what ever age that be?”

    Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

    John, the word poor, can also be translated “lacking” . I believe Jesus is addressing your concerns in this small verse. I believe this also includes those who never had the opportunity to know Jesus.

  42. Larry Cheek says:

    You are very correct that an individual even though he has committed earnestly his life to live for Christ, cannot continue to commit sin willfully and remain in a relationship covered by Grace. But, I did not see that as the conclusion that I understood you to be promoting. I understood you to be advocating that if you truly committed your life for Christ that your spirit or humanness would be empowered by Christ or His spirit to be able to never commit a sin in the future. Which would remove the need for Grace to operate in your life again. Remember your statement, “Charles did Jesus know he was commanding these people to do something they had no way of doing ? “SIN NO MORE” I don’t see where he added or do the best you can. Did I miss that part?” You quoted three more verses, containing the the directive by Jesus, “sin no more” indicating that if that was not possible than Jesus would not have commanded them to do it. As I read this directive by Jesus, I understood that the message was directed to that very act that they were found doing, in easier content, stop doing the act of adultery, etc. This would relate to their knowledge that the act was sin and continuing in doing that would be willful sinning. It was not a directive towards never committing any other sins.

    So now this bring me to ask you another question which I and others might have misunderstood in your conclusion.
    If when you first obeyed and were forgiven for your sins, if you died just after that event would you have considered yourself saved?
    If not why not? If not then, would your salvation only have been secured after you lived a sinless life for a time before death? As if you could do that.
    You really promote the concept that you do not believe or are not secure in believing that you are saved. That is why Charles said, ” This idea of Jesus’ sacrifice being the “down payment” for sin, with us left to pay off any future debts over a lifetime of “do and don’t” is a heresy of the first water. ” Fits exactly into your projections. You do realize that if you indicate that you have never known or believed that you were saved, then you either did not commit or you do not believe that Jesus has the power to save you. Now, if for some reason you did at one time receive his gift of salvation, and now do not understand that your relationship is (still saved by the Lord) then that would prove that you no longer have enough Faith in Jesus to cover the failings of your life concerning the knowledge that you have of the life that you see as sinless.
    I and I believe that others on this blog would ask you to carefully consider your relationship with The Savior.

  43. Alabama John says:

    Laymond, Thank you, and I carry that thinking further in that each human will be judged on the amount of ability to understand due to opportunity, mental ability and regardless of age. I believe we have a fair and just God and have total confidence in His judging.
    He loves us!!

    How different that is from the teaching about God I was taught and is still being taught in the Churches of Christ of the 40’s-til now around here. I don’t want that taught my Grandchildren as the negative is too dificult, if not impossible to overcome.

  44. Randall says:

    IF we really had no idea that some particular thought or act was contrary to God’s desire for us then perhaps we might have sinned unwittingly. Otherwise, EVERY sin we commit is done WILLFULLY i.e. we did it b/c we wanted to do it.

    It is wonderful that God is fair and just, but in my relationship with Him I am much more interested in His mercy and grace. Seems to be my only hope, but a sure hope of salvation.

  45. laymond says:

    Larry asked, “If when you first obeyed and were forgiven for your sins, if you died just after that event would you have considered yourself saved? If not why not?”

    1Cr 4:3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
    1Cr 4:4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.
    1Cr 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.
    1Cr 4:6 ¶ And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.

    As Paul said “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come” So Larry what difference would it make if I gave my opinion on whether I was saved or not. Or do you accuse Paul of having a weak faith, as you seem to have accused me ? So your hypotheticals mean nothing in the grand scheme of things to come.
    Does it not seem to you that Paul warns against just this thing ” that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.”

    “I know I am saved, and you don’t” I believe that is about as “puffed up” as one can get without exploding.

  46. laymond says:

    Randall, amen, our one and only HOPE is that God will show mercy and continue to answer our prayers for forgiveness. As you say most of our sins are willful and just how much of Gods Grace we are awarded is certainly not up to us. How would we know to ask forgiveness for sins if we didn’t know when we sinned. We are weak and some times if not most times the body over rules the spirit, Satan pulls at us through the bodily desires, God tugs at us through our spiritual needs
    many times desires over rule needs. When we pray to God for forgiveness, we pray in the name of Jesus, Why, because Jesus knows the desires of the flesh and won the battle we all fight every day. HE WON!! we pray let me be like Jesus let me win this fight please Father. Yes we are at the mercy of the Father’s grace.
    But to say that we know for certain what God will do, is taking the decision out of God’s hands
    and that is just wrong.
    ” Seems to be my only hope, but a sure hope of salvation.”

  47. Randall says:

    The true God of all the universe loves me, even me. He loves me so much He went to awful cost to save me, not to help me save myself. How puffed up is that?

    Watch out for flying body parts if I explode! Can you hear my nutty giggle?

