"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" When Familiarity Breeds Contempt (6:1-6) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                When Familiarity Breeds Contempt (6:1-6)


1. You have likely heard the saying "familiarity breeds contempt", which
   a. The better we know people, the more likely we are to find fault
      with them. - The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
   b. If you know someone very well or experience something a lot, you
      stop respecting them. - The Free Dictionary
   c. The more you know something or someone, the more you start to find
      faults and dislike things about it or them. - UsingEnglish.com

2. We find an example of this in our text...
   a. When Jesus returned to His hometown - Mk 6:1-6
   b. The town of Nazareth, where He had been brought up - cf. Lk 4:16-24

[As illustrated in our text, allowing familiarity to breed contempt can
be to one's disadvantage.  For example, "When Familiarity Breeds


      1. At first they were impressed by His teaching - Mk 6:2; cf. Lk4:22
      2. The people of Nazareth knew Jesus as:
         a. A carpenter and the son of a carpenter - Mk 6:3; cf. Mt13:55
         b. The son of Mary, with brothers and sisters - Mk 6:3
      3. But the moment He spoke critically, they took offense - Mk 6:3
         a. They became angry - cf. Lk 4:23-28
         b. They attempted to kill Him - cf. Lk 4:29-30
      4. Which led Jesus say: "A prophet is not without honor, except in
         his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household."
         - Mk 6:4
      -- Because of familiarity, they did not respect Him as a prophet

      1. Their offense led to His leaving and returning to Capernaum
         - cf. Lk 4:31
      2. Thus depriving themselves of further teaching by the Son of
      3. Remember what Jesus had told His disciples earlier? 
         - cf. Mk 4:23-25
      -- Because of their contempt, they lost access to more learning of
         God's will!

      1. We can easily develop familiarity today
         a. With those teaching the Word of God ("He no longer impresses
         b. With the message of the Word itself ("I've heard that many
            times before")
      2. Do we allow our familiarity to breed contempt?
         a. No longer respecting those we know well, taking them for
         b. No longer appreciating the significance of the Word of God?
      -- If so, then we will cut ourselves off from its powerful

[Which leads to another disadvantage experienced "When Familiarity
Breeds Contempt"...]


      1. Which caused Jesus to marvel - Mk 6:6
      2. Remember, they even tried to kill Him - cf. Lk 4:28-30
      -- Because of familiarity they were unwilling to believe in Him

      1. Mark states that "He could do no mighty work there..." - Mk 6:5
      2. Matthew says it was "because of their unbelief" - cf. Mt 13:58
      3. It wasn't that Jesus could not do miracles, for He healed a few
         - Mk 6:5
      4. Where people would not believe, He could not do a great work
         for them
      5. "Such unbelief as this has immense consequences for evil. It
         closes the channels of grace and mercy, so that only a trickle
         gets through to human lives in need." - J. G. Miller
      -- Because of their contempt, they lost access to receiving more

      1. We can easily develop familiarity and contempt toward such
         things as:
         a. Baptism, the Lord's Supper, the Word of God, prayer,
         b. Even the blood of Christ, counting it as "a common thing"
            - cf. He 10:29
      2. Such contempt will "close the channels of grace and mercy", for
         we will not:
         a. Emphasize the importance of baptism for the remission of
            sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         b. Value the observance of the Lord Supper as a communion with
            Christ - 1Co 10:16
         c. Feed on the Word of God that we might grow thereby - 1Pe 2:2
         d. Utilize prayer in order to receive mercy, grace, peace 
            - He 4:14-16; Php 4:6-7
         e. Assemble as often as we can, to stir up love and good works
            - He 10:24-25
      -- Could contempt bred by familiarity explain our dull spiritual


1. When the people of Nazareth allowed their familiarity with Jesus to
   breed contempt...
   a. They deprived themselves of a great opportunity
   b. Jesus chose to take His message and His blessings elsewhere - Mk6:6

2. A similar tragedy can befall us...
   a. We can judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life
   b. And thus deprive ourselves of blessings we would otherwise receive
      - cf. Ac 13:46

The secret is to pay close attention to the words of Jesus and His
apostles, and any familiarity will produce only greater blessings and
not contempt (and prayer will certainly help)...

   Then He said to them, "Take heed what you hear. With the same
   measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear,
   more will be given." - Mk 4:24

   Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
                                                        - Psa 119:18
Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

"THE GOSPEL OF MARK" Touches Of The Savior (5:21-43) by Mark Copeland

                          "THE GOSPEL OF MARK"

                    Touches Of The Savior (5:21-43)


1. Mark dedicates much attention to the miracles of Jesus, showing His
   power over...
   a. Demons - Mk 1:23-28,34; 5:1-20
   b. Sickness - Mk 1:29-31,34,40-45; 2:1-12; 3:1-6
   c. Nature - Mk 4:35-41

2. Our present lesson involves two miracles, showing Jesus power over...
   a. Disease, in healing the woman suffering from an issue of blood
   b. Death, in raising the daughter of Jairus

[We are first introduced to Jairus, a ruler of a synagogue, who begs
Jesus to heal his dying daughter (Mk 5:21-24).  But on the way, there


      1. She had suffered greatly - Mk 5:25-26
         a. The discharge of blood for 12 years
         b. The mistreatments of many physicians
         c. The loss of all that she had
      2. She had heard about Jesus and came to touch His garment - Mk5:27-29
         a. She believed simply touching His clothes would heal her
         b. When she did, the fountain of blood dried and up and she was
      3. Jesus sensed the miracle, and reassured the woman - Mk 5:30-34
         a. Jesus asked who touched Him, and fearfully the woman came
         b. Jesus reassured her that her faith made her well and she was
      -- Because she was willing to touch Jesus, she was healed!

      1. In our previous study we saw those who were afraid of Jesus
         - Mk 5:15-17
         a. Are we more like the denizens of the Gadarenes?
         b. Or are we willing to approach Jesus?
      2. We cannot touch Jesus literally, but today we can:
         a. Put Jesus on in baptism - cf. Ga 3:27
         b. Be united with Him in His death and resurrection via baptism
            - cf. Ro 6:3-4
         c. Have our sins washed away by His blood - Ac 22:16; Re 1:5
      -- If we are willing to touch Jesus, we can be saved!

[If we have enough faith to reach out and touch Jesus by obeying His
word, we can be blessed by that touch!  While Jesus was still speaking
to the woman, troubling news concerning Jairus' daughter came that would
lead to...]


