I'm taking a little break as far as posting about all of the exciting topics from my new book just to reflect on what it means for any one of us if the claims of the Bible are true. There's a lot at stake based on what we choose to believe and disbelieve...the consequences for either are eternal choices that we will have to live with and for which we will all be without excuse. Life can be a lonely walk sometimes when you choose to stand for things that our present culture and society deem as wrong, backwards, or outmoded. Choosing to believe in the Bible today is costing people a lot including their lives just as it did in former times which my book gets into to some extent (think of the persecution of the early Church). The Bible says woe to those who call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20), yet, we do it all the time. The Bible also says that there is a way that seems right in a man's eyes, but the end of that way essentially leads to destruction (Proverbs 14:12; 16:25). So, what are the things that we do that seem okay to us especially if they're not hurting anybody, but are in direct contradiction to God's Word? Is it okay? Should we leave it and everyone doing those things alone?
Sometimes I have to catch myself on not being judgmental as I too am human and could very well be guilty of the same type of fault, and have in fact been guilty of other faults while pointing the finger at someone else. I have no heaven or hell to put anyone in and that's the point...I don't but God does and that's where my concern comes flooding in...that's why I can't in good conscience let someone continue on a path for destruction without warning them of what the end result could be if I know that's where the Bible says that path will lead. It's as if a family were soundly asleep in a house that's burning in a blazing fire and you do nothing to warn them or try to rescue them from certain death and destruction. And too it reminds me of a major motion picture I recently saw where a couple was about to drive right into a huge gulf after a major eruption along the San Andreas fault that had literally split the road in two. Had it not been for an elderly couple who saw and warned them of what lay ahead, their fate in that movie would have been sealed. That's why Christians do what Christians do. Our job is to warn of impending danger...we're not judging, we're simply warning those we love, those we don't know, those we encounter to stop and consider what you're doing, that if you continue on the path that you're on if it's contrary to God's written Word (which is available to each of us), then there is certain destruction waiting for you, an eternal separation that is not worth the things you might be exchanging your soul for...that's me on that road saying "Stop...there's danger ahead!"
Why does God have the right to say anything about our lives and how we should live? It's simple: this is His world..He created it and in creating it, He established natural laws by which it would run and laws for mankind that if followed would bring about the best mutual benefit among its inhabitants. If we didn't kill or steal or commit adultery, what a wonderful world this would be in the words of a famous song, but it didn't happen that way and we continually live with its ravaging effects. It started in the Garden of Eden. God gave Adam specific instructions making available to him every kind of fruit he could ever desire, with one exception, that he was not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. God simply asked for obedience. In essence God has extended this same offer to us in giving us freedoms, but when we take them outside of the confines of how He ordained that they should be practiced, then problems arise. God did not want mankind to know evil, which seems to be an inherent companion of good, for how do we know what's good unless we know what it is not (that being evil)? Adam's very act of disobedience led him to lose His spiritual connection with God (that's what died when he was in the garden) and so he recognized this new state he was in - a fallen nature, an animalistic nature that desires to please and satisfy itself in any and every way possible. The famous psychologist Sigmund Freud would've classified this "nature" as the "id." When Adam disobeyed, sin (i.e imperfection) in all of its various forms from disease, to death and decay entered the picture. What a wonderful world this would now not be.
What exactly does the Bible say sin (which is unrighteousness) looks like? When you don't have a spiritual connection with God (you're not living in a manner accustomed to His ways, i.e. not walking in the Spirit), then you follow the desires of your human nature and all of its frailties (the fleshly, animalistic desires within every person). Galatians 5 gives a pretty thorough list of what sin looks like as it manifests itself through the "deeds" of our human nature. Sin is adultery, fornication (this comes from the Greek word porneia meaning illicit sexual intercourse ranging from sex outside of marriage, to male or female same sex encounters, to intercourse with animals or even intercourse with close relatives); uncleanness (lacking moral restraint, especially in sexual conduct; ignoring accepted rules or standards); lasciviousness (unbridled lust, promiscuity); idolatry (the worship of idols); witchcraft (from the Greek pharmakeia meaning drug use and sorcery); hatred; variance (heated, violent angry quarreling, strife); emulations (envious or contentious rivalry, jealousy); wrath (boiling anger); strife (in this sense, selfishness, bias, self-promoting); sedition (bringing about division or discord); heresies (a chosen opinion apart from the faith); envying; murder; drunkenness (intoxication); revelry (boisterous, rioutous, half drunken festivities) and the like. If we're born with anything, by nature we are born with these things (i.e the natural desire and tendency to commit them) and if we continue in them and die in this state, then we will have to answer to God for it because we have broken His laws.
The Bible says it is appointed unto man to die once and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27), for we will all appear before God's judgment seat at a future time. Once we die, whatever "state" we have died in, that is how we will remain for eternity. There is nothing we can do at that point to change our standing with God. Either we are with Him or against Him...there's no middle ground here. The book of Revelation describes an event known as the Great White Throne Judgment and here is what it entails:
“11 I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. 14And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. 15And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” (Revelation 20:11-15)
And look who it says was found there:
“8But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
Finally, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that anyone practicing these things shouldn't deceive themselves, because such practices will keep them from entering into God's kingdom:
"9Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God."
