The Most Negative Verse in the Bible
by Tom Stewart
April 23, 2000
Negative is that which indicates opposition; but, perish the thought
that any part of the inspired Scripture is in opposition to God. "The Words of the LORD are pure Words: as silver tried in a
furnace of Earth, purified seven times" (Psalm 12:6).
And, it is a Scriptural fact that the negative word "ungodly" appears four times in a
single verse of the Authorized Version (KJV)-- four times that of any other verse. "To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all
that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have
ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners
have spoken against Him" (Jude 15). A novice Christian
may find such earnest statements to be strangely zealous and negative; but, like
much of the Scripture that depicts the Last Days, negative is appropriate.
"1 This know also, that in the Last Days perilous times shall
come. 2 For men shall
be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient
to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without
natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers
of those that are good, 4 Traitors,
heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5
Having a form of godliness, but denying the
power thereof: from such turn away" (2Timothy 3:1-5).
When spiritual life has truly begun in the hearts of the former "children of the devil" (1John 3:10), our understanding of the world we live in, now becomes illuminated by the light of the Word of God. "We have also a more sure Word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a Light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise in your hearts" (2Peter 1:19). And, since each of us comes from different circumstances, our response to the Truth must overcome the unique difficulties that would keep us from growing into the mature body of Christ. "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold" (Matthew 13:8). Before long, we invariably begin to notice that the world is "no friend to grace", and that the antagonism seems only to increase. "13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15 And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto Salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2Timothy 3:13-15).
As we mature in Christ, we find that the strength of the Christian's opposition to ungodliness is the measure of his devotion to Christ. "He that is not with Me is against Me; and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad" (Matthew 12:30). It is an impossibility to act neutrally toward the One who is the "True Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world" (John 1:9). The half measures of the world's commitment to Christ, deceive only the world, but never Christ. "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the One, and love the other; or else he will hold to the One, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon" (Matthew 6:24). As the LORD Jesus hated the sin but loved the sinner, we must attempt to imitate His love by reaching out to a sinful world, with the Gospel of the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus" (Romans 3:24). [See a brief presentation of the Gospel, "Who Then Can Be Saved?" ---New Window] But, we must resist the understandably easy error that has plagued the Church of these Last Days, that "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven", which has had the tendency to excuse sin in the Church. "5 And ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. 6 Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him" (1John 3:5-6). [See our article, "Must We Then Sin? ---New Window Or, A Response to the Doctrine of Sin Nature or the Doctrine of Original Sin, Or, A Clarification of What is Sin, Why We Sin, and How Not to Sin", for a Scriptural attempt to make sense of the problem of sin.]
Approaching the finish line of our sojourn upon this planet, whether by death or Rapture, it becomes more apparent that the ungodliness of the Last Days that Jude protested so vehemently, has been the illegitimate child of Laodicea's attempt to clothe its sinful nakedness with miserable excuses of her inability to lay hold of practical holiness. "11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, Godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 12 Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on Eternal Life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses" (1Timothy 6:11-12). Without succumbing to the fear that we, ourselves, will fall prey to Laodicea's nakedness, we commit ourselves in faith to the Faithful Creator (1Peter 4:19), trusting "that He is able to keep that which [we] have committed unto Him against that day" (2Timothy 1:12). "Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee" (1Timothy 4:16). May we, like the Apostle Paul, be able to say at the end, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith" (2Timothy 4:7).
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