By Ron Kempen
We are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to test all things and to hold fast what is good. Now, I am not saying to live by experience, but rather live as God shows us in His word. Let me give you a few examples below.
I used to follow a newspaper forum that had a section on religious beliefs. There were mostly opinions by non-believers about what they thought their “god” should do or would do, if they were “God,” including a person that would repeatedly state how God is some malicious, murdering butcher.
In the Old Testament, there are indeed, the many times where God would have total families and their belongings, utterly wiped off the face of the Earth. And so, ignorant people question God... if God is supposed to be such a wonderful, mercy filled, and loving God, then how could He wipe out the innocent people such as the little children, the babies, and wives and women that lived in these communities? The idea was that surely there had to be some nice people in that place.
Now on the surface, this man, named “Freethinker,” would seem to have a good point until you would test his theories with God’s word, the Bible.
For starters, I would tell him that although I didn’t have all of the answers, I knew there was and is a God and that even though I couldn’t give him the reasons, I knew God was a God of love and mercy. However, this doubter wouldn’t buy such an explanation and would resume his continuous rants. Again, I find the answers are in His word. First of all, just as Romans 3:23 tells us, we all fall short of the glory of God. Man blew it in the garden when Adam and Eve first sinned until God actually stated, “Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart.” (Genesis 6:5, 6).
The Lord gave us a second chance when He destroyed the human race in the flood, saving eight to start over. (See the flood story in Genesis 6, 7.) Then we see that men have still done their own hearts’ desires throughout the years with an exception perhaps of David whom God saw had a heart toward God, but even he was guilty of murder and adultery. (David did his heart’s desire as well, he was just genuinely sorry and forgiven; however, he still paid some consequences here on earth -- the death of the baby and the disloyalty of two of his sons.)
The point is that from early on in history, man has always fallen short of God’s standard and way, being cursed with a nature to sin, with God’s standard being perfection. We are all guilty of making mistakes from our childhood days and on. Looking at Scripture, we see many, many, times where the Lord told the people, “Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them, “ (Deut. 11:16). Numerous times the Lord also warned the people, “If you do not obey the commandments of the Lord your God, but turn aside from the way which I command you today, to go after other gods which you have not known.” (Deut. 11:28). One doesn’t have to search too hard to see the importance of walking in the way of the Lord back in biblical times, as well as today. Those that were wiped out, such as those that were in the land where the Lord had removed for the Jewish people, were all practicing evil things. This actually shows the Lord having mercy on many because those that weren’t of age died before they were accountable and would have gone to Hell. Those that live today also are responsible for whatever way of life they choose. So it is getting clear that God is a jealous God and demands obedience.
The Bible tells us, “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4). We also know that “God is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Here’s the problem: 1 Corinthians 6:9 has this to say, “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”
Are you one that claims to be a Christian yet habitually drinks alcohol, often in taverns with other party animals? Do you defend the gays’ right to live as they choose? Do you profess to be a believer but you live with a partner not married to them, but living as if you were? How often do you partake in Church, yet spend much of your time on the internet viewing porn? Or do you just do a little of some of these, sort of trying to get close to the sin that you are partaking in as close as possible without giving it up? Remember that we are to love the Lord our God with our whole heart, mind and strength, not to be just lukewarm.
This article is just to have each one of us to use God’s word to examine ourselves and to walk the walk, not just talk the talk. If you proclaim to follow Jesus, test yourself: are you really loving God or do you have some secret idol that you don’t, or won’t, give up even though you think you are okay?
Once you leave here you don’t want to have mis-calculated where you were going to spend your destiny, do you? Something to think about. He took your sin, so love Him with your whole heart and obey Him.