Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
December 14, 1967
NUMBER 32, PAGE 1-3a

"Other Foundation Can No Man Lay"

Roy E. Cogdill

We need to surely understand and believe that there is but one foundation to build upon in our work for the Lord, if we are to be God's fellow-workers and if what we build is to be God's building. "Except Jehovah build the house, they labor in vain that build it." (Psalms 127:1) "Each man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it is revealed in fire; and the fire itself shall prove each man's work of what sort it is." (I Cor. 3:13) "But each shall receive his own reward according to his own labor." (I Cor. 3:8) It is a tragedy when good people labor earnestly in the belief that they are doing great things for the Lord only to have their labor be entirely in vain and yet this is more often the story than not. Paul exhorted the Corinthians to "Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." (I Cor. 15:58) But if our work is not to be vain, it must be "in the Lord", that is the work which the Lord has ordained for us to do in His Kingdom and it must be in harmony with His will.

Sometimes our zeal for the Lord is not according to knowledge. (Rom. 10:2) This was true of Ancient Israel and they paid the penalty of having their building rejected and destroyed. They were "ignorant of God's righteousness, and seeking to establish their own" and "did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God." (Rom. 10:3) For this reason all of their worship and work was rejected and they were estranged from Him whom they professed to serve. They did not attain to righteousness in God's sight for the reason that they sought it not "by faith" but as it were by their own works. (Rom. 9:31) They built according to their traditions and idols and their own wisdom and not according to the will and wisdom of God. They could have known but they chose not to know and follow the ways of the Lord God. They were a disobedient and gainsaying people and were rejected because of it. God did not arbitrarily cast them off but they alienated themselves and brought upon themselves God's condemnation because they did not build according to the pattern laid down for them by God. (Romans 10:18-24; 11:17-22)

When God gave Moses the pattern of the tabernacle in the mountain and commanded it to be built so that he might have a swelling place among his people, Jehovah charged him, "See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount." (Exodus 25:40) Paul refers to this divine requirement and points out that the principle is equally applicable to the "true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, not man." (Hebrews 8:1-5) When it had been built according to the pattern, a cloud covered the tent of meeting and the glory of Jehovah filled the tabernacle. It became God's dwelling place among His people. (Exodus 40:34-38)

In the New Testament the church of our Lord is revealed by the Holy Spirit. It was planned by the wisdom of God before the world began. (Eph. 3:10-11) Christ built it upon the earth according to the will of God, the Father. (Matt. 16:18) the divine pattern of the church is found in New Testament scriptures. This pattern is our blueprint. We may design and build great institutions and beautify or adorn them in every way that human wisdom might devise but God will not dwell in any of them. He has his own house. We could create great plans and schemes and impress the world with our zeal and diligence but if it is not in harmony with the Word of the Lord, we labor in vain and lose the reward. We must stand "by faith" and "continue in his goodness" or we shall be cast off. (Romans 11:21-22)

There is no other foundation for our faith and service to God except the great fundamental truth of the Gospel — Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is the divine foundation upon which everything must rest in order to be acceptable to the Lord. Our building must conform to this foundation in every respect and it cannot be built in any part upon another and God's approval and blessings be ours. "Other foundation can no man lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.' (I Cor. 3:11) This simply means that whenever we do anything in the service of the Lord, either in faith, teaching or practice, we must do it because we believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and upon this great rock of eternal truth everything must be established.

The fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God is the foundation for our faith. All that we believe must be based upon this foundation. We must reject from our faith everything, no matter from what source it may come, that which does not rest squarely upon this divine foundation. The only reason for believing anything is because we believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This is what we should mean when we say that "Christ is our creed." I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God and all that is made a part of my faith is accepted and believed because of my faith in this fact.

I believe in repentance, not for just repentance sake, but because Jesus said, "Except ye repent, ye shall all in like manner perish." (Luke 13:3) Then Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, said, "the times of this ignorance therefore God overlooked; but now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent." (Acts 17:30-31) Jesus commands men to repent and because I believe Jesus Christ is the Son of God, I believe in repentance. That is how simple the matter is.

I believe in baptism, not for the sake of just being baptized, but because I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he commands all men, in every nation, to be baptized. (Matt. 28: 18-20) I believe that when men believe and are baptized they are saved for I believe Jesus Christ to be the Son of God and He said so. (Mark 16:15-16) I believe in the church f6r the Bible teaches that "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for it." (Eph. 5:25) The only reason for believing anything religiously is because Jesus Christ taught it and he is the Son of God. When a man believes anything for any reason other than that, he does not have Jesus Christ and his Sonship as the foundation of his faith. This is what makes it wrong to believe anything just because the church teaches it, my creed says so, my father and mother believed it was that way, or that is what I think. In all of these instances and many others like them faith does not rest upon or require faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and that is the foundation of all that should be believed. "Other foundation can no man lay" for saving faith.

Acceptable obedience can be rendered only upon the basis of faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. In the New Testament day, when men obeyed the Lord, it was because they believed in Christ. The Ethiopian Eunuch asked Philip, "Why can't I be baptized?" Philip replied, "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God." (Acts 8:35-37) Upon this confession of faith, Philip commanded the chariot to stand still and they both went down into the water and Philip baptized him. Baptism was conditioned upon believing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. This act of obedience was based upon and motivated by faith. The same thing is true of all other obedience.

In Samaria when Philip preached Christ they believed and "When they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women." (Acts 8:12) This is always true in the record of New Testament conversions. The jailer in Philippi, when Paul preached to him believed and was baptized the same hour of the night in which he believed. (Acts 16:31-34) The Corinthians "hearing believed, and were baptized." (Acts 18:8) On the day of Pentecost when Christ was first preached the record tells us that "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized." (Acts 2:42) This is the story of the obedience of faith in Jesus Christ to his commandments. The significance of the commandment to be baptized "in the name of Christ" is the same. Baptism or any act of obedience "in the name of Jesus Christ" is simply obedience upon one's faith in or reverence for the authority that name bears which is all authority both in heaven and on earth. (Matt. 28:19-20) This is the only reason for rendering any act of obedience to the Gospel of Christ and it should be sufficient to cause all to do anything that Christ commands.

This faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God means, of course, faith in His Word. If one believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God and he also believes that the New Testament is the Gospel of Christ, then he will believe all that is contained therein. "The righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe" is the only way men can become righteous. Paul declares that the righteousness of God is revealed in the Gospel of Christ "from faith unto faith."

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