Monday Minutes with Pastor Chris McCool (July 6, 2020)

Beloved Friends: Does it seem to you that Mondays are difficult days to maintain your focus on the Kingdom of God? I sure do! I find that Mondays are usually the easiest day of the week for me to “fall away” from my fervency and become distracted by the things of the world. It seems as if, having just enjoyed the sweet fellowship of the worship services on Sunday, my old carnal nature rises up in revolt and attempts to pull me aside from the “good ground” into the “thorny ground” of this world (Mat. 13:1-9, 18-23). I suspect that is the experience of many of God’s children, for it seems the lowest valleys often lie below the highest mountaintops. For this and many other reasons, this blog entry will be the first of many, Lord willing, that I plan to post on Mondays. -Bro. Chris

Have you ever read the Bible and been confused by two seemingly contradictory statements? Detractors in the world will often use supposed “contradictions” in the word of God as a basis to overthrow the faith of some of God’s children. But there clearly are some passages that, if read out of context, give us pause. In the article below, Bro.Buddy Abernathy deals with two scriptures that are key to understanding the different types of salvation taught in the word of God. Rather than contradicting one another, they clearly set forth the principle that, when we see the word “salvation” or “saved” in the Bible, we ought to ask ourselves, “Saved from what?” Please take a minute to study with Bro. Buddy about how to correctly understand and apply these scriptures.

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor


by Elder Buddy Abernathy

In his communication with Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15).

To “rightly divide” is to literally make a straight cut. As pertaining to “the word of truth” it means to handle aright, i.e. teach the truth correctly. If we fail to “rightly divide the word of truth”, there will seem to be contradictions in the Bible. There are numerous examples, especially with regard to the subject of salvation. Consider the following:

“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat. 1:21)

“And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” (Act 2:40)

We are saved by Jesus yet we are instructed to save ourselves. There are only two logical conclusions. Either there are contradictions in the Bible or Paul is referring to two kinds of salvation. To those who believe there are no contradictions in the Bible, I present the following explanation.

If you ran into my house and shouted, “I just saved your child!”, my response would be, “Saved him from what?” Was he saved from drowning, falling from a tree, being hit by a car, being abducted, etc. Why don’t we ask this question when we read the Bible? For example, When Peter began to sink after walking on water toward Jesus, “he cried, saying, Lord save me.” (Mat. 14:30). Was Peter asking Jesus to save him from his sins or to save him from drowning? Obviously, he wanted to be saved from drowning. Many other examples could be given but this one clearly illustrates the point.

So what about the two verses above? The first is teaching that Jesus alone secured our eternal salvation. He didn’t offer salvation. He actually saved his people. According to the grammar of the verse, He saved a people that were “his” before he saved them. He came “to save that which was lost” (Mat. 18:11). All of humanity was lost as a result of Adam’s disobedience, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” (Rom 5:12). However, we rejoice that, “He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:” (Eph 1:4) Jesus save his people from their sins!

The second verse is simply teaching that we should live in such a way that we might be “saved” from the influence of this “untoward (meaning crooked or perverse) generation”. Isaiah explained it this way: “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: but if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” (Isa 1:19-20) Isaiah is referring to the consequences of our sinful behavior that we reap while we are living in this world. Jesus saved us from our sins; therefore, our behavior can not “unsave” us. However, as illustrated in the life of David, our disobedience can rob us of the joy we could otherwise experience by obeying God’s word. David cried out, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psa 51:12) Notice that he was not asking God to restore salvation. He was asking Him to restore “the joy of thy salvation”. Thanks be unto God that we can not lose the eternal salvation which Jesus secured for us on the cross. Let us live in such a way that we might avoid losing the joy of it while we live in this world.

A failure to “rightly divide the word of truth” will bring much confusion to the sincere Bible student. However, when we “rightly divide” it, the Bible makes sense.

– Elder Buddy Abernathy May 24, 2019

For further study, see if you can “rightly divide” the following verses. Be sure to study the context from which the verses have been withdrawn. Isolating verses from the context often results in misinterpretation. I have capitalized parts of the verses for emphasis.

“Who HATH SAVED US, and called us with an holy calling, NOT ACCORDING TO OUR WORKS, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,” (2 Tim. 1:9)

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, WORK OUT YOUR OWN SALVATION with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13)