22 June 2016


March 3, 1933-June 15, 2016

The following are remarks that I made during the funeral service for Helen on Sunday, June 19th at the Eastern Meadows church building in Montgomery, Alabama.
                 “Helen Robinson Dill, age 83 of Montgomery, AL, passed away on Wednesday, June 15, 2016. Helen Dill’s highest priority and joy in life was to be a good wife and mother to five; second only to her serving God and the church as a preacher’s wife. That life covered many moves to new cities and adventures, she was always ready. She would rise to the challenges utilizing her creative talents cooking, sewing, painting, gardening, and making ceramics.”
On Friday, November 21, 2003, we honored Helen and Roger at the Capitol City Prayer Breakfast. I spoke of them on that occasion. “Helen Robinson, a lovely young lady from Marietta, Georgia first came to Montgomery Bible College in 1950 for one year but Roger says that since he wasn’t there, she returned home and attended the University of Georgia and later enrolled at Alabama Christian College” (I was in the 10th grade in 1950 and knew Helen. The previous year, I had met Roger who stayed only one year at MBC).
“Roger relates how he was standing near the girl’s dormitory on the old campus on Ann Street watching as the new girls were coming in and it was then that he spotted Helen and determined that she was the one for him. They were married in 1953 and just recently observed their Golden Wedding Anniversary. I have often wondered what would happen if you crossed a DILL from Carbon Hill with a sweet Georgia peach. Would it be ‘pickled peaches’ or ‘sweet Dills’? I believe it was the latter. To this union was born Wendell, Nina, Evie, Alicia and William. They also have 10 grandchildren. They kept on having children so by the time we followed them in Opp, the brethren had added on to the preacher’s house. Virginia and I have always appreciated Roger and Helen for having five children, thus providing an additional large and lovely bedroom for us.
Helen has been and is an ideal preacher’s wife. She has been the ‘wind beneath his wings’. She has served 18 years as his/or the church secretary. Helen has taught ladies Bible classes for 35 years, along with other classes; and, she also been very busy in yers past in rearing five children.”
Virginia and I moved from Fort Deposit to Prattville in 2004 where we would make our home. It was then that Roger, Helen, Byron and Carolyn Benson, Virginia and I would become the closest of friends. We would often eat together on birthdays, anniversaries and at other times. But then death invaded our group. First it was Byron who died on Monday, August 24, 2009. Some 5 months later on Wednesday, January 3, 2010, Carolyn slipped into eternity. They are now in the care of their Heavenly Father.
Years passed but the time came when Roger had to have surgery and he never fully recovered from a deep sleep. He went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, October 21, 2015. And now, approximately 8 months later, on Thursday, June 16, 2016, our beloved Helen went to be with Roger in the eternal care of our Lord Jesus Christ who they faithfully served for so many years.
In closing my remarks, I read a portion of the poem, GONE by John Greenleaf Whittier :

05 April 2016


As believers in God, we understand through the writings of the Holy Scriptures, He, who created the heavens and the earth, is still in control of matters pertaining to the happenings on this earth. In our finite minds we cannot always know and understand His purposes and plans. Man, in his innate ability to make his own decisions, often will go contrary to the desires of the Lord. Thus we often reap as we have sown, whether good or evil, blessings or curses. 

Nebuchadnezzer, king of Babylon, was used by God to punish his people Israel because of their idolatrous ways and sin. The king became very arrogant and God punished him in this manner. He was made to be like a wild animal and was fed the grass of the field until a lengthy time had passed. You will find this story in the book of Daniel 4:31-34; 5:20, 21. Note especially Daniel 5:21: “Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, TILL HE KNEW THAT THE MOST HIGH GOD RULES IN THE KINGDOM OF MEN, AND APPOINTS OVER IT WHOMEVER HE CHOOSES” (Emphasis, R.E.)

There are other great and powerful lessons taught in the Bible about God and His treatment with the nations of men. Here are a couple of passages that need to be seriously considered: Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people.” Psalm 9:17: “The wicked shall be turned into hell (Sheol), And all the nations that forget God.”

The prophet Jonah was commanded by God to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.” (1:2). Noah eventually did go to Nineveh and preached a simple but profound sermon, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” (3:4). The inhabitants from the king to the peasants all repented and God spared the city from destruction. 

The passage in 2 Chronicles 7:14 must be understood in the light of the context. In the Old Testament, God chose the physical descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to be His chosen people. They were known as the children of Israel, the Israelites and the nation of Israel. Israel and Judah had forgotten God and were in the throngs of Idolatry and God used the Babylonians and the Assyrians to punish them. But God in His grace and mercy extended to them these promises: “If my people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” The promises found in this passage can be applied to any nation that will adhere to the directives contained in this passage, namely, humility, repentance, prayer and seeking after the Lord.

We don’t know what the future holds for our nation but we know who holds tomorrow. Read carefully the words found in the song, ‘This Is My Father’s World’: “This is my Father’s world, O let me ne’er forget That though the wrong seems often strong, God is the ruler yet. This is my Father’s world: Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King: Let heaven ring! God reigns, Let earth be glad!”

01 March 2016


It was late at night and my wife and I had retired and all of sudden she asked, “Did you close the garage door?” My, my, why did she have to ask me that question so late at night! I am positive that I closed the door but she has aroused my curiosity so I got out of bed and made the trip to prove that I had closed the garage door but much to my surprise, the door was still up! I was sure that I had closed that door and I felt as safe as you could be in believing that all the doors were locked leading to the inside of our house. But, I was wrong!

Now let me tell you about the latest concerning our feelings that we were safe in our house. This morning I took a birthday card to the mail box and when I returned to open the front door there was a set of keys in the lock. Someone had left them there over night. You see, I was in Montgomery all day. My wife used our truck to do her shopping. She entered the house through the front door. So, it was not me this time in not securing the house. But, you know, we slept soundly through the night feeling that we were safe as we possibly could be.  But we were wrong!

My friends, feelings alone can be deceptive. This is true in the realm of religion as well in other areas. The reason is explained by the prophet Jeremiah: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (17:9). The wise man wrote in Proverbs 14:12: “There is a way that seems right to a man,
But its end is the way of death.” One biblical example of a person having deceptive feelings is that of Jacob who thought Joseph had been killed by a wild beast but later learned that he was alive in Egypt. How often have you heard someone say, “I feel that I am saved”? We must remember that salvation takes place in the mind of God and not according to how a person feels in his heart.

It is true that a saved person can have a clear conscience and a feeling of peace that passes all understanding in the Lord – when he complies with the directives of the Lord (1 Peter 3:21). This comes about when a person responds by faith to the grace of God (Romans 5:1, 2). This saving faith is one of obedience (Hebrews 5:8, 9). So, when a penitent believer is baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit he receives forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). He will know that his sins have been washed away by the precious blood of the Son of God (Acts 22:16; Ephesians 1:7).

“Is thy heart right with God, Washed in the crimson flood, Cleansed and made holy, Humble and lowly, Right in the sight of God?

22 February 2016


“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse…” (1:1, 2). The apostle Paul, guided by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote this epistle. The “saints” and “faithful brethren” refer to the same persons who were “in Christ” who lived in the city of Colosse. The term ‘saint’ does not mean  perfection because Paul instructed them in chapter three to continue putting of certain sins as they matured in Christ. ‘Saint’ denotes a life of holiness, one of sanctification.

In chapter one, verses 13, 14, we read: “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” There is a kingdom of darkness from which the brethren had been delivered. This is in contrast to the kingdom of light. All who are not in the “kingdom of the Son of His love” remain in the “power of darkness”. To be “conveyed” is to be ‘translated’, that is to move from one place or condition to another. Thus the brethren in Colosse were in the kingdom of the Lord. They had been redeemed by His blood and had been forgiven of their sins! It is worthy to note that the kingdom of Jesus Christ was in existence in the first century!

But you may ask, when were their sins forgiven by the blood of Christ? In chapter 2: 12 we read: “buried with Him in baptism in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”  It was in baptism that these brethren who formerly were in the “power of darkness” now had been “buried with Him in baptism” and “were raised with Him through faith in the working of God.”