      1. On the way to the house - Mk 5:35-37
         a. Jairus was told his daughter is dead
         b. Jesus reassured Jairus, calling upon him to believe
         c. Jesus permitted only Peter, James, and John to accompany Him
      2. At the house of Jairus - Mk 5:38-40
         a. There was tumult with people weeping and wailing
         b. Jesus rebuked the wailing, affirming that the child is not
            dead but sleeps
         c. They ridiculed Jesus, and He sent them out of the house
         d. The parents, Jesus, and His three disciples entered the room
            where the child lay
      3. Jesus raised the child - Mk 5:41-43
         a. He took her by the hand (i.e., touched her)
         b. He said to her, "Talitha, cumi" ("Little girl, I say to you
         c. Immediately the girl (12 years old) arose and walked
         d. The parents and disciples were overcome with great amazement
         e. Jesus commanded them to tell no one, but give food to the
            girl to eat - cf. Mk 1:44-45
      4. Was Jairus' daughter really dead?  Hendriksen offers the
         following thoughts:
         a. Lk 8:53 declares that the people knew that she was dead.
         b. Lk 8:55 states that at the command of Jesus "her spirit
            returned." It is clear, therefore, that there had been a
            separation between spirit and body.
         c. Jn 11:11 we have something similar. Jesus tells his
            disciples, "Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep." But in Jn11:14 
            he affirms, "Lazarus died."
         d. In both instances the meaning is that death will not have
            the final say. Not death but life is going to triumph in the
            end. Also, just as natural sleep is followed by awakening,
            so this child is going to become awake, that is, is going to
            live again.
      -- With a touch (and the command to arise), Jesus raised the child
         from the dead!

      1. Again not literally, but today we can:
         a. Become a new creation in Christ - 2Co 5:17
         b. Enjoy the blessing of His presence in our lives - Jn 14:23
         c. Enjoy every spiritual blessing there is to be found in
            Christ - Ep 1:3
      2. Yes, by the "touch" of Jesus, we can experience:
         a. A spiritual resurrection now, via baptism - Col 2:12-13
         b. A bodily resurrection to eternal life in the future 
            - Jn 5:28-29; 11:25
      -- If we are willing to let Jesus "touch" us, we can be raised
         anew now and in the future!


1. Just imagine the great joy produced by the "Touches Of The Savior"...
   a. The joy of the woman who touched Jesus
   b. The joy of the parents whose child was touched by Jesus

2. There can be great joy today for us today...
   a. If we are willing to "touch" Jesus by obeying Him
   b. If we are willing to let Jesus "touch" us through the blessings He

Notice that both the woman and Jairus made efforts to approach Jesus.
So we must come to Jesus in faithful obedience if we are to experience
the "Touches Of The Savior"... - Mt 11:28-30; 28:18-20

Prophetic Precision by Brad Bromling, D.Min.


Prophetic Precision

by  Brad Bromling, D.Min.

One of the most amazing things about the Bible is that it contains information that could not have been known by its human authors. A perfect example of this is seen in the prophecy concerning the city of Tyre. At least six specific predictions were recorded in Ezekiel 26: (1) King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon would destroy the city (vss. 7-8); (2) Many nations would come against Tyre (vs. 3); (3) The city would be leveled and scraped clean—like a bare rock (vs. 4); (4) The city’s stones, timber, and soil would be cast into the sea (vs. 12); (5) The area would become a place for the spreading of nets (vs. 5); and (6) The city never would be rebuilt (vs. 14).
The Causeway to IslandEach of these items came to pass exactly as Ezekiel said. Tyre, a coastal city of ancient times, had an island about one-half mile offshore. Within a few years of Ezekiel’s oracle, Nebuchadnezzar besieged the mainland city (586 B.C.). When he finally defeated Tyre 13 years later, the city was deserted—most of the inhabitants already had moved to the island. Things remained that way for about 241 years. Then in 332 B.C., Alexander the Great took the island city for Greece. This was accomplished by scraping clean the mainland city of its debris and using those materials to build a land-bridge to the island. Although Alexander brought much damage to the city, it still stood. Tyre persisted for the next 1,600 years. Finally, in A.D. 1291, the Muslims thoroughly crushed Tyre, and the city has remained in ruins ever since. Aside from a small fishing community, nothing is left.
How can we account for Ezekiel’s precision regarding the history of this city? We cannot—apart from a miracle. How could he look almost 1,900 years into the future and predict that Tyre would be a bald rock where fishermen would spread their nets? God must have told him!

Is Creation Science? by Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.


Is Creation Science?

by  Trevor Major, M.Sc., M.A.

On June 22, 1633, Galileo confessed to the “heresy” of believing that the Earth orbits the Sun. With that statement in hand, the Holy Office of the Roman Catholic Church prohibited the aging scientist from discussing the Copernican view of the Solar System, and sentenced him to house arrest for the remainder of his life (Hummel, 1986, pp. 118,123).
And so began the long conflict between faith and science, at least according to the popular view. From that day forward, Galileo became a martyr for free thought, sacrificed at the altar of an ignorant, authoritarian church.
More than two hundred years later, the church and science faced off again, this time over the writings of a certain Charles Darwin. It took place on a balmy June day in 1860, at the annual meeting in Oxford of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. The protagonists were Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, and Thomas Huxley, professor of natural history at the Royal School of Mines. Bishop Wilberforce mounted the floor first, giving a critique of Darwin’s new book, The Origin of Species. Apparently he ended his speech by inquiring of Huxley whether it was through his grandfather or his grandmother that he claimed his descent from a monkey. Huxley got up to defend Darwin’s views, adding that if the choice was between an ape for a grandfather, or a man who ridiculed science, his preference was the ape (Blackmore and Page, 1989, pp. 102-103).
No one knows exactly what was said at that meeting, but in later years the exchange achieved powerful legendary status. The scientist had beaten the bishop publicly, and in his own diocese. Again, the popular picture has reason triumphing over blind faith as it pushed the church aside in its unrelenting pursuit of scientific progress.
This view gained momentum in the remaining decades of the nineteenth century. In 1874, John William Draper wrote a book titled History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science. Then in 1896, Andrew Dickson White published A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. Both books received wide distribution, and helped sustain the tension into the modern era (Russell, 1985, p. 193).


Many historians of science now reject this simple view of conflict (Lindberg and Numbers, 1986, p. 6). To be sure, great minds clashed through the centuries, but what they were saying about science and religion often reflected only the currents of social change swirling around them. Yet the origins issue remains a topic of intense debate. Few people speak of the creation/evolution “discussion” or “dialogue.” Even after making a case for a kinder, gentler consideration of the issues, Numbers lapses into military language in his analysis of creationists. He talks about the fundamentalist “crusade” against evolution (1986, p. 394), and the “battle” to get scientific creationism into public schools (1986, p. 413).
Part of the problem is that there are no ground rules for a reasonable discussion of origins. Creationists would like an opportunity to give scientific reasons for why they believe what they believe. However, many evolutionists fear that creationists must necessarily abuse science to use science. Creationism, they claim, is a religious dogma, and therefore closed to the usual rigors of scientific investigation. Hence Stephen Jay Gould has labeled “scientific creationism” an oxymoron—a contradiction in terms (1987, 8[1]:64). Also, many evolutionists claim that evolution is a fact, while admitting that they do not understand the mechanism and details completely. This elevated view of evolution prompts creationists to hurl the accusations of “religious dogma” back on the evolutionists’ side.
To complicate matters, some Bible believers are uncomfortable with the idea of defending creation on the field of science. A few have retreated, seeing science as a threat to their faith. Some fears may stem from the conflict described previously; scientists are seen only as adversaries. It also may come from the perception that science has been the source of many evils: atomic weapons, death-camp experiments, ethically questionable medical practices, and so on. Still others object outright, claiming that science and religion are on two different planes separated by a distance equal to a “leap of faith.” In other words, they believe it is impossible, or improper, to present any rational proof or evidence that would lead anyone to a belief in the Creator (Sproul, et al., 1984, p. 34).
The results can be unfortunate. In a world of ever-increasing technological complexity, where scientism often reigns supreme, retreat only serves to alienate the Gospel from people seeking genuine reasons to believe, or continue believing, in God. And placing science and religion into separate compartments, with scientists determining truth in one area, and theologians determining truth in the other, can lead ultimately to the compromise of theistic evolution (Moreland, 1989, pp. 12,217).


