There are two things that grieve me in the faith of those around me today. Some have taken the truth, that as a follower of Christ, is part of our treasure and hope, and turned it into hate by removing all trace of the precious love that calls us to Christ. The same has been done with the Love that gives us purpose. There is love preached from pulpits and in the street but there is tragically little truth in it. Both of these half truths are whole lies.It is what is striking at the heart of Christianity either whipping us into frenzy of foaming hate or watering down our faith to where we ask if Jesus is even really the only way someone can find a true relationship with God.
Love the Sinner hate the Sin. Let it sink in…. This is the balance we must come to. This is the place that the most peace resides. Here, in this, your identity is not the terrible things you have done, the lies you have told, your sexual preferences, or your addictions whether you are ashamed of them or not. Here you are free to love one another in an unconditional way as we submit ourselves to the Lord of hosts who first loved us and laid down his life for us. He did not just die for us, he loved us enough to take up his life again, so that we might have the relationship we were meant to have with him.
We no longer have to hate one another. All are welcome to the banquet you need only except the King for who he says he is and believe in his son. You need not change or be charged to get in. This is what the world needs and this is where the watered down version of Christianity stops and the hate mongers gloss over. Both sides gut the truth of Gods love, discredit the Bible and only proliferate confusion and deception.
The Whole Truth
God hates sin plain and simple but he deeply loves the people who commit it. He prepares us for himself, if we allow him. His identity as God means he does know what is best for us. Like a father who loves his child he works to correct us to purify us to make us holy. This means that we do not get to keep the sins we have or that we think are not sins. Our secrete lives are not secrete to him. By our submission to him he molds us like the potter who presses and cuts with hands and tools eventually placing the vessel in fire. He works and shapes us into who he intended us to be. All of that sin we have committed and will commit has consequences, shame and pain tied to it. The truth is if you do the hard work of obedience, if you renew your mind by the hearing of his word, you will have life and life more abundantly.
Peace, joy, love, forgiveness, power, strength, patience, life eternal these are our reward and the most precious reward God himself.
How can you be so sure of this? What is your measuring rod?
I imagine that this is the question most people ask. Some might ask if I am crazy for believing the Bible but I think that the 2 questions have the same answer. There can be, will be and have been books written on the subject of the Bible begin factual. Is it actually the word of God? I know it is for a host of reasons that I can not go into here. I asked myself if I was pressed to give the single most definable reason for my belief in the God, the Bible, Jesus and all that implies it would have to boil down to my relationship with God. He is a close ever present guide, friend, father, and teacher. He loves me and I love him. Jesus is his son and payed the price so that I could experience this relationship. Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Jesus which gets into the trinity. I will not write about that here either, because its details are unknowable.
Because I care about you, I will give the second reason why I believe. Prophecy in the Bible has come true. In detail, both historically and in persons throughout history. Every time an archeologist dips his shovel into the dirt that statement gets more and more undeniable.
All of this is not why I am writing this. I am writing this to paint a picture of true Christianity in a world of caricature. Absolute truth is knowable and the Bible directs us to it while delivering the prerequisites for living in line with that truth both in general and eternal.
Past the Sounding Gongs and Wagging Tongues
God loves you so much. Think about the person you love the most. The one who, when you think of being parted from them, it hurts. Then imagine that you could see that person wondering towards a cliff and they can not see it. From your perspective you can see the danger. You know that if they would just listen to your desperate cries to stop turn around and come to you they would be saved. Now multiply that by the current population of Earth. You have a rough shadow of the desperation God feels for you and me. Why does he not just make himself known in a way that appeases our physical senses? He has through the Bible and through his son Jesus. Why does he not run out to us, yell louder, or physically stop us from sinning? Because God is powerful, terribly powerful. We have no choice but to do what he compels us to do if he so chooses to violate the first gift he gave us, the gift of free will. He is not a cosmic rapist and he has made himself known to the very edge of overcoming our free will and turning us into robots that simply declare we love him despite the fact that some of us truly despise him.
That is where the love and the truth meet. He sees our sin and could easily destroy our free will rendering us sinless and without choice. Instead he has paid such a steeper price he die for us and the sins we have committed so that we do not have to continue in them. We can come freely to him. In his presence we are changed and the sin and evil that is to be hated is not us.