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August 4, 2013
What if …?
Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, “THAT YOU MAY BE JUSTIFIED IN YOUR WORDS, AND PREVAIL WHEN YOU ARE JUDGED.” (Romans 3:1-4)
The Gentiles were sinners.So were the Jews, even though they had the oracles of God. Then the question is asked: “What if some did not believe?” Does that make the faith of God without effect? The answer is implied: “Of course not.” What anyone does or does not do does not affect in any way what is right or what God has said or required.
What if … God’s requirements seem narrow-minded to us or what if we think our way of doing things is better? Does that have anything to do with the matter? Consider David in 1Chronicles 13. Remember, the Israelites tried to move the Ark of the Covenant on an ox-cart. This was not the method specified by God. Uzza was killed by God when he touched the Ark to steady it. “Then David became angry because of the LORD’S outburst against Uzza …” (1Chronicles 13:11). Even though they thought their way was an acceptable way, even though David thought that God was too narrow-minded, we see that God’s requirements still had to be met (1Chronicles 15:1‑15). It was true then—it is true now.
What if … some thought Jesus was someone else? “Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, He was asking His disciples, ‘Who do people say that the Son of Man is?’ And they said, ‘Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets.’” (Matthew 16:13-14). Did it matter what anyone else said? What they thought did not make a bit of difference so far as the facts were concerned. He was still the Christ. “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16).
What if … a bunch of folk think it is ridiculous to say that people have to be baptized in order to be saved, that is, to have sins washed away? What they think does not have anything to do with what Jesus required in His statement: “He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned.” (Mark 16:16). No matter what men may say, the fact remains the same—baptism washes away sin through the blood of Jesus (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16).
What if … the crowd thinks that it does not make any difference how one is baptized? It has become so commonplace to maintain that the word “baptism” can mean to “pour” or “sprinkle,” that dictionaries have begun to alter their entries. That doesn’t change the fact that word means to “immerse” or “submerge.” It certainly does not change or alter in any way what the Bible says about it. “Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.” (Romans 6:3,4).
What if … the big majority says it is ridiculous to say that there is just one church or body of Christ? That still is what the New Testament says. The Spirit clearly states that there is unity in the one body. “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling.” (Ephesians 4:1-4). It is Christ’s body and He is the head (Ephesians 1:22,23). Popular opinion changes a lot of things, but it does not change God’s plan and organization.
What if … some think that there will not be a resurrection of the dead which will include all the dead at the same time? The Bible still shows that there will be only one resurrection. “Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice” (John 5:28). “Having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.” (Acts 24:15).
What if … a lot of people say that there is no penalty for engaging in things in violation of God’s commands and plan? God makes it clear that their is a price to be paid for doing as we please. “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who WILL RENDER TO EACH PERSON ACCORDING TO HIS DEEDS: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation.” (Romans 2:5-8).
What if … you are unfaithful in your service? What if … you never become a Christian? “… the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed” (2Thessalonians 1:7-10).
—S. Scott Richardson Sr.