Except YeBy: Joseph H. Murray
There is a song in the world today that says, “Everybody is somebody’s fool.”
When we think of this in the light of the Scriptures, this is so very true. For “the fool hath said in his heart, there is no God” (Ps. 14:1). The fool, therefore, not believing that there is a God, is not going to believe anything pertaining to God. “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness” (1Cor. 1:18). It is natural for those who are of such a nature to consider us who believe and receive the things of God as fools, for they count it foolishness and are to perish. Remember that Paul said, “we are fools for Christ’s sake” (1Cor. 4:10).
The Scripture calls the unbeliever a fool, and he in turn calls “the preaching of the cross” and the believers of it foolishness and fools. Then as we look at the situation thusly, “there are no exceptions to the rule that everybody is somebody’s fool.” There are, however, some exceptions to being a fool for Christ’s sake, and we would like to call your attention to some of them.
“And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:2–3).
Jesus said to His disciples, “Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3).
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
Peter must not have been at the meeting when Jesus told the disciples of their exceptions, for He admonished him separately. “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31–32).
No matter what words the Lord used in each of these instances, He was speaking of the same thing in each case, for they were all needful of a change of heart. Whether He said repent, be converted, or be born again made no difference. Jesus was pointing them one and all to the time when they were to be changed by the Sonship power of a spiritual covenant, a time when everyone who would receive it would have the law of the Spirit of life written in their hearts.
“For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: and they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest” (Heb. 8:10–11).
Those who were not in obedience to the Law of God given to Moses could not believe Jesus when He came. As far as they were concerned, Jesus has died in vain, because they neither accepted nor received any benefit from His resurrection from the dead or the promised comforter, the Holy Ghost, which He poured out on His believers, having had its beginning on the day of Pentecost.
“The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it” (Luke 16:16).
“For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 14:17).
What are your religious professions based on, my friend? Tradition of the scribes and Pharisees or the foundation of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of God? Have you passed the exception test that we all must pass before being a Christian?
“For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:20).
Remember, the natural man is not going to be saved no matter what you do to him, for he is carnal (1Cor. 15:50).
“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God (that is, the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus) neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7).
It is plain to see that we are now confronted and dealing with Jesus our High Priest, “who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life” (Heb. 7:16).
The saving of the soul is the intention and purpose of God from the beginning. The saving of the soul is a loss to the natural or carnal part of man: “for whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matt. 16:25).
“For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God” (Heb. 7:18–19).
We may have to lay down or lose our life yet for the steadfastness and endurance of our faith in eternal life by our Lord Jesus Christ, but to do so would be a surety of us being saved, if we have charity, for “charity never faileth” (1Cor. 13:8).
This better hope by which we draw near to God is His love shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of Christ among us or in us is our hope of Glory, for, as Paul wrote to the Romans, “we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it” (Rom. 8:24–25). Then by endurance and patience we expect to be saved or to be with the Lord at the end of our journey.
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness” (1Cor. 3:18–19).
“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it” (Ps. 127:1).
Even among the kingdom subjects, there is by far too much foolishness, for Jesus Himself said, “then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom, and five of them were wise, and five were foolish” (Matt. 25:1–2).
Harvest time is soon coming. The angels will gather the good into vessels and cast the bad away. “And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned. And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking. Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac” (Gen. 21:8–10).
Abraham is a type of God and Sarah a type of the Church. The cry is soon to be heard once more, cast out the bondwoman and all her foolish children, for they shall not be heir with the wise.
Let us be wise and cast our lot with the Freeborn so that we may have an inheritance among God’s kingdom citizens where no sin will ever enter.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3).
“Be ye holy” (Lev. 20:7).
Though the very heart of God be grieved at the casting out of the foolish virgins, as Abraham was grieved at the departing of Hagar and her son Ishmael, they shall not share the inheritance with the wise.
At times it may be hard to distinguish between the wise and foolish, for all share the same Fatherhood. The cry, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh,” will reveal where everyone stands. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning with oil in your vessels.