There is a difference between our culture’s idea of what it means to live life well and what the Bible says about it. For example, the Bible admonishes us to live life for God. The world does not… at least not in a way that God Himself would define it.
Take for instance, how we handle the idea of sin. Sin is a term used biblically to indicate those individual departures from God’s Word on specific things such as taking His name in vain, dishonoring our parents, stealing, coveting, bearing false witness (lying), and murder. But it is also the general positioning of ourselves in opposition to God’s authority in life. More than that, it is valuing anything (or anyone) else above God in which case the specific sins we commit are symptoms of the condition of sin in our hearts and minds.
Our culture is in love with the idea of God in general… as long as God doesn’t meddle in our pursuit of our own pleasure and self-exaltation. It is not a popular thing to believe (let alone say) that we cannot truly love God if we scorn His holy Word (the Bible). In fact, today you are in danger of not only being disapproved, but of being attacked verbally, emotionally, reputationally, and, in some cases, even physically.
Let us be clear however. The Bible in no way condones a life continuing in sin whether it’s the exploitation of other people, abusing others in general, defying God’s outline for sexual relationships, or misrepresenting His truth for whatever reason.
“The Lord knows those who are His and let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity…. What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?” (2 Timothy 2:19b, Romans 6:1 ESV).
I fear that many, if not most, Christians have succumbed to the extreme expressive individualism that has overtaken our world and that somehow God’s truth is allowed to be a secondary (if even that) consideration in governing our moral choices.
But in some ways, this is to be expected. First of all, people who are truly surrendered to God, His glory, and His truth, are always a minority and are not at home in the world around us looking forward to the future fulfillment of God’s promises when Jesus returns. Secondly, God warns us Himself in the Bible of how people will fall away, enticed by the logic and lure of the world around them.
“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teaching to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be soberminded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:3-5 ESV).
The time is coming and the time is here. Be careful then how you spend these few days on earth. Will you spend them bowing to the pressures and expectations as well as values and temptations of a world which loves its own path and hates God? Or will the treasures of God’s love and truth be enough to anchor you to the one true hope that endures beyond this life and preserves for you an eternal joy with God in heaven?
“There is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:8 ESV).
To love God means that we love His truth in both theory and in practice (we love the idea of it and the doing of it). It also means that we love people who, no matter how disfigured and confused by sin they are, still have been created in the image of God; it is for them (as well as each of us) that Jesus died on the cross. So we live His truth and we share His truth. It is for this reason that you and I have been born to this time and place.
Copyright © 2021, Thom Mollohan.
Thom Mollohan and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 25 years, is the author of Led by Grace, The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at “unfurledsails.wordpress.com”. Pastor Thom leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed are the work of the author.