Thursday, March 28, 2013

Truth



He drew a line in the sand. Between right and wrong. Darkness and light. Truth and lies.

Truth, you say? Isn't that universal? I mean what's truth to me may not be truth to you, and that's all good and fine, as long as we all just get along. We can sit side-by-side in church and you can raise your hands and I'll sit quietly. You can believe in the Bible as God's Word and I'll believe that it's a good book with some outdated principles. You can believe abortion is fine all the time, some of the time, or not at all. You can believe that homosexuality is a sin, that homosexuals all go to hell, or that homosexuals should be allowed to be preachers and marry who they want and adopt children. Republican or Democrat. Rich or poor. North or South. Yada. Yada.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg..

I mean you can believe that snorting a line of cocaine is okay as long as you only do it once a day. And it's okay to punch your kid in the face if they yelled at you. And it's just fine to steal a bottle of water if you're really thirsty. And it's okay if you buy a gun and go shoot up a school, or a movie theater, or fly a plane into a building, because your god told you to. And prostituting small children is fine because their parents sold them to you and you really need the money and you kind of have a thing for little kids anyway...


No, Shana, you're taking it WAY too far. I mean no one in their right mind would think any of those things are okay. Right? I mean we have morals here. There is a right and a wrong, and those things are just wrong.

What makes right, right, friend? Who makes wrong, wrong?

Who sets the standard?

Where is the line in the sand?

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning. 3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1)

"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 
13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4)
Jesus either IS or IS NOT truth. There is no gray.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14)

“If you love me, keep my commands. (John 14)

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
37Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’c 38This is the first and greatest commandment. 39And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’d 40All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22)

Jesus drew a line in the sand, and I believe this is what it meant: that we are ALL sinful and in need of Him: from the most well-trained, "holy" preachers, to the prostitute working the street corner. We are all equally sinful in His eyes.

And the cross covered us. His blood covered us. If we believe it, if we know we need Him, if we die to ourselves and are willing to take up our cross daily and follow Him, we've been redeemed! We have been covered in undeserved grace.

BUT...

"What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,a that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
8Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. 10The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.
11In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
19I am using an example from everyday life because of your human limitations. Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!22But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.23For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life inb Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6)

The line is black and white. Jesus is Truth and He is love. He is Grace and Holiness. He is not one or the other and He did not give without requiring something of us in return. His life for ours. Our life for His.

This is His standard and we are either living according to His or according to ours. Jesus said:

“Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? " (Luke 9)

I know this is long, but I guess my whole point is this: society doesn't know what truth is, people in the church seem to be divided on what it is, friends and family are conflicted, the news tries to tell us and college professors fill heads with their version of it every day. My fear for the Church is that as a means to be "socially acceptable" or "attractive" we have become watered down and forgotten Who our standard is. Many churches have so alienated all of us sinners because they have forgotten how much grace we have ALL been given. And many churches are full of warm bodies because the pastors are speaking good tidings of great joy and forgotten the cross; in essence crucifying Jesus over and over instead of chasing the holiness that is demanded from that cross. And many churches are dead inside because they have forgotten their first love and instead are consumed with consumerism or self-love and have forgotten how to love people, how to pray, and what miracles really are.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
3But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. 4Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving. 5For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.a 6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God’s wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.
8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light."  (Ephesians 5)



2 comments:

  1. And THAT is why so many individuals run away from the Lord. Or rather, practically get pushed out the door. Because your "the line is black and white" equals a life of incredible heart-ache, loneliness, emptiness, and unfulfillment for many, many people. People who crave the love of Christ and all that He promises, but feel they are unworthy and undeserving because of something they have felt their whole lives and are unable to change no matter how much they plead with the Lord to change them. People who crave the love of Christ, but cannot bear the isolation and anguish that your "black and white" requires of them. Souls are being LOST because of that all or nothing mentality. Think about it. How many people do you know who have said "I was gay but God healed me and now I'm pure and holy?" How many times have you turned on the television and heard that testimony? It doesn't just GO AWAY the way a cold does.

    You have clearly never known and loved a person who suffered years and years of internal battle between what scripture-touting Christians are preaching to them and what they truly are, deep down inside and have been for as long as they can remember. Because if you had, you would no longer see things in black and white.

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  2. Also, because I *know* you.... please don't take any of that to mean that I am mad or upset at you or anything like that. I'm not. But your post felt like a response to mine, so I'm just responding to your response. I know that you and I likely won't ever agree on this topic, but I love you just as if we did. :)

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