Plainer Words since 1968
ISSUE # 407
May 26, 2016
PLAINER WORDS … FOR MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN
The following declaration merits our prayerful attention.
GOD DOESN’T CHOOSE THE QUALIFIED,
HE QUALIFIES THE CHOSEN
Read this again, and read this again, and again—Ponder it, consider it, contemplate and meditate on it, turn it over in your mind, ruminate, think, and reflect upon it. I have followed my own advice.
God Doesn’t Choose the Qualified,
He Qualifies the Chosen
I have tried to put together what might be God’s modus operandi as He moves believers from “faith to faith.” Notice a revelation of Truth:
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein [in the Gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:16-17).
Previously, I taught that the expression, “from faith to faith” was from Old Testament FAITH to New Testament FAITH. The Justified Ones learned they were to “live by faith.” But, as the Lord Jesus Christ enlightened me into the deeper Truths in His Word, I was moved further along. Perhaps many of you have experienced a moving from one aspect of faith to another aspect of faith. Keep in mind that “faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen [as yet]” (Hebrews 11:1).
Not knowing for most of my life, I now sense that my “far sojourn” of faith began when I was just a little fellow. My Mom or Dad would “tuck me in at bedtime.” They would pray with me the little prayer they taught me—“Now, I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take …” and it always ended “In Jesus Name.”
As a child, I always believed that Jesus Christ was my Savior. Not only that, even from my youngest recollection, I stood in awe of the Bible. In my young mind, it represented God. This association of the Bible with God was always part of my “persona.” I was not taught this. In my small, undeveloped little mind, I put the two together—I couldn’t see God in Person, but I could see His Book, and It represented Him to me. I am guessing what I thought as a little kid.
There were times, as a young adult, I would avoid the Bible because it brought me under conviction for the reason that It reminded me of some of the sinful ways in my life. Dear Mountaineers, I knew the Bible was a powerful instrument without knowing what it said about Itself-- “For the Word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Hebrew 4:12).
The impropriety of removing the Bible from the public’s view is the removal of moral restraint; the same is true by no longer displaying the Ten Commandments. The evil forces of Darkness appear to have worn out the saints which, in part, has contributed to the moral collapse of our day.
I was always serious about honoring my Father and Mother. To me, as a youngster, that meant don’t do anything to make them feel ashamed of me. I was proud of my parents, and I wanted them to be proud of me. This feeling matured into one of having the highest respect for them and the high Office that the Lord gave them in this life—their Office was being that of PARENTS.
This is not to suggest that I was a spiritually fervent child or person. But, I never doubted the Bible was God’s Word. In my pre-teen years, my family and I were members of Cliff Temple Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas. (At the time, it was the 2nd largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention. The largest was Dr. W. A. Criswell’s, also, a Dallas church—the First Baptist Church of Dallas). I had a Sunday School Teacher for several years who I really liked because he was such a good teacher. He made Jesus Christ really interesting to kids. It’s a shame I can’t even remember his name. He was a Lawyer and had a great way with children. I believe I was 8 and 9 (or maybe 9 and 10). I never had the idea that membership in this large Baptist Church assured me of going to Heaven. As a child, I believed that when I died, I would go to Heaven. I believed this until a Holy Adjustment was made in which I “saw the light” that a major Dispensational change took place when the Apostle Paul made the startling pronouncement in Acts 28:28; the Lord has set the Jews and their promises aside temporarily, and He has turned to the Gentiles:
“Be it known therefore unto you [the Jews], that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28).
The setting aside of Israel brought forth Present Truth which Paul referred to as The Mystery. This new revelation - Present Truth - is found in “a form of sound words” (2 Timothy 1:13), better known as Paul’s Prison Epistles. To be perfectly clear, Present Truth encompasses the Dispensation of the Grace of God which is the Dispensation in which we NOW live. We live looking for the manifestation of the Pre-Millennial Kingdom of God—aka, “The Day of Christ.”
I certainly considered myself to have been a Christian as a youngster (I can’t say at what age). I will not suggest I was “born-again” as a child, but rather, I just grew as a child believing that Jesus Christ was my Savior. I understood that sin was doing wrong. I knew early-on right and wrong from a child’s point of view. Many times, I got spankings from my parents for doing wrong by disobeying them.
Our oldest son is Tod. From my earliest observations of Tod, I noticed that his mind was very fertile. It was like a sponge. What he heard his mother and I talk about; it registered with him at age four or five in his young mind.
One instance was when Gloria and I were talking about the Rapture. This was long before we had moved on from “faith to faith.” Tod happened to be laying on the floor and listening to us discuss the Rapture as we knew it at the time. In the discussion, we mentioned that some people would miss the rapture and would be left behind. But, we were assured we would meet the Lord in the air and, then, be taken to Heaven. I noticed that Tod was crying. I asked him why he was crying. He said he didn’t want to be left behind; he wanted to be with us. In order to assure him that he would be with us in the Rapture, I told him to ask Jesus to come into his heart. He did. Then, we prayed and thanked God that Tod was saved. We believed that was the time he was saved.
I emailed Tod yesterday about this incident; “Do you remember this?” He wrote back saying, “I sure do. It was after his fifth birthday.”
The next year, we enrolled him in an elementary Christian School, Cottage Hill Baptist Church’s Private School. He attended this school in his 1st and 2nd Grades. He was exposed to the Christian faith at home, at school and at Sunday School and Church. He even attended Prayer Meetings with me on Wednesday nights many times at Greytsone Bible Church. Tod paid attention. He was no problem, nor was his brother, Scot. Both of them knew how to behave in Church. Our youngest, Scot, was too young, at this time, to go to Prayer Meetings. Gloria stayed home with Him.
Tod attended one school year of Public School in the 3rd grade in Roanoke, Virginia, and Scot never went to Public School. They attended Greystone Christian School in Mobile, Alabama.
Some of us may have started our journey on God’s Road to Glory as I did, as a child. Of course, I certainly didn’t perceive being on His Road to Glory until many decades later. For the purposes of this study, I will break-down The Journey Road into Five Stages.
In some of my notes, I referred to the childhood Stage as the Wading Pool Stage. I said this, originally, being light hearted. But, as time has passed, I reckoned that the Wading Pool wasn’t too far off. In fact, I believe Jesus Christ conducts His Own—Kinder-Garten.
Parenthetically, an idea had often ran through my mind as I thought of my childhood. As I began to be more knowledgeable of the Word of Truth, I saw a Truth which I have never discussed until now. As I considered this precious portion of Scripture many times, I must believe that our Lord Jesus Christ actively operates a Divine Kinder-Garten unbeknownst to the world. He cares for the little children, especially those who no-one else cares for.
“And they brought young children to [Jesus], that He should touch them: and His disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, He was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer [Allow] the little children to come unto Me, and forbid them not: for of such is the Kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And He took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them” (Mark 10:13-16; also see Matthew 19:13-15, Luke 18:15-17).
One day, several years ago, I went into my “My Garden Alone” to continue a Bible study concerning David. I remember telling you about my Garden in a previous “Plainer Words Online.” I am able to enter my imaginary Garden at almost any time. I replayed in my mind some truths regarding David—a man after God’s own Heart (Acts 13:22, I Samuel 13:14). What struck me was when I realized that here was a man after God’s own heart, and not one of his children wanted to follow in their father’s footsteps. I am sure David, like most successful men, wanted his sons to follow in his footsteps; that is to say, carry on what might become a family tradition. But, none did. Seventeen kings later, we read that Josiah, at age eight, began to reign over Judah in 2 Kings 22:1, and “[Josiah] did what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the ways of his father David, not turning aside to the right or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2 NIV).
Josiah began to reign as King of Judah at age eight. I wonder how long he was in the Lord’s Kinder-Garten? My goodness, most of us were still in the Lord’s Kinder-Garten at age eight, and Josiah, the son of Amon, became the King. Not only that, but he began to walk in all the ways of David, his father. Just think; Josiah WALKED IN ALL THE WAYS OF HIS FATHER DAVID. He reigned for thirty-one years. God determined him to have been one of the few who were judged to be a Good King—HE DID RIGHT.
