I recently sent an email talking about faith, salvation, and obedience and I acknowledge, these are topics that cannot be truly expounded in its fullness via email; for it is a sensitive subject that has been muddied over the centuries.
Today, I am still meditating on the way of salvation; which is Christ our Lord. How do we respond to this free gift? Some may say “do we need to respond to it”?
Jesus said, If you love Me, keep My commandments”. He said this to those who He had already chosen (His disciples). To people who He sought out, not because of their righteousness, for even Peter said “Depart from me for I am a sinful man”. What then are his commands? I suggest that they reside in love…to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind…..and to love your neighbor as yourselves. If we love Christ, we will love one another!
It is in that love that we respond with obedience to “GO”, to turn the other cheek, to love our enemies, to pray for our leaders, to give and…..the list goes on.
I am obedient because I love God. This love urges me to be obedient to God and in my obedience He is glorified. So what is at stake when are say we love God but are not obedient to His commandments? What is at stake when we hold our neighbors in derision and unforgiveness? What is at stake when we cast judgement and withhold grace?
My love for God urges me to obedience because “God is not willing that any should perish” and “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. Knowing that those who are without faith cannot “call on Him whom they have not believed” and cannot “believe in Him of whom they have not heard”!
So let us live as those who are sent, because we are! The moment we declare our faith in Christ we accept his command to “Go make disciples of all nations”! So what is at stake when we are not obedient?!
Who is your king? How will you set aside your own life in a frail attempt to pacify your position?
The Jews cried out, “We have not king but Caesar” simply because they were afraid of losing their position. They saw their fame being challenged by someone they considered to be a peasant carpenter from a small town that never had any good to offer.
I can ‘t think of the many times when I set aside Christ so that I could have momentary satisfaction. Yet, He never stopped waiting for me at the next crossroad. Each time waving a sign that reads “dead end”. Even in those moments I was so distracted by my own ambitions and desires that I never paid attention. I went on as if I had it all under control, though as I was only speeding towards the cliff.
Thanks to God for His faithfulness and for getting my attention just in time to prevent me from crashing to the bottom of a rocky cliff. Though, I must admit that I went through the guardrail and was only saved by the Rock perfectly positioned to catch me.
So I ask again, who is your king and what will you do to hold on to it? I lost everything I was fighting to hold on to; at least that’s what I thought until God revealed to me that He was simply shaving away useless habits. He was stripping away those things that I had made kings over my life so that He can be the King I had so longed to exalt.
Will you then continue to exalt a king that you know seeks only to control you. The real question then could be “What” is your king? Those things that stand between Christ and us are kings: hobbies, money, toys, and all manner of material things; wives, husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, and even family and friend who mean more to us that our relationship with Christ are kings in our lives.
On this Good Friday we reflect on the crucifixion of Jesus. We reflect on the tragic events surrounding the condemnation of man on their Creator. We reflect on the prophecies and how they were fulfilled on the cross. Still, it’s difficult not to reflection on the resurrection because we already know the outcome. He is risen!
Yes, we know the outcome of what has passed and we rejoice in life through death. We also know what is yet to come because the risen Lord Himself has told us in advance. If we know what happened over 2000 years ago, why then would we not be prepared for what is to come shortly? If we have been given hope, why do we continue to turn to hopeless kings and things that only take from us all that is good and leave us to bare our sins?
Why not turn to Christ who takes our sins and gives us life?
“Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God.” (Philippians 1:27,28)
I am bothered by the conduct of many who “profess” the name of Christ but have only given the world reason to cast a wide net of accusation against the church. It is safe to say that the conduct of many are not worthy of the gospel of Christ. Do you think that Christ isn’t present and that even if He wasn’t He wouldn’t know what you are doing? I do recognize that none of us are perfect but it doesn’t require perfection to calibrate our conduct to walk in the way of righteousness.
How long will you walk in the ways of the flesh and take advantage of the flock? How long will you continue trying to cast the appearance of blemish on the body of Christ?
Christ warned us that many would come in His name, saying that He is the Christ and would lead many astray. For much of my life I’ve heard preachers refer to this passage as though Jesus was saying many would come saying they were Christ when all along many of them were doing exactly what Jesus warned of. They were telling us rightly that Jesus is the Christ but then they proceeded to walk in a manner that does not reflect Christ’s character, taking with them many who believed their deceitful messages.
Today, the church is under attack as it has always been but thanks to technology, it is more widely evident. The insider threat is great; the enemy has crept in unnoticed! Then again, this too is no secret since Jude told us two thousand years ago:
“Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Still, I am bothered! I am bothered because our conduct as Christians have allowed the plans of the devil to advance because we choose to take sides. We choose to operate as if we are of the world and to be partakers with those who are of the world. We choose to indulge in the carnal things of those who do not know Christ. Our behavior as Christians have helped pave the way for sin to manifest itself without resistance. We have retreated from the front lines of the spiritual battle; retreating instead to our fleshly desires and giving in to our biases. Who is contending earnestly for the faith? Who is striving to be of one mind in the spirit? Who is striving together for the faith of the gospel?
Still, I am reminded that Christ is and will always be the chief cornerstone in Whom the entire body is being built up and the gates of hell will not prevail against it. Our hope is not in ourselves but in Christ alone. Our salvation is not in our fight but in Him who fights for us. So yes, I am bothered, but my sorrow outweighs my distress. I am sorrowful for those who are dying; for those who are being led astray to go through the wide gates that lead to perdition. Still, our joy will be made full because Christ is on the throne and in Him we live, breathe, and have life!
Glory to God through Jesus Christ. Amen.