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By Curtis Pugh


            Often zeal is a good thing. Zeal or enthusiasm for good things is to be commended. Being a “deadhead” on the job or as a parent or in service for the Lord makes life a burden. In the matter of our relationship with Him Christ said: “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent,” (Revelation 3:19). Not only do lost sinners need to repent, Christians also are guilty of sins daily. Walking with God is a matter of daily repentance.

            But zeal or enthusiasm is a bad thing when it is coupled with ignorance. Two very young boys wanted to please their father. While he was at work they busied themselves in the garage with house paint, coating the family car a new color. They had zeal for a thing, but in their ignorance their enthusiasm caused them to do something harmful and costly. In religious matters zeal, coupled with ignorance, does much harm. We are well aware that there are religious zealots in this world who in their zeal beat their wives, mutilate their daughters and murder those who do not convert. The thief also may be zealous when he comes to steal and to destroy.

            In Paul's day the Jews had great enthusiasm for the Old Testament Law. They had so much zeal for the Law that they missed Christ. Paul wrote of them: “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” (Romans 10:2-4). Paul said that the righteousness which makes one acceptable to God is in Christ. He is the end of the Law for righteousness. Christ taught that the Old Testament Law-system was done away with when John the Baptist began to preach. He said, “The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man [individual people] presseth into it,” (Luke 16:16).

            And yet a great many people, some of them claiming to be following Christ, are busy trying to establish their own righteousness by their attempt at keeping the Law. (Usually they pick and choose what parts of the Old Testament Law they want to keep.) But no man ever kept the Law. It was decided by the apostles and elders long ago that converts to Christ should not have the Law imposed upon them. Peter said regarding the Gentile converts and the Law, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they,” (Acts 15:10-11). “...By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” (Galatians 2:16). Be zealous, but according to truth!

Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726

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