Monday Minutes, With Pastor Chris McCool (October 24, 2022)

In today’s edition of “Monday Minutes,” I want to share the first half of another article by Elder Michael Ivey, pastor of Unity Primitive Baptist Church in Moss Point, MS. This article deals with how the truth of God’s grace is an encouragement to us in our daily spiritual warfare. I hope this message resonates with you as it did with me!

May the Lord bless you is my prayer!

Elder Chris McCool, Pastor

Encouragement Through the Doctrines of Grace in Our Spiritual Warfare, Part 1

by Elder Michael Ivey

“But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” Romans 11:4-5

At present our nation is experiencing political and social unrest which are symptoms of upheaval brought about by cultural decline. Increasingly, godly moral values are cast aside to be replaced by faddish “woke” values which are products of vain humanist philosophies, political movements and materialistic ideologies; which among others include Existentialism, Radical Feminism and Marxism. (Marxism did not go away when its communist experiment in the Soviet Union collapsed in the early 1990s.) The near constant appearance of new social values (which almost always are in conflict with godly values and sometimes even conflict with other “woke” values) create confusion; which causes fear and frustration for many of us. In turn, fear and unrest are compounded when we react to new and conflicting social values with speech and behavior that also are not in keeping with the moral values and ethics taught in the Bible.

How then ought we react to the unabated onslaught of vain and immoral new social values which pummel us daily; and which, by our refusal to adopt them, make us targets of bias, ridicule, censorship, rejection and other tactics of social marginalizing? As believers we are to respond according to the moral values, godly examples and ethical instructions contained in God’s word. And, we must do so with steadfast conviction that we are citizens of heaven (See Philippians 3:20); which means our first loyalty and primary duty must always be to God. Thus, our “conversation,” our politicking (all of our social interactions), should comply with Paul’s imperative to the members of the Church at Philippi; “let your conversation be as becometh the gospel of Christ.”(Philippians 1:27).

In order to best comply with Paul’s instruction it is necessary for believers to know what is the “gospel of Christ.” To know Christ’s gospel requires we have accurate understanding of the person and work of Christ. Correct knowledge of both is necessary inasmuch as the person and work of Christ are inseparable. Paul affirms this in his admonition to members of the churches of Galatia, in regard to them adding tenets of law service to the doctrines of Grace. (They sought to require Gentiles be circumcised to be saved.) Paul wrote – concerning them adding a new, humanistic law-based salvific principle to the doctrines of Grace – “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.” (Galatians 1:4-5)

By stating the Galatians removed themselves from Him, meaning Christ, to another gospel (which is not the gospel), Paul implies the true person of Christ as God’s Messiah and his atoning work at Calvary are inseparable. Thus, what we believe about His success at Calvary, (Did he truly and fully save all the Father gave him; or, Did he merely make it possible for sinners to save themselves by believing He is Christ?) directly effects how we know Christ. It does so by impacting the quality of our assurance of eternal life we experience as comfort, peace and consolation. These come from knowing Christ in fellowship with His sufferings and the power of His resurrection in an experiential way. (See Philippians 3:10) As Christians, when we endure rebukes, ridicule and rejection in the spirit of Christ’s sufferings, by which He did the will of the Father, we glorify God as Christ did at Calvary, by resisting evil in ways that keep faith with His moral authority. Thus, we “suffer as a Christian.” “But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” (1 Peter 4:15-16)

It is self-evident that, to suffer as Christ, one must know something of Christ and his suffering. Furthermore, having established the person and work of Christ are inseparable, Paul also affirms eternal justification was accomplished by Christ’s shed blood according to his atoning, sacrificial death for our sins. “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:8-9) Notice, Paul indicates that God’s purpose to commend His love toward us is the motivating force for Christ dying for our sins, by which we are eternally justified by his shed blood. In turn, in Romans 8 Paul characterizes the moral principle for God’s commended love as proceeding from foreknowledge of those for whom Christ was to die. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:28-29)

To be continued. . . .