There is a need to step back from this debate and look for a better way to present the wealth of evidence in favor of creation. Opponents still may not agree with the conclusions, but it should allow creationists to present a consistent, scientific case. Perhaps the best approach is to put creation and evolution on an equal footing. This is not an attempt to dodge the issue by saying both ideas are true. Rather, it is an effort to set up a reasonable framework for discussing the origins issue. The first place to begin, however, is among those who profess a belief in God.

On Science and Religion

Faith need not exclude science. Yes, faith involves an emotional or heart-felt response to God, but it also involves an intellectual response. Abraham, Moses, and the other children of God listed in Hebrews 11 were faithful, with no help from modern science. Noah’s building of the ark, for example, was not based on his personal study of marine engineering or hydrology, but rather a decision to obey God’s command. However, surely some of Noah’s faith came from the knowledge that God could and would work in nature to achieve His ends, including sending a worldwide Flood and preserving Noah and his family on the ark.
Throughout the Old Testament, God invited His people to compare His miracles and prophecies with the claims of pagan religions (e.g., Isaiah 41:21-22). Then in the New Testament, Christ and the apostles sought a spiritual response from a reasonable consideration of what people had seen and heard (John 5:36; Acts 2:14-41; 17:16-34). Peter gave Christians explicit instructions to defend the reason for their hope of eternal salvation (1 Peter 3:15).
Further, God appealed to the creation as a demonstration of His existence and power (e.g., Job 38-39; Isaiah 40:26; 45:12). That God’s revelation of His will to Moses began with the account of creation is no coincidence, for it established His unique nature and role in the faith of Israel. The apostle Paul told Christians in Rome that unbelievers always have had the opportunity to recognize the existence of a Creator by studying the creation (1:20). Of course, it is not possible to come to a saving knowledge without special revelation (Romans 10:17), but it is possible to understand the need to seek out the Creator by looking at His natural or general revelation. Although salvation by grace is a gift of God (Ephesians 2:8), it does not follow that faith is irrational—that it has no tangible ground in “right reason,” as Warfield put it (1977, 1:236-237). This “right reason” may include an investigation of natural revelation using the tools of modern science.
Christians need not fear science. Nature and Scripture have a common Author, which means that the facts of nature will complement the statements the Bible makes about the physical world. It is not a matter of making one the servant of the other, but of interpreting both correctly. Scientists may disagree with theologians, but true science and true religion never should be in conflict (see Thompson, 1984, 1:17). Finally, Christians should understand that science itself is not evil. Rather, the application of science or technology for immoral purposes is evil, although this improper use is not always perpetrated by the original researcher or inventor.
Thus, science interacts with religion not only through a study of natural revelation, but also through a consideration of broad issues such as philosophy and ethics. This does not mean to say that the relationship always will be harmonious. To say otherwise is to suggest that someone has answered all the questions. What it does mean is that faith and science can interact in useful ways.

On True Science

Creationists appeal to a supernatural cause to explain a unique event: the origin of the Universe, the Earth, and all life. For many evolutionists, that explanation is just plain unscientific. The late Judge William Overton expressed his agreement by striking down the Arkansas Balanced Treatment Act that required the teaching of both creation and evolution in the State’s public schools. In his 38-page decision, Overton dismissed creation theories because they do not conform to what scientists think and do. His opinion is worth examining in greater detail, not because he is a scientist or philosopher of science, but because he based his criteria on the testimony of people in these fields. Judge Overton concluded that a theory is truly scientific when:
(1) it is guided by natural law; (2) it has to be explanatory by reference to natural law; (3) it is testable against the empirical world; (4) its conclusions are tentative, i.e., are not necessarily the final word; and (5) it is falsifiable (as quoted in Geisler, 1982, p. 176).
While the decision disappointed creationists, Overton’s definition left some philosophers of science aghast. Chief among them was Larry Laudan, who found fault with all five criteria. “The victory in the Arkansas case was hollow,” he complained, “for it was achieved only at the expense of perpetuating and canonizing a false stereotype of what science is and how it works” (1988, p. 355). Nonetheless, most anticreationist publications refer positively to Overton’s ruling, and others certainly share his characterization of science (Futuyma, 1983, pp. 168-174; National Academy of Sciences, 1984, pp. 8-11). Grouping the first two criteria under one heading, the problems with Overton’s criteria are as follows.

Science Does not Have to Have Natural Explanations

As Blackmore and Page noted: “In a previous age the essence of science was to discover God’s ways of working. Miraculous interventions were perhaps rare, but certainly permissible. They would have found Overton’s dismissal of miracles presumptuous” (1989, p. 161). A century or more ago, many scientists had no problems seeking natural causes, while recognizing that supernatural causes may be necessary in some cases (Moreland, 1989, p. 226). In today’s controversy, evolutionists have limited themselves to purely natural causes; creationists have not. Neither choice makes one more or less scientific than the other.

Science is not Always Empirical

People can observe or experience the same phenomena, but come to quite different conclusions. For example, the Ptolemaic idea that Earth is at the center of the Universe directly contradicts the Copernican idea that the Earth and other planets orbit the Sun. Unfortunately for Galileo, more convincing evidence for Copernicus’ view would have to wait for the superior observations and analyses of scientists like Brahe, Kepler, and Newton. In the meantime, empirical science could not judge one theory better than the other. Both models fit the data available at the time, and made fairly accurate astronomic predictions.
Also, empirical science cannot test the central claims of creation and evolution directly (e.g., the creation of man, or the Big Bang). However, it still is useful in two ways. First, as the next section will show, empirical science can provide analogies on which to test these central claims. Second, origin theories make other peripheral claims that empirical science can test directly. For example, creationists suggest that most seemingly vestigial organs have genuine functions. This claim is based on the belief that God created all major animal types, the organs of which should show evidence of purpose, not degeneration from a completely different ancestral form. Empirical science can discover whether a given vestigial organ is functional. Laudan suggests that evolutionists disprove such empirical claims, rather than pretending that creationism makes no such claims at all (1988, p. 352).

Science is not Always Tentative

At any one time in history, scientists hold to core beliefs—ideas that need to be true if they are going to function in their work. Such dogmatism can be useful, although there is a fine line between consensus and censorship.
The reasoning behind this criterion goes back to the idea that creationists cannot practice true science because they base their beliefs on a doctrinal statement. In other words, it unfairly accuses creationists of intellectual dishonesty. This is nothing more than an attack on creationists themselves, which is not the same as defining science (Moreland, 1989, p. 230).

