Vol.XII No.I Pg.3
March 1975

God's End Product

Dan S. Shipley

Most everyone soon learns about the relationship between cause and effect, even if by another name. To the cook, for instance, it may be the relationship between the recipe and the pie. That special apple pie is the result (effect) of mixing certain ingredients in certain proportions and baking according to instructions. Only that recipe makes that pie. Even the most conscientious cook could not produce an apple pie by following a hushpuppy recipe — or, even by partly using the right recipe. Any alteration of the recipe necessarily alters the end product. The same is true with the seamstress who knows cause and effect as pattern and dress or with the builder who knows it as blueprint and house. They all well understand that personal preferences and optionals cannot be substituted for explicit instructions in making that pie, dress, or house. At least, we hope they understand it when we engage them to do work for us!

Accordingly, in the spiritual realm we see cause and effect in the gospel and the Christian. This important and fundamental truth is set forth in the Bible under several different figures. First, in the parable of the sower (Lk. 8), the seed is identified as the word of God (v. 11), which, when received into the honest and good heart, achieves its God-intended purpose. Only the pure word of God can produce that fruit-bearing child of God; that kind of character God wants in man. The sowing determines the reaping. Mixing the creeds and opinions of uninspired men with Gods pure gospel is bound to result in less than that man God wants. In another sense, Gods word is a pattern for men to live by. As Moses was admonished to make all things according to the pattern (Heb. 8:5), so must Gods will be the pattern for our spiritual service. All that God says about how men are to be saved, for instance, is Gods pattern for saving men. That pattern includes faith, repentance, confession and baptism. (Mk. 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; 8:36, 37; 22:16). Following this divine pattern produces saved men. Changing the pattern changes the result, just as with the recipe and the blueprint. Further, all that men can know about what pleases God in worship is found on the pages of the NT— and all the NT says on the subject comprises the divine pattern for worship, nothing more and nothing less. That pattern includes preaching, singing, praying, giving and partaking of the Lords Supper (Acts 20:7; Eph. 5:19; 1 Tim. 2:1,2; 1 Cor. 16:1,2). This is Gods blueprint for worship and must be followed if God is to be truly honored.

When Paul writes of the Romans being obedient to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered, he pictures the gospel (teaching) as the mold or cast (tupos) into which the obedient is poured by submission to be shaped into a Christ-like character. Thus, following Gods pattern conforms men to His Sons image (Rom. 8:29) and makes them to be partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). The honest and good-hearted man knows that he cannot direct his own steps (Jer. 10:23) and so yields himself to walk by faith and in so doing becomes the fruition of Gods eternal purpose, complete in Christ.