Larry R. Ping II
The phrase “and not” exists 78 times in the New Testament. From it we can glean many wonderful lessons. Would you consider these?
1) “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily” (Matt. 1:19). The world needs more men like Jesus’ earthly father, who, even in a challenging circumstance, opted to be kind, generous and fair (Micah 6:8).
2) “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell” (Matt. 5:29). Jesus calls for superior discipline with our eyes, through which the devil works expertly (I Jn. 2:16).
3) “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God” (Lk. 12:6)? Oh, how much God loves and cares for us, His creation (Rom. 5:8)!
4) “And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray, and not to faint” (Lk. 18:1). Prayer is a crucial cog in our ability to persevere, and not faint (I Thess. 5:17; Php. 4:6). Are you praying daily?
5) “We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves” (Rom. 15:1). May we live in such a way we strive to do good for and help others (Php. 2:1-8).
6) “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to the law before the unjust, and not before the saints” (I Cor. 6:1)? Disagreements happen between members of God’s family. May we learn to resolve them with each other (Matt. 5:23-24).
7) “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified” (Gal. 2:16). The Law of Moses is no longer in effect. Christ was the end of it (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:14).
8) “But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you” (Gal. 4:18). We must always have a desire and zeal for God, no matter where we may be and no matter with whom we may be (Titus 2:14).
9) “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col. 2:8). May we be very careful to nourish ourselves through the sound words in God’s book (I Tim. 4:6). May we “hunger” and “thirst” after God’s righteousness (Matt. 5:6).