The next Stage referred to is the “John 3:16 Stage.” Stage II probably makes up the majority of Christians—Church-Going, Occasional-Church-Going, even Non-Church-Going-Christians, and those who are simply satisfied with their John 3:16 Salvation. I have met many of them when I was a hard-working “Soul Winner.” As I would begin to witness, only to find out I was dealing with a Satisfied One, many of them would basically say, “Hey Tom, I am a Christian, don’t waste your time.” Their attitude was, I am saved and I know it; “Don’t bug me with this Jesus thing!” These folks are satisfied with knowing that “they’re going to go to Heaven when they die.” Won’t they be surprised when they awaken in resurrection and, very likely, they will have missed the 700 year Pre-Millennial Day of Christ and find themselves alive in the Day of the LORD. Maybe some of them will even be reckoned among “the rest of the dead” who lived not again until a thousand years were finished (Revelation 20:5).
This article is not a Bible study, or a study on Right Division. But, I hope this writing will cause you to review your Christian life and see if you can identify the various Stages of your journey on God’s Road to Glory. The Five Stages written about, here, is not based on the Inspired Word of God; meaning, you cannot look up a particular Stage in the Bible. Maybe you can identify yourself and the highlights of your journey on God’s Glory Road as you read this.
In order to clarify my concept of the Five Stages in this essay, I take the liberty by making references to the Stages I, II, III, IV, and V as if I can identify them in my life. Stage V is the Stage that will matriculate in resurrection or change (when the living are transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ, Philippians 3:21).
In the previous Plainer Words, I mentioned how Dr. Henry Grube taught a Sunday Bible Study on Ephesians 2:8-10. His teaching really rang the bell, having settled and explained things that opened my heart to the Word of God. Some baffling, spiritual occurrences had been happening during the previous weeks. I couldn’t get enough of Bible teaching. I had been listening to Mobile’s 50,000 Watt Gospel Radio Station--WMOB for months while in my car. I was reading the Bible every chance I got (which meant, every chance I could be by myself). Reading it but not really understanding what I was reading.
One night, the Mobile Gospel Tabernacle was having a Patriotic Conservative Rally. Dr. Grube had a Retired Colonel from the Military who was a gifted Preacher, as well as, a noted Conservative. He skillfully mixed his political philosophy with his evangelical message. The publicity for the Rally was for everyone to bring their Bibles. The Church was packed. Part of the demography of Mobile was that 49% of the population was Roman Catholic. The largest owner of real estate in Mobile was the Roman Catholic Church. Many Catholics were there that night. I brought my Bible. I cannot remember the speaker’s name (shame on me). But, he was dynamite.
I saw many folks I knew (I failed to mention I was active in Republican politics at that time). As the meeting was closing, the Colonel began to read some verses from the Bible. I fumbled with my Bible but couldn’t find the passages he was reading from, so I faked it, acting as though I was reading along with him. As I sat there, I became ashamed of myself; I was like a little child.
Then, he asked for all heads to be bowed, and he began to pray. I bent over and bowed my head. My elbows were resting on my knees, and I was holding my Bible with both hands. I have only told several people about what I am going to tell you. As the Colonel prayed, the Bible I was holding felt as though it had come alive in my hands. It felt like electricity was in the Bible. I opened my eyes and looked at the Bible in my hands. My hands were trembling. I was emotionally touched as I had never been before in my life. This was no Alvin York experience, the Tennessee Hillbilly, who was struck by lightening before World War I and got saved; remember the movie, “Sergeant York?” Nor, was this a Saul of Tarsus moment, being blinded by the brightness of the Lord Jesus appearing to Saul. This was just Tom Ballinger being fully charged by the Spirit. The speaker did the work of an Evangelist and gave an Alter Call.
At that time, I was probably a John 3:16er, to wit a Stage II, who was Unchurched.
Copyright© 2016 by Thomas L. Ballinger
Tom l. Ballinger
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Lancaster, TX 75146
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From Plainer Words
For many are called, but few are chosen - Part 2
Posted in: 2016
By Tom L. Ballinger
May 30, 2016 - 2:31:03 PM
May 30, 2016 - 2:31:03 PM
© Copyright 2016 by Plainer Words