Science is not Always Falsifiable

As a criterion of science, falsification is the idea that scientists have to disprove alternative, related ideas before they can call their theory truly scientific. Unfortunately for evolutionists, this nullifies all scientific arguments against special creation because, they say, creation cannot be falsified (Numbers, 1992, p. 248-250). The obvious contradiction (that creationism is both false and unfalsifiable) reveals the limitations of such a test.
In summary, all these practices have a place in science, but ultimately they are not reliable in distinguishing science from nonscience.


Laudan grants that creationism satisfies the last three of Overton’s requirements (1988, p. 354). He even takes the first two criteria to task, arguing that not all scientific ideas can be explained by natural laws. For example, Galileo and Newton described gravity before anyone explained it. And Darwin discovered the phenomenon of natural selection before anyone understood the laws of heredity on which it depended. By Overton’s rules, “we should have to say that Newton and Darwin were unscientific” (1988, p. 354). Yet the issue still remains: can science seek non-natural causes? Were great scientists of the past justified, or merely naive, in their willingness to allow divine intervention in nature?
Creationists have realized that the only way to resolve this issue is to find the common ground between evolution and creation. This may seem a fruitless task at first, seeing that they represent two quite different world views. But they share this fundamental belief: that the Universe and life are the products of one or more unique events. In particular, evolutionists speak of the Big Bang, and the origin of life from nonlife. Neither event is occurring today. Life is not arising spontaneously from nutrient-rich environments and, fortunately for humankind, Big Bangs are not rending space asunder on a regular basis. Similarly, creationists believe that the Universe and life are the products of a divine creative act, and further, that a worldwide Flood shaped the present world. These events also are unique. God finished His creation on the seventh day (Genesis 2:1), and promised that He never again would destroy mankind with a Flood (Genesis 9:15).
What people imagine as “science,” including Overton’s caricature, cannot begin to deal with these claims, but they still are open to scientific scrutiny. While the answers may not lie directly under the lens of a microscope, or in a test tube, they may come by testing the claims against knowledge gained by empirical science. In an effort to refine this distinction, Charles Thaxton and his colleagues suggested separating operation science from origin science. The first deals with the recurring phenomena of nature, such as eclipses, volcanoes, reproduction, etc., while the second deals with singular events, such as the Big Bang, creation, etc. (1984, pp. 203-204).
Origin science may be a new term, but it works by the standard principles of causality and uniformity, which always have been a part of doing science. The principle of causality says that every effect must have a prior, sufficient, necessary cause. The principle of uniformity (or analogy) says that similar effects have similar causes.
Still, evolutionists may argue that creationists have done themselves no service by making a separate science out of singularities. Defining a nonempirical science is one thing; proposing supernatural causes is quite another. For this reason, they always will view creationism as unscientific. But the idea that history consists of an unbroken stream of natural causes and effects is merely a presumption on their part. Perhaps they fear a new generation of doctoral students invoking God when they cannot explain something in their research projects. Yet this fear is unfounded. As stated earlier, most scientists of the past had no problem with divine intervention. Indeed, one of the driving forces of early Western science was the idea that the Universe, as God’s creation, was open to rational investigation. In doing good operation science, these scientists would seek natural causes for regularly occurring events. Many of them recognized, however, that unique events may require a cause beyond nature. Only analogy with the present can determine whether the cause is miraculous or naturalistic (Geisler and Anderson, 1987, p. 16).


In 1802, William Paley applied analogy in full force through his book, Natural Theology. Paley tells a story of a man who finds a stone. From the natural appearance of the stone, and its lack of purpose, the man assumes it is the product of nature. Later he finds a watch, and because of its inherent purpose, he assumes it is the product of a watchmaker. What is the difference between the rock and the watch? “Wherever we see marks of contrivance,” Paley wrote, “we are led for its cause to an intelligent author” (1802, p. 232, emp. in orig.). Paley concluded that design in nature demands a cause that exists beyond and before the natural world. That cause he identified as God—Designer and Creator.
Yet many skeptics believe that Paley’s work was defunct before he ever put pen to paper. More than fifty years earlier, David Hume had argued that miracles cannot be true because the world normally operates using natural causes. For example, if a man says he witnessed someone being raised from the dead, which of the following is most likely: that a man can deceive or be deceived, or that a person can be raised from the dead? Hume would take the first option, because (for him at least) it is easier to believe than the second (1748, p. 657).
Belief, Hume argued, derives from the guiding principles of uniformity and causality. Are these not the same guiding principles of origin science? Then how is it that Paley could allow miracles, while Hume could not? In part, Hume was reacting to a popular idea of his day that God not only designed the Universe, but also operated the Universe like a machine. God was every cause, not just the first cause: He maintained the Moon in its orbit of the Earth, and made the apple fall to the ground. Hume found this idea totally unpalatable and, as often happens, swung to the opposite extreme in response. God never could cause any effect, because that would violate all reasonable human experience about the way nature normally operates. If God could intervene at any time, then experience is useless, and science has no value. Hume’s uniformity gave rise to uniformitarianism, and thence to the contempt for miracles among so many scientists of the modern era.
The problem with this view is that miracles are supernatural, not antinatural; they are beyond nature, not against nature. Further, they explain certain unique events, not all regular events. Paley appealed to a divine Creator because no known natural cause was sufficient to explain the design he saw in the living world. Ironically, Paley said he founded his conclusions on “uniform experience”—precisely the same phrase coined by his skeptical predecessor (see Geisler and Anderson, 1987, p. 145).


Yes, creation is science. Judge Overton’s answer was to redefine science, with dire consequences for science itself. In fact, there is nothing about science that prevents a Bible believer from practicing good science, or even investigating the existence of God.
However, miracles remain the sticking point. Some scientists feel very uncomfortable with the idea that an effect might have a supernatural cause. Note that this is only a feeling, a presumption, on their part. Creationists have no interest in making God a capricious, meddlesome Agent Who works to achieve every natural effect. Rather, He is the Cause of unique events that cannot be explained by recourse to purely natural explanations. Origin science provides a consistent way to test this claim, along with the central claims of evolution—claims that are not amenable to testing under empirical or operation science. Yes, there is more than one way to do science.
When people belittle the scientific status of creationism, they attack its believers, not its claims. Prejudice, not truth, sustains the idea that faith and science must be in conflict. Christians can use science to defend their belief in the Genesis account of creation, and should not be intimidated into thinking otherwise.


