Thinking about I, me and my too much leads to an “I think” way of life.
The “rich man” of Luke 12:31-21 thought he could take it easy after taking care of himself.
He thought wrong!
His body was his, his choices were his, and his one life to live was his – but his soul paid the price of his myopic thinking.
The “I think” way of life often takes the “captain’s hat” off of truth and places it on our fickle head. The obvious problem with that course of thought is our ship will sink every time. That’s because the aforementioned hat belongs to Jesus. If we keep our eyes on him, we’ll find a lot less of I, me and my in our eye.
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Hebrews 2:9-10 NKJV)
Every generation has its “Frank Sinatra’s.”
Unfortunately, it has nothing to do with singing talent and everything to do with the mindset which says, “It’s my life, I’ll live it my way!”
This mindset is right and wrong all at the same time.
The mindset is right in that your life is your life, your body is your body, your choice is your choice, and it’s all only going to happen once.
The mindset is wrong in that your soul is not your soul – it belongs to the one who gave it to us, and the choices we make are our responsibility:
- “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 NKJV)
- “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV)
- “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” (Hebrews 9:27 NKJV)
You see, our life is our life, our body is our body, our choice is our choice, but because we don’t own ourselves will we have to answer for the way we used these one-time privileges.
At the end of the day, it is our life and we can do what we want – but don’t forget that eternal life belongs to God and he always gets the final word.
“Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment.” (Ecclesiastes 11:9 NKJV)
Let’s be up front – I make mistakes! In comparison to the standards of God, the “all” of Romans 3:23 includes me. Even if I were to solely go by my own standards in life, I would still fail at living perfectly. But God forbid that I, in any sort of right mind, would use the word of God to pervert the grace of God and justify the sin that I commit against myself, my neighbor or my creator (Romans 6:1).
I see my sins! And that means that I know I’m not perfect; but I believe there is a perfect law, and that law in no way excuses sin (James 1:21-25). God’s law, through the blood of Jesus the Christ, will justify sin that’s been repented of (Luke 13:3-5, Acts 2:38), but God’s law in no way excuses sin (Ephesians 5:1-7). And you would think the clarity of scriptures such as Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; 18, Galatians 5:16-21, Ephesians 4:17-24; 5:1-7, Colossians 3:1-11, 1 Thessalonians 4:1-5, 2 Timothy 3:1-7 and 1 Peter 2:9-12 would be enough to convince someone who thinks otherwise to think otherwise (I could have kept going with several more plainly spoken scripture references but if these 67 verses don’t help you to see the truth of the matter, then sadly you’re probably not able to – John 9:25; 39-41). Fact of the matter is, if it weren’t for the scriptures of God that reveals the will of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 1:7-10; 3:4-7, Psalm 19:8, 119:172) I wouldn’t even know whether I have sinned against God! (Romans 7:7)
Despite the sound line of the afore-mentioned reasoning, there are some in the religious world who find great pleasure in
using twisting the scriptures of God to excuse sin, and great offense at anyone who “dares” to suggest that one can know that another is committing or living in sin. For proof all you have to do is read this story about offended politicians and the comments that followed where homosexuality and the rest of the LGBTQ letters are defended with verses such as the “ole-reliable” Matthew 7:1-2 (judge not that you be not judged…), Matthew 7:12 (the “golden-rule”) and even Matthew 22:37-40 (the first and second commandment). Continue reading
The judgment of God always follows the grace of God. And the moment is always meant to change the way we view sin and the way we look at judgment. Think about it:
- Grace shown through the ark during the flood – judgment upon the world
- Grace shown through the blood of the lamb during the passover – judgment upon Egypt
- Grace shown through the life of Jesus – judgment upon Israel
- Grace shown through the gospel – the ever closer judgment upon the world
There are other particular instances with prophets and kings in Israel and even with preachers and foreign nations where the theme of “grace followed by judgment” can be seen, but the pivotal moments referred to above reveal God’s willingness and great desire to handle our sin with his grace rather than through his wrath (2 Peter 3:9-10).
Don’t misunderstand grace – if grace isn’t saving us from something, then it isn’t grace. This is why God’s word clearly teaches that approaching judgment always follows a revealed grace.
“Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained. He has given assurance of this to all by raising Him from the dead.” (Acts 17:30-31)
Boy oh boy, what irony is found in 2 Peter 3:14!
“How so?” you may ask.
Well listen to what God’s apostle said to those who, along with himself, had obtained a like precious faith by the grace of God:
“For this reason, my loved ones, as you are looking for these things, take great care that when he comes you may be in peace before him, free from sin and every evil thing.” (BBE)
“What’s so ironic about that?” you may continue to ask.
Well the irony is found in the fact that God’s messenger said what he said right on the heels of saying that this world was going to melt from the top down to the bottom with a devastation that pales only in comparison to the duration of Hell’s fire.
And I guess the irony is found in one more place too.
That peace of which Peter refers to…the peace that can be had in the face of such an intense and promised judgment comes via the Greek word “eirene” which would be pronounced i-ray’-nay.
Now unless you saw that coming, I guess you can see the irony of that particular peace.
