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Vol.XVI No.IX Pg.5
November 1979
Robert F. Turner

"Godliness" is sometimes incorrectly explained as "God-like-ness" or having the quality of God. The word, eusebeia, does denote an affinity for God and things of God; but Moulton and Milligan, Alford, and other Greek philologists note that the word was common among the Greeks, and that it denoted "an operative, cultive piety rather than of inherent character." That means it is a characteristic subject to cultivation, or is produced, rather than inherent. Vine says, "that piety which, characterized by a God-ward attitude, does that which is well-pleasing to Him." (emph., rft.)

Put simply, a "godly" person wants to please God, and he does that which God has revealed as His will for man. The results is "godliness."

Living "godly" in this present world (Titus 2:11-f) puts one in the role of pilgrim, "looking for a city" and doing all things "as unto the Lord." Aware of past sins and of present imperfections, the godly man confesses his constant need for the Savior, his High Priest and his offering for the remission of sins. Such an attitude and manner of life is called "walking in the light" (1 Jn. 1:7).

We are fully aware that this "fellowship with God" would be impossible but for Christ and His sacrifice of Himself for us, hence it is a wholly unmerited blessing. But the "godly" individual is not created so against his will, nor apart from his effort. The "God" standard is eternal, the "means" by which godliness is attained was in God's eternal purpose, and in the fullness of time was perfected; but the individual must hear, believe and obey the voice of God to be "godly" or have "godliness."

Vine says, "In 1 Tim. 6:3 'the doctrine which is according to godliness' signifies that which is consistent with godliness, in contrast to false teachings; in Tit. 1:1 'the truth which is according to godliness' is that which is productive of godliness ...etc." A godly person doesn't just happen to be that way, nor is he particularly elected, called or blessed. He puts his trust in Jesus Christ, and works hard to "deny ungodliness and worldly lusts." He uses the means God universally provided to cultivate and produce the result.

The godly man is acutely aware that godliness is not a static condition attained, but is a movement, a manner of life. An "honest man" may stumble at some point, but his conscience stabs him and he makes correction. He is not content to keep quiet and reap the ill-gotten gain. Nor will a godly man condone a way that is contrary to the way of God. He may sin — he will sin — but his very character cries out in protest, and he makes correction. His inner guidance system is "locked on" to the way of God and he wants to keep it that way.

Can a godly man become ungodly? Oh yes! (2 Pet. 2:1, 4, 20-22) But the remedy for fear is love, perfected by abiding in God. To this end the godly man studies his Bible, prays, meets with fellow saints for worship, and works to save others. He has little time to worry about temporal matters, for heaven and eternity are in view.

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Vol.XVI No.IX Pg.6
November 1979

Funerals In 3,700 B.C.

Robert F. Turner

"The Book of The Dead" is a generic name given to the various texts found in early Egyptian tombs — apparently placed there so the deceased could "bone up" for the great final examination, or serve as "ticket" for passage through the dark halls of the unknown into the presence of Osiris, "the conqueror of death, who made men and women 'to be born again'." These funeral texts were used as early as ca. 3,700 B.C. Through a long history many changes and additions were made, and we could not begin to give more than a few samples; but I want to put some of this material before you, and then comment upon it.

A section of The Negative Confession reads: "Hail, Usekh-nemmt, who cometh forth from Anu, I have not committed sin. Hail (various 'gods') I have not committed robbery with violence ...I have not stolen grain have not uttered lies ...I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men." Apparently there was a special "god" for everything, for each negative in this section begins with something like: "Hail Basti... Hail Tutu... etc." "I have not eaten the heart (or, I have not grieved uselessly)... have not been angry without just cause ... have not set my mouth in motion (or, talked too much, or slandered)."

Another section, The Great Judgment, contains some real goodies. "I have not opposed my family and kinsfolk... I have not known men who were of no account (i.e., friend of worthless or profligate men)... I have not caught fish with bait made of the bodies of the same kind of fish ...I have not added to the weights of scales."

First, we observe that this early civil- ization had a sense of "ought" or what was morally right. Adultery, homosexual acts (many specified) were wrong, and could adversely affect the judgment. "Eavesdropping, cursing" or even "making others to weep" are included in things considered wrong. There was no lack of moral perception. I found one: "I have not shut up my ears to the words of truth." How does our society measure to this standard?

They related their actions in this life to judgment and the life beyond. I don't know how seriously they regarded these things while they had good health, but the thought of death had a sobering effect. From the number of "Books" found, I suspect some were prepared to lie to the "gods" — as today's funeral orations foolishly lie to the true God who knows all.

The pagan concepts, and child-like concepts of appeasement, symbolism, and ceremony, remind one of "Secret Orders" of our day — and, in fact, we find the source of some of today's foolishness in these ancient papers.

And the negative aspects of their "religion" is overwhelming. One might fill his coffin with "I have nots" and be woefully lacking in positive service to God. Of course the whole philosophy is inadequate. We could fall into the same error on a positive side — thinking a list of "Have dones" would earn for us heaven. But Christianity is Christ, not man centered. We can only say, I have sinned, and then turn to Christ for mercy. In faith that "presses toward the mark" we have marvelous assurance.

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Vol.XVI No.IX Pg.7
November 1979

?You Know What?

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Is it wrong to use the Old Testament for sermon texts? We are not under the Old Covenant, but does this mean O.T. principles are invalid? HK


God gave the Scriptures making up the thirty-nine books we call the Old Testament, and this revelation of His will is part of the total scheme of redemption. We err if we use Old or New Testament out of context, making applications unwarranted by the total picture; but both Old and New Testaments tell us of God's dealings with man, and both are necessary.

This is not to say redemption in Christ is dependent upon Judaism. On the contrary, "they without us should not be made perfect" (Heb. 11:40). We are not questioning the completeness of the "law of liberty" when we say that all inspired Scriptures are profitable ...that we may be complete ... to every good work (2 Tim. 3:16). That passage refers to Old as well as to New Testament Scriptures. We are just saying what the Apostles and evangelists of the N.T. said by their use of the O.T., viz., it was something more than prophecies of Christ.

"I would not that ye should be ignorant..." and "these things were our examples" (1 Cor. 10:) suggest an application of principles established of old: the need for faithfulness and punishment of the wicked. The Hebrew writer teaches the benefit of chastening by reference to an O.T. text (Heb. 12:5-6). By the same method Peter emphasizes the Holiness of God (1 Pet. 1:16), and Paul. argues that they who preach the gospel should live of the gospel (1 Cor. 9:6-14). When Daniel showed Nebuchadnezzar that "the Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men" he showed us the same principle, whether or not the manifestation is the same. With a little time and a cross-reference Bible this list of examples can be greatly extended.

Jesus shows (Matt. 5:) that there is much more in the Old Law than the legalistic Jew had imagined. Even in Moses' time, "thou shalt not kill" was intended to forbid vindictive anger, and "thou shalt not commit adultery" forbade lust. Some things were "suffered" which "were not so" (Matt. 19:8) from the very beginning. It is not true that the Old Law dealt only with externals. The laws of that moonlight age had in them the seed of the ideals to be more fully revealed in the sun light of the New. They were basically sound, being founded upon divine authority. (Study Hosea 6:6; Amos 5:21-24; Micah 6:8.)

The Hebrew writer says the law had a "shadow" of good things to come and not the "image." Lightfoot comments, "The skia is a dark outline, faint and indistinct like an artist's first sketch of a picture; the eikon is the image itself, an exact representation

" But the outline must accurately fit into the finished picture, and what God revealed of Himself of old is enhanced, made plainer, in the New Testament. It is not contradicted. We should learn to use the divine revelations of the Old Testament as the skeleton upon which the flesh of the New fits perfectly, and which gives added insight to marvelous truth

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Vol.XVI No.IX Pg.8
November 1979

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

This story will curl your hair but hear me out if you can stand it. Such an approach would not be here if I had not tested it, and found it workable in other quarters.

Suppose some enemy overran our part of the country and took captive a large number of citizens. These were made slaves, and taken to some far away island where they labored in chains day and night. Our government, much concerned and determined to free these people, called in the wise men and asked them to devise a plan of salvation — a scheme of redemption.

Now, our day seems to be dominated by Wonder Woman, Superman, and the Incredible Hulk; so the wise men decided that Superman should be sent to deliver the captive citizens. Whereupon, Superman rushed to a closet, donned his uniform, and went flying through the air to the far-away isle.

He swooped down upon the enemy, smashing them right and left, and drove them far a-field. Then, pushing over a mighty tree, he karate-chopped four great wheels from the end of the trunk, sliced the remainder into lumber, of which he built a great wagon. Now, stepping into the sea, he began to heap the bottom soil into a high causeway, which joined the island with the mainland. He then told all to get into the wagon, and when they did so he pulled the wagon along the highway to home and safety. Howz at?

But when the news reporters milled around the survivors and asked what they thought of the government's plan of salvation they seemed to think the plan of salvation was "get into the wagon;" and some thought it was a great plan, and some thought it was not really necessary. A curious bystander was led to believe the government's plan of salvation was "glad tidings of a wagon" instead of the coming and works of Superman. (Superman was last seen sneaking into a phone booth.)

This story is not intended as an extensive parallel to God's plan for our salvation from sin. It is given for ONE purpose only, i.e., to make us re-examine the common practice of defining the "plan of salvation" as "faith, repentance, confession and baptism." Is "get into the wagon" the GOOD NEWS? One does not lessen the importance of submission and obedience by recognizing that God sent Christ as Savior, and that the "plan" is centered in what He did for us.

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Vol.XVI No.X Pg.1
December 1979

Not A Hoof Left Behind

Robert F. Turner

Exodus 7—12. records the efforts of God through Moses to persuade the Pharaoh of Egypt to release the children of Israel from bondage. As that bondage is often used to typify sin, and Satan's hold on us, a better understanding of that ancient struggle could assist us today.

Pharaohs heart was stubborn, and the plagues of blood, frogs and lice did not move him, but when the flies came Pharaoh offered his first compromise. "Go ye, sacrifice to your god in the land — do it here, no need to leave this land. When Moses refused such a suicidal attempt, Pharaoh offered his second compromise. "Go, only ye shall not go very far away: entreat for me". God removed the plague of flies, only to have Pharaoh harden his heart and refuse to let the people go. So, the cattle murrain, boils, and hail came, and the threat of locusts. Then came the third effort at compromise. "Go now ye that are men," leaving your women, children, and the flocks behind. Neither Pharaoh nor Satan let go without a struggle, but Moses stood firm, so the locusts came; and after that the darkness. Now Pharaoh tries one more compromise. "Go ye, serve Jehovah; only let your flocks and your herds be stayed." Take all to serve God, except your material possessions. Perhaps he knew their hearts would remain with the possessions — or perhaps he sought to deprive them of that which they would need to successfully carry out their new venture. Whatever: we are doomed to failure if we think we can serve God acceptably while leaving anything we control in Satan's hands.

But Moses accepted no compromise. "NOT A HOOF SHALL BE LEFT BEHIND!'

We must live in the world, but our citizenship is elsewhere. In making the transfer of allegiance, when we determined to give up the world and give ourselves to the Lord, we should then have determined that "Not a hoof shall be left behind." We should know that Satan will do all possible to convince us that we can serve God "in Egypt" or ''just a little way out" or compromising for the sake of family or possessions. It won't work that way. Give Satan a hoof, and he will take leg, loin, chuck roast and all.

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