Blackmore, Vernon and Andrew Page (1989), Evolution: The Great Debate (Oxford, England: Lion).
Futuyma, Douglas J. (1983), Science on Trial (New York: Pantheon).
Geisler, Norman L. (1982), The Creator in the Courtroom: “Scopes II” (Milford, MI: Mott Media).
Geisler, Norman L. and J. Kerby Anderson (1987), Origin Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Gould, Stephen Jay (1987), “Darwinism Defined: The Difference Between Fact and Theory,” Discover, 8[1]:64-65,68-70, January.
Hume, David (1748), “An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding,” The English Philosophers from Bacon to Mill, ed. Edwin A. Burtt (New York: Random House, Modern Library edition, 1939), pp. 585-689.
Hummel, Charles E. (1986), The Galileo Connection (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity).
Laudan, Larry (1988), “Science at the Bar—Causes for Concern,” But Is It Science?, ed. Michael Ruse (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus).
Lindberg, David C. and Ronald L. Numbers (1986), God & Nature (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).
Moreland, J.P. (1989), Christianity and the Nature of Science (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
National Academy of Sciences (1984), Science and Creationism (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press).
Numbers, Ronald L. (1986), “The Creationists,” God & Nature, ed. D.C. Lindberg and R.L. Numbers (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press).
Numbers, Ronald L. (1992), The Creationists (New York: Alfred A. Knopf).
Paley, William (1802), Natural Theology, ed. John Ware (Boston: MA: Gould, Kendall & Lincoln, 1850 edition).
Russell, Colin A. (1985), Cross-Currents (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Sproul, R.C., John Gerstner, and Arthur Lindsley (1984), Classical Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).
Thaxton, Charles B., Walter L. Bradley, and Roger L. Olsen (1984), The Mystery of Life’s Origin (New York: Philosophical Library).
Thompson, Bert (1984), “How Does Science Work?,” Essays in Apologetics, ed. Bert Thompson and Wayne Jackson (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), 1:11-17.
Warfield, Benjamin B. (1977), “Apologetics,” The New Schaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia, ed. Samuel Macauley Jackson (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, reprint), 1:232-238.

Has NASA Discovered a "Missing Day"? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Has NASA Discovered a "Missing Day"?

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.

Click here to view the updated version.

For years the following story has been spread by well-meaning people whose intent is to defend the accuracy and inspiration of the Bible.
In the tenth chapter of the Old Testament book of Joshua, it is recorded that the Sun “stood still.” One day while NASA scientists were using their computers to calculate orbits for the Earth, Sun, and other planets, they discovered that there was a “lost day.” After prodding by one of their colleagues who had attended Bible school as a child, the scientists reprogrammed their computers to include appropriate biblical facts and ultimately found their “lost day,” thus proving the biblical record to be accurate.
The story sounds great, and is quite impressive in the telling. Unfortunately, it is false—from beginning to end.
In the May 1991 issue of Reason & Revelation, I wrote an article documenting the incorrect nature of this account, and urging our readers not to use it. Years later, however, the story still is being circulated—most likely due to the fact that it has been published on the Internet. While there are many positive aspects of the Internet and the World Wide Web, one negative aspect is that error can be disseminated rapidly, and widely, with little more than the click of a mouse button. Apparently that is exactly what has happened here. Some well-intentioned soul posted the story on the Internet. Another saw it, and sent it to a few (or a few hundred!) people via an electronic address book. Those people then forwarded it to others, who sent it to still others. Ad infinitum!
As those whose lives and teachings revolve around the importance of truth, we, of all people, should do all we can to avoid the dissemination of erroneous material, regardless of how “good” it may sound, or the “evidential value” it may appear to have. Yes, we should defend God’s Word. But no, we should not use error to do it. “Faithfully teaching the Faith” is not merely an awesome privilege, but an awesome responsibility as well. Because of the seriousness of this situation, and the fact that the story seems to have developed a “life of its own,” I decided to update my May 1991 article in order to expose once again the incorrect nature of this account. The revised article was published in the February 1999 issue of Reason & Revelation—the first time in the history of the journal that we have repeated an article.
Click here to view the updated version.

Did Darwin Repent? by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


Did Darwin Repent?

by  Bert Thompson, Ph.D.


A story often circulates that suggests Charles Darwin, on his deathbed, recanted his theory of evolution and repented of the damage that he, and it, had done. The story affirms that Darwin died believing in God and salvation through Christ. Is this true?


For many years, such a story has been circulated. It frequently appears in church bulletins, almost always under the byline of one of those three famous writers of our generation: “Mr. Selected,” “Mr. Anonymous,” or “Mr. Copied.” No doubt those who propagate the story mean well. But, regardless of their good intentions, or the sincerity of their motives, they are wrong. The story surrounding Charles Darwin’s alleged repentance simply is not true. And unfortunately, it is not just this story that makes the rounds. There are other “newsworthy” items that are published—again, no doubt by well-meaning people—which are just as false. Two come to mind: (1) the story of how IBM scientists are supposed to have discovered a scientific reason for the “long day of Joshua” in the Old Testament; and (2) the account of how Madalyn Murray O’Hair allegedly threatened to have all religious broadcasting taken off the airwaves in America. Neither of these stories is any truer, nor any more founded in fact, than the story of Charles Darwin’s repentance.
The story that is told so often—and there are almost as many versions of it as there are storytellers—goes something like this. A certain friend of the Darwin family, Lady Hope, was herself a Bible believer. On occasion she found herself in the company of Mr. Darwin. One such occasion happened to be during a beautiful autumn, just a few days before his death. At that time, so the account goes, she found him reading, somewhat to her surprise, the New Testament book of Hebrews. Upon further inquiry, Darwin began to speak about how he was so very young when he formed his ideas of evolution, and how he regretted that so many people had made those ideas their religion. He then insisted that Lady Hope return to his summerhouse that afternoon, at 3:00 pm, to read from the Bible to his servants, and nearby villagers. When she asked exactly what Darwin thought she should read, he is alleged to have turned to her with an emphatic voice and said, “Read about Christ and His salvation!” Lady Hope, so says the tale, quickly spread the good news that Darwin, now on his deathbed, had become a believer in God, and a Christian.
As with all spurious dramas such as this, it is impossible to trace the origin of this story. The search hardly is made easier when time after time the story is reprinted, attributing it only to “selected,” “anonymous,” or “copied.” But on rare occasions the story, in reprinted form, actually has been attributed to an American journal published in years gone by, The Watchman Examiner. However, a search through all available issues of that publication has provided neither the original account nor any references to it. Similarly, on occasion the story is attributed, in reprinted form, to a book by Luther Townsend, The Collapse of Evolution, but that, too, has proved to be elusive. In short, each time a search is made for any kind of original documentation, it ends in the proverbial “dead end.” This alone should make the honest inquirer a bit suspicious. Were that the end of the matter, suspicions might be afforded the benefit of the doubt, and the account accepted as true. However, there are other data that, considered collectively, expose the dubious nature of the story—in any form.
First, out of a sense of fairness, let me state that there really was a “Lady Hope.” Malcolm Bowden, in his book, The Rise of the Evolution Fraud, provided documentation from Mr. L.G. Pine, former editor of Burke’s Peerage in Great Britain, of the existence of Lady Hope (1982, p. 189). And, admittedly, she lived in England at the same time as Darwin. However, the mere existence of such a woman, in proximity to Darwin, does not establish the veracity of the story under consideration. Other factors must be taken into account as well. One such factor comes from the daughter of Charles Darwin himself. Around 1842, Darwin’s wife Emma gave birth to their daughter, Henrietta. Eventually, she married an English barrister by the name of Richard Litchfield. Apparently, even before her death the story of her father’s conversion at the hands of Lady Hope had begun to circulate, because she addressed this matter in a letter written on February 23, 1922 to The Christian, a religious journal. Her comments were as follows:
I was present at his [Darwin’s—BT] deathbed. Lady Hope was not present during his last illness, or any illness. I believe he never even saw her, but in any case she had no influence over him in any department of thought and belief. He never recanted any of his scientific views, either then or earlier. We think that story of his conversion was fabricated in the USA. In most of these versions, hymn singing comes in and a summerhouse where the servants and villagers sang hymns to him. There is no such summerhouse and no servants or villagers ever sang hymns to him. The whole story has no foundation whatsoever (see Hawton, 1958, p. 4).
Some supporters of the idea of Darwin’s repentance might suggest that his daughter Henrietta would not wish the story to be known even if it were true, and therefore may have distorted, or falsely presented, the facts of the matter. While at first glance this might seem a possibility, other factors militate against such a conclusion. In order to hold to the truthfulness of this story, one would, in essence, have to call Darwin’s daughter an outright liar. Such a charge would be very difficult to sustain for several reasons. First, she was with her father at his death. But to the best of our knowledge, there is absolutely no evidence that Lady Hope ever visited Darwin toward the end of his life. Second, those closest to Darwin at the time of his death knew nothing of his alleged conversion. Third, the story of that supposed conversion did not begin until years after his death, which hardly seems likely if the story is true—and known to be so by those whose lives were intricately intertwined with Darwin’s.
Also to be considered is this: many of the “facts” of the Lady Hope story are, quite simply, wrong. For example, Darwin died April 19, 1882. But the story of Lady Hope specifically states that she visited him on a beautiful autumn afternoon. That would have left six months between her visit, and his demise. Yet evidence available to us proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Darwin was neither bedridden nor “on his deathbed” during that six-month period. Also, the story indicates that Lady Hope came to speak, at Darwin’s request, at the summerhouse on his property. Yet as Darwin’s daughter pointed out, there was no such summerhouse. Further, the story has Darwin opining to Lady Hope that he formed his thoughts on evolution when he was but “a young man with unformed ideas.” This makes little sense, because when Darwin finally published the Origin of Species, he was 50 years old! This hardly qualifies him for being a “young man.” The Origin of Species underwent no less than six revisions from 1859 until 1872—and each one was at the hand of Darwin himself. So the suggestion that a “young man with unformed ideas” was responsible for the Origin, and the concepts contained therein, simply will not withstand intense examination.
There are many more data available that establish the conclusion that the “Lady Hope” story is false. Wilbert H. Rusch and John W. Klotz have summarized them in their excellent work on this subject, Did Charles Darwin Become a Christian? (1988). The reader is referred to that volume for an in-depth examination of those data, which are far too numerous to reproduce here.
Did Darwin repent? Did he become a believer in God, or a Christian? The answer to both questions is a resounding “no.” Creationists and Christians do themselves no favor by circulating, even if inadvertently through good intentions, stories such as these that ultimately are without foundation. When the truth finally does come out (and eventually it will!), it reflects poorly on those who propagate such falsehoods. While there are many legitimate, valuable tools in the arsenal of the Christian apologist, such stories as the one reviewed here are not among them and should be avoided at all cost. If you should see this story reappear in the future, please take occasion to share this material with those who are telling it. There is enough false material being circulated without Christians fueling the fire with more.


