Why do many persons or churches who call themselves Christian ignore or reject many of the simple statements found in the Word of God when practically all believe the Lord's last commission to carry the Gospel into all the world? His command to teach them "to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you" is just as imperative as the "go ye therefore, and teach all nations." We herewith call attention to truths that are most surely taught in the Word. The message from our Lord in glory, sent to one of the seven churches in Asia, emphasizes the importance of holding to His words in order to receive His approval: "Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God" (Revelation 3:2).
The Bible teaches that the church and state are separate institutions, ordained by God, each having a specific responsibility:
- Rulers are appointed by God (Daniel 2:21; 4:17, 25, 32; 5:21).
- Rulers are the ministers or servants (not sons) of God (Romans 13:1, 2, 4).
- They are to suppress the evil and protect the good (Romans 13:3) by executing wrath upon the evildoer (Genesis 9:5, 6; Romans 13:4).
- The church is the representative body of Jesus Christ upon the earth (Matthew 16:18, 19) to serve as His ambassadors (the highest position to which one may attain as a representative of his King), calling men to be reconciled to Him (Luke 2:14; 2 Corinthians 5:20).
- As strangers and pilgrims we are to honor rulers (Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17); pray for them (1 Timothy 2:1-3); pay taxes and other dues that they levy (Romans 13:6, 7); be subject to them for conscience' sake (Romans 13:1, 5; Titus 3:1), remembering that our first allegiance is to God (Acts 4:19; 5:29).
- Ambassadors, strangers, and pilgrims have no right to engage in the political activities of the country in which they live.
The Bible teaches nonresistance regarding evil:
- The peace procured by Jesus Christ, the Prince of Peace, through the blood of His cross, expresses itself outwardly in the nonresistance of evil and is the only true, practical, and lasting peace there is (Isaiah 9:6, 7; Colossians 1:20).
- Christ and the apostles taught this truth (Matthew 5:38, 39; Romans 12:14-21).
- Christ and the apostles practiced it (Matthew 26:51, 52; Luke 23:33, 34; John 19:8-10; Acts 7:59, 60; James 5:5, 6).
- This practice reveals the grace of God as no other practice does (Luke 23:34; Romans 5:8, 10; Hebrews 7:26).
- This practice affects the use of the tongue (1 Peter 2:23); the use of civil law (1 Corinthians 6:1-7); the use of physical force (Luke 6:29); and participation in war (John 18:36; 2 Corinthians 10:3, 4; James 4:1).
- A striking contrast between nonresistance, which belongs to the church, and resistance, as the right of the civil power, is found by comparing Romans 12:14-21 and 13:1-7.
- Consistent wartime exemption requires a consistent peacetime practice of the principle.
The Bible teaches against lawsuits for Christians:
- Lawsuits between brethren are wrong (1 Corinthians 6:1-8).
- Christians should rather suffer wrong than do wrong (1 Corinthians 6:7).
- Arbitration with the unsaved is always recommended (Matthew 5:25).
The Bible teaches against the swearing of oaths:
- Christ and James condemned it (Matthew 5:33-37; James 5:12).
- Our witnessing or testimony should be with a yes or no.
- An oath is not needed by an honest man, nor will an oath make a dishonest man truthful.
- In the United States of America, the law allows the right to affirm instead of swear when giving testimonies or in filling out legal papers.
The Bible teaches nonconformity to the world:
- This teaching is found in both Old and New Testaments: Genesis 6:7, 8; Deuteronomy 7:1-6; 22:5, 9-11; 2 Chronicles 18:1, 2; 19:2; John 15:19; 17:16; 18:36; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Galatians 1:4; James 1:27; 4:4; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 2:15-17.
- God has always demanded a difference in the conduct, the conversation, the thought life, and the appearance of His own as contrasted with the world. If we are not aiming to share in the world's destiny, we should not be conformed to it (Romans 12:1, 2).
- People of the world quickly detect the inconsistency of those who profess to belong to God, but whose conduct, conversation, and ideals are worldly.
The Bible teaches against worldly amusements, sports, and entertainments:
- Moses renounced the "pleasures of sin" for Christ and the people of God (Hebrews 11:24-26).
- Worldly amusement and spiritual death go together (Romans 8:13; 1 Timothy 5:6).
- Banqueting and idolatry do not belong to the Christian life (1 Peter 4:1-4).
- The social intermingling of Moabites and Israelites brought the displeasure of God upon the Israelites and loss of many lives (Numbers 25; Revelation 2:14).
- Pleasures highly esteemed among worldlings, such as cards, dancing, swimming pools, prize fighting, ball games, movies, television, and such like, are an abomination to God (Luke 16:15; 1 Peter 4:4).
- The Christian's pleasures and recreations must meet the test of 1 Corinthians 10:31 and Colossians 3:17 to please God.
The Bible teaches against the wearing of gold, pearls, and costly or immodest apparel:
- We have the testimony of Paul and Peter (1 Timothy 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:3, 4). This includes the wedding ring.
- Christians who do not want to be like the world in principle or character should not desire to look like the world in appearance.
- The Word teaches the propriety of modesty (covered bodies [1 Timothy 2:9]), and that flashy or superfluous clothing or make-up on the body is not for saints (1 Peter 3:3-5; 5:5, 6). Modesty adorns a Christian, while display misrepresents our Lord, who was "meek and lowly in heart."
