Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. (Ephesians 4:28)
Have you noticed how often people steal from others? For example, employees steal from their employers by not giving a full day’s work for a full day’s wages. Many people steal in order to support other harmful activities like drug abuse. Many people believe it is not really stealing if what they take from another person will never be missed. That is so wrong. Stealing, regardless of the amount or the reason, is a sin against God. Theft violates the principle of brotherly kindness by failing to treat others as we wish to be treated. It also shows disrespect for God and His will that we be honest and work to support ourselves and to assist those in need. Labor, not looting, is a hallmark of the converted. Be a person who is defined by the integrity of honest labor and not the shame of dishonest thievery.
7 The works of His hands are verity and justice; All His precepts are sure. 8 They stand fast forever and ever, and are done in truth and uprightness. 9 He has sent redemption to His people; He has commanded His covenant forever: Holy and awesome is His name. 10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; A good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever. (Psalm 111:7-10)
Every work of God is true, just and sure. What God does is always according to truth and altogether upright. You can develop wisdom in your life by trusting God’s precepts, revering His name and doing His will. Do not argue against the work of God or His sure and certain precepts; they are for your good. Instead, fear the Lord and “do His commandments” that you may obtain “good understanding”. God redeems His people who fear Him, keep His commandments and praise His great works.
“The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.” (Psalm 119:160)
We must show utmost respect for God’s word. One way to do that is considering the context of the passage we read, study and apply. All of God’s word is truth, so everything God says on a given subject must be taken into account as we learn what His word is teaching us. There is harmony to truth, therefore, we cannot explain one passage of Scripture in a way that contradicts another passage. We mishandle the Bible when we pit one Scripture against another. The Scriptures express God’s judgments for life on earth and for life to come. The truth of His judgments will endure. We must conform ourselves to His righteous judgments to live in His eternal care.
8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. 10 “For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, 11 So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:8-11)
The thoughts and purposes of God are infinitely greater than our feeble intellect and reasoning capabilities. Although God has blessed human beings with great intellectual capacity, human intelligence pales in comparison to the Almighty’s knowledge and wisdom. Therefore, we must humbly accept His word. Believe what God’s word teaches and commands, without arguing with God because “we would do things differently!” Who are we to fight against God?! The Lord’s word will accomplish His purposes, therefore, we trust God and follow His word. That singular thought and purpose forms the basis for who we are and what we do each day of our lives.
What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:9)
What better source to learn from than the apostles of Christ, in order to have the God of peace with you? All the books men may write will never compare with the Scriptures they were guided to write by inspiration. Who better to receive than the apostles Christ sent into the world with His saving gospel? None, for to receive them and their teaching is to receive Christ (Jno. 13:20). Who better to listen to than the ambassadors of Christ? None, for God pleads through them for our reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:20). What better example to follow than the apostles of Christ in order to have peace with God? None save the Christ Himself (1 Cor. 11:1). Do you truly want to have the God of peace in your life? If so, then learn, receive, observe and practice the apostles’ doctrine, “and the God of peace will be with you”.
Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved. (Psalm 55:22)
David was being pressed upon by wicked men. Even one who was once his companion now reproached him (Psa. 55:12-14). The son of David, the Christ, would also know the heart pains of a “familiar friend” betraying him (Psa. 41:9; Jno. 13:18). The only one who could relieve such a crushing pain was the Lord, and to Him David turned in trusting faith. Like David, Christians are assured the Lord will carry the burden that would break us. With David we confidently say, “In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?” (Psa. 56:11) Fear will not overwhelm us. Cast your burden on the Lord; He is strong to deliver. Ours is but to trust and obey (Psa. 55:23).
36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:36-38)
Having been “cut to the heart” by the gospel – convinced they had crucified the “Lord and Christ” – these believers cried out, “what shall we do?” Better evidence could not exist that “faith only” does not save the lost. These convicted believers were not told they were saved at the point of faith. They were not told to pray the sinner’s prayer for salvation. They were not told to repent because they were already saved. There were not told to be baptized because their sins were already removed. They were told to repent and be baptized “for the remission of sins” and to “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit”. What about you? If you believe Jesus is the Christ and you want to be saved from your sins, then do what they were told to do and be saved like they were: Repent and be baptized. Why would anyone settle for anything less?