Monthly Archives: November 2013

101 Questions for Self Reflection

As we come to the close of the year, it is always good, I think, for each individual to reflect on his own life. Here are some questions which might be useful as a start in determining our spiritual status.

Am I right with God?
Am I doing all I can for the Lord?
Am I doing all I can spiritually for myself?
Do I have sin in my life now?
Do I know where I am going?
Do I know where I have been?
Do I know where God wants me to be?
Do I know what awaits me in the future?
Do I study the Bible enough? (Every day? Week? Month?)
Do I give in to temptation?
Do I know what my weaknesses are?
Have I tried to overcome my weaknesses?
Am I thankful enough for all have received?
Do I realize how blessed I am?
Do I pray (talk to God) enough?
Do I sing (psalms, hymns and spiritual songs) enough?
Am I truly happy?
Is there true joy in my heart?
Do I tell others about Christ often enough?
Does the word of Christ dwell in me richly?
Do I have an influence on other people?
Do my friends and acquaintances know I am a Christian?
Do my friends and acquaintances know where I stand on issues (one church, baptism, faith only, homosexuality, abortion, etc)?
Do I worry too much?
Do I use foul language?
Do I watch the wrong kind of television?
Do I read the wrong kind of books?
Do I stand up for what I know is right?
Do I fear man? Circumstances? The future? God?
Do I grieve for the right reasons?
Do I use my time wisely?
Am I mean?
Am I kind?
Have I used my money wisely?
Have I laid up any treasures in Heaven?
If I have children, am I bringing them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord?
Do I provoke my children to wrath?
Do I provoke others to good works?
Do I just provoke others?
Is there true love in my heart?
Do I frustrate the grace of God?
Can others see Christ in me?
Am I zealous of the truth?
Am I zealous of the Lord’s church?
Am I zealous or am I ambivalent?
Am I weary of doing well?
Do I keep my eyes open for opportunities to glorify God?
Have I lied?
Do I have a tendency to lie?
Is the truth important to me?
Am I easily persuaded to believe that which is not true?
Do I have a tendency to believe the worst about others?
Do I behave differently than the world?
Am I a follower of men or a man?
Do I easily become angry?
Do I laugh at unseemly jokes?
Do I tell unseemly jokes?
Do I sacrifice for the Lord?
What is most important in my life, things of God or man?
Who is most important person in my life?
Do I try to live peaceably with all men?
Can I explain to others why I believe what I believe?
Do I know what I believe?
Do I pray for the spread of the gospel?
Do I work for the spread of the gospel?
Do I esteem others better then myself?
Am I sincere?
Do I try to be something that I am not to gain the favor of others?
Do I behave as if I am ashamed of the Lord?
Do I rejoice when I know someone has done well or prospered?
Do I trust in God?
Do I trust in God enough to do what He says even when it doesn’t seem to prosper me?
Would others think of me as humble?
Am I vain? Would I admit if I were?
Do I dress in a way that looks dignified and Christ like?
Do I dress in a way that respects other’s sensibilities?
Do I conduct myself in a way that is respectable?
Do I behave a certain way because that is the way people act in the group that I associate with or do I conduct myself at all times as Christ would?
Does the crowd I associate with help me to live the Christian life?
Do I follow the example of good men and women I know?
Do I try to leave a good example for others to follow?
Do I try to think on things that are good and wholesome?
Do I let go of things in the past that keep from being my best as a Christian?
Do I regularly think about the Lord coming again?
Is there anything I wouldn’t give up for the Lord and His Cause?
Do I mind my own business?
Do I regularly give thanks for the blessings I receive?
Am I judgmental?
Do I treat all men with dignity?
Am I longsuffering with those who are trying but fail?
Do I truly love my family? My husband? My wife? My children?
Have I gotten rid of all the idols in my heart?
Have I torn down completely all the altars I had before I obeyed the gospel? The ones I allowed to be built even after I became a Christian?
Do I have patience with others? With myself?
Do I abstain from all appearance of evil?
Will the Lord be able to say “Come thou blessed of the Father.”
Does God know me?
Do I know God?
Have I fought a good fight?
Have I finished my course?
Is there laid up for me a crown of righteousness?

Anyway, these are some things to think about. Certainly there are many more. Maybe these will serve as a start.

Eric L. Padgett


Thanksgiving-Brownscombe copy
It is always good to sit back and take an accounting of the things with which we have been blessed and to be thankful for them. Everyday of our lives ought to be a day of thanksgiving for each of us (Col. 4:2; I Thess. 5:18). I wanted to say something about thanksgiving before it arrived but, no matter what I wrote, it seemed to me to be only a feeble attempt to write something appropriate. In looking for insight, I went back to the original Thanksgiving proclamation by President Washington. The original proclamation was so eloquent and so substantive, even from a Biblical standpoint, that I thought it would be appropriate to just reproduce that proclamation here in this column.

General Thanksgiving
By the PRESIDENT of the United States Of America

WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANKSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;– for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;– for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;– and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;– to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.

(signed) G. Washington

It is my sincere prayer that we all, individually, familially, congregationally, and nationally, prostrate ourselves before the Great God and Our Saviour and give Him thanks for all His kindness toward us. May we always be mindful of His blessings.

Eric L. Padgett

Noah, Saved by Grace!

The Bible teaches us that Noah was saved by grace. “And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord” (Gen. 6:7,8). Those who deny this surely must be counted as those who deny the scriptures.

Yet, equally undeniable is the fact that if Noah had not built the ark as God had commanded he would have drowned in the waters of the flood just as surely as the rest of sinful humanity did (Heb. 11:7). Could Noah have conceived by himself and built of his own volition an ark that could have saved himself and his family if God had not authorized it? No. But neither could he be saved if he had not obeyed God’s commands and followed His instructions implicitly. The Lord is telling us in this account that being saved by grace of necessity involves works of obedience.

What many do not want to acknowledge, or at least fail to understand, is that all works are not works of merit. Did Noah earn his salvation? Certainly not. But did Noah have to work in order to be saved? Absolutely! Noah’s works were not works of merit but works of obedience.

There are different kinds of works mentioned in the Bible. First, there are works of disobedience. Jesus will tell those who profess to do “many wonderful works” but who do not follow the Lord’s will that they “work iniquity” (Matt. 7:23). Others do works that “deny Him” (Tit. 1:16). These are all works, but they are works of disobedience. They will not save anyone but will cause one to be lost.

Second, there are the works of the law of Moses. These are the works that are generally referred to in the Bible when it is said that we are not saved by works. For instance, Paul wrote “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Galatians 2:16). The works of the law of Moses will not save because they are dead works (Heb. 6:1).

Third, there are also works of merit mentioned in the Bible. These are very closely related to the works of the law of Moses. Paul states we are not saved by works of boasting (Eph. 2:9). Such would, in effect, be to make our own gods and rejoice in the works of our own hands (Acts 7:41). We can never do enough to earn or merit our own salvation (Luke 17:10; Is. 64:6).

Finally, there are works of obedience. These are good works that glorify the Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16). When Jesus was asked “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28), Jesus responded by saying “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:29). Jesus states here that belief, itself, is a work. A work of God that we may work. Who would have the audacity to say that working the works of God could cause one to be lost?

That is why the Bible is filled with references related to the importance of our works. For instance, Jesus commanded that we do good works that people may see them for the purpose of glorifying God (Matt. 5:16). Jesus said I have showed you many good works (John 10:32). Jesus said that he that believes on me will do greater works than I do (John 14:12). Paul preached that we should do works meet for repentance (Acts 26:20). We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works (Eph. 2:10). We shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ to be judged according to our works (Matt. 16:26; Rev. 20:12).

Noah was indeed saved by grace. He found grace in the eyes of the Lord. But Noah was not saved by grace alone. Noah was a just man and was perfect in his generations (Gen. 6:9). His works of obedient faith and God’s grace worked together to bring about his salvation. It was the masses of people who did nothing, and were lost for it. Noah built the ark, obeying God’s commands, and was saved.

Eric L. Padgett

Do We Inherit Sin?

Many in the religious world suggest we are guilty of someone elses sin. They say we are guilty of Adam’s sin or, as they put it, “original sin.” There are many reasons why this is just not so, but we want to consider only three.

First, if we inherit sins from our parents, then Jesus would have been born in sin. But this is not the case. Paul wrote, “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus was born in the flesh. He was born of a woman (Gal. 4:4). But He had no sins! Some have tried to get around this by saying that May was born without sin, the doctrine of the “Immaculate Conception.” But if Mary could be born without sin, then why cannot we?

Second, consider Jesus’ view of little children. “And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16). Would Jesus bless a person, even a little child, and hold them up as an example to be followed, who was stained with sin? Again, in Matthew 18:3, Jesus said, “And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). Jesus blessed the little children as He held them in His arms. Would Jesus describe entering the kingdom of Heaven, into which no sin may enter, as becoming as little children if they were already guilty of sin? How could entering into the kingdom of Heaven justly be described as being stained with “original sin?”

Finally, a passage which clearly ends the matter is found in the eighteenth chapter of the book of Ezekiel, verse twenty. It reads, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him” (Ezekiel 18:20). If I cannot inherit my father’s sin, how can I inherit Adam’s sin? I cannot.

If I stand guilty before God because of sin at all, it is going to be because of my own sin. If I am forgiven of those sins, it will be because I have obeyed the Saviour (Heb. 5:8).

Eric L. Padgett

To Please God Must You Sin?

The denominational view of grace is, no doubt, sincere but, all too often, misguided. Often, even those in the Lord’s own church are mistaken about the nature of God’s grace. Grace is generally defined as “unmerited favor.” “Unmerited” means that it is not earned. There is nothing a person can do to merit or earn salvation. You can not be so good or so righteous that you could raise your fist to God and say “I deserve to be saved after what I have done.” Even when we have done all that we are commanded to do, we are still unprofitable servants (Luke17:10).

Because of this, those in the denominational world have concluded that, in obtaining salvation, works are excluded. Since we can’t do enough to earn salvation, they have concluded that works are not involved at all, that salvation comes solely through grace. Calvinists, in particular, because they want to emphasize God’s sovereignty in the universe, argue that we are so totally depraved that there is nothing anyone can do to “contribute one whit to his own salvation.” Some of our own brethren have made this claim. Consider the following heretical quotes:

  • “It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach that salvation arises from human activity. We do not contribute one whit to our salvation.” – Rubel Shelly, Lovelines, “Arbeit Macht Frei” Oct. 31, 1990.
  • “I believe deeply that the New Testament teaches that salvation is a free gift of God period. You are saved by grace alone.” – Randy Mayeux, 1989 Youth Minister’s Seminar.
    “Nobody has any right to preach anything other than the Gospel of pure grace. We are saved by grace plus nothing. You are saved by faith period. There is nothing you can do to be saved. There are no rules; there are no regulations in serving Jesus Christ.” – Glen Owen, 1982, Midtown church of Christ in Fort Worth, TX.
  • “Man’s salvation is based on God’s grace. Period. Man’s salvation is not a work of man in any way, shape, or form. We may extend our hand to receive salvation by believing in Christ and turning from our lives of sin to live lives for God and then being immersed, but this, in no way, puts God in our debt. Salvation is God’s work from beginning to end.” – Paul Woodhouse, What is Grace-Centeredness?, Rubel
  • “I, too, had believed that it was only when one’s faith led her to the point of being baptized for the remission of sins that she was saved. I no longer do…I would have been wrong. Heretically wrong. Without realizing it, in those days I had taken the salvation God by grace offers through faith and twisted it into the gift He offers through faithful obedience. Why is that so wrong? Because it violates the very principle of salvation by grace through faith.” – unnamed author, 2002, Grace Centered Magazine.

What these men are saying is nothing less than what those in the denominational world have been saying for generations. They are teaching “grace only” and “faith only” (although the logical mind is hard pressed to conceive how both of those views can be true in the same way). And what they have done is to confuse “human activity” with works of merit. But, again, the logical mind recognizes that all “works of merit” are “human activities” but not all “human activities” are “works of merit.” The conflation of these two concepts is irrational. There are many human activities that are not “works of merit.” It is a scandalous and outrageous lie to teach otherwise.

As noted above, Glen Owen says first that “We are saved by grace plus nothing.” Then, with his irrationality fully and ingloriously displayed, he says, “You are saved by faith period.” “Grace plus nothing” excludes faith. “Faith period” excludes grace. It cannot be both of these hell-conceived, humanly contrived schemes. In truth, it is neither. Neither are Biblical concepts but have been conceived in the bosom of our adversary. They have been devised so as to cloud the truth that God demands obedience to become His children (I Pet. 1:22,23). God’s grace does not remove the obligation for obedience. Rather it increases the obligation (Tit. 2:11-15).

To illustrate, consider this example. Some parents require their children to do chores around the house (unfortunately, this was much more common in days of old than it is in our present culture). Now suppose these parents who required their children to do some chores decided, at some point in time, to give their children a weekly allowance. Would this not be an act of unmerited favor? An act of grace? The giving of the allowance was not based on the children meriting or earning the allowance, for they had been doing the chores all along without it, but it was entirely based upon the good graces of the parents. Now suppose that, if, when the parents notice the children are spending this allowance foolishly, they decide to withhold from the children the allowance, so as to teach them the value of money and personal responsibility, does this mean the allowance is no longer an act of grace? Can the child then justifiably lift up his fist into the face of the parents and say “You owe me!” The children, in fact, owed their parents obedience to begin with, whether or not they received the allowance. The parents can justifiably set doing the chores as a condition of receiving the allowance without the chores becoming works of merit.

Furthermore, if it is the case that obedience “violates the very principle of salvation by grace through faith,” then, according to this “logic,” in order to be pleasing to God one would have to be disobedient. The more disobedience, the more grace. The righteous recoil at the very thought! But Paul had already anticipated this line of “reasoning” when he wrote “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid!” (Rom. 6:1). According to this way of thinking, in order for the children to continue to receive the allowance, they would have to refuse to take out the trash or clean their rooms or do any chores required of them by their parents for that would constitute works because, according to Mayeux, there are no rules or regulations. Such thoughts do not find their origin in God’s word!

Consider the following contrasts. Shelley says, “We do not contribute one whit to our salvation.” But Paul says “work out your own salvation” (Phil. 2:12). Owen said “You are saved by faith period.” James says “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). Mayeux says there are no rules or regulations but Mark said one must believe and repent in order to have salvation (Mark 16:15,16). Whoever wrote the article in Grace Centered Magazine says baptism for the remission of sins violates the principle of salvation by grace through faith, but Peter said “Repent and be baptized for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38). Paul Woodhouse may believe that “Man’s salvation is not a work of man in any way, shape, or form” but John recorded Jesus’ response to those who asked “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” as “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (John 6:28-29). Now who do you believe?

The inspired writer of the Book of Hebrews made the matter as clear as a bell when he penned these words: “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).

Eric L. Padgett