KEEP THE FIRST THINGS FIRST


KEEP THE FIRST THINGS FIRST

William Andrew Dillard

Someone once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing! How true!
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, one often finds his focus shifted away from the things of the Lord to a sort of cultural Christianity. Religious holidays are not observed by 
true churches of theLord, but, such days are recognized as federal holidays intended to honor the Christ of our salvation, and to some extent we are carried along in the force of it even though our understanding of it is quite different to that of the world.
Throughout the year we focus on our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be studying about Him, praying to Him, talking about Him, and seeking to advance His cause. We must not get carried away from truth, in worldliness nor in misguided piety as some do pointing to Romans 9:3. Here they either pretend to love lost souls more than any human possibly could or else they live in anguish because they cannot love others to the degree they think is mentioned here. That verse states, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” This verse needs to be looked over realistically in context of what Paul had experienced and was, in fact, saying.
I have known tremendously great and very dedicated people of God, but I have never known one who was willing to go to hell himself for others. Would that not mean that others were loved more than the Christ of one’s salvation? Such simply is not possible. But is this not what Paul was saying, or did he actually say something else?
Young’s Literal Translation of the scriptures translates this verse, “For I was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ for my brethren, my kindred, according to the flesh.” Notice “Was.” The apostle was referring to his past. Surely, this is what Paul meant: while he was a practicing Pharisee, he was zealous in persecuting Christians, and wanted nothing to do with the Christ. He wanted to please his kindred according to the flesh. 
The following verses in Romans Nine explain that there is a difference between the fleshly Israel (whom he sought to please earlier) and the true seed of promise. In context then, this verse makes a lot better sense than painting a pious picture that no human could fulfill, and one that would be wrong if it were possible.
So what shall we say then? Share the gospel! Help others as much as possible, but love God more. Remember the first and greatest commandment. Also remember the witness of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the matter. Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” It is Jesus first, not humanity first!

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