Category Archives: Love


God is a God of love because God is love (II Cor. 13:11; I John 4:8). When John says that God is love we know, therefore, that it is an intrinsic part of His nature and that it is perfect in every respect. It’s expression is also perfect. When God stated that He loved Israel He says that He loved them with an everlasting love (Jer. 31:3). It is a love that does not end or fail.

In describing His relationship with Israel, the Lord presents Israel as a child, newly born from Egyptian bondage (Hos. 11:1). God said that though He loved Israel as a son and drew him with bands of love (Hos. 11:4), though He took them by the arm and led them, they did not know that He healed them (Hos. 11:3). THey were bent on backsliding and rejection of the Lord’s call. But even so, God’s love for them was such that He could not give them up (Hos. 11:8). His love tempered His anger against their rebellion (Hos. 1:9).

Because Israel is His people, formed and created by Hs power, called by name, there should be no fear (Is. 43:3,4). Through the most difficult of times, through high water and hot fire, God’s beloved will neither drown nor burn (Is. 43:2,3). God’s people are precious in His sight (Is. 43:4) and therefore should not fear for God will be with His people (Is. 43:5).

The fullest expression of God’s love toward man was manifested when the Saviour appeared (Tit. 3:3,4). Though we were “sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another, nevertheless, God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

Eric L. Padgett

That’s Really Frustrating

“I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain” (Galatians 2:21).

One of the favorite doctrines of the denominational world is salvation by grace alone. Hiscox’s Standard Baptist Manual states, “We believe the Scriptures teach that the salvation of sinners is wholly of grace” (1903, p. 61). Many in the religious world argue that we are saved by grace to the exclusion of any works on our part, especially baptism, since, they say, it is something we do. One of the passages often advanced to prove this point is Ephesians 2:8,9: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Does this passage, or any other, teach we are saved by grace alone?

First, it should be mentioned that the same volume mentioned above also states, just one page later, that the “gift of eternal life . . . is bestowed, not in consideration of any works of righteousness which we have done, but solely through faith in Christ” (p. 62). These two concepts, “wholly of grace” and “solely through faith” are logically mutually exclusive. Both cannot be true, in the same way and same sense. Now, it may be partly through grace and partly through faith, but not both.

Second, the passage in Ephesians comes with a context. In the first verse of the second chapter, Paul contrasts two periods of time and two lifestyles. At one time the brethren in Ephesus were dead in sins, but now they are alive. To be dead in sin is to be living in sin and thus spiritually dead to God. Sin separates us from God (Is. 59:2). But sin is the transgression of the law (I John 3:4). So when they were living in sin they were acting in a way contrary to God’s law or His will. Now, he says, they are not dead in sin, but alive to God, meaning they are acting in a way that is in harmony with or obedience to God’s will. This language plainly speaks of works, of things done in one’s life.

In verses two and three he continues to describe the distinction between these two times and lifestyles. The former time and lifestyle were lived in the world. John tells us that this is the moral sphere of human conduct satisfying the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye and the pride of life (I John 2:15-17). In verse three Paul says that these Ephesian brethren had previously fulfilled the lusts of the flesh and of mind, but now they are not. Fulfilling these desires requires activity or works. Paul, in fact, describes them as “works” of the flesh (Gal. 5:19,20).

Furthermore, Paul said that they were the children of disobedience (2:2) and deserving of wrath (2:3). Paul elsewhere said that wrath is deserved by those who “are contentious and do not obey the truth” (Rom. 2:28). If, in their former life, they were disobedient, but now they are no longer so, that means they now must be obedient. That is, they are doing acts that God had commanded. This is works! Paul is describing how at one point in time they were disobedient, but now are obeying God.

Paul describes exactly when this time was. Paul said they were quickened and raised up together (2:5,6). When does this quickening and raising up occur? Paul wrote to the Colossian brethren, an epistle written at about the same time as the Ephesian epistle, that they were “buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead” (Col. 2:12). They were buried and raised with him in the act of baptism.

Again, Paul wrote “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:3-4). Just as Christ was raised from the dead, they were (and we are) raised from the watery grave of baptism to walk in newness of life. That new life came at the point in time when they were raised from the waters of baptism. That is when and where the change occurred, for them and also for us.

Furthermore, Paul says we are raised to sit in heavenly places in Christ (6). It is in Christ “in heavenly places” where all spiritual blessings are, including salvation (Eph. 1:3; II Tim. 2:10). How do we get in Christ? We get into Christ by baptism Rom. 6:1-4; Gal. 3:26,27). Thus, the point at which the change occurred was in the act of baptism, when baptism is preceded by the appropriate moral conditions.

This is borne out in the historical account of the establishment of the church at Ephesus. Paul stated of the Ephesians that they trusted in Christ after they heard the word and were sealed with the Holy Spirit after they believed (Eph. 1:13). When did this occur? In Luke’s account in Acts the people of Ephesus heard the word which Paul preached to them and were baptized in the name of the Lord (Acts 19:4,5). After this Paul laid his hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit, and thus were sealed (Acts 19:6; Eph. 1:13). Thus, the point at which they were quickened and raised was when they were baptized for the remission of sins.

Paul further points out in the Ephesian letter’s context that God loved us even when we sinners (2:4). Paul said even while we were dead in sins God quickened us (2:5). What is being spoken of here? Paul tells us that even when we were sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:6-10). There is the manifestation of God’s grace! We, though undeserving, were the recipients of God’s favor through Jesus Christ’s death. Paul states that in our being saved it shows “the exceeding riches of his grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).

If grace alone could save, then all would be saved for God’s grace has appeared to all (Tit. 2:11). But there is a hell and it is prepared for and will be populated by those whose works did not qualify them to be recorded in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 20:11-15). We are not saved by grace alone, or faith alone or works alone, but by all three (Rom. 1:5).

It is in this context that we are to read Eph. 2:8,9. We are saved by God’s grace, by His kindness shown toward us in the sacrifice of His Son. That part is God’s part for we could not save ourselves. We certainly are not saved by works of merit or works of the law of Moses, but we are saved by works of obedience (Rom. 16:26; I Thess. 1:3; Heb. 5:8,9). If we try to be saved by our own merit, or by the works of the law of Moses, then we frustrate (atheteo) the grace of God (Gal. 2:20). But we violate or frustrate (atheteo) God’s command if we suggest we can be saved by grace alone (Mark 7:9; Rom. 6:1). Either of these two views is really frustrating to salvation.

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Rom. 6:15-18).

Eric L. Padgett


Some times in life we are required to make choices. Some of these choices can have very serious and lasting consequences. Which person should I marry? Which house or which car will I buy? Should I have surgery or not? Should I speak out or should I remain silent. These are real options that sometimes require a hard choice to be made between two or more alternatives. But some times the choices presented to us are false. Sometimes we are told we must choose between two or more possibilities and the necessity of a choice is only apparent.

For example, sometimes we are told we must choose between hating and loving. We understand that the first and greatest commandment in the law of Moses was to love God and the second greatest was to love neighbor as self (Matt. 22:35-40). We understand that Jesus commanded us to love one another (John 15:17). But we also understand that God, our Heavenly Father, hates iniquity (Heb. 1:9). Are we any better than our Heavenly Father? Are we more righteous than He? The Lord specifically commended the churches of Ephesus and Pergamus because they hated the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which, the Lord said, He also hated (Rev. 2:6,15). We should hate what the Lord hates and love what He loves! The choice between hate and love often is only a false choice.

Another example of this is the false choice between building and defending. I have heard certain segments of our brotherhood derisively call those who are committed to defending the faith “brotherhood watchdogs.” Those who use this language are usually never willing to stand up against anyone except those who stand up against doctrinal and moral error. But once again, this is a false choice. Just as the Jew of old in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem wrought with one of his hands and with the other hand held a weapon (Neh. 4:17,18), so, too, we must both build and defend the Lord’s church. In fact, in the Christian dispensation, because Truth is so intimately connected with the salvation in the Lord’s church, we cannot but help do one when we faithfully do the other. The choice between building and defending is a false one.