Yes, what a wonderful world this would now not be, but this even goes back to an important point. When the tempter tempted Eve in the garden, he accomplished one main goal and that was to get her to question God's Word: "Hath God said?" (Genesis 3:1) which is another way of saying, "Did God really say that?" Is the Bible really true? Can it really be trusted? Did God really say that we're sinners by nature and that He set laws in place just as the lawmakers of the land to keep our societies civilized and orderly? Are there really going to be eternal consequences for breaking God's laws? Is God unjust for establishing these consequences? Well if He is, then why is that when we break man's laws, there are similar consequences, up to and including death? Are the judges of the land then unjust? Why even have laws set in place at all? Why don't we just let people do what they want to do and leave them be? Because if we let people do what they please, then they can reinterpret a red light to mean green and go and possibly kill themselves and anyone in between. Laws are standard-based, and God's laws do not change. They were set in place for a reason and they point out the impossibility of our ability to keep them perfectly. The Bible says that if we're guilty of breaking one law (this is what it means to sin), then we're guilty of breaking all of them (James 2:10) and if we're guitly, then we have incurred a debt that we will have to pay (Romans 6:23). Remember that spiritual separation that Adam caused when he disobeyed in the Garden? Well it made all of mankind estranged from God, so how do we find our way back to Him? And please know, God does not force anyone to come to Him, though He pleads with us throughout Scripture to do so. He tells us about Himself in the Bible and what He expects and what He has done to help us, because yes, He was aware that man would drop the ball, but He gave man the choice to hold the ball in the first place...and it was his (man's) choice ultimately to disobey.
No matter how kind you are, no matter what amount of good you do, no matter how sweet and gentle and loving and giving you may be, none of that can do away with the sin in your life. Imagine it this way: if you didn’t take the time to bathe everyday, even if it was a sponge bath, after a while, you would be filthy and you would stink. Now imagine that you in your filthy state, go out and do a bunch of good deeds around your community that day or that week. Kudos to you…a big pat on the back you get, but what did that have to do with the state your body is in... after all you still stink! Your body is still dirty, you still need to be washed. So doing good things versus the condition that you’re in are two different entities. Doing nice things is wonderful…we need more of that in our world, but you’re doing it backwards if you think that’s all it takes. God wants to do something about the condition of our hearts. Sin is like that filth that I talked about above and it makes us stink before God. Sin is like the smell of rubbish to God. Who would want to live with a huge trash barrel full of stinking, rotting garbage in their home? Hopefully we all want to be clean and live in a clean environment and those attributes and conditions describe what God is and what heaven is like. He is pure and His home is clean and anyone who desires to go there, has to be cleaned up first. Not only do you have to be cleaned up, but you need to establish a relationship with God. You need to know Him. As long as sin covers us and we do nothing about it by coming to God as we are, confessing and admitting this, then we will continue to stink and we cannot enter into His home! We’ll end up where the rest of the rubbish is. Jesus referred to it as Gehenna, the place outside of the city where they burned trash...today the common man knows about it as Hell, which people are afraid to talk about. This isn't a place you want to go. Here Jesus said one would thirst for water, but never be able to have that thirst quenched again. Jesus talked about it in Luke 16, and the fact that the man who had died and gone to Hell in this portion of Scripture could feel thirst, tells us that there will be sensation in hell. This spiritual body will have the faculties of sense in use and memory, for the man asked that his family still on Earth would be warned of the consequences of coming to this place. Do you know that the only warning that would be given was that already found in the Bible, which could be summed up in that verse as the Law and the Prophets, for at that time, the New Testament had not yet been written. Hell is a place of torment, a place of regret, a place for all eternity that will be devoid of anything that is called beautiful and good. There will be no love there and God will not redeem you from that place. The time and place for redemption is now.
The only "way" back to God is through the perfect representative of humanity and God all wrapped into one. His name is Jesus and He described Himself as "the way, the truth, and the life" and that NO ONE would be able to come to God unless it's through Him. There's no other name under heaven that can save a person (Acts 4:12), not even our own name, because we're just not good enough. A Christian then is an "ex-" something who has realized how flawed they are as individuals and are aware of their desparate need for someone greater to save them from themselves, because even as Christians we are still prone to fall. If I were to tell you of all the sins of my past, even after becoming a Christian, you would probably click away from this page and never read anything I would have to say again. I'm not a hypocrite, I'm being real. It still remains a struggle not to sin even after God saves you, yet, slowly but surely your desires for those things change and God replaces them with a love for Himself and therefore a desire to please Him, which leads to a change in your spiritual appetite and the things that you desire, and ultimately a changed life.
It baffles me that we go to such painstaking measures to make sure our futures are secured through retirement funds and nest eggs...we have coverage for everything except the very place we will spend eternity. So would it be loving if I didn't warn you of something that could hurt you? No, I would be unloving if I didn’t tell you the truth no matter how lovable you may be. I would not be nice to sugar coat your lifestyle if it’s causing you to stink. Take thought in this, if you have read this blog today, I pray you will view it with an open mind and take the time to examine yourself. Now that you know what He requires of you, you will never be able to stand before God on that day and say you didn’t know or never heard about these things, and if you reject this decision, if you choose to remain uncovered and you choose to remain in a state apart from Him, then one day in eternity you will remember this decision for the rest of your eternity. Eternity is already in each of our hearts…what hangs in the balance today is where you will spend it. This is one time you need to be selfish and not worry about what your neighbor is doing, or whether the person in the deepest darkest jungles of the world have heard this, but examine yourself, for even to those who have not heard, the Bible says that the Law is already written in their hearts, the conscience bearing witness of this. The Andamanese are just such a one of those unreached people groups. I’m not your judge, God will be theirs, He will be mine, and He will be yours… choose today whom you will serve.