Bible Ballistics: Vol. 13 No. 26 How Far Is Too Far???
My heart is heavy with the burden of the world that we live in, and yet even more, that those who claim the name of Jesus have accepted the world’s philosophy and lies over the truth of God’s Word and claim that it’s “OK”! According to God’s Word—t’ain’t so! While these are subjects to broach with humility and compassion, I believe that they are subjects that need to be addressed.
“This know also,
that in the last days
perilous times shall come.
2 For men shall be lovers
of their own selves,
disobedient to parents,
3 Without natural affection,
of those that are good,
lovers of pleasures
more than lovers of God;
5 Having a form of godliness,
but denying the power thereof:
from such turn away.” 2 Timothy 3:1-5
This list is pretty self-explanatory, even to the point of being something that could describe most front-pages of our news any day! Yet what does this have to do with me/you/us? A lot, I think, for we are there; yet many who claim to belong to Jesus, don’t seem to be recognizing it as such, but rather joining in with the world and adjusting The Word to meet their lifestyle choices, rather than ordering their “steps in Thy Word”. God has never changed—His character, His Word, or His call to salvation! Jesus is still The Only Way—and His way will always align with The Word of God!
the same yesterday,
and to day,
and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
When we come to Jesus—who never changes—HE makes a change in us; and The Word confirms that when we are ‘born again’ we are changed from the inside out—not one who works their way to heaven. (See Colossians 1:12-14)
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 to himself
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 by us:
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
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Jesus came to save us “from” our sins, and while we must come “just as” we are, God never leaves us as we are—He is working to conform us to the image of His Son. Salvation reconciles us to God, changing us from the enemies of God to His own child.
“And we know that all things
work together for good
to them that love God,
to them who are the called
according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow,
he also did predestinate
to be conformed
to the image of his Son,
that he might be the firstborn
among many brethren.” Romans 8:28-29
“And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
And when we are saved from our sins, we are made a “new creature” in Jesus, and God says His own won’t be left to ‘their own’ devices without His guiding hand, and His eternal work of redemption and sanctification in our lives. Jesus disciplines His own, and if we don’t’ experience His work and discipline in our life, we better check out what we think saved us!
“And ye have forgotten the exhortation
which speaketh unto you as unto children,
despise not thou the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth
whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening,
God dealeth with you
as with sons;
for what son is he whom the father
8 But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers,
then are ye bastards,
and not sons.
9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected us,
and we gave them reverence:
shall we not much rather
be in subjection unto the Father of spirits,
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us
after their own pleasure;
but he for our profit,
that we might be partakers of his holiness.
11 Now no chastening for the present
seemeth to be joyous,
it yieldeth the peaceable fruit
which are exercised thereby.” Hebrews 12:5-11
The fruit of righteousness comes from God’s ‘training’ work in our lives, all to conform us into the image of Jesus Christ His Son. And yet, I hear all around us of those who claim to be “Christians” and yet are continually “denying the power thereof”. I heard of an instance recently where a popular television program had two professing Christians on it (a reality show of sorts) and when one called the other to avoid immorality, he was rebuked and told that his opinion wasn’t valid –that God will forgive immorality when we ask, and that’s all that is important! WRONG! Yes, God will forgive when we seek His forgiveness, but it requires a repentant heart, a recognition of sin as sin, and not an arrogant refusal to accept God’s standard of life and morality but accepting the world’s standard while rejecting God’s truth!
“If we confess our sins,
he is faithful
to forgive us our sins,
and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness.
10 If we say that we have not sinned,
we make him a liar,
and his word is not in us.” 1 John 1:9-10
Jesus tells us that just ‘saying’ so doesn’t ‘make it’ so. Are you talking a good talk, but living a different way? How far have we been led astray, how far have you/I gone afield from God? We must return to the “narrow road” if we truly belong to Jesus. Jesus said it best; ask His words to truly speak to your heart!
“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.
15 Beware of false prophets,
which come to you in sheep’s clothing,
but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16 Ye shall know them by their fruits.
Do men gather grapes of thorns,
or figs of thistles?
17 Even so every good tree
bringeth forth good fruit;
but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit.
18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit,
neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit
is hewn down,
and cast into the fire.
20 Wherefore by their fruits
ye shall know them.
21 Not every one that saith unto me,
shall enter into the kingdom of heaven;
but he that doeth the will of my Father
which is in heaven.
22 Many will say to me in that day,
have we not prophesied in thy name?
and in thy name have cast out devils?
and in thy name done many wonderful works?
23 And then will I profess unto them,
I never knew you:
depart from me,
ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:13-23
Just like Jesus continued on, we can have a house built on the rock–Jesus, or we can settle for a house that looks good but is built on the sand of the world. So, remember, when the storms come–and they will come—the foundation determines the outcome!
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them,
I will liken him unto a wise man,
which built his house upon a rock:
25 And the rain descended,
and the floods came,
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house;
and it fell not:
for it was founded upon a rock.
26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not,
shall be likened unto a foolish man,
which built his house upon the sand:
27 And the rain descended,
and the floods came,
and the winds blew,
and beat upon that house;
and it fell:
and great was the fall of it.” Matthew 7:24-27
Paul paints a wonderful word picture of our new relationship with God—and it’s not a relationship that minimalizes sin, or covers sin up, or calls wrong right, or right wrong. Yet just as Paul told Timothy, those “perilous times” have come, we are surrounded by a world that proclaims a ‘modern gospel’ that is false, they have a “form of godliness, but denying the power thereof”! They don’t want life-changing, transforming salvation that Jesus offers, but they simply want a “get out of hell free” card, that “cheap grace” that Dietrich Bonhoeffer talked about almost 100 years ago.
“Therefore being justified by faith,
we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 By whom also we have access by faith
into this grace
wherein we stand,
and rejoice in hope
of the glory of God.
3 And not only so,
but we glory in tribulations also:
knowing that tribulation worketh patience;
4 And patience, experience;
and experience, hope:
5 And hope maketh not ashamed;
because the love of God
is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Ghost
which is given unto us.
6 For when we were yet without strength,
in due time Christ died
for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man
will one die:
for a good man some
would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love
toward us, in that,
while we were yet sinners,
Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood,
we shall be saved from wrath
10 For if, when we were enemies,
we were reconciled to God
by the death of his Son,
we shall be saved
by his life.
11 And not only so,
but we also joy in God
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
by whom we have now received
the atonement.” Romans 5:1-11
And two final passages that I want to leave with you, are the quintessential revelation of God’s perspective on sin; passages that many reject today, but nonetheless, are still God’s truth, and I will simply list them here for you to ponder. God’s opinion is the opinion that will matter. (See Hebrews 4:12-13 — God’s Word will be the defining Word of judgment!)
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ:
for it is the power of God
unto salvation to every one that believeth;
to the Jew first,
and also to the Greek.
17 For therein is the righteousness of God
revealed from faith to faith:
as it is written,
The just shall live by faith.
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven
against all ungodliness and unrighteousness
of men, who hold the truth
19 Because that which may be known of God
is manifest in them;
for God hath shewed it unto them.
20 For the invisible things of him
from the creation of the world
are clearly seen,
being understood by the things that are made,
even his eternal power and Godhead;
so that they are without excuse:
21 Because that, when they knew God,
they glorified him not as God,
neither were thankful;
but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.
22 Professing themselves to be wise,
they became fools,
23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God
into an image made like to corruptible man,
and to birds,
and fourfooted beasts,
and creeping things.
24 Wherefore God also gave them up
through the lusts of their own hearts,
to dishonour their own bodies
25 Who changed the truth of God
into a lie,
and worshipped and served the creature
more than the Creator,
who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26 For this cause God gave them up
unto vile affections:
for even their women did change
the natural use into that
which is against nature:
27 And likewise also the men,
leaving the natural use of the woman,
burned in their lust
one toward another;
men with men
working that which
and receiving in themselves
that recompence of their error
which was meet.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God
in their knowledge,
God gave them over
to a reprobate mind,
to do those things which are not convenient;
29 Being filled with all unrighteousness,
full of envy,
haters of God,
inventors of evil things,
disobedient to parents,
31 Without understanding, covenantbreakers,
without natural affection,
32 Who knowing the judgment of God,
that they which commit such things
are worthy of death,
not only do the same,
but have pleasure
in them that do them.” Romans 1:16-32
“Know ye not that the unrighteous
shall not inherit the kingdom of God?
Be not deceived:
nor abusers of themselves with mankind,
10 Nor thieves,
shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And such were some of you: (past tense)
but ye are washed,
but ye are sanctified,
but ye are justified
in the name of the Lord Jesus,
and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
What’s your answer, “How Far Is Too Far”? God will show you, if you really want to know!
yea, let God be true,
but every man a liar;
as it is written,
That thou mightest be justified
in thy sayings,
and mightest overcome
when thou art judged.” Romans 3:4
Amen and Amen!