Sunday, March 10, 2013

Not Better, Just Better Off

We live in a world so concerned with hurting people's temporal feelings that we're effectively unconcerned with their eternal feelings. Now, don't mistake that for liberty to be a smart-mouthed, know-it-all. The world needs to purge itself of that too. But it is entirely possible to say what ya' mean, and mean what ya' say, all without purposefully trampling over someone else's emotions. Especially true if you are a Christ-follower, carrying the precious cargo of Jesus' gospel.

A simple, work-a-day example of this.... I spoke to a Jehovah's Witness yesterday. I wasn't rude. No need to be. It was a very, very polite lady and presumably her daughter. But I had to tell her I didn't believe her doctrine. The problem was that whether the opportunity just wasn't there, or I didn't make one, I didn't get to tell her what the truth of Jesus' teaching and life really is. That frustrates me. Always in a hurry.

Along those lines of thinking... let me ask you something, Christian. Is your goal to be "right", to show what you know? Or is your goal to warn folks of God's wrath toward sin and the good, wonderful, amazing news of the gospel truth?

Let me ask you something, un-believer. Is your goal to be "right", to demonstrate that you're smarter than any hokie religion? O would you be willing to demonstrate that you're wrong in order to do the right thing? Do you really believe you can escape God's wrath by avoiding the problem [sin]? Or do you believe a half-gospel that says God is all about love (as our definition might fit at any given moment), and would never allow His people to go to Hell?

It's time for some straight-talk. We can lick our self-received wounds later, and apologize if we "do" inadvertently hurt feelings. God as my witness..... I won't do it on purpose. But I love you [people] too much to find myself tip-toeing through the topics [too much bible interpreting and fitting].

What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; (Romans 3:9-10)

For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. (Romans 3:20)

BIG QUESTION: Is God "justified" in "judging the world" (v6), or "inflicting His wrath" (v5)?

BIGGER QUESTION: Are you willing to dillute the truth of God's word to make Him out to be a mean God that you can feel better about going to Hell? Or willl you fool yourself into thinking you're just "ok"?

All have sinned
verses 9 express that Christ-followers, no more than those who inherited God's favor, are any better off than anyone else ....unless they recognize that we have all sinned, and are all sinners.

If just doing the right thing were the answer, let me ask you.... how is that really going for you? Do you do the right thing(s)? All the time? How frequent? Do you ever do the wrong thing(s)? How frequent? What covers you're tail then? What justifies that? Does anything?

ALL have sinned! NONE are righteous.

All have been warned
verse 10 warns that none of us have any special favor with God. Romans 2:11 says.... "For God shows no partiality."

verse 20 clarifies that there is nothing we could or would do, anyway, which would justify us before God.

verse 23 says it clearly... "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,"

You would put me in a bag and throw me in the ocean if I did not warn you of, for example, a coming tornado. We spent millions on technology to provide an "early warning system". Our favorite television shows are frequently interrupted so that we can know those systems work. But start "warning" folks about eternity, and now we're stepping on toes.

All are justified by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ,
and it is a gift to you and I, which cost Jesus a great deal. How is that mean? How is that offensive? How is that anything but loving? How about we just leave everyone alone, and if they rot in Hell, well.... at least we didn't get in their business. I'm not judging your business. I have my own to deal with. And God, Himself, will judge that. I just want you to know this simple oft repeated, truth. I am a sinner. You are a sinner. All have sinned. We do not really seek to please God. Listen to what Paul quotes from Psalms 5:9 and 10:7.

as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;  no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." "Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known." "There is no fear of God before their eyes."