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That Just Doesn't Add Up

That Just Doesn’t Add Up!

      We have many phrases from mathematics that are used in everyday speech. We’ve all likely heard: “It takes two to tango”, or that “possession is nine-tenths of the law”, or the phrase “six of one and half a dozen of the other”. These and others use mathematical terms to make a point, but they don’t use arithmetic.
     Arithmetic, by definition, is: the branch of mathematics dealing with the properties and manipulation of numbers, such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication, and a few other means of dealing with numbers. As a young student, I struggled a bit with anything beyond “basic math”. I still do! One of my teachers told me that mathematics was like ‘another language’. I guess it wasn’t meant for me to be bilingual.
      Nevertheless, upon being introduced to a basic calculator, I have been able to get by. I can ‘figure’ things out as needed. Of course, there are others who are well versed in mathematics and in the use of numbers for several tasks such as taxes etc. as the need arises. But even with my inadequacies in the numbers department, I can still see when things “just don’t add up”. This phrase is often used when things don’t make sense. We readily apply this idea in matters of daily life, but many refuse to do so when it comes to religion.
      In Acts 2:41, Acts 2:47, Acts 5:14, and Acts 11:24 we read of those who were added to the church or added to the Lord, which is the same thing, as the church is the body of Christ. In these passages it is stated or implied that the Lord is the one who did the adding. This was done when these folks heard (listened) to what God’s Word says, believe what it says and does what it Commands. This was affirmed by Christ in Matt. 7:21 in that great Sermon on the Mount. He said: Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. To hear, plus believe, plus obey is to do the Will of God,   Who would have all come to repentance and desires that none perish according to 2Pet. 3:9.
      What doesn’t “add up” is how the world tries to apply God’s Word. We are told in 2Tim. 2:15 for one to be approved of God, one must ‘rightly divide’ God’s Word. While this is an arithmetic term, used in this way it means one will ‘handle aright’ the Word of God. How can one apply their own plan and claim to be handling God’s Word properly? Will such bring one to Salvation? Is one allowed to substitute rather than what God has required? I think not! One cannot substitute salt for sugar in the baking of a cake and expect to produce a cake that is delicious. One cannot deviate from the pattern and expect to make a garment that fits.
      I am not allowed to deviate from the ‘laws of mathematics’ to suit myself. If I determine that two plus two equals five, or that there are fifteen inches to a foot and determine to quantify items by my own standards, how well shall I fare? I suspect that I would reach opposition on every front. I could not count monies properly. I could not deal with my fellow human beings properly on a variety of levels. Most can see the fallacy of using the wrong standard in our dealing with others. When the wrong standard is used in much of life, folks say that just doesn’t add up.
      Why then, do people take God’s Word, alter it, and mold it to fit them? This just does not add up.   In Rom. 12:2, the Spirit had Paul warn the church in Rome about this. They were not to “conform to this world”. Rather, they were to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind”.  This means they were to align their minds to what God says in His Word and do it. To conform to the world is to look like, walk like, talk like, and be like the world. If we mold ourselves to the world, won’t we suffer the same fate as the world?   In 1John 2:15 the church has the divine direction to not love the world or the things of the world.   The passage goes on to tell us that if we love the world, the love of the Father is not in us.   So, loving the world (sin) and the things of the world (sinful things) just doesn’t add up.   This just doesn't add up because 2Pet. 3:10 tells us when the Lord comes, the ‘earth and the works therein shall be burned up’.
      It doesn't add up when folks refuse to believe the truth.    2Thess. 2:12 warns that those who have ‘pleasure in unrighteousness’ and ‘believed not the truth’ will ‘be damned’.   It just doesn’t add up why would any embrace, hold to, and place their future in that which is promised by God to be utterly destroyed when the Lord returns and time is over. It just doesn’t add up when many religious folks claim to be disciples (followers) of the Lord yet alter His Word to fit their whims.  When the Christ was on earth, in John 8:31-32, we have the record of what He said to some who believed on Him. He said: “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; 32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
     What does make sense mathematically as well as biblically is that addition in rapid succession or to a great degree equals multiplication. In other words, why say 2+2+2+2+2+2+2+2=16 when you can say 2 X 8 =16? It makes perfect sense, as the number 2 increases, it multiplies. By the same token, when the Word of God is applied properly in the minds of people, disciples are made.   If the Word is allowed to increase, as in Acts 6:7, disciples are ‘multiplied’ as they are “obedient to the faith”. This is also how the church grew in the first century and how it can grow today.   Now, this adds up!     Any other equation simply just doesn’t add up. Won’t you obey the gospel today and be ‘added’ to the church by the Lord?

Dennis Strickland – Mooresville church of Christ

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