    Hesed towards all y’all,

  48. Alabama John says:

    For all humans that ever existed, we all for eternity can sing the old gospel song “When He was on the cross, I was on His mind”. How special that makes us throughout the ages feel and should.

    No one was born that had in his body the spirit from God that was bound for hell at birth. Grace and mercy made up for the loss of understanding.

    It amazing to see the old church of Christ many of us grew up in deminishing in number weekly if not sooner.

    Around here those that believe all but the few that believe just as they do are lost for eternity used to have 2-300 or more members. Now they have 15-40 mostly old timers at best. Soon they will be a footnote only in history books.

  49. Monty says:

    1 John 5:13- “These things have I written unto you that believe on the Son of God; that you may know you have eternal life.”

    1 Cor. 13:5 – “Examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates.”

    If you don’t know if you are saved or not, it’s not God’s fault. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved. He that believeth not shall be condemned. So, have you done that? Yes! OK, are you living faithfully, not perfectly? Yes! Examine yourself by God’s word. Are you a doer of the word and not a hearer only? Yes! Do you confess sin? Yes! Do you love the brethren and your fellow man? Yes! Do you love in deed and not word only? Yes! Congratulations! You just proved yourself.

    Fantastic! Then live in peace and full anticipation of departing and being with Jesus when this life is over. “Praise God for full salvation”, as we like to sing in our group. Why sing it, if you don’t mean it? This business about not being fully sure or convinced that you can know you’re saved, is a tough sell when trying to convert the lost. Maybe why we haven’t done so well with it.

  50. rich says:

    “This business about not being fully sure or convinced that you can know you’re saved, is a tough sell when trying to convert the lost. Maybe why we haven’t done so well with it.”
    YA THINK !!!!

  51. Mark says:

    Not knowing if you are fully saved is not usually discussed before getting someone under water. Some of us learned the hard way that the normal order was hear, believe, repent, confess, be baptized, and move on to the next person (and forget the person you just baptized). While baptism is for remission of sins, it seems to only cover prior sins, at least according to some. Sinning after baptism tends to result in officially sanctioned condemnation from the pulpit. However, from that same pulpit, long-time preachers and elders were “preached into heaven” at their funerals.

  52. Alabama John says:

    There is a disrtinction being left out.
    Upon baptism, one is added to the church and can then pray and get forgiveness while one not baptized cannot.
    So, in case of an accident or anything causing death, one can quickly utter a short prayer asking for forgiveness and get it while the other must be baptized somehow or forever be lost.
    That should be explained to the lost very clearly and many will be baptized for the just in case insurance benefit.

  53. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    Where does the scriptures convey the action of being added to the church through Baptism? If your statement is true the way you stated it then forgiveness of sins is administered only after becoming a member of the church. I believe that to be exactly the opposite of what we are taught by the scriptures. You are added to the church by God after you have been forgiven. The church has no power to forgive sins, Christ has all power before and after sacrificing his blood to forgive sins. There are so many examples to pull from the OT concerning cleansing prior to serving in the Temple, that were shadows of what was to come later.
    I really hope that you intended to say, No one was born (again) that had in his body the spirit from God that was bound for hell.
    Because, the statement without (born again) would apply that the Spirit of God was within every baby born. If The Spirit of God was in them, The Spirit of God would not allow them to commit a sin and contaminate then The Spirit. When man chose to disobey the instructions The Spirit would have made known to him The Spirit of God had to separate from the sinful man (this was called death), and supplied the need for (born again). Then you state that, “Grace and mercy made up for the loss of understanding”, applying your statement the way I see you presenting it would deny that anyone will be lost or condemned on judgement day.

    It appears to me that there are many that are promoting that God judge every Soul on the curve of their learning. In application this would require that men would have to understand sin prior having a need for Christ to become their Savior. Because, every person on earth would be exempt from committing sins that they had not realized was sin. Just be ignorant of any of God’s instructions. By having no knowledge of sin they are exempt from condemnation.
    Is that the summation of your message?

  54. rich says:

    what does acts 2:1-21 say? peter told a story,everyone of them KNEW,and BELIEVED
    what is the accusation predicated upon in acts 2:22-37?
    and they said !!!!!
    acts 2:37

    it is about how they preached and taught…the story they knew from childhood…
    that my friends is what we don’t pay attention to.
    fulfilling of the prophets words. the showing and telling of god’s foretelling.
    ROM. 4:3-4
    we don’t teach gods story.
    we preach the story of tradition. our tradition.
    just as the Pharisees taught.their rules and traditions.

    in acts 2:38 well guess what THEY BELIEVED…..


  55. Mark says:

    A sermon on any prophecy being fulfilled, much less the incarnation of the Messiah, is a very rare occurrence in the cofC, even on the Sunday before Christmas. I heard it one time complete with readings from Isaiah, Hebrews, John’s gospel, and of the Magnificat. That service was never repeated again.

