God’s Plumbline – Danny L. Box

Danny L. Box

Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more (Amos 7:7-8).

Webster’s dictionary defines the plumbline as: “A lead weight hung at the end of a line to determine whether a wall is vertical or straight; instrument used to test if something is vertical or straight; instrument used to determine if lines are true.”

In his commentary, Adam Clarke has this to say about the plumbline seen by Amos: “This appears to be an emblem ofstrict justice and indicates God is going to now visit them according to their iniquities.”

God goes on to tell Amos that Israel is about to be destroyed because they did not adhere to the standard He had set. On another occasion, God again informs Israel: “Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet” (Isa. 28:17).

Jeremiah knew that God had set a standard or “plumbed the line” before the people, and that is why his concern is so clear as he penned the following words: “Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, shall find rest for your souls” (Jer. 6:16). But what was the response of the people: “We will not walk therein.”

Even our Lord knew that man would not walk by the “plumbed” way. He told us that there were two ways. One wide and broad that led to destruction, the other strait and narrow that led to life eternal. Many would go in by one way but only a few would enter that strait and narrow way (Mat. 7:13-14).

In everything we do we must look for God’s “plumbline,” because it is by this measurement or standard that we will be judged. Let’s look now at what God has put His “plumbline” against to set the standard for us.

God has set His “plumbline” against our salvation. God and Christ want all men to be saved, they are not willing that any should perish. For this reason, God has given us a standard which we must follow if we expect to be saved. (1) We must hear the true Word of God, because faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). (2) We must believe the Word, because it is impossible to please God without belief (Heb. 11:6). (3) We must repent of our sins, because without repentance there can be no forgiveness (Luke 13:3). (4) We must confess Christ, because if we confess Him before men, He will confess us before the Father (Mat. 10:32). (5) And we must be baptized for the remission of our sins, because it is in baptism that we contact the cleansing blood of Christ (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16). This is God’s standard for obedience to the gospel. Anything else, taught by anyone else, anywhere else, at any other time is not true it fit does not “plumb” according to God’s Word. We must be sure that what we do for salvation must not deviate from God’s straight line or else we will be lost.

God has placed His “plumbline” against our life. Once we have obeyed the gospel, and become one of His children, God expects us to walk by His rule or standard. He does not leave His rules to guess, but has laid them out for us in a straightforward way. (1) We are to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and live soberly, righteously and godly (Tit. 2:12). (2) We are to abstain from every form of evil (1 The. 5:22). (3) We are to be steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58). (4) We are to avoid the works of the flesh, and seek the fruit of the spirit (Gal. 5:19-23). (5) We are to study to show ourselves approved of God, that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord (2 Tim. 2:15; 1 Pet. 2:2). (6) We are to add to our life the Christian graces (2 Pet. 1:5-10). (7) We are to be an example to those around us (1 Tim. 4:12-16). If we live by these and the other rules and standards found in God’s Word, then we can look for Him to say on that day of judgment: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant…enter thou into the joy of thy lord” (Mat. 25:21-23).

God has placed His “plumbline” against our worship. God expects us as His people to worship Him “in spirit and in truth.” That worship must be done decently and in the order that God dictates, and it must be for His glory. God’s standard for our worship includesthe following: (1) Preaching and teaching Jesus Christ and Him crucified (Acts 20:7). (2) Congregational singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). (3) Publicly offering up prayers (Acts 2:42). (4) Remembering the Lord’s death by the partaking on each First Day of the Week of the Lord’s Supper (1 Cor. 11:23-29; 16:1). (5) Giving of our means as we have purposed in our hearts and with the right attitude (1 Cor. 16:2; 2 Cor. 9:7). This is God’s prescribed way to worship, and He holds His “plumbline” against what we do and call worship. Anything left out is not pleasing to Him, and anything added is not pleasing to Him.

God has placed His “plumbline” against false teachers. God wants the gospel preached to the whole world. It is this gospel that is the power of God unto salvation to all that believe (Rom. 1:16). Those who do not follow the standard in their preaching and teaching will have to face the wrath of God. Galatians 1:6-9 lets us know that if we preach any other gospel than that which was once and for all delivered by the Lord, we will be accursed. Second John 9-11 informs us as a people that if anyone preaches or teaches anything other than what was delivered by Christ we are to reject them. Then 2 Peter 2:1 lets us know that false teachers that bring in their “damnable heresies” shall be destroyed. God and Christ knew that men would depart from sound doctrine, and would gather to themselves men that would preach to please the ear, and for that reason the “plumbline” was set against what must be preached, and we cannot deviate from it. God’s Word is complete, it is perfect, it issimple, and it is universal in that applies.

God has placed His “plumbline” against our works. Matthew 5:16 goes like this: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” From this verse and many others we see that a Christian must be an active working servant in the Lord’s kingdom. Just as the physical body has many working parts, so does the spiritual body, and for the body of our Lord to be in “good health” each member must be a working part.

When God puts His “plumbline” against our works, He looks to see if we have taken every opportunity to do good (Gal. 6:10); He looks to see if we are doing those works for His glory, or are we doing them to be praised of men (Mat. 5:16). He looks to see if we are following “that which is good” to all men (1 The. 5:15). We must remember that on the day of Judgment we will give an account of all that we have done on this earth whether it be good or evil, and God’s standard is for us to do good to all.

In conclusion, God told Amos: “I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people,” and brethren we must believe that He has. Everything we do must be in accordance with God’s standard or else it is sin. Now let me ask you, if God was to hold His “plumbline” up beside you right now, as a congregation, or as an individual, would you then be straight and true, or would you be “off plumb”?

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