Bowden, Malcolm (1982), The Rise of the Evolution Fraud (San Diego, CA: Christian Life Publishers).
Hawton, Hector (1958), “The Myth of Darwin’s Conversion,” The Humanist, 73:4, July.
Rusch, Wilbert H. and John W. Klotz (1988), Did Charles Darwin Become a Christian? (Norcross, GA: Creation Research Society Books).

Illegal to Teach American History—in America? by Dave Miller, Ph.D.


Illegal to Teach American History—in America?

by  Dave Miller, Ph.D.

A fifth grade history teacher has been prohibited from using primary American history documents to teach his students. Why? You won't believe it. School principal Patricia Vidmar, with the backing of the Cupertino Union School District (in the San Francisco Bay area suburb of Cupertino, California) instructed social studies teacher Stephen Williams to stop using American historical documents in his classes because they refer to God. The Stevens Creek School teacher was informed that the foundational document of American history—the Declaration of Independence—and others like it, possess religious overtones. In addition to the Declaration of Independence, among the materials rejected by the principal as unsuitable for the classroom are George Washington's journal, John Adams’ diary, Samuel Adams’ The Rights of the Colonists, and William Penn's The Frame of Government of Pennsylvania.
Talk about “political correctness” run amok! The case is simply one more instance among hundreds of the widespread misconception that the constitution and its Framers intended to establish a religionless republic. It further demonstrates the conspiratorial-like agenda of liberal educators, judges, and politicians to sanitize American history by expunging the factuality of America's Christian heritage. Make no mistake, if they get their way—and they have made significant strides in the last fifty years—American civilization will continue its downward spiral into moral depravity and eventual dissolution. The Founders themselves so predicted.
For example, Noah Webster affirmed in 1829: “The Christian religion, in its purity, is the basis, or rather the source of all genuine freedom in government…and I am persuaded that no civil government of a republican form can exist and be durable in which the principles of that religion have not a controlling influence” (as quoted in Snyder, 1990, p. 253). Charles Carroll, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, in a letter to James McHenry on November 4, 1800, claimed: “[W]ithout morals a republic cannot subsist any length of time; they therefore who are decrying the Christian religion, whose morality is so sublime and pure…are undermining the solid foundation of morals, the best security for the duration of free governments” (as quoted in Steiner, 1907, p. 475).
The first president and “father of our country,” George Washington, insisted in 1788:
No country upon earth ever had it more in its power to attain these blessings than United America. Wondrously strange, then, and much to be regretted indeed would it be, were we to neglect the means and to depart from the road which Providence has pointed us to so plainly; I cannot believe it will ever come to pass (1835, 9:391-39).
In his “Inaugural Address” in 1789, Washington further asserted: “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained” (American State Papers…, 1833, 1:9-10).
The governor of Connecticut (and signer of the Declaration of Independence), Samuel Huntington, said in 1788: “While the great body of freeholders are acquainted with the duties which they owe to their God, to themselves, and to men, they will remain free. But if ignorance and depravity should prevail, they will inevitably lead to slavery and ruin” (as quoted in Elliot, 1836, 2:200).
Many other great Americans understood the connection between America's survival and her attachment to the God of the Bible. For example, Theodore Roosevelt insisted: “A churchless community, a community where men have abandoned and scoffed at or ignored their religious needs, is a community on the rapid down grade” (n.d.). Supreme Allied Commander during World War II and later U.S. president, Dwight D. Eisenhower, explained: “Without God there could be no American form of government nor an American way of life. Recognition of the Supreme Being is the first—the most basic—expression of Americanism” (as quoted in Claybourn, n.d.).
Even Thomas Jefferson, who is believed to be the principal architect of the Constitution, joined his voice to the symphony of voices that maintained that America's security ultimately resides in its commitment to the one true God—the very God that the California school board seeks to expunge from the classroom: “Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with his wrath? Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep forever” (1787, Query XVIII).
In the spirit of the Founding Fathers, who registered their objections to their British oppressors, social studies teacher Williams has filed a discriminatory suit in U.S. District Court in San José, claiming violations of his right to free speech under the First Amendment. Stay tuned.