    I am guessing someone did not like it……

  56. rich says:

    how many times does Paul site the prophets.
    just what is the implication of that about the readers knowledge base.

    the answer is somewhere around 26

  57. Mark says:

    As I said, mention of the prophets is very rare. He knew that the people knew the writings of the prophets. He also knew that he needed to start with something that they all could agree on.

  58. rich says:

    remember what Jay wrote in the post above….

    kinda funny and ironic

    However, work didn’t go nearly so well. Paul seemed to want to taunt me. He would off-handedly refer to a passage written by “Moses” or “the Spirit” or “Isaiah” but leave me with no clue as to which scroll to read to find the citation. Paul could not have made me more inefficient had he wanted to — and my previous masters had all understood the value of my time.

    Eventually, I exclaimed, “The only way I’m going to get all these references checked is to start at the beginning and read the whole thing!”

    To which Paul, quite nonplussed, said, “Then you should do that.” With his cane, he pointed to a scroll labelled “Beginning” [Genesis]. You could tell he thought himself to be quite hilarious, but I was not interested in his games.

    Still, I prided myself as an expert reader, and so read is what I did.

    Day 60

    First, I read the Torah scrolls and learned the story of the Jews. I began to see why they were so unhappy as part of the Roman Empire.

    But Paul did not have all the scriptures. Fortunately, the local synagogue allowed him to borrow the Isaiah scroll, which I read and found very confusing.

    It obviously came from a much later time than the Torah, but Isaiah constantly referred back to the Torah over and over.

    And toward the end of the book, Isaiah wrote about the Suffering Servant, who would take on the sins of the world and die just as Yeshua had died.

    I did not begin to understand all this. But I could see that the world was a very sinful place, that is, I could see that it was not the way it was supposed to be.

    blessings rich

  59. Alabama John says:

    To sin is to do something you know is wrong. We all have a soul or Spirit of God inside us and that is why all mankind where ever and when ever has worshiped God based on what they know or perceive with most not getting it all just right. Its in mankind to worship God in some way.

    We do the same today. 27 divisions of the Church of Christ opposing each other in some way and over 1000 denominations today, each thinking they have it more right than all the others.

    At judgment day, I want to be judged far more forgiving than I have judged in the past and pray God will excuse anything I have missed since with all the differences in teaching and beliefs I doubt I have it all just right nor that anyone else does either. Might of missed something and need that forgiveness.

    Don’t want anyone to be judged negatively for what they missed understanding or knowing, but with God knowing the intent of their heart they would of done the thing they missed if only they had known or understood.

    On the other hand if willfully not doing what they believed was right, then they will be judged as sinning.

    Larry, I would rather be judged as being too lenient and forgiving while bringing folks to God than be judged as being too hard and running folks off from God like so many do today. Good lesson learned from Jesus’ take on the Pharasees.

  60. Larry Cheek says:

    Alabama John,
    I have understood your last post with a different overall picture for those in the world than I understood from the other post.
    Do I now understand you to believe that there are many in the world that lost their original relationship (from birth) with God by committing sin and they will chose never to be born again and will be condemned to hell?
    I understand that this is one of the purposes that Jesus came to the earth to reconnect man to a relationship with God, from the position of being lost. Lost and condemned. Thus, needing the help of a Savior. I have seen the context of your communications projecting the concept that God will judge all men according to their knowledge of Him and his Son, expressing that some may avoid being condemned with little or no knowledge of God or Jesus, because of their conduct as they lived their lives. .

    You have mentioned that you would rather be too lenient in judging men because you may have missed something and judged in error.
    This leads me to ask, if the scriptures explain an action as sin and you see an individual performing that act, and confront that individual about that action, you do understand that it was the scriptures that judged not you? You only became a messenger of the scriptures. The exact job duty that Christ commissioned his followers to do, teach the world his words.

  61. Alabama John says:


    There will be those that knowingly through their acts will have chosen hell. Some have told me they prefer the devil to the God we have presented.

    Jesus came to earth to connect ALL men to him. Before that it was only the chosen few used by God for His purpose. All others will be judged by God as I have stated (in my humble opinion).

    We must be careful in interpreting the scriptures as in my lifetime I have seen many things that were to be done or not done that were considered sin and forcefully brought to others and ran them off from God as a result of our zeal that younger folks don’t even know about. Maybe you have too. I don’t know of a denomination or any of the COC that doesn’t (mis)use scripture.

    Some of those scripturally absolute undeniable condemning sins were: Women keep silent at church except while singing, Women must wear coverings inside the meeting house when having a service, Women not cutting their hair nor wearing makeup, Lords Supper only at morning service, not eating anything in church building, even nursing babies to go outside, several more that are not sin today so you see I’m saying let God do the judging as we have not done too good a job and ran far more folks off from God because of our no quarter given interpretation of the scriptures.

    Two scriptures that are never understood incorrectly are Love God and Love your neighbor.
    Spend far more time dong that and it will get far more positive results.

Comments are closed.