Saturday, June 7, 2014
We can choose what type of coffee we drink - regular or decaf. We can choose our breakfast cereal, we can choose how we butter our toast and how long we brush our teeth. Life is full of choices both big and small.
The smaller choices seldom come with any great consequences - toilet paper . . . over or under, paper or plastic, do we want fries with that. But some decisions have eternal consequences.
Recently, two friends of mine "came out of the closet" and announced that they were gay. They made a choice. However their recent choice comes with heavier consequences because they decided to choose a path contrary to the will of God. Choices of that nature never end well.
I have friends who have chosen a life filled with drugs. I have friends who have been addicted to alcohol. I have friends who have chosen to have sex outside of marriage and who have committed adultery. These are all examples of people who decided to choose one thing over another but, according to what I read in the Bible, they have chosen to sin against a Holy God.
Let''s get something straight before we go any farther. We ALL sin. "There is none righteous, not one." But there is a difference between sinning, feeling guilty about it and sinning without guilt. The word is repentance. The act of repenting of our sins is part of what I am calling "The Great Equation." Sin + Repentance = Forgiveness. Without repentance there can be no forgiveness.
Here is a hard word to swallow from God. You will probably not hear it being read in many Sunday schools these days. But perhaps we should be reading it to our children because it seems that many are not getting the whole picture as we "train them in the way they should go." Most people in the world today do not have a healthy fear of God. That's a problem.
"26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." - Hebrews 10:26-30
Basically, if we choose to lead a life filled with unrepentant sin, we are going to hell. As much as we'd like to believe the contrary, that is God's Word and truth! But still, though we can read His Word, though we can know His truth, we choose not to believe it saying, "I can't believe a loving God could condemn someone to death over simply loving another person." The only conclusion one can draw from a comment like that is that the truth of God is not in them, for if it were, they would desire to follow it.
Where does sin come from anyway? Contrary to what some people will tell you, we are not "born that way." Although we are born with a sinful nature, we CHOOSE our sins. We CHOOSE our addictions. Why? Because we are more into pleasing ourselves than into pleasing God.
For example, when I see a woman wearing a low-cut shirt, I have a choice to make. I could stare longingly at "God's beautiful creation" or I could turn my head away because I know that to do otherwise would lead to sin, and to death.
I have a friend who works in prison ministry. There are a great many criminals who come to a saving faith in Christ while they are in jail. Why? Because they have finally come to the conclusion that there must be something better than the life they chose. When we finally come to the end of our "selves" . . . that is where we find Jesus. And, just like the thief who hung next to Jesus on the cross, as long as we repent of our sins, Jesus is faithful to deliver us into His kingdom.
So do we condemn all these "evil sinners?" No. Not unless we want to condemn ourselves along with them. But we ARE compelled to pray for them. It's like doing nothing for someone who has been bitten by a poisonous snake. Though we have access to serum that can cure them through a simple 9-1-1 phone call, if we willingly choose to do nothing it is tantamount to murder.
My heart is heavy because of the recent choices my friends have made. It is like they have chosen to die. But their choices remind me of my OWN sin and how I need to repent and seek God's forgiveness, daily.
I am convinced that if we DON'T pray for ALL who sin, including ourselves, it is we who are guilty of perhaps a GREATER sin - willfully watching someone die. It is our own selfish nature that convicts everyone of us. We have become idols in our own lives. It is time for us to choose. We must chose, today, whom we will serve.
"14 Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” - Joshua 24:14-15