Bible Ballistics: Vol. 11 No.04 Bullets And Bible-Thumpers!!!
We have experienced another recent tragedy here in our country, and it seems to have stirred up more strife than unity, and I’d like to offer some thoughts in regard to that conflict. It seems that everyone has an opinion, and I’d like to simply examine the current climate in light of biblical truth. We Christians sometimes seem to think that we ought to be in the spotlight—popular and accepted as purveyors of truth without question—no matter how we live.
My mind goes to a couple of devoted believers that have passed on from this life into eternity, one with not much fanfare, except from his friends and family; the other was a man of some influence whose absence will be lauded by people near and far. And each of them lived a life of faith—two men who prayed for healing (as well as those who loved and cared for them) and didn’t receive the healing that they each expected, but they both stood fast in their trust in Jesus and His perfect will for them and left a testimony of faith that has inspired and affected hosts of people—saved and unsaved, because they held to God’s Truth, God’s Word!
So what does this have to do with the recent tragic school shootings? I think it is the very heart of the tragedies around us! We have failed to recognize the conflict between sin and faith in God. As always, we want to examine the scriptures to see what we can discover. The scriptures are our guide for living. One of my favorite passages that speaks to the differences between light and dark is Psalm 1.
“Blessed is the man
that walketh not in the counsel
of the ungodly,
nor standeth in the way
nor sitteth in the seat
of the scornful.
2 But his delight
is in the law of the LORD;
and in his law doth he meditate
day and night.
3 And he shall be
like a tree
planted by the rivers of water,
that bringeth forth his fruit
in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither;
and whatsoever he doeth
4 The ungodly are not so:
but are like the chaff
which the wind driveth away.
5 Therefore the ungodly
shall not stand in the judgment,
in the congregation of the righteous.
6 For the LORD knoweth
the way of the righteous:
but the way of the ungodly
shall perish.” Psalm 1:1-6
The Psalmist makes the contrast between those who are “blessed” and the “ungodly”—there are two forces at work in this world and we must choose who we will follow and believe—the enemy of our soul or The God of all creation, who sent His Son to die for our sin! And only those who accept Jesus and follow Him are the “righteous”!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry
19 To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world
not imputing their trespasses
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors
as though God did beseech you
we pray you in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him
to be sin for us,
who knew no sin;
that we might be made
the righteousness of God
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5 17-21
Jesus, the sinless Son of God came to give new life to lost and dying humanity. With Him we can have life, but without Him we will answer for our own sin. And what we must see and understand is that while God is calling men to reconciliation, they enemy of our souls is leading men, women, boys and girls straight to Hell—and deceiving them into believing that it won’t be a bad place to be!
“And you hath he quickened,
who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked
according to the course of this world,
according to the prince
of the power of the air,
the spirit that now worketh
in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also
we all had our conversation
in times past
in the lusts of our flesh,
fulfilling the desires of the flesh
and of the mind;
and were by nature
the children of wrath,
even as others.
4 But God,
who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together
(by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together
in heavenly places
in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come
he might shew the exceeding riches
of his grace
in his kindness toward us
through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved
and that not of yourselves:
it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works,
lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus
unto good works,
which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:1-10
We are all born into a sinful world, in a sinful body with a sinful nature and mind—but Jesus came to give “new birth” to all who are “born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” by faith in His substitutionary, atoning, death for our salvation. Jesus saves us out of the clutches of the devil and gives us new life—for which we rejoice! But not all people believe, and we must expect the conflict that we will encounter—and we will encounter opposition. And SIN is opposition! As long as sin is rampant in this world, we will have tragic happenings and wicked tragedies interrupt our world! And no matter what we may say or do, people will not be willing to hear or believe that God IS the only answer. Only redeemed and changed lives will produce a changed world
“Giving thanks unto the Father,
which hath made us meet
to be partakers
of the inheritance
of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us
from the power of darkness,
and hath translated us
into the kingdom
of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption
through his blood,
even the forgiveness of sins:” Colossians 1:12-14
Since sin is the issue, until people are ready to deal with sin, we will never see a change in our culture, our nation or our world! But we are living in a world that makes light of God, faith, and the value of life based in Biblical principles—then we are surprised when tragedy comes, and people blame everything under the sun but SIN! It’s the bullets, it’s the guns, it’s the drugs, it’d the liquor, it’s the economy, it’s the president, anything but SIN! Until we recognize that people don’t want to hear our message, we will keep scratching our heads and letting ourselves be pulled into useless debates rather than the proclamation of the truth!
One of scriptures clear examples of this is the prophet Jeremiah. Jeremiah was called to preach to a rebellious people, going there own way instead of God’s way, and they expected to reap good things not the consequences of their sin! An amazing parallel to today, so let’s look at a message from Paul before we look at Jeremiah. It’s a passage that reminds us of a culture that is “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
“This know also,
that in the last days
perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away.
6 For of this sort are they which
creep into houses,
and lead captive silly women
laden with sins,
led away with divers lusts,
7 Ever learning,
and never able
to the knowledge
of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3:1-7
Jeremiah also dealt with a people who didn’t want to “learn“; and God even warned Him that this would be his mission.
“Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me,
Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. 10 See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms,
to root out,
and to pull down,
and to destroy,
and to throw down,
and to plant…….
17 Thou therefore gird up thy loins,
and speak unto them
all that I command thee:
be not dismayed at their faces,
lest I confound thee before them.
18 For, behold,
I have made thee this day
a defenced city,
and an iron pillar,
and brasen walls
against the whole land,
against the kings of Judah,
against the princes thereof,
against the priests thereof,
and against the people of the land.
19 And they shall fight against thee;
but they shall not prevail against thee;
for I am with thee,
saith the LORD,
to deliver thee.” Jeremiah 1:9-10 & 17-19
God told Jeremiah that the people would not heed his message! And Jesus told us the same thing:
“And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy;
and there abide till ye go thence.
12 And when ye come into an house,
13 And if the house be worthy,
let your peace come upon it:
but if it be not worthy,
let your peace return to you.
14 And whosoever shall not receive you,
nor hear your words,
when ye depart out of that house or city,
shake off the dust of your feet.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment,
than for that city.
16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep
in the midst of wolves:
be ye therefore wise as serpents,
and harmless as doves.
17 But beware of men:
for they will deliver you up
to the councils,
and they will scourge you
in their synagogues;
18 And ye shall be brought before
governors and kings
for my sake,
for a testimony
and the Gentiles.” Matthew 10:11-18
Paul gave us a very similar warning, one we don’t hear much about today. Today we are surrounded with a Christian culture that is often so consumed with ‘acceptance’ that they change the message of the Gospel to be accepted, popular, big and successful in the world’s eyes rather than God’s. Jeremiah’s message wasn’t received or followed by the masses, but he was God’s faithful servant to the end—and even though he wasn’t popular or heeded most of the time—he never changed the message that GOD had given Him. What about us? If we stand fast we will be opposed, just like those who opposed Jeremiah—and we can expect the same kind of thing when we follow Jesus and His Word.
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.” 2 Timothy 3:12
Jeremiah, as well as Paul suffered for holding to the truth—the truth that sin will never bring us into right relationship with God!!! Never! And sin will never lift us up, but it will drag us down. It’s why we blame everything for our nations woes except sin–“for all have sinned”! Read Romans 3!
“Go and tell Hananiah, saying,
Thus saith the LORD;
Thou hast broken the yokes of wood;
but thou shalt make for them yokes of iron.
14 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel;
I have put a yoke of iron
upon the neck of all these nations,
that they may serve Nebuchadnezzar
king of Babylon;
and they shall serve him:
and I have given him the beasts of the field also.
15 Then said the prophet Jeremiah unto Hananiah the prophet, Hear now, Hananiah;
The LORD hath not sent thee;
but thou makest this people
to trust in a lie.
16 Therefore thus saith the LORD;
Behold, I will cast thee from off
the face of the earth:
this year thou shalt die,
because thou hast taught rebellion
against the LORD.
17 So Hananiah the prophet died
the same year in the seventh month.” Jeremiah 28:12-17
Believers are called to be light shinning in the dark—not to join the darkness to be accepted! As an old gospel song says, “We’re not trying to change any hearts, we’re just getting used to the dark”! What about you and me? Are we walking in the light–or getting used to the dark? Are we debating bullets or sharing God’s Word—the truth about SIN!!! Acknowledging “sin” is the only road to salvation!!!
I’d much rather be called a “Bible-Thumper” and stand on God’s truth, than receive the laud and praise from a world gone amuck! How about you? The truth is seldom popular, and remember there are two gates—wide or narrow—many or few! What will you choose?
“Enter ye in at the strait gate:
for wide is the gate, and broad is the way,
that leadeth to destruction,
and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate,
and narrow is the way,
which leadeth unto life,
and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14