In the latest issue of the “Christian Chronicle”, an individual, in reference to SCOTUS’s decision concerning the “constitutionality” of homosexual marriages (and whose state had already began the process of legally recognizing homosexual marriages before June 26, 2015) was quoted as saying that the sky hadn’t fallen because homosexual marriages had been legalized. Perhaps I’m missing the sky for the clouds, but his comment, at least to me, sounded like a marginalization of the situation that was made toward any “chicken little” who warned about the seriousness of what was happening and what will happen because of America’s decision that day.
Yeah, the world is still ticking after June 26, 2015. People are still are going to work. People are being born. People are dying. People are even eating, drinking and, yes, people are even getting married! But this is true because of God’s long-suffering toward sin and his desire for our repentance from it (2 Peter 3:9); not because of some marginalization of its seriousness; and June 26, 2015 was a serious day with serious spiritual ramifications.
Fact is, for those who are familiar enough with the pictures of Revelation, cultures and kings, nations and economies, and even the “sky” itself can be in the process of falling without anyone outside of Heaven’s perspective even realizing it. And furthermore, I would remind people that it took a while for the raindrops of Noah’s day to reach the ground, but once that sky started falling there was no turning back, nor did all the water come from above. But that’s a whole other rainbow pride type of conversation.
So who says the sky isn’t falling? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I wouldn’t confuse our view of looking up for God’s view of looking down.
“For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” Matthew 24:38-39
This video, along with the rest of the series, can be found by visiting this link.
Power and significance in outcomes is not always associated with large numbers. God brought some great victories for Israel with just a few. Remember the victory He brought through Gideon with only 300 men. (Judges 7:7-8) Also, prior to entering the promised land, Israel was reminded of what had been done because God had been with them, in that one had been able to chase a thousand and two to have put ten thousand to flight. (Deuteronomy 32:30) This was to be a reminder that with God it mattered not what the count looked like; whether it be few or many.
Let us also remember all it would have taken was the presence of ten righteous souls to have spared the cities of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the surrounding cities. (Genesis 18:32) What if Abraham had asked if God would have spared for the sake of four: Lot, his wife, and their two daughters?
Now, consider a focus during the days of the prophet Jeremiah where we read. . .
“(1) Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to SEE IF YOU CAN FIND A MAN, ONE WHO DOES JUSTICE AND SEEKS TRUTH, THAT I MAY PARDON HER.” (Jeremiah 5:1 ESV)
The New Living Translation reads, “”Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,” says the LORD. “Look high and low; search throughout the city! IF YOU CAN FIND EVEN ONE JUST AND HONEST PERSON, I WILL NOT DESTROY THE CITY.”” (NLT) Find JUST ONE? Only ONE would have made the difference? How sad that at this time Jerusalem refused to repent and a period of captivity followed.
Consider the significance of OUR OWN LIFE in connection with our trust in God. Regardless of what the world around us might be doing, let us never underestimate the significance of our continued living by God’s standard. Though God has made clear there is a day coming for His judgment (1 Peter 3:10), perhaps — in His patience (2 Peter 3:9) — He is presently sparing the world because He wants our godliness to have more OPPORTUNITY TO INFLUENCE a few more souls around us.
Let us not give up living according to what God has revealed to be right. Those around us need to come to grips with that! With our life lived for Him, His work of sparing souls can still take place. To Him be the glory!
Have a great day BEING ONE FOUND TO BE HONEST AND JUST! – Carl Hanson
“teEn-MAIL” is sent out daily by Carl Hanson, preacher for the Church of Christ in Port Townsend, Washington, USA, located at 230 A Street, Port Townsend, WA 98368. Come visit us if in the area. www.porttownsendchurchofchrist.org
There are many people in the world today who fancy themselves as too intellectual to fall under the judgment of God. They see “flaws” in the expedited judgment of God and therefore they rest assured that this God has no right to judge, or he would at least maintain a consistency that judges mankind after the same manner that he expects mankind to judge ourselves.
For example, God tells man not to murder but then he causes one nation to rise against another resulting in a vast multitude of lives that are taken. Taking this into consideration some say that God has no right to do what he did and that he has no right to condemn a man for doing the same.
Here’s where that logic breaks down – God is God and man is man. Now by that I do not mean that God can be accused of saying “do as I say and not as I do” but that as our Creator, God has the right to set the standard, and when we (as individuals or as nations) fail that standard by sinning against our self, against others and against God then there will be consequences for our actions. Is it right to call the rule of law and the consequences of breaking it evil because of the punishment that it bears against the wicked? Of course not! Man’s entire legal system rests upon that fact. Break the law and there will be legal consequences, maybe even deadly ones, which would otherwise be illegal for one man to do to another. We understand this – until this understanding gets applied to God and then all of a sudden it’s un-just, un-fair, un-ethical and un-holy. To that I say there is a major lack of un-derstanding when it comes to the difference between the pure righteousness of God and the faltering righteousness of man and the justice that follows.
At the end of the day man will lose the same old game of pointing the finger at God when it comes time for God to judge man and our wickedness, for our lack of personal responsibility to sin does not reflect upon our amenability to the judgment of God.
“And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?” Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”” (Genesis 3:11-13)