Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 19, 1949

A Definite Commitment

Cled E. Wallace

A faithful and informed Christian observes trends and movements and feels deep concern over any encroachment that threatens the purity of the gospel or the health of the church. Anything of the sort becomes a problem posing questions of cause and cure. One such problem must have been widely if not universally observed. The church everywhere is operating far below the level of its possibilities, shockingly so in many cases. We may measure ourselves by ourselves and compare ourselves with ourselves and derive a sorry sort of comfort from somebody who is doing no more or less than we are. Imagine what power the church would be in the world if all its members were faithful, lived soberly, righteously and godly, attended meetings with regularity and generally took their obligations as Christians seriously. A very large number of members of the church are only so in name. Zeal for the cause of Christ is by no means eating them up. The affairs of the world, some of them sinful, claim their time, efforts and money. They have little left for what the church needs to properly fulfill its divine mission in the world. "As they go on their way they are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and. bring no fruit to perfection". Some of them are drunken with wine or worse oftener than they are filled with the Spirit, and attend places of revelry often or that they do prayer-meeting.

The condition exists and this is only a general and partial description of it. It does not solve the problem or make the situation any more palatable to admit that it has always been so, even in the early days of the church. What is the cause and what, if anything, can be done about it?

It must be apparent to all thoughtful observers that many of this class are only "joiners" in the vulgar use of that term. They did not make the definite commitment that becoming a Christian demands. It will be admitted that Paul did not take any spiritual measurements on the level of denominational or other low standards, but he expressed some amazement and joy over the spiritual attainments of "the churches of Macedonia". They were happy in the midst of affliction and liberal in the midst of poverty. They demonstrated the teaching of Jesus that happiness and welfare do not consist in what a man has but in what he is. Paul's appraisal of this situation explains a lot of things including why some are such sorry failures as Christians. "For according to their power, I bear witness, yea and beyond their power, they gave of their own accord, beseeching us with much entreaty in regard of this grace and the fellowship in the ministering to the saints: and this, not as we had hoped, but first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God." (2 Cor. 8:3,4)

In our zeal for telling people what they must do, it may be that we have partially overlooked the fact that if a man does much he must be much. Being something is essential to doing something. He is the Lord's servant and the will of the Lord is his rule of life. The house of prayer means more to him than the house of mirth. He serves God and not Mammon. He may stumble into sin through momentary weakness but what he is by the grace of God will straighten him into recovery.

The divine plan of redemption for man is salvation from sin, its guilt, love and power. "Know ye not, that to whom ye present yourselves as servants unto obedience, his servants ye are whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But thanks be to God, that, whereas ye were servants of sin, ye became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching whereunto ye were delivered; and being made free from sin, ye became servants of righteousness." (Rom. 6:16-18) "Free from sin", dead to sin, and this free man in Christ cannot live in it any longer. He must abhor evil and cleave to that which is good. His commitment must be definite and complete enough to restrain him from serving the law of sin with his flesh and lead him to serve the law of God with a renewed mind. The regenerative power of the gospel is evident. It is God's power to save from sin. It is the good news of God's goodness and arouses in men the need of, and the desire for, deliverance from the bondage of evil. The mind of the flesh which is death becomes the mind of the spirit which is life and peace when the goodness of God revealed in the gospel leads the sinner to repent and turn to God: "God granted repentance unto, life". "Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name unto all the nations". "Repent and turn again that your sins may be blotted out, that so there may come seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord." John preached "the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins". There can be no baptism into Christ and into his death, with its consequent resurrection to walk in newness of life unless it follows genuine repentance. Hatred of sin because it is enmity toward God and a. definite purpose to give it up and be rid of it must be present. Some probing here may be revealing. It may explain some things and conditions. The failure of many to bring forth the fruits of repentance could very well reflect upon the genuineness of that repentance to begin with. There can be a form of godliness without the definite commitment that makes it live and bear fruit in the heart and life. Diligence is necessary to make the calling and election sure when a good start is made; when the beginning is weak and uncertain, a life of vigor in the service of God can hardly be expected.

A timid glance toward the cross, a half-hearted desertion of sin, with a yearning look back toward Sodom, cannot suffice. If you become alive to God, you must die to sin. The gospel call is a demand for crucifixion. Saul, chief of sinners, blasphemer, persecutor and generally injurious, had to die in order that Paul, Christian and apostle might live and surge forward to the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. His explanation is full and sufficient. "I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but Christ liveth in me; and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in faith, the faith which is in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself up for me". (Gal. 2:20)

Primarily, God does not need or want your money, your prayers, your good works, or any service you can render him reluctantly or otherwise. Let us get down to the bottom of this thing. He wants you. And he wants you dead to sin and alive to him, body, soul and spirit. Uncertain commitment will not do at all. It must be definite. If God has you, then what you 'have and what you can do will be no stranger to sanctification. Something wrong with you? A stranger to the joys of salvation? Ignorant of the word of God? No yearning for the throne of grace? Does the worship and service of God appear burdensome and uninteresting, while the call of the world lures you away from God? What is the matter with you? It. looks as though you had not been crucified.


Gambling is illegal in New Jersey. But delegates from 53 Roman Catholic parishes in that state adopted a resolution recently calling upon the state of New Jersey to legalize "bingo". As nearly everybody knows "bingo" is a very popular gambling game. Many Catholic churches receive much revenue from the operation of "bingo" games within their premises. New Jersey law enforcement officers were threatening to raid these churches just as they did the other gambling joints. Hence the resolution.


Most denominational preachers say, "He that believeth and is not baptized shall be saved". Jesus said, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved."