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Friday, December 11, 2009

Inconvenient Truth

Do you sometimes get the impression that people believe what they want to believe? Maybe people think that if they don't believe something that it isn't true. Or maybe they think if they do believe something that it must be true --- because they're certain that they're not foolish enough to believe nonsense. I believe this is a real problem in Christianity today.

We have all kinds of people walking around identifying themselves as "Christians." Some refer to them as "so-called Christians" or "alleged Christians." (Those would be the ones who are skeptical.) But what is a Christian really?

There are those who call themselves "believers." They believe that Jesus Christ is the Messiah, the Son of God, the risen Savior, and the Redeemer ... God in human flesh. And they're proud to identify themselves that way. But I notice that Satan believes this as well. So do his demons. Therefore, it would seem that simply believing that Jesus is who He said He is would put one on par with the demons. That's hardly a definition of Christianity that I'd like to be identified with!

Then there are those who claim to "know Jesus" as their personal Lord and Savior. They have had a supernatural encounter with Christ --- or at least will tell you they have --- and it changed their lives. Did it? Really? Can we really believe what people say? I've always learned that people will not always do what they say ... but they will always do what they believe. It would seem that the Bible has a perspective on this that's worth considering.

We know that we have come to know Him if we obey His commands. The man (or woman) who says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him (or her). But if anyone obeys His Word, God’s love is truly made complete in him (or her). This is how we know we are in Him. Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did (and love as Jesus did). - 1 John 2:3-6

So, what do you think God is saying to us (through John) here? The Bible often uses the word "know" in terms of intimate relationships. For example, in the Old Testament when a man "knew" a woman, she usually became pregnant. Knowing was far more than acknowledgment, familiarity or acquaintance. If we put that meaning to the word in this Scripture reference, it would seem that if we come to know Jesus intimately, obedience will result.

Likewise, God is telling us that if we say we know Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior --- but our behavior doesn't line up with His teachings and His commands --- then we are liars. Those are some pretty strong words. But they're God's words ... not mine. Furthermore, anyone who says they are Christians will prove it with their obedience. Period. End of discussion. There is no debate here. God's Word is final. And it is clear. There's no room for ambiguity, interpretation or wiggle room. And there's no room for any kind of loophole.

I sometimes wonder if I'm the only one who sees these things in the Bible. Why don't churches teach them? Why aren't books at the Christian book stores flying off the shelves with these truths plastered on the cover? Where are the paper weights, wall plaques and afghans with these Scripture verses on them? It appears that we Christians like to pick and choose the Biblical truth that we believe and embrace. And it's ironic that we tend to leave some things out.

But make no mistake here. What we're leaving out is the inconvenient truth that defines us as modern-day pharisees, hypocrites and yes --- liars in the eyes of God Himself. Indeed it is an inconvenient truth. Unfortunately, it is still true.

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