by Ed Stevens

Somebody is to blame when things are wrong. If men can't blame their fellows they will usually blame God rather than themselves; but is God ever to be blamed for any evil under the sun? A superficial reader of the Bible may answer, Yes, and refer us to Isa. 45:7 where we read, "I form the light and create darkness; I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things." He seems to have a strong case here to rest his argument, but since the Bible also says that God is perfect, good and upright, and "can not be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man" (Psalm 25:8; James 1:13), let us allow the Book itself to explain whether man himself, and not God is only and always to blame for everything that is evil.

Instead of peace on earth men experience the evil of wars continually. Can they blame God for this? Who can refute the accuracy of James 4:1 as to the origin of war: "From whence come wars and fightings among you? Come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?" Regeneration, not peace conferences, is the only remedy for war! Enduring temporal peace is made possible only through obtaining spiritual peace with God by way of the cross of Jesus Christ. There God offered peace to the world, "reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing (charging) their trespasses unto them" (II Cor. 5:19). "Being justified by faith (in God's Son) we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Rom. 5:1). In that spiritual peace is made possible for all men it is obvious that also temporal peace is thereby made possible for all nations.

The risen Christ, who is "the Prince of peace" and "the light of the world", is "our peace" (Isa. 9:6; John 8:12; Eph. 2:14). "That was the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). A blessed fact indeed, that ere death overtakes us we are all given the light of redemption from sin and all its evil consequences. God, on His part, "would have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" (I Tim. 2:4. See also II Pet. 3:9 and Rom. 5:18). Thus all are held accountable as to acceptance or rejection of the light which is divinely provided one way or another for every individual. A plainly written account of the light of Salvation as freely offered in the gospel of God's grace is found in I Cor. 15:1-5, which please read. Acceptance means walking in light, peace and, joy, in possession of eternal salvation. Rejection means walking on in darkness, corruption and sorrow, towards final and eternal separation from God in "blackness of darkness forever" (John 12: 35, 36, 46; Jude 13). "Be not deceived; God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall le also reap" (Gal. 6:7). Sin is responsible for all evil! God "created" the law of reaping what we sow and is both merciful and just in doing so. Yes, in holy justice God will "make peace" for believers and must "create evil" for unbelievers is the sure fruits of sin, but not arbitrarily, of course.

In John 3:19 we find the tragic report: "And this is the condemnation, that light is Come into the world and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved".  Men can't blame God for being lost! "God is light and in Him is no darkness at all" (I John 1:5). Our faithful Creator has warned us that His Spirit "shall not always strive with man"! and that He will render to every man according to his deeds . . . to them that are contentious and do not obey the truth but obey unrighteousness — indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first and also of the gentile" (Gen. 6:3; Rom. 2:6-9).

One may well conclude that in the light of eternity the most far reaching evil in the world today is the evil of

Religious Confusion

Can God be blamed for creation of the multitudinous religious organizations and sects in our midst today? Did not His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He sent into be world to cleanse men of their sins and unite them in one family of God, pray that believers "all may be one that the world may believe" (John 17:21) ? Professing Christianity in general manifests a cold and brazenly indifferent attitude towards this divine entreaty. Very few believers note its importance in relation to the salvation of souls. Few are aroused and are willing to let God demonstrate through them in a yielded and surrendered life that God's admonitions for unity of mind and doctrine as given through the apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 1:10 and Ephes. 4:1-6, for example, are quite possible of achievement here and now and not in heaven only, as asserted by those who disobediently cling to sectarian ties and worship: "Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment". "I therefore the prisoner of the Lord beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body (Church) and one spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father. . . ".

Is God to blame for the common conception that all may "hope" to eventually reach heaven though traveling by "different roads" and holding different beliefs? Surely not, for His Word declares there is but "one hope", even the blessed Hope, the Lord Jesus Christ, who said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no man cometh unto the Father but by me" (John 14:6; cf. Prov. 14:12).

Who is to blame for the formation of so many religious bodies called churches, all begun and propagated under various names and holding various faiths? Surely----not God, whose Word states "there is one body", or "Church which is Christ's Body" (I Cor. 12:27; Ephes. 1: 22, 23), which He said He (not man) would build (Matt. 16:18), and to which He (not man) adds "daily such as are being saved" (Acts 2: 47; 5:14). There is also but "one faith", we read. It is the entire unabridged Word of God, and not parts of it chosen to formulate a divisive sect in utter disregard and rejection of other portions of the Word which when used on said sect will destroy its foundations and discover all false doctrines. Since Christ's true church, which He organized as a living spiritual organism (Rom. 12:4, 5; I Cor. 12: 12-28) began at Pentecost it is apparent that all so-called "churches" organized since then are false and lifeless counterfeits! Think it over.

Who is to blame for the many conflicting dogmas concerning baptism which topic is a chief cause of division among God's people? Surely not God, whose Word speaks of "diverse (water) baptisms" of the past and a future baptizing "with fire" as well as with the Spirit, but declares to us that now "there is one baptism only the being baptized by one Spirit into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13) the moment one is saved, and that this is coincident with the spiritual baptism dealing with the death of our sinful nature, or "old man" as mentioned. Rom. 6:1-11 and Col. 2:12.

It can not be denied that God's Word as well as church history proves that the common beliefs that true doctrine has been better preserved through increased denominational divisions and that one can "do more good" by remaining in them, are merely deceptive lies of Satan. Please read II Tim. 3: 5, 13; II Pet. 2:1-3; Rom. 16:17 S; cf. Hosea 4:17; 7:8; Isa. 44:20. From the fall of Adam to this day it has ever been those few who heeded God's "Thus saith the Lord" and have consistently sought to do His will (John 7:17), who have effectively held aloft God's truth (Psalm 60:4) and have been singularly used by Him (II Tim. 2:19-21).

This Bible literature is written by nonsectarian Men of God who walk, by the grace of God, in the light of Col. 3:17, "Whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father by Him". Their sole aim is to get glory and honor to God's dear Son, "as workers together with Him" (Psalm 34:3, II Cor. 6:1). They desire to build nothing He is not building, and to bring believers together in "the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace". They are not identified with groups that assail sectarianism yet are distinctive sects in that they choose to believe that there is not just "one baptism" and just "one Body", and will not extend true fellowship to any who will not accept their creed. "If we walk in the light as He is in the light we have fellowship one with another" (I John 1:7).

"Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud for the Lord hath spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before He cause darkness and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and, while ye look or light, He turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness" (Jer. 13:15, 16).

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