Wednesday, January 4, 2012
2012: Of judgment, consequences and repentance Part 2
In my days as a political consultant in the 1980s-90s, I often worked campaigns that were in deep trouble. I was good at solving problems and turning them around quickly. The most oft suggested route by a candidate in these campaigns was to stretch the truth about accomplishments to get people to vote for them. I always believed that was wrong. The best way for a candidate to have a chance is honesty--just tell the people what is on your heart about representing them. Tell the truth because that gives them the best information on whether you have earned their vote. If you are truthful, you don't need gimmicks. Same goes for the church--truth should trump gimmicks. The word of God needs no gimmickry.
The use of religion, however, to control people is about as old as the church. Doctrines of men are extra-biblical, self aggrandizing, eisegesis interpretations of the scriptures to support certain positions. The "church" is full of them. The Apostle Paul warned of these things in Ephesians 4:14, "That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive." None of us want to think our pastors would partake in this, but many have been taught by bad teachers. These doctrines then get passed on as fact and because a pastor teaches them, people don't question them.
Exercising the word of God--practicing it in every challenge, every instance--brings the power of God to bear in any situation. Using the word of God out of context, however, to justify a personal position is how bad doctrines get started and how men become deceived. Paul wrote in 2 Timothy 3:16, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." But if the word of God is not taught, and doctrines are developed out of context, then the people do not know--that is, unless they themselves are reading the word and spending time with the Lord--creating that personal relationship through prayer and knowledge of the word.
The requirements to enter the kingdom of God are accepting Christ, being born again. The word, however, goes deeper. One example is Ephesians 5:5: "For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." Jesus said that many will come to him saying they have prophesied, cast out devils, and did great works in his name. His response: "I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23)." I would rather work out my salvation with fear and trembling than to depend on what some person prophesied over me or by doing something somebody told me to do. You and I will stand before the Lord in eternity on our own merits, not on somebody else's. We have responsibility as citizens of God's kingdom.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!