We have learned that the “saints” in Colosse were in the kingdom, having been “delivered from the power of darkness and that occurred when they were “buried with Him in baptism”. The brethren were also in the body of Christ according to chapter 3:15: “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful.” Please observe that whatever the “body” is, there is but “one” (1:24). In chapter 1:18 we read: “And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” Jesus Christ is the supreme and only head of his one body which is His church!

But once again you may ask, how did the brethren get into the “one body”? Please allow me to use a verse by the author, Paul, to answer that question from his epistle as found in 1 Corinthians 12:13: “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body – whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free – and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”

In summary, we have learned that the brethren had been translated into the kingdom when they were baptized; that they had been baptized into one body which is the church of our Lord. And having been buried with their Lord in baptism they were redeemed from their sins by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Now they had “the hope” which was “laid up” for them “in heaven” (1:5). Thank God for His infinite love and grace!

19 February 2016


It was a beautiful afternoon several years ago when I was about to enter a local bank for my weekly business transaction. Suddenly, I heard three rounds of rapid gunshots. Automatically, I turned toward the direction of the sounds and saw a man across the street with a pistol in his hand. In a moment of time, he placed the gun to his temple and pulled the trigger. I heard the sickening sound of another shot and then the man slumped to the ground. The bizarre events were over in a very short time. I, along with others, had become unwilling witnesses to a terrible tragedy. The man had tried to murder a person in a parked car and then he killed himself. To say the least, it was a very unnerving experience.
I am not a novice regarding death. It has been a part of most of my life. I was only ten years old when my oldest brother was killed in World War II. Several members of my family and my wife’s family have died.
As a preacher and friend, I have been associated with death in many ways. I have in been in a hospital room when the spirit of a Christian lady took flight, relieving her of the intense pain caused by cancer. I have entered a hospital room just seconds after a small boy gave up the struggle with death and his precious soul went to be with the Lord. I vividly recall the Sunday evening, as I was about to get into my car to go to worship when my neighbor cried for help. Her husband was dying with a heart attack. I tried in vain to get assistance but my friend died while his wife and I stood helplessly by, praying and hoping that the rescue squad would arrive in time. And I have lost track of the occasions when I have been with grieving families when death came to claim their loved ones but I had never seen a person take his own life. You just don’t forget such a horrible scene.
Life is so precious. Man was made in the likeness of his Creator (Genesis 1:26, 27). Cain was sorely punished for taking the life of his brother Abel (Genesis 4:9-15). God has prescribed punishment for wicked people who have no respect for human life (Genesis 9:5, 6). “You shall not murder” was a part of the law of God given to Israel (Exodus 20:13). Jesus even restricts our intimate thoughts regarding our feelings for others (Matthew 5:21, 22). The civil government is commissioned to render punishment to violators who take the life of their fellowman (Romans 13).

Self-destruction gives the offender no opportunity of repentance, reform and forgiveness. Only God knows the state of mind of the individual committing suicide. Mental disorders sometimes motivate the deed. Some, however, have no regard for human life, even their own. How sad for the spirit of a man to be hurled into eternity without God and without hope.
As children of light in a world of darkness (Philippians 2:15), we should endeavor to inform others of God’s love (John 3:16), the value of man and his soul, the salvation in Christ and the assurance and hope for the Christian. We should teach them that life can be beautiful and meaningful; and, there are no problems so great but that we can find help from God and His people
Fatalism is the fruit of living in a world apart from God who loves and is caring. Our present society is trying to solve problems without His divine guidance. It can never be done, individually or collectively. Christ is still the hope of mankind. It is the privilege of the Christian to teach the message of redemption and hope to a world seemingly determined to destroy itself.
Raymond (2/18/16)

11 February 2016


 It was probably when David was captured by the Philistines that David wrote the words found in Psalm 56:3: “Whenever I am afraid.” Just think, here is the man who was anointed to be the next king of Israel and a great warrior, yet, he expressed that he was “afraid”.

Are there times when you are afraid? Afraid when alone in the darkness of night; afraid when a loved one is critical ill; afraid that you will not be able to support your family; afraid when there is a threat of another war; afraid when you growing old; or, perhaps afraid when you are facing death? Well, welcome to the club. You are not alone.

