. . . fully after the LORD                  I Kings 11:6                      by Steve Flinchum

Chapter 16


    This chapter reminds me of the little note that is sometimes included with a mail solicitation saying, "Read this if you have read about our offer but are not convinced." Someone may "just sort of skip through and read the last chapter." Because of the seriousness and eternal consequence of the matters that have been discussed here, it is of extreme importance that serious consideration be given. I realize that many strongly oppose the views that have been presented in the previous pages. There are many today who argue that doctrinal differences do not matter. Does right and wrong matter in math? Does right and wrong matter in accounting? Does right and wrong matter in highway traffic? Does right and wrong matter in the selection of medicine, or the selection of a repair part? Does it matter which end of a gun is pointed toward you when the trigger is pulled?

    Those who oppose the beliefs that have been presented here may ask the question, "What if you are wrong?" I believe in salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone, that baptism does not save, but is a work in which we declare our salvation in type, and that good works are a result of salvation--not a means of obtaining it. To those who say that salvation is obtained in part by baptism and/or good works, let me ask, "If I possess the faith, baptism, and good works, am I OK anyway?" But what if I am right? What if faith that is in a "Christ" that must be supplemented by man's good works or merit is a false faith? How will you stand? Ephesians 2:8-10 says:

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.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

[underlining added]

    I have written quite a bit about baptism. What if I am wrong? Would such a baptism as has been described not be almost universally accepted as valid even among those who hate and reject such doctrine? What if I am right? Does God's Word approve of your baptism?

    What I have written about Jesus' ecclesia is similarly very narrow. What if I am wrong? What if there really is such a thing as a "universal church"? Would it include me? What if I am right? Are you a member of Jesus' kind of ecclesia?

    The doctrines of God's sovereign grace as presented in chapter fourteen are rejected and hated by many. What if I am wrong? What if I am giving God the glory for man's works? What if I am right? Those who reject those doctrines are giving the glory to man instead of God.

    My beliefs regarding the holidays are certainly not popular. What if I am wrong? Man is offended by my desire to follow "fully after the LORD" and by my avoiding the practice of something that is not according to God's Word. What if I am right? Are you offending God by whoring after false gods?

    The beliefs presented in chapter fifteen concerning Christian behavior are often assailed as being stupid, hypocritical, and fanatical. "The LORD looketh on the heart" (I Samuel 16:7). What if I am wrong? What if I am right? Wouldn't you "rather be safe than sorry"?

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