A CHRISTIAN’S STANDARD
THERE are many religions in the world which claim high standards of morality. But there is only one religion that can put the dynamic power into a man which will enable him to live up to the precepts of the Word of God, and that is the salvation of Jesus Christ.
One person wrote to a publisher: “I have been reading in the Epistle of John, ‘Whosoever is born of God sinneth not.’ Now the fact is, I do sin. Not that I want to, or that I leave sins unconfessed when God reveals them to me, but the fact remains. Is the difficulty with my interpretation of the Scriptures or with my relationship with God?”
His difficulty is with his relationship with God. The child of God does not sin at all. The Christian lives without sin. It is the testimony of every true child of God – every Bible Christian. If a person commits sin, he is a sinner and not a Christian.
Let no one be deceived by thinking he can retain any grace of the Spirit and commit sin. The moment he sins he forfeits his standing with God, if he ever was truly born again. When one commits sin, he loses his birthright; he forfeits his favor with God. He may be a church member and hold to his profession, but he has lost his salvation; and those who are in close contact with his life know it. He is a backslider. He has lost the love of God out of his heart. He has lost the “seed” of eternal life out of his soul.
The Word says, “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” (1 John 3:9).
The thing for a backslider to do is to “repent, and do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Be honest enough to admit your condition before God. Get down before Him and seek forgiveness, and God will forgive you. Begin at the bottom and be willing to make the past right. God will abundantly pardon and give to you the wonderful joys of salvation and peace. He will make you a victor over sin every day through the power of Jesus’ shed Blood.
CONFESS AND RESTORE
Restitution is as much a part of the Gospel as conversion. When you are saved, you will confess and restore where you have robbed. When it is possible to repay that which you have wrongfully taken from another, God will hold you to it. And you will face these conditions if you ever hope to meet God in peace at the Judgment.
Many people say, “I never could go over that past life of mine and make restitution. I never could do it!” But there are people here who had some of the hardest things to make right; and when God saved them they were ready to go back and restore and confess the wrongs they had done to their fellow man. And they did not have to go behind prison bars. It is a marvelous thing how God delivers.
When the officers of the law see that a man wants to do right and clean up his back tracks, they are not eager to put him behind the bars. We have dealt with judges of this land in behalf of men who confessed their crimes, and have found that in every case they were ready to lend a helping hand to the man who wanted to do right.
If there is a question in your mind as to whether you could make restitution, we can tell you that the Christ of Calvary is the greatest Counselor ever known. We have seen God soften officers’ hearts of stone, until the tears would flow down their cheeks. The following is an incident in point.
A man converted here was in trouble. He had been an organizer for the I.W.W., and during the war he had made trouble and intrigues against the Government. He was imprisoned, and then given an opportunity to join the Army or go to the penitentiary. He chose to join the Army, but shortly after, deserted. Then, when the second draft came, he changed his name and lied about his age and nationality. That man stayed in seclusion and was never found out.
He came to a revival meeting we were holding, and sat with a heart like stone. But he heard the Gospel and God talked to his heart. Going to his room he prayed, promising God to make restitution, and God saved his soul.
He went up to the federal office here and laid the whole case before the officials. He told them he was a syndicalist, had been arrested, and had deserted from the Army – but God had converted and saved him. Before he had finished telling his story, tears were rolling down the face of the federal officer. He was freely forgiven and did not have to serve a day behind the bars. That man has ever since led an upright life.
When you are converted, the world is going to know about it. You will want to make everything right. From your heart will burst the confession, “Lord, if I have wronged any man, I will restore.” The heart of a man converted to God is full of love and appreciation for what God has done for him. He loves God and loves his fellow man, and even his enemies. The work wrought in the heart of Zacchaeus the publican, when he met Jesus that day on the road to Jerusalem, can be wrought in the heart of any man who will be honest with God (Luke 19:8, 9).
THE DIVORCE EVIL
Divorces are breaking up homes over the land and sending children adrift. Divorce is a dark cloud upon American life today. Many people are married to a second companion. They say they are justified by the law of God. The Bible positively condemns it.
Jesus made it very clear: “Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery” (Luke 16:18). See also Matthew 19:3-6.
That divorced person is still your wife or husband in the sight of God. The marriage vow can be dissolved only by death. God’s Word says that the woman is “bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; … So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress” (Romans 7:2, 3). You may be married again, but that first one is your true companion in the sight of the Lord, and only death will sever that marriage tie.
If you ever find God’s salvation and measure your life by the Word, you will separate from that unlawful marriage. It is legalized adultery. God says, “Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4). The adulterer “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9). It is time people were being awakened. God demands that you make your life straight. Then only will He forgive and remember your iniquity no more against you forever.
We read that John the Baptist, that mighty man of God, lost his head because he said to Herod, “It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’s wife” (Mark 6:18). Those today who stand uncompromisingly for the truth on divorce are charged with breaking up homes. But in this work, down the years, many divorces have been halted; and homes almost wrecked and on the verge of a separation have been united and are now happy Christian homes.
On the other hand, people who were divorced and remarried and living in legalized adultery have separated for conscience’ sake. Their conscience always troubled them and their lives were wretched. When they heard the Word of God, they stepped out of that life; and God saved them and wonderfully blessed them in their obedience to the Word. It has proved the salvation of many a soul.
We would say to those who have been ignorantly entangled in the divorce evil, you must obey God and separate from that ungodly union if you ever expect to make Heaven your home.
THE CARD-PLAYING MANIA
Card-playing has for many years been associated with the saloon, but now it has become the amusement of thousands of worldly people, and many so-called Christians spend their evenings playing cards. But no true child of God will handle them. Many have become gamblers through card-playing. Thousands of young people who started out playing cards have been drawn into awful sin and vice.
The card-playing mania has fearfully increased in these days. The playing of bridge has wrought frightful inroads into homes and into society. There have been appalling tragedies. Card-playing has wrought immeasurable misery and is an “unclean thing” and must be utterly renounced by every follower of Jesus Christ. With almost every one who plays cards the game becomes a mania. People will neglect business and the care of their family for card-playing. It is one of the “foolish and hurtful lusts” that “war against the soul.” It is a snare of the devil to decoy souls. Beware of card-playing as you value your soul.
Instead of turning to the truth of the Scriptures, people are turning to religions that are deadly to the soul. One of these false religions is Christian Science, which, like Modernism, denies the fundamental truths of the Bible. Spiritualism is another strong delusion that is doing deadly work. Evolution is taught in the schools and colleges and is undermining faith in God’s Word. These are days when few people have the love of God in their heart and they turn to religions that will let them go on in sin. They do not want the old-time Gospel which comes to them in the thundering Words of God: “EXCEPT YE REPENT, YE SHALL ALL LIKEWISE PERISH” (Luke 13:3).
These things are the marked signs of the last days. Paul said: “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (1 Timothy 4:1).