Eternal Morality and Being on the Right Side of History

Biblical morality is at odds with culture. This is not new. People have always viewed God’s wisdom as foolishness. What man esteems, God despises.

Societies base morality on majority vote. Morals change because the majority of people today have different morality from the majority of people hundreds of years ago.

Tie this in with our evolutionary mindset and our rampant self-flattery, and we conclