Fast Talking Lazy People

It’s amazing to me how resistant modern Christian ears are to hearing that they should do good. It’s puzzling how we’ve turned doing good, doing what God wants us to do, into sheer evilness.

Rather than doing good, we much prefer getting away with just saying nice stuff, having good intentions. As long as we say sweet things about Jesus what we do is irrelevant.

This is nothing new to human nature. It’s an ages old battle. People resist personal responsibility in every form. Jeremiah 7 contains a great passage about this subject. Here is the progression:

7:3–”Thus saith the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings
7:5–”throughly amend your ways and your doings
7:8–”Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit.”
7:9-10–”Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations?”

Israel went to their destruction singing the wonders of their great salvation, they had been delivered and were now free to sin, sin, sin! They trusted words over actions.

Granted, there’s another error on the other side which trumps doing good over faith. The answer is not to flip out to extremes.

The answer is to quit playing games with our words and start hearing God’s Words, which implies doing what He says. It is only by faith that a man is capable of pleasing God.

I fear for many who are caught up in word games, appeasing their conscience with happy Christian platitudes while their deeds deny they know anything about God.

The OT history of Israel shows that this attitude didn’t work for them and there should be absolutely no expectation it will work for us either. These things were written for our learning.

2 comments

  1. Frank Zimmerman

    Jeff,

    I’ve done some thinking in the recent weeks about Baal worship, and why it was so pleasing and easy for Israel to fall into. Baal, after all, just means “Lord”…so the fact that we don’t use the word “Baal” today, does not mean that Baal worship does not exist.

    Baal worship had some pleasing things that commended it:

    - you were suddenly in harmony with the nations around you, who had a similar religion, so you could reach them more easily with the truth;

    - you still believed in one God, creator of heaven and earth;

    - it was “family religion”: there was also Ishtar, the female attributes of the deity, and the lovely child Tammuz, whose birthday was Dec. 25;

    - you could worship God “in the spirit”, which meant pretty well under any tree or grove or on a hill, rather than being confined to the “legalistic” laws of the temple service with their “narrow” restrictions.

    - you could occasionally fall into sin, but that was okay, because Baal was a forgiving God…or perhaps the sin was not really sin, because Baal himself did those things. In any case, those “troublesome restrictions” that caused so many to go through agonies trying to please God, were suddenly swept away. So there was a type of freedom in that way.

    On the other side, real gospel freedom and obedience were missing, and the nation went down, down, down, until they were captive, scattered, and pretty much destroyed. There were other negatives to Baal worship, such as the rulership of feelings over reason, some terrible errors about God’s character, mistreatment of the poor by the rich, and a lack of real heart salvation. I can see these dangers still today.

    I think as long as there is a struggle between righteousness and sin, there will still be a danger of Baal worship.