Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 16, 1964


Jack L. Holt

"Wherefore we receiving a kingdom that cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear." (Heb. 12:28) In this verse the inspired penman pleads that we may serve God acceptably, and two essential conditions are "reverence and godly fear." To enforce this teaching he reminds us in the next verse, "our God is a consuming fire." This statement is from the Old Testament and teaches us that as God did not tolerate irreverence then, He will not do so now. "Every transgression and disobedience shall receive a just recompense of reward." (Heb. 2:1-3) Reverence is defined as, "profound respect mingled with affection." Reverence to God exists first in the heart and is then demonstrated by our acts. No matter how much one may claim to revere God, nor how pious one may appear or feel, if he does not submit his ways to God all his claims to reverence are empty.

The Bible clearly teaches that we cannot have reverence for God and His laws, if we in any way attempt to change them or improve upon them. In the long ago God declared. "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8-9) In the church at Corinth there were false teachers, who thought more of their ways than they did of God's. Paul warned the church about such saying, "And these things brethren I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against the other." (I Cor. 4:6) Do we think of men above that which is written? Do we have more faith and confidence in what men say than we do in what God has written? Jesus said: "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." (Mk. 16:16) This is written and we can read it for ourselves. But some preachers preach, "He that believeth is saved and does not have to be baptized." I ask, "where is this written in the word of God?" Which do we receive or believe? The Lord Jesus Christ joined belief and baptism together, and made both essential to salvation. Who has the authority to separate them? In Deut. 4:2, God said: "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you — nor diminish ought from it." Do we take from the word of God? How can we be reverent toward God and change His word to suit our own fancies? God's word as God revealed it is His word exactly as He wants it, and one who reveres God will accept it as He has revealed it. To believe and accept God is to believe and accept His revelation of Himself. He revealed that: "lie that believeth and is baptized shall be saved," do we accept it and believe God? or do we believe men? Remember, "he that believeth not shall be damned."

When God charged Noah to build the ark, He gave Noah specific instructions. Noah built the ark "by faith." (Heb. 11:7) He built the ark "by faith," because, "all that God commanded him, so did he." (Gen. 6:22) By thus following God Noah demonstrated his trust in God, and reverence toward His commands. Noah did not question the Lord's order, nor seek to change His instructions. He obeyed God and by his obedience, "he became an heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb. 11:7) There were, no doubt, many in Noah's day who scoffed at him for building the ark, and who instead of repenting toward God, listened to men, and continued in their sinful way. But Noah believed God, obeyed His word, and thus was justified in the sight of God and delivered from the flood.

Friends, there is a judgment day coming. God commands all men everywhere to repent. (Acts 17:30) He commands all men to be baptized, "the like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us...." (1 Peter 3:21) He demands that all who follow Him live righteous lives, (Titus 2:11-12) How do we stand before the judge of the universe? How do we regard His word? Are we ready to receive it with meekness (Jas. 1:21) or do we put it from us and thus judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life? (See Acts 13:46) The condition you are in today will be the condition you will be in, in the last day if you do not change. Why not obey the Lord today?"

— Garland, Texas