Please read what David also wrote when he said “I am afraid”: “I will trust in You” and “In God I have put my trust” (Psalm 56: 3, 11). We can place our trust in God who works out everything for our eternal welfare (Romans 8:28). It is in Him that we can have complete confidence as well as in His promise that He “will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). And when it comes our time to “walk through the valley of death”, yea, even death itself, we can safely say, “I will fear no evil; for thou art with me”. Also we trust in Jesus Christ who said: “I am the resurrection and the life, He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die…” (John 11:25, 26).

When we come to trust in God and love Him “with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37), we will have this blessed assurance: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…” (1 John 4:18). So when we are afraid, regardless of the circumstances, let us cry out from the depths of our heart, “O my God, I trust in You…” (Psalm 25:2).

Raymond, (2/11/16) 

04 February 2016


We have often heard that statement spoken by well meaning religious people when a tragedy has occurred in someone’s life. It may have been when a family member was killed in an accident or died with a heart attack. Perhaps it was when someone’s beautiful daughter was killed while playing in the yard when a drunk driver veered off the street and ran over the precious child , thus causing deep sorrow and grief to the parents. Several years ago, a gospel preacher and an elder of the church were returning home from a Bible study with a family when a drunken driver crossed the medium and crashed into their car killing both godly men. It may be that someone in trying to comfort their families made the statement, “It was God’s will.” But what does it mean that it was “God’s will” when a tragedy occurs and lives are lost or someone is crippled for life? Are we saying that it was “God’s determine will” when a drunk man lost control of his car and ran over a child who was playing in the front yard at home?

 Usually it is Bible believing individuals who exclaim that it was “God’s will” when some tragedy occurs and a loved one dies. While their intention is to express sympathy and compassion to the ones hurting, the person expressing this sentiment may not understand what he is saying. We should be very careful in attributing every act of violence and the tragedies in life to being “God’s will”. In essence we are blaming God for these occurrences and this alone causes many people to wonder what kind of God that we love and serve. There are scores of individuals who have become atheists or agnostics due to believing that it was “God’s will” when good people have to deal with suffering and sorrow in this world.

There is a vast difference between God’s permissive will and God’s determinate will. We know beyond any doubt that it was God’s determinate will that His beloved Son, Jesus Christ, should die for the sins of the world according to Acts 2:23, 24. However, God does permit events to happen because of the sins of men (like the drunken driver who killed the child). Suffering, sorrow and death came about because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve (Romans 5). Saints and sinners alike experience sadness, sorrow and suffering in this world. But to state that every occurrence of such is “God’s determine will” is not scripturally sound. I encourage you to be very careful in using the expression “It was God’s will” when an innocent child suffers deformities and/or death, or a Christian dies in an automobile accident or from a fatal disease.

The fact is, we are limited in our knowledge about multitude matters pertaining to suffering and sorrow in this life. But we can trust in the Lord God who knows all and has infinite wisdom, knowledge and almighty power (Psalms 139; Proverbs 3:5, 6) Our Heavenly Father works all things for our eternal welfare (Romans 8:28).

02 February 2016


 It is during VBS or in children’s’ classes that we often sing this song: “Jesus loves the little children, All the children of the world, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.” How do we know that? Because the Bible tells us so. Here are a few passages that inform us of the Lord’s high regard and love for children. “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and  said,” Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me” (Matthew 18:2-5). “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 19:14). “But when Jesus saw it, He was greatly displeased and said to them, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of God.  Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”  And He took them up in His arms, laid His hands on them, and blessed them” Mark 10:14-16).

In my mind’s eye I can almost see our Lord pick up a child and give a big hug and say something sweet and special in the child’s ear. It is such a tender scene of Jesus Christ (God incarnate in human flesh) blessing the children and instructing others that they should become as little children if they desired to be acceptable to Him. Children are born into this life pure and sinless. They are not in need of being saved during infancy because they have never been lost!

  Virginia will verify that I love little children! I even stop young mothers in the grocery stores and ask them if I might look at their infant child in their ‘car seat’. To look upon the beautiful and innocent face of a child is to be reminded of one of God’s greatest gifts and blessings. Listen to what the Psalmist said about children: “Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5).

 Dearest child, don't be afraid -
You've been wonderfully made;
Extremely special in God's sight
For He created you just right.
Do not doubt Christ's love for you
Or that our Lord is strong and true;
Remember Jesus is your friend
And that His love will never end.
It is important that you know
Jesus will never let you go,
Nor will his love grow cold or fade,
So do not fret; don't be afraid.

                                                                            by Belinda van Rensburg

 - Raymond, 1/30/16


 “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them” (Revelation 14:19, NKJV). Here we have one of the ‘beatitudes’ found in the book of Revelation. The word “Blessed” means ‘happy’, not as the world considers happiness but because of the relationship one has with the Father through His Son Jesus Christ. Please observe only the ones who “die in the Lord” are blessed. The Lord willing, I will attend the funeral of a friend and brother in Christ today (1/26/16). This will make the third funeral in nine days that I will have attended of Christian gentlemen who died “in the Lord.” Their families will not sorrow as those who have no hope because their loved ones were in Christ, having obeyed the gospel of Christ and redeemed by the blood of the Lamb by the grace of God. Though dead, like Abel of ages past, their works and influence for good will be felt for generations to come. They are now ‘resting from their labors’ in the eternal care of their Heavenly Father.
How To Die
How to live
And not How to Die
Is the great theme
Of the Book of books.
However, if we,
Trust the God of Peace,
Obey the gospel of Peace,
And, if possible, live in peace with man,
We are assured of a peaceful departure,
And a safe landing on the golden shore.
It is when we learn HOW TO LIVE
That we learn HOW TO DIE.

                                     - Frank L. Cox

01 February 2016


“TRUST in the Lord with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And he shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6, NKJV, Emphasis, RE). This is one of my favorite passages in the Old Testament. To trust is to have full confidence and complete reliance in someone; in this case, the Lord God. Man will often fail you but God never fails. We cannot rely upon our own wisdom because the Bible teaches that the heart is deceitful. How one feels in his heart is not the assurance that is one is saved and is traveling in the right way, spiritually speaking. We must place our trust in the Lord because He will never fail us nor mislead us. God in His Word will provide for us the way of salvation that is in His Son. It is important that this trust must come from a heart that completely surrenders to the will of the Heavenly Father without any reservation. How comforting to know that if we place our trust in the Lord, He will be involved in directing our paths in this life. So, whatever you may do in this life that is honorable, always acknowledge that it is God who has blessed you and has provided for you in His providential care. 1/27/16

29 January 2016


  How many times have we expressed that sentiment individually and in an assembly! If you have ever heard Demar Elam speak you certainly have joined him and others to almost shout aloud, GOD IS GOOD – ALL THE TIME! And that is true! He is good all the time, when the sun is shinning and when the rain is falling; in good times and in bad times; when the money is plentiful and when there is a shortage of money; when there is a bountiful amount of food and when there is little food to place on the table. In recent months we have been praying for at least 10 friends who have cancer. Of that number 3 individuals have been declared cancer free! Praise God, He is so good and our prayers have been answered. However 2 of our dear friends have died because of that awful disease. Was God good on 3 occasions when our friends were declared cancer free? Why, of course He was. Now, let me ask you this question, was God good when 2 of our dear friends died with cancer? The answer depends on how you perceive the character and nature of God. The person of a deep and abiding faith in God knows that He is good all the time; in sickness and in health; in life and in death! The believer knows that our Heavenly Father cares for us when things don’t turn out the way we thought they would, especially when a loved one or a friend dies. The apostle Peter encourages us to cast our cares upon Him “for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). It was Peter who replied to Jesus when many of His disciples turn from following Him and He asked His apostles, “Do you also want to go away?” “But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom we shall go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:67, 68). I often say softly by memory Psalm 46:1 when I feel discouraged or saddened by the death of someone I loved: “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in time of trouble”. Friends and family may comfort me but it is to God who takes me ‘under His wings’ and there I find shelter from the storms of life. Like Peter, I must say, “Lord, to whom shall we go? God is the great comforter. “God is so good, God is so good – He’s so good to me!” – Raymond, 1/28/16

20 January 2016


“For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ (NKJV).  We often use this verse to contrast the old Mosaic Law with the new way of grace and truth through Jesus Christ.  We emphasize to our religious neighbors that we are no longer under the Law of Moses but under a different system made possible by the death of our Lord.  However we must be careful that we do not leave the wrong impression in the minds of others, that is, the Law of Moses was void of God’s grace or that the system of grace excludes law.  