Another false choice often presented as the only options is between God’s love and God’s justice. Some emphasize God’s love so much that it sounds as if God never has judged anyone or never will be judge of all the earth (Gen. 18:25). Truly, God is love (I John 4:8). Indeed, no greater love has been shown than when God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world to be offered as a ransom for all (John 3:16; I Tim. 2:6). But, nevertheless, God is going to judge man for his sins because God is just (Zeph. 3:5; Zech. 9:9). To be true to God we must teach all His word says about Him. The choice between God’s love and God’s justice is a false one.

Another choice the religious world likes to force us to make is the one between grace and works. Most in the religious world will say we are saved by grace and nothing else. Still others in the religious world will say that we can merit our salvation by being good enough or doing enough to earn our salvation. Again, the choice is a false one. We are saved by God’s grace (Eph. 2:8) just as surely as we are saved by works of obedience (II Thess. 1:8). God’s grace is extended to all men but it teaches us that we must do something in response (Tit. 2:11,12). The choice between grace and works is a false one.

Finally, some want to force a choice between faith and baptism. Some will emphasize the necessity of faith to the extent they say we are saved by faith alone. In fact, the New Testament teaches we are not saved by faith only (James 2:4). The Bible clearly teaches that baptism is for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). The Bible clearly teaches that he that believes and is baptized shall be saved (Mark 16:15,16). The right way of teaching this issue is to present the whole counsel of God and not just what we want to teach (Acts 20:27). The truth is, there is no choice between faith and baptism because it is not “faith or baptism” but “faith and baptism.”

In life, there are many serious choices we must make. Some are matters of life and death and eternity. Let us not add to these real and serious choices false and manufactured ones.

Eric L. Padgett

Lost Moments

Have you ever been given a unique opportunity but then wasted the moment? All of us have probably done this, probably over and over again, to our never ending regret. But the Bible implores us to “redeem the time” (Eph. 5:16). Since death is a certainty for us all (unless the Lord should return, of course), time is so very precious (Heb. 9:27). James adds that our lives here are as a vapor that appears for just a brief moment of time, then vanishes silently away (James 4:14). We need to learn to redeem the time and not let precious moments pass.

We should not let the moment pass when we tell someone we care deeply about that we love them. For some reason, these words are sometimes hard for us to say. Maybe because it leaves us vulnerable and our hearts exposed. Unfortunately, we often only say these words when we fear we might loose someone, and then it is sometimes too late! Since life is so uncertain, we can not know when will be the last time we can speak these words to someone. How terribly sad it is to let this tender moment pass because of fear or any other vain emotion! How painful it will be to bear the memory of such a moment lost forever!

We should not let the moment pass when we sincerely compliment someone. How stingy we are with our compliments and free with complaints. Sometimes we act as if it hurts us to compliment someone, almost as if it depletes our own store of confidence. But it doesn’t and in fact it adds to our stature at the same time it encourages others. A sincere–and the key here is the word “sincere”–compliment is such a simple yet powerful act that lasts well beyond the words uttered. But if we let the moment pass, that moment can never be regained.

We should not let the moment pass to do something bold. Life is so often full of the routine and humdrum, that we can get burned out. But one injection of boldness or excitement–in Christian moderation–can restore necessary zest for life. If we pass on an opportunity to do something unique or grand, we might live with regret the rest of our lives.

We should not let the moment pass to stand up for the right (I Cor. 16:13; Acts 18:9). Too often, to avoid conflict, we say nothing when the truth is distorted, abused or attacked. For some reason, whether because of fear of rejection, or fear of rocking the boat, or fear of being seen as a trouble-maker, or a host of other rationalizations, we hold our peace. The truth is the truth whether we defend it or not and we will all be judged by that truth. But men’s perception of the truth can be damaged if we stay silent when an attack is launched and, consequently, men’s lives and souls destroyed (Gal. 2:1-4). Reprove, rebuke and exhort should be the maxim by which we conduct ourselves in relation to the truth (II Tim. 4:2).

We should not let the moment pass to go to God in prayer (I Thess. 5:17). God should not just be a pressure gauge that we go to when we need relief! We should never fail to give God thanks for His bounty, we should not let the moment pass to request His providential aid, we should not let the moment pass to pour out our heart to God in a quiet hour. How often and easily we go to God in prayer is directly related to how close we are to God.

We should not let the moment pass to tell someone that we forgive them. If someone sincerely requests our forgiveness, we should not let the moment pass to offer that forgiveness (Luke 17:3,4). How much damage may be done by not forgiving we may never know (II Cor. 2:7,8). It could last an eternity! Do we want that kind of guilt on our shoulders? When we hold a grudge and let it fester, it darkens our soul and conscience. It colors our view of everything we do in life. We should relieve ourselves of the unnecessary burden of smoldering malice and seize the moment to forgive.

We should not let the moment pass to tell some one of Jesus. How sad it will be on the day of judgement when we hear someone say, “You never mentioned Him to me.” We may only have one opportunity to introduce the Lord to someone we meet, and if we let the moment pass without seizing the opportunity, that soul may never again be able to hear the truth (Acts 20:31). God may require their blood at our hand (Ezek. 3;18). If we do convert the sinner from the error of his way, we may just save a soul from death and hide multitude of sins (James 5:19,20).

We should not let the moment pass to obey the Lord. Some people know they should obey the Lord but want to “sow their wild oats” first. And so they wait. Sometimes they wait too long and their life is snatched from them in one brief, tragic moment. Because our life is but a vapor, we know not what the morrow may hold (James 4:14; Prov. 27:1). When our life comes to a close, as it surely will (Heb. 9:27), there will be no other opportunity to obey. Our eternal destiny will be sealed. How terribly sad it will be to hear the Lord say,”Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire” (Matt. 25:41). Perhaps the flames of perdition will burn even hotter as we constantly are reminded that we had an opportunity but let the opportunity to obey the Lord pass.

Eric L. Padgett

It Pleased the Lord to Bruise Him

No one wants to be bruised. Whatever event that brings it on is usually painful and it continues to be sore for quite some time. Bruises, we have all had them. Generally they are not very serious, resulting from some blunt trauma. However, in rare cases, they may indicate something even more serious. The Bible uses the bruise to teach important lessons about sin.

First, God does not accept anything that is bruised. “Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land” (Lev. 22:24). An offering to God must be without blemish of any kind (Lev. 22:17-25). We should keep this in mind when we worship God. Are our prayers heart-felt and sincere, or are they merely an outward display (Matt. 6:5-15)? Is our worship in song from the heart or are the words we sing merely for our entertainment (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)? During the preaching of the word, is our heart and mind directed toward the truths spoken or do our minds wander aimlessly about, thinking about the previous day’s activities, or about what we are going to be doing today, or something else? Is our heart really in our worship and service to God? If not, it is bruised and unacceptable to God. Offering to God that which is pure takes effort but, like David, we should only offer our best to God, not that which costs us nothing (II Sam. 24:24).

Second, Jesus was bruised for us. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” and “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:10,5). Though the Bible does not say specifically, I am certain that Jesus sustained very severe, literal bruises from the beatings He took from the Roman soldiers and the scourging from the temple guards. He literally was bruised for us. But, more than this, He Who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us that we might be acceptable to God (II Cor. 5:21). Because God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, the Father turned away from Him in that desperate hour (Matt. 27:45,46). How terribly alone and forsaken Jesus must have felt at that moment!

Third, this was all a part of God’s plan from the beginning. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). From the beginning the Father knew His Son would suffer on the cross for man’s sin (Rev. 13:8). The fact that the Lord knew that Jesus would have to go to the cross even before He created man shows the tremendous love that the Father has for us. The Lord must have thought us very much worth it to see the price that had to be paid and still go through with this plan. The blessings of salvation must be of far greater value than the possibility of eternal damnation (Rom. 8:18-39).

Finally, now that Jesus has suffered for us, made to be a propitiation for our sins (I John 2:2), He can heal our bruises and our bind up our wounds. Jesus said “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised” (Luke 4:18). We are battered and bruised by sin, but Jesus can heal us and bind up our wounds (Luke 10:34). He took part of “flesh and blood” for this very reason, that He might destroy the power of the devil, deliver us from death, and succour them suffer (Heb. 2:14-18).