American State Papers: Documents Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States (1833), (Washington, DC: Gales and Seaton).
Claybourn, Joshua (no date), “God in the Public Square,” [On-line], URL: http://www.hoosierreview.com/claybourn_files/claybourn7.html
Elliot, Jonathan, ed. (1836), Debates in the Several States Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, DC: Jonathan Elliot).
Jefferson, Thomas (1787), Notes on the State of Virginia, [On-line], URL: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/jevifram.htm.
Moore, Jimmy (2004), “Teacher Told Declaration not Allowed in Class Due to 'God’ Reference,” Talon News, [On-line], URL: http://www.gopusa.com/news/2004/december/1202_ca_teacher_declarationp.shtml.
Roosevelt, Theodore (no date), “Nine Reasons Why a Man Should Go to Church,” Theodore Roosevelt Association, [On-line], URL: http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org/life/Church9reasons.htm.
Snyder, K. Alan (1990), Defining Noah Webster: Mind and Morals in the Early Republic (New York: University Press of America).
Steiner, Bernard C. (1907), The Life and Correspondence of James McHenry (Cleveland, OH: The Burrows Brothers).
Washington, George (1835), The Writings of George Washington, ed. Jared Sparks (Boston, MA: Russell, Odiorne, and Metcalf).
Whitcomb, Dan (2004), “Declaration of Independence Banned at Calif. School,” Reuters, [On-line], URL: http://www.reuters.com/printerFriendlyPopup.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6911883.

Did Paul Make a Mistake Regarding the Resurrection? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Did Paul Make a Mistake Regarding the Resurrection?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.

Near the close of his first letter to the church at Thessalonica, the apostle Paul addressed the subject of Christ’s Second Coming. He indicated that “the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God” (4:16). The Christians in Thessalonica were not to be concerned with what would happen to Christians who had passed from this life prior to Jesus’ return. Departed Christians were not going to miss the Second Coming; God would take care of them. Paul noted that those “who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep” (vs. 15). “[T]he dead in Christ will rise first” (vs. 16). Some have asked, however, if 1 Thessalonians 4:16 contradicts what Paul wrote just two verses previously where he indicated that “God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus” (vs. 14). How can those who will be the first to rise also be brought with Jesus? Did Paul make a blunder?
Skeptics have no proof of errancy on the part of the inspired Paul (1 Thessalonians 4:15; Galatians 1:12) in this passage or any other. There are at least two possible, logical, scriptural interpretations to 1 Thessalonians 4:14,16. First, it is very likely that verse 14 is not a reference to Jesus’ coming with those “who sleep in Jesus,” but rather an allusion to Christ taking the once-dead-but-now-resurrected saints “with Him” to be with God the Father forever. Such an interpretation coincides with other references Paul made to Christ taking (or bringing) the saints before God. In his second letter to the church at Corinth, Paul wrote: “He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you” (4:14, emp. added). What’s more, when the end comes, “He [Christ] delivers the kingdom to God the Father” (1 Corinthians 15:24, emp. added). Thus, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 may simply mean that “the Christians who are to be resurrected as Christ was, will be acted upon by ‘God’ who will cause Christ to ‘bring’ these resurrected Christians ‘with Him,’ that is, with Christ” (Edwards, 2000).
Second, even if Paul was alluding to the same individuals in 1 Thessalonians 4:14 and 16, skeptics still would not be justified in asserting that the passages are contradictory. The fact is, the Bible indicates that when God’s faithful servants pass away (i.e., “fall asleep” in Jesus), their spirits are taken to “paradise” or “the bosom of Abraham” (Luke 23:43; 16:19-31). When Christ returns to raise the dead and judge the world, God will cause the dwellers of paradise to reunite with their bodies, which will then be raised and changed “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.... [T]he trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality” (1 Corinthians 15:52-53). Thus, 1 Thessalonians 4:14 may refer to the moment when “Jesus will bring the faithful departed with him when he comes back” (Morris, 1991, p. 140).
Regardless of which interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:14 is correct, both views are scriptural beliefs based upon other Bible passages (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22-24; Luke 23:43; 16:19-31; etc.) Also, either explanation dispels any notion of a contradiction.


Edwards, Earl (2000), First, Second Thessalonians and Philippians Lecture Notes (Henderson, TN: Freed-Hardeman University).
Morris, Leon (1991), The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).

God's gift of eternal life is in His Son by Roy Davison


God's gift of eternal life is in His Son
“This is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). Life is promised “in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 1:1).

Man is mortal. Each day brings us one day closer to the day of our death.

Death is in the world as a consequence of sin: “Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

All who sin, deserve to die: “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Do you want to live for ever with the Lord? Although we deserve to die, we can receive eternal life as a gift of grace from God: “God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23), “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Romans 3:23, 24).

This eternal life is 'in Christ' because it is 'in Christ' that we are redeemed, that we are justified by the grace of God. There is no salvation outside of Christ!

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. ... For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Corinthians 5:17-19, 21).

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree'), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Galatians 3:13, 14). To the Gentiles Paul wrote: “But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ” (Ephesians 2:13); “that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6).

Every spiritual blessing is in Christ: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love” (Ephesians 1:3, 4). God “has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

God's plan of salvation was ready before the creation of the world. In anticipation, God's grace was given to us in Christ Jesus: the redeemed would be sanctified in Christ. Paul calls us “the saints in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:1; 4:21). The 'saints' are those who are sanctified in Christ. Salvation is “in Christ” (2 Timothy 2:10). There is no salvation outside of Christ!

“In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace” (Ephesians 1:7). “In Him also we have obtained an inheritance” (Ephesians 1:11).

“The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Thus, if we want to inherit eternal life, we must be in Christ. How do we get into Christ?

According to Galatians 3:13, 14, the Gentiles can receive the blessing of Abraham in Christ. Later in the chapter, Paul tells us how we get into Christ. “For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:26, 27).

On the basis of our faith that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died for our sins and rose the third day, we are baptized into Christ.

One can only be baptized into Christ if one was not yet in Christ before baptism. Since one has eternal life only in Christ (Romans 6:23), one does not yet have eternal life before baptism.

Jesus said we must be born of water and the Spirit to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5). He also said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:16).

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). “For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

What happens at baptism? Paul explains: “3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:3- 11).

We are therefore baptized into Christ because we take part in His death through baptism (which is a burial)! “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death” (Romans 6:3).

Through baptism we also take part in His resurrection! “We were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life” (Romans 6:4). Our old man of sin is crucified with Him (Romans 6:6) and we are “alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:11).

“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27).

That we are baptized into Christ also explains why Peter gives the command: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” (Acts 2:38) and why Paul was commanded: “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16) and why Peter says that baptism saves (1 Peter 3:21). Our sins are washed away, we are forgiven, we are saved at baptism because we are baptized into Christ our Savior!

This means that people who think salvation is possible by faith alone without baptism, and view baptism as only a symbol, have not yet experienced valid baptism. By their own testimony, they were not baptized into Christ, they were not baptized into His death. They are therefore still outside of Christ and still do not have eternal life.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

How do we get into Christ? “As many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Galatians 3:27). “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” (Romans 6:3).

God's gift of eternal life is in His Son.

If you have not been baptized into Christ, do not wait a day longer! If you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, if you are sorry for your sins and are willing to confess your faith, then on the basis of that faith, repentance and confession, you can be baptized into Christ and in Him you will have eternal life.
Roy Davison

The Scripture quotations in this article are from
The New King James Version. ©1979,1980,1982,
Thomas Nelson Inc., Publishers unless indicated otherwise.
Permission for reference use has been granted.
Published in The Old Paths Archive

Bible Reading January 19 by Gary Rose

Bible Reading January 19 (World English Bible)

Jan. 19
Genesis 19

Gen 19:1 The two angels came to Sodom at evening. Lot sat in the gate of Sodom. Lot saw them, and rose up to meet them. He bowed himself with his face to the earth,
Gen 19:2 and he said, "See now, my lords, please turn aside into your servant's house, stay all night, wash your feet, and you will rise up early, and go on your way." They said, "No, but we will stay in the street all night."
Gen 19:3 He urged them greatly, and they came in with him, and entered into his house. He made them a feast, and baked unleavened bread, and they ate.
Gen 19:4 But before they lay down, the men of the city, the men of Sodom, surrounded the house, both young and old, all the people from every quarter.
Gen 19:5 They called to Lot, and said to him, "Where are the men who came in to you this night? Bring them out to us, that we may have sex with them."
Gen 19:6 Lot went out to them to the door, and shut the door after him.
Gen 19:7 He said, "Please, my brothers, don't act so wickedly.
Gen 19:8 See now, I have two virgin daughters. Please let me bring them out to you, and you may do to them what seems good to you. Only don't do anything to these men, because they have come under the shadow of my roof."
Gen 19:9 They said, "Stand back!" Then they said, "This one fellow came in to live as a foreigner, and he appoints himself a judge. Now will we deal worse with you, than with them!" They pressed hard on the man Lot, and drew near to break the door.
Gen 19:10 But the men put forth their hand, and brought Lot into the house to them, and shut the door.
Gen 19:11 They struck the men who were at the door of the house with blindness, both small and great, so that they wearied themselves to find the door.
Gen 19:12 The men said to Lot, "Do you have anybody else here? Sons-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whoever you have in the city, bring them out of the place:
Gen 19:13 for we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before Yahweh that Yahweh has sent us to destroy it."
Gen 19:14 Lot went out, and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters, and said, "Get up! Get out of this place, for Yahweh will destroy the city." But he seemed to his sons-in-law to be joking.
Gen 19:15 When the morning came, then the angels hurried Lot, saying, "Get up! Take your wife, and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the iniquity of the city."
Gen 19:16 But he lingered; and the men grabbed his hand, his wife's hand, and his two daughters' hands, Yahweh being merciful to him; and they took him out, and set him outside of the city.
Gen 19:17 It came to pass, when they had taken them out, that he said, "Escape for your life! Don't look behind you, and don't stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be consumed!"
Gen 19:18 Lot said to them, "Oh, not so, my lord.
Gen 19:19 See now, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have magnified your loving kindness, which you have shown to me in saving my life. I can't escape to the mountain, lest evil overtake me, and I die.
Gen 19:20 See now, this city is near to flee to, and it is a little one. Oh let me escape there (isn't it a little one?), and my soul will live."
Gen 19:21 He said to him, "Behold, I have granted your request concerning this thing also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken.
Gen 19:22 Hurry, escape there, for I can't do anything until you get there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.
Gen 19:23 The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar.
Gen 19:24 Then Yahweh rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah sulfur and fire from Yahweh out of the sky.
Gen 19:25 He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew on the ground.
Gen 19:26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Gen 19:27 Abraham got up early in the morning to the place where he had stood before Yahweh.
Gen 19:28 He looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and looked, and saw that the smoke of the land went up as the smoke of a furnace.
Gen 19:29 It happened, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the middle of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in which Lot lived.
Gen 19:30 Lot went up out of Zoar, and lived in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he was afraid to live in Zoar. He lived in a cave with his two daughters.
Gen 19:31 The firstborn said to the younger, "Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in to us after the manner of all the earth.
Gen 19:32 Come, let's make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve our father's seed."
Gen 19:33 They made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father. He didn't know when she lay down, nor when she arose.
Gen 19:34 It came to pass on the next day, that the firstborn said to the younger, "Behold, I lay last night with my father. Let us make him drink wine again, tonight. You go in, and lie with him, that we may preserve our father's seed."
Gen 19:35 They made their father drink wine that night also. The younger went and lay with him. He didn't know when she lay down, nor when she got up.
Gen 19:36 Thus both of Lot's daughters were with child by their father.
Gen 19:37 The firstborn bore a son, and named him Moab. He is the father of the Moabites to this day.
Gen 19:38 The younger also bore a son, and called his name Ben Ammi. He is the father of the children of Ammon to this day.


Jan. 19, 20
Matthew 10

Mat 10:1 He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every sickness.
Mat 10:2 Now the names of the twelve apostles are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son of Zebedee; John, his brother;
Mat 10:3 Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus; Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus;
Mat 10:4 Simon the Canaanite; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him.
Mat 10:5 Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, "Don't go among the Gentiles, and don't enter into any city of the Samaritans.
Mat 10:6 Rather, go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
Mat 10:7 As you go, preach, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!'
Mat 10:8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, and cast out demons. Freely you received, so freely give.
Mat 10:9 Don't take any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts.
Mat 10:10 Take no bag for your journey, neither two coats, nor shoes, nor staff: for the laborer is worthy of his food.
Mat 10:11 Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy; and stay there until you go on.
Mat 10:12 As you enter into the household, greet it.
Mat 10:13 If the household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you.
Mat 10:14 Whoever doesn't receive you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake off the dust from your feet.
Mat 10:15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.
Mat 10:16 "Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
Mat 10:17 But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you.
Mat 10:18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the nations.
Mat 10:19 But when they deliver you up, don't be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be given you in that hour what you will say.
Mat 10:20 For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Mat 10:21 "Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them to be put to death.
Mat 10:22 You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved.
Mat 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come.
Mat 10:24 "A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his lord.
Mat 10:25 It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher, and the servant like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul, how much more those of his household!
Mat 10:26 Therefore don't be afraid of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not be known.
Mat 10:27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops.
Mat 10:28 Don't be afraid of those who kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna.
Mat 10:29 "Aren't two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father's will,
Mat 10:30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
Mat 10:31 Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.
Mat 10:32 Everyone therefore who confesses me before men, him I will also confess before my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 10:33 But whoever denies me before men, him I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.
Mat 10:34 "Don't think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword.
Mat 10:35 For I came to set a man at odds against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
Mat 10:36 A man's foes will be those of his own household.
Mat 10:37 He who loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he who loves son or daughter more than me isn't worthy of me.
Mat 10:38 He who doesn't take his cross and follow after me, isn't worthy of me.
Mat 10:39 He who seeks his life will lose it; and he who loses his life for my sake will find it.
Mat 10:40 He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives him who sent me.
Mat 10:41 He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward. He who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.
Mat 10:42 Whoever gives one of these little ones just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you he will in no way lose his reward."