Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 7, 1964
NUMBER 1, PAGE 9,12b

Keeping The Right Perspective

Jerry C. Ray

One of the great dangers facing each person in his study and practice of the word of God is the failure to put emphasis on all truth. It is very easy to dwell upon certain passages and thoughts while neglecting other vitally related points. Let me give several examples:

The Universalist over-emphasizes the love of God. This church maintains that everyone, wicked and righteous, will be saved in the day of judgment. According to them, no one will be lost and punished in hell. They emphasize the Fatherhood of God: Since an earthly father would never allow his child to suffer for an eternity in hell, and God is certainly better than our earthly fathers, He would not punish the wicked thusly.

This concept completely overlooks the many clear statements of Scripture that declare there is a place of eternal punishment for the wicked, and that God has warned the wicked of punishment, that all will not be saved.

Yes, God is a God of love and compassion. That is why He sent His son. But God is also a God of vengeance and wrath to those who do not obey. Paul says, "Behold then the goodness and severity of God: toward them that fell, severity; but toward thee, God's goodness, if thou continue in His goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off." (Rom. 11:22)

God is also a God of justice. Could Jehovah be just if He gave the same reward to the wicked that He gives to the righteous, especially after He has promised such rewards only to the righteous and such punishment to the wicked? God cannot lie. (Tit. 1:2) He does mean what He has said.


The Roman Catholic Church emphasizes works; the Protestant Churches emphasize faith only. The Roman Catholic religion is a complex system of meritorious works — so much pay for so many "good works." They even set up a spiritual bank (their writers use this very analogy), whereby rewards for "good works" are stored, and where surpluses may be transferred from one person to another!

The Protestants, for the most part, go to the other extreme and maintain that no works of any kind have any thing to do with salvation; only after salvation can one do good works. This concept of salvation by faith only, apart from any and all works, was taken to its logical conclusion and precisely stated by Baptist preacher, Sam Morris, then of Stamford, Texas, in a tract he wrote:

"We take the position that a Christian's sins do not damn his soul. The way a Christian lives, what he says, his character, his conduct or his attitudes towards other people have nothing whatever to do with the salvation of his soul. All the prayers a man may pray, all the Bibles he may read, all the churches he may belong to, all the services he may attend, all the sermons he may practice, all the debts he may pay, all the ordinances he may observe, all the laws he may keep, all the benevolent acts he may perform will not make his soul one whit safer; and all the sins he may commit from idolatry to murder will not make his soul in any more danger."

He wrote this specifically concerning the impossibility of apostasy, but it touches upon the subject at hand.

The Truth is between these two extremes. Both errors are the result of over-emphasis upon one point and the neglect of another. The Bible teaches that we cannot be saved by meritorious works of human devising, nor by the works of the Law of Moses, (Eph. 2:8-9; Tit. 3:5; Gal. 2:16) But the Bible teaches that there are commands of God to be obeyed — the works of God — and something must be done to be saved. (John 6:28-29; Acts 10:34-35; Phil. 2:12; Acts 2:40)

Salvation is not by faith only (James 2:24), but by a faith that works through love (Gal. 5:6), which simply means a faith that obeys God's commands. (Compare 1 Cor. 7:19 with Gal. 5:6)


Some over-emphasize unity. In decrying division, which is sinful, they pursue unity and peace, even at the expense of truth. There is something worse than division: unity in error; truth compromised for the sake of peace.

A mimeographed letter written by a Steve D. Williams of Corpus Christi was mailed to me. In this letter of 10 paragraphs he has the statements "God hates division" and "God hates those that sow discord" 9 times. He further states:

(1) "Dividing the church is of the greatest of sins."

(2) "There is no authority, in God's book, for division in the church. Notice the parable of the fish net. Good and bad in the same net. All had to stay together till drawn ashore (judgment). Also, the parable of the Tares, all grow together till harvest (judgment.)"

(3) "There just cannot be a scriptural cause for division. Division in the church is not permitted on any basis. Division is therefore the big sin."

He is upset about the opposition to the unscriptural Orphan Homes societies. In attempting to uphold these arrangements of the brethren he decides that division is the worst sin of all, that division in the church is not permitted under any circumstances, and he misuses the parable of the net and the tares, He over-emphasizes Prov. 6:16 to the neglect of all other Scripture.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace; but he came to bring a sword. This sword divides the righteous and obedient from the unrighteous and disobedient.

I wonder what brother Williams would do if an instrument of music were brought into the worship. According to his theory, he would have to accept it. He could not object, for that would he "sowing discord among brethren." He and others who might object could not leave to worship God scripturally elsewhere, for that would be dividing the church!

Yes, division is a terrible thing. But when men refuse to accept the truth and to abide by it, there must be a division between the disobedient and those who desire to follow God. Every man must "choose you this day whom ye will serve." (Josh. 24:15)


Some think that by being a "pretty good person" and keeping most of God's commandments their willful disobedience to a few of His commandments will be excused. But there are no non-essential commands of God. Judgment will not consist of weighting the good deeds against the bad deeds with the scales tipping in one's favor. To reject and refuse any command of God is to show disrespect to the authority and the person upon which the command is built. "Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point he is become guilty of all." (Jas. 2:10)

In Jesus' condemnation of the Pharisees and Scribes, He did not say that they should observe only the weightier matters of law. Their condemnation was that they should have observed both: "These ye ought to have done (weightier matters), and not to have left the other undone." (Matt. 23:23)

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