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

Eric L. Padgett

The Great Physician

The Great Physician

The Great Physician

Since the dawn of time a deadly disease has plagued mankind. It is a devastating disease that most do not even know they have, nor will they, until it is much too late. It is a disease so destructive that it literally penetrates to the very soul of man. Even so, man has learned to live with it and, yes, even to enjoy it. We will even be so bold as to declare that man has learned to love it. What is the name of this devastating and destructive disease that man loves to contract and cultivate in his very bosom? Man seems to have forgotten it but it has not forgotten man. Its name: sin!

But, as if sin is not devastating enough by itself, the calamity has been compounded. Many today are loosing their souls to false remedies for the spiritual sickness of sin. Just as a medical doctor who unwittingly orders an injection of medicine that costs a person their life, preachers today are peddling false doctrines that are costing men their souls. This is the tragedy that is happening every day, a tragedy which can and must be stopped.

When the publicans and sinners gathered to hear the Lord speak those wonderful words of life, the Pharisees saw and asked the Lord’s disciples, “How is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:15,16). With those words the Lord made it very clear that He was the physician who could heal the spiritually sick. He is the Great Physician with the greatest of all remedies.

But the world is still sick with sin; the disease seems to be spreading. Like the person receiving a fatal dose of medicine, mankind’s spiritual health is swiftly and steadily declining. If man could only recognize what is not the proper treatment for sin, if he could only recognize that which would cost him his soul, he would never let himself be indoctrinated by counterfeit cures for sin; he would never accept a false remedial system.

We must expose and refute the many false systems of salvation that now plague the religious world. While we desire to make perfectly plain our enmity for all religious error we likewise want it known that we harbor no ill feelings toward anyone. Our motive is pure. Our motive is love for the truth and for the souls of men (Eph. 4:15). If we speak the truth without tempering it with love, we err. If we speak out of love but do not speak the truth, we err. We do not wish to be in error where the souls of men are concerned nor do we want others to be.

Sometimes, though, the remedy of truth hurts. But is it not better to be hurt for only a short time instead of all eternity? Is it not better to pull a sleeping man out of a burning house, taking the risk of physically hurting him or offending him, than to let him burn? Let us, then, likewise reject all false remedies for sin which possess no healing power at all, but rather assure spiritual death. Let us faithfully follow the remedy of the Great Physician!

Eric L. Padgett

God is Love

John is often spoken of as the “Apostle of Love.”  And there is no doubt that the word “love” is very much a part of John’s vocabulary.  It is found in his gospel account and in his epistles.  It is in his first epistle that the expression in the title of this entry is found (I John 4:8).  And yet, while John does speak of love, that is not the focus of his epistle.

John was writing to answer an insidious heresy.  If it was not full blown gnosticism it was at least proto-gnosticism.  Gnosticism is the view that all matter is evil.  The body was evil, the world was evil.  The problem this posed for the advocates of gnosticism was what to do with Jesus?  Jesus had a body.  Was it evil?  Some Gnostics, those of the Docetic brand, “solved” the problem by saying that the body of Jesus was only a phantom; it wasn’t real flesh and blood. The Cerinthian brand of gnosticism “solved” the problem by saying the power of Christ came on Jesus at His baptism and left before His crucifixion.  Thus, they denied Jesus had come in the flesh and died.

Their view also posed a problem with their own bodies.  If the flesh was evil, then what could they do with their own bodies?  They “solved ” this problem with one of two positions.  Some claimed because the body was evil, they had to control the body through ascetic practices.  However, others “solved” the problem by saying that because the body was evil, it didn’t matter what they did with it as long as they possessed special knowledge or enlightenment which only they knew.  Because they had this special insight, this “gnosis,” sin was no problem to them.

In his first epistle, John is answering these insidious false doctrines from the outset of the epistle.  John had heard, seen with his own eyes, looked upon and his hands had handled the Word of Life, Jesus.  Jesus was real, flesh and blood real.  Those who denied that Jesus had come in the flesh were “false prophets” and “antichrists” and were to be tried (I John 4:-3).  This is the reason John wrote the letter. 

Furthermore, sin was real.  John writes to make clear that one can sin but that Jesus died as a propitiation for our sins (I John 2:1-3).  If a person was to claim they had no sin, they were liars (I John 2:22).  Remember, this is the “Apostle of Love” who is calling the advocates of gnosticism liars and seducers (I John 2:26)!  Sin, John said, was the transgression of the law (I John 3:4).  Those who said sin was not real were liars and deceivers.

And this is where love comes into the picture.  Because God loved us, this proves Jesus came in the flesh and died for us (I John 3:16).  The reason John speaks about love is not because it is a gooey, blind to all sins, answer to all problems attitude, but because it defeats the Gnostic heresy.  God’s love was manifested when He sent His only begotten Son into the world to die for our sins, so that we might live through Him (I John 4:7-10).  God’s love disproves the notion that sin is not real and that Jesus did not come in the flesh, thus defeating gnosticism.

So when we speak about God being love, we are making a statement about our own spiritual condition, that sin, transgression of God’s law, is real (I John 3:4) and that Jesus really did come in the flesh so that we might be able to overcome sin (I John 5:1-4).

Eric L. Padgett

Love Not!

heartAs Valentine’s Day approaches we are given occasion to think more about the subject of love. It ought to be something we think about often, as it is a vital part of our existence. Most human beings thrive on the knowledge that they are loved by someone and can love others. Indeed, it is the very heart of the law of God, said Jesus (Matt. 22:34-40). God’s matchless love for us was manifested in His offering of His Son upon the cross (John 3:16; Eph. 2:4). Even though we were His enemies, He still offered His Son as a propitiation for our sins (Rom. 5:5-8; I John 2:1). However, while love is necessary and commanded, there are some things that we should not love!

The wise man Solomon said, “Love not sleep, lest thou come to poverty; open thine eyes, and thou shalt be satisfied with bread” (Proverbs 20:13). This wise instruction warns us against laziness. It is so easy to put things off, to think we have done enough, or think we have more time. But who knows what a day may bring forth, it is so like a vapor that appears only for a short time (Prov. 27:1; James 4:13-17). This day our soul may be required of us (Luke 12:20). A rest will come, but is not now (Heb. 4:1-11).

Jeremiah warned of the prophets that prophesy falsely and priests that bear rule by their means. And he notes that “my people love to have it so” (Jeremiah 5:31). How true it is that so many love to “heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” who “turn away their ears from the truth” and turn unto fables (II Tim. 4:1-4). We must always be on guard against these false teachers who have gone out into the world (I John 4:1). No matter what we hear, and no matter who we hear it from, we must always search the scriptures and have a thus saith the Lord for all we do or believe in matters of faith and practice (Acts 17:11; II Tim. 2:15).

The love of money is also something that must be avoided, as it is leads to all kinds of evil (I Tim. 6:10-11). Money is not evil in and of itself, for we must work to have to give to those who are in need and provide for our own (Eph. 4:28; I Tim. 5:8). But when money is put ahead of everything else, when we pursue it to the point of covetousness, we are guilty of idolatry (Col. 3;5). Those who have coveted after it have “have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

Finally, John warns us “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15). Our lives being very much like a vapor, we are only here for a relatively short time. No matter what we obtain in this life, no matter how many treasures we hoard, we cannot take this world’s goods with us (I Tim. 6:7,8). Our focus ought to be upon laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven, which are everlasting treasures (Matt. 5:19-21). We can obtain a crown of life if we but realize we are only temporary tenants of this mortal coil (II Cor. 5:1-4; Rev. 2:10).

So yes, let us love. Purely. Holily. Let us love only the things which God loves. But let not our love be misplaced. Just as we should always and only be ravished with the love of the wife of our youth and never desire to embrace the bosom of a strange woman (Prov. 5:15-21), may we always be only the bride of Christ and never be enamored of some gaudy, false doctrine or desire to embrace in our bosom some strange religious system or some cruel, tortured way of life (II Tim. 3:1-9). Such folly will be made manifest.

Eric L. Padgett