Volume XVIIIssue 38
Published occasionally for Zion's mourners
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Hebrews 12::12-13


And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.
Acts 24:25

One of the characteristics of men, which sets them apart from the lower animal kingdom is the ability to reason. Thus, we read that the LORD gave man dominion over the earth, and it was given to men to rule over his surroundings according to the degree of reason which is granted to each one. Most men would be offended if you were to describe them as “unreasonable”. In fact most men would take pride in their ability to be “reasonable”. Yet it is this very trait which shall bear witness against them in the day of Judgment. Paul points this out in his letter to the Romans saying, “Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.” (Rom 1:19-20)

Now we are certain that man does not possess the ability, power, or desire to approach unto GOD. As Paul said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Cor 15:50) Yet we are equally certain that he does not receive the TRUTH of GOD because he will not submit himself unto it and not because the TRUTH of GOD is somehow flawed or unreasonable. The LORD pointed this out very plainly to the Pharisees, when HE said, “And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.” (John 5:37-40)

Man’s condition of being totally dead in trespasses and sins has rendered him incapable of sound judgment in such matters, and though he has the capability to be “reasonable”, he is blind to the TRUTH and rejects the most reasonable testimony of TRUTH that has ever been set forth in the world. This blindness leaves him on the brink of destruction, while the incontrovertible TRUTH is declared. Again, the LORD, describes this condition to the Pharisees, “Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go.” (John 8:14) “Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” (John 8:43-45)

The testimony of CHRIST can be seen from the first pages of Genesis, the glorious poetry of the Psalms, and the writings of the prophets, yet these Jews who considered themselves to be adept at “reasoning” the scriptures, could not see the identity of HIM whom they claimed to desire the coming of. Such is the state of man by nature; completely unwilling and unable to approach unto HIM who alone has the remedy for his condition. Apart from HIS amazing and wonderful sovereign grace which plucks men as brands from the burning, it can be said to all men even as the LORD testified to these Pharisees, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24) Would not a “reasonable” man run to HIM? “Therefore, O thou son of man, speak unto the house of Israel; Thus ye speak, saying, If our transgressions and our sins be upon us, and we pine away in them, how should we then live? Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Eze 33:10-11)

The LORD raised up the Apostle Paul to be a witness to the Gentiles. Here we see him faithfully discharging the call that was given to him “as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come” before Felix, the governor of Judea. Felix demonstrated the power of Paul’s “reason” and the hardness of heart, which is endemic to the natural man, as he could not embrace the TRUTH, even though he trembled before it. Festus, blinded by the vanity of his “reason”, accused Paul of being crazy, as he rejected true “reason” and willingly remained in his ignorance. Agrippa upon hearing Paul’s testimony reacted in much the same fashion as Felix, expressing some consideration of the things which Paul declared but was unable to cast off his own unbelief, even though “reason” suggested a different reaction.

It is quite “reasonable” that men should consider “righteousness”. All men desire for other men to be morally righteous. Even the most crooked of men, expects and desires to be treated fairly in business dealings and will react in anger should he be the victim of the same sort of scam which he might gladly perpetrate upon others who are unsuspecting. Thus, all men are without excuse before the law since they are convinced of it in their heart even if not in their mind. Yet the “righteousness”, which those who would faithfully declare the gospel of the glory of the blessed GOD, are concerned with, is not about human morality. Rather, there is but one RIGHTEOUSNESS which occupies their message. It is that perfect RIGHTEOUSNESS of CHRIST, both as HE walked among men, demonstrating purity in the inward parts; and that which HE alone possesses as that perfect SUBSTITUTE who has become the RIGHTEOUSNESS of HIS people by imputation. HE is, both, the FULFILLER of the law and the PERFORMER of the same for those whom HE loves.

Likewise, reasonable men consider “temperance” (i.e.; self-control) to be useful. Even the man who is a drunkard, understands the value of “temperance”, when someone he loves is injured by another who is driving while intoxicated. The scripture describes “temperance” as one of the fruits of the SPIRIT. (see Gal.5:23) The sons of GOD are exhorted to add “temperance” to their “knowledge” (see ii Pet.1:5). The LORD demonstrated ‘temperance” constantly and taught HIS disciples to love those that hate them and to pray for those who would use them in a spiteful manner. Is this not the very essence of self-denial? So, it is the very lack of “temperance” which the LORD enables HIS children to see in themselves, that they might call upon HIM to work these things in them. James reminds us of the corrupt nature of our tongues, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” (Jas 3:6) Is it not reasonable that diligence be exercised with this unruly member?

Paul also reasoned of “judgment to come.” “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27) All men believe in “judgment to come” in one fashion or another. Some call it “karma” or “what goes around comes around.” In fact, most hope for judgment, not for themselves, but for those who have wronged them. It just wouldn’t be “reasonable” to think that they wouldn’t “get what they deserve”. Yet the reality of judgment at the hands of a HOLY GOD, who will not clear the guilty or acquit the wicked, is roundly rejected, by the natural man who prefers to think that some good deeds are better than none. Only the SPIRIT of GOD can cause a man to confess that he is worthy of destruction and deserves nothing as he stands before the great KING and JUDGE of all the Earth. Reason tells us it is true.