The grace of God preceded the Law of Moses and was included in it.  Regardless of when a person lived in ages past there had to be a response to the unmerited favor of God in order to receive the benefits therein.  Paul declared in Romans 4:16:  “Therefore it is faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure to all the seed, not only to those who are of the law, but also those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of all.”  A person was never accepted of God simply because of his race or national origin.  He had to possess that faith like unto Abraham in order to be blessed by the grace of God.  That kind of faith motivated one to obey the commands of God“By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain…” (Hebrews 11:4).  “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household…” (Hebrews 11:7).  By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance…” (Hebrews 11:8)  These are just a few examples of faithful men who responded to God’s grace as recorded in Hebrews chapter eleven.

The grace of God was evident in the overthrow of the city of Jericho.  “And the Lord said to Joshua: See! I have given Jericho into your hand, its king, and the mighty men of valor” (Joshua 6:1).  Now that is unmerited favor!  Joshua and the people of Israel had not done anything toward capturing the city yet God said, “I have given Jericho into your hand.”  Instructions were given from God and followed by Israel relative to what God wanted them to do.  In their faith, the people marched.  At the blast of the trumpets and the shout of the people on the seventh day the wall of Jericho fell.  By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they were encircled for seven days” (Hebrews11:30).  The works performed by Israel did not cause the city walls to fall; rather, it was by God’s grace.  However, the walls would not have fallen if the Israelites had not done what God commanded them to do.

God’s grace can also be seen in the curing of Naaman (II Kings 5).  This man had leprosy.  There was no earthly cure for this terrible and fatal disease.  However, when Naaman finally obeyed the command of the prophet of God to dip seven times in the river of Jordon, “his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean” (II Kings 5:14).  The waters of Jordan did not cleanse him.  It was when his faith motivated him to obey the command of God that the grace of the Lord was bestowed upon him.  Throughout the Old Testament the wonderful grace of our heavenly Father is clearly seen.  Obedience to the commands of God did not exclude His grace.

In contrast, the system of grace does not exclude law.  God is the giver, salvation is the gift and man is the recipient.  No student of the Bible denies that we are saved by the infinite grace of the heavenly Father.  The apostle Paul made this truth evident in his writings:  “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved) (Ephesians 2:4, 5).  “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste of death for everyone” (Hebrews 2:9).  Does this mean that God saves people without an individual having a choice in the matter?  Certainly not!  Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13, 14 that the “many in contrast with the “few” would be eternally lost, the reason being that a person determines whether he will obey or disobey Christ.

But someone is ready to reply, “If a person has a part in his salvation, such works nullify the grace of God.”  Not so!  That grace of God which “has appeared to all men” also instructs mankind to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts” and informs us how to “live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” (Titus 2:11-14).  We have to respond to the grace of God by living in harmony with the teachings of the Word of God.  In Ephesians 2:8 we learn, “For by grace you have been saved through faith…”  Faith is a person’s part of his salvation that is required by God.  “Therefore it is faith that it might be according to grace…” (Romans 4:16).  If there is not a response (faith) on the part of an individual, God’s grace will not save.  In the great Roman letter Paul mentions “obedience of the faith” in the beginning and in the ending of this epistle (Romans 1:5; 16:26).  Faith is the foundation of obedience.  The faith that saves is one that obeys (Hebrews 5:8, 9).  It is a living, vibrant, obedient faith (James 2 24, 26).  While the works of the law could not justify anyone, it is a work of God that we believe on His Son (John 6:29).  Paul wrote in Galatians 2:16“knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.”  The Lord also requires that a person repent of sins, confess his faith in Jesus Christ and be immersed for the remissions of our sins (Acts 17:30; Romans 10:9, 10; Mark 16:16).  When in our faith we respond to the commands of God we know that we have not merited salvation.  Jesus taught:  “So likewise you, when you have done all those things which you are commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants.  We have done what was our duty to do” (Luke 17:10).  It is not a matter of who saves but rather when God saves a person.

Paul declared that “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2).  Yes, there is law under the system of grace and the commandments ordained of God for mankind to obey do not nullify His grace.