- The clothes problem troubles the unsaved world (Matthew 6:24-34), while the Christian should have it settled by adopting a modest, church-approved garb.
- Headgear should not be fashionable, and for the sisters should be suitable and consistent for wearing the veiling.
- Let every Christian seek the ornament of a "meek and quiet spirit" in preference to external ornamentation; to be "clothed with humility" instead of the fashions and fads of the Christ-rejecting world; to pattern after the godly of all ages, rather than the fashion designers of Paris and New York. The Christian man or woman, Scripturally attired, with sobriety or chaste conduct, has better protection than that afforded by the wedding ring, which is un-Scriptural.
The Bible teaches against membership in secret societies:
- Many secret societies require an oath of secrecy, which is un-Scriptural.
- Secrecy violates the principles of Christ and the apostles (John 3:18, 19; 18:20; Acts 23:12, 13; 26:26; Ephesians 5:8-13).
- Secret societies involve the unequal yoke for Christians (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
- Their burial services usually hold out a hope of heaven upon un-Scriptural grounds.
- Secret societies are not needed by a Christian for any good purpose and they have been used by wicked men for evil purposes.
The Bible teaches against membership in labor unions:
- Unionism resorts to violence and force, which is a violation of the Bible teaching of nonresistance.
- Unionism manifests a boycott spirit which is anti-Christian (John 8:32-36; 1 Corinthians 7:23; Revelation 13:16, 17).
- Unionism destroys the personal freedom and interferes with the function of a good conscience (1 Timothy 1:5; 1 Peter 3:16, 17).
- Unionism has failed to solve the problems of capital and labor, because there is no remedy outside the Gospel of Christ (Ephesians 6:5-9; Colossians 3:22-4:1).
The Bible teaches principles that are against insurance for Christians:
- The life of the Christian is to be one of simple faith in God (Psalm 118:8; Jeremiah 49:11; Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6, 19; Hebrews 13:5).
- The Bible provides, through the promises of God and the fellowship of saints, all that insurance offers without its objectionable features (Acts 4:34; 11:29, 30; Galatians 6:2, 10; 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12; 1 Timothy 5:4, 8; Hebrews 13:16).
- It is wrong economically because a large portion of the money paid in premiums by the policyholders is not returned. For Christians this is a violation of the Biblical teaching regarding the stewardship of money.
- The hope of getting something for a small investment is anti-Christian.
- The placing of a money value upon human life is likewise un-Scriptural.
The Bible teaches that women should have long (uncut) hair:
- It is a glory (honor) for a woman to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11:15).
- It is a shame (shameful thing, Greek) for a woman to be shorn (hair cut) (1 Corinthians 11:6).
- This "shameful thing" was first practiced among the lewd women.
- It is a shame for a man to have long hair (1 Corinthians 11:14).
The Bible teaches the wearing of a veiling for all Christian women:
- The Corinthian epistle was written for "all that... call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Corinthians 1:2).
- The apostle Paul taught in all the churches as he taught at Corinth (1 Corinthians 4:17).
- The spiritually minded acknowledged Paul's teaching as the "commandments of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 14:37).
- This veiling is a covering, a sign of authority, and a recognition of the spiritual headship (1 Corinthians 11:4-7).
- Many Protestant denominations formerly believed and practiced it.
The Bible teaches the washing of the saints' feet as a Christian ordinance:
- Jesus washed the feet of His disciples the night of the betrayal, giving them an example, and commanded them to do as He had done (John 13:15).
- He was their Lord and Master; hence the institution of this ordinance is authoritative (John 13:13, 14).
- It was given to the same group that received the Communion command. The emphatic "ye should do as I have done to you" is of equal force with "this do in remembrance of me."
- The apostle Paul refers to the washing of the saints' feet (1 Timothy 5:10).
- "If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them" (John 13:17).
The Bible teaches the anointing with oil for the sick:
- It was practiced by the twelve apostles (Mark 6:13).
- It is taught in James 5:14 and is left optional with the one who is sick.
- It symbolizes the Lord's work as the Healer of the body.
- It requires the prayer of faith and soul-searching regarding sin.
- It is for the healing of the body and not an unction for the soul of the dying.
The Bible teaches the "kiss of charity" as one form of Christian greeting:
- Greeting by name is taught in 3 John 14.
- Greeting by the right hand of fellowship is taught in Galatians 2:9.
- Greeting with the Holy Kiss or kiss of charity is taught in Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14.
The Bible forbids mixed marriages and divorce:
- The Scriptures indicate the sanctity of the marriage relation as the type of the relation of Christ (as Bridegroom) to the church (as bride) (Ephesians 5:23-32).
- A Christian should always marry a Christian, never a worldling (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).
- Divorce is contrary to the Scriptures (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 5:31, 32; 19:5, 6).
- Marriage of a divorced person whose partner is living constitutes adultery (Mark 10:11, 12).
What will you do with these Bible teachings?
"And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" (Luke 6:46).
Obedience is essential for the saved:
"Salvation unto all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9). "And we are his witnesses of these things; and so also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him" (Acts 5:32). "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you" (Romans 6:17). "Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power" (2 Thessalonians 1:9).
The security of Christ's sheep
is conditioned upon the fact that they "hear my voice" and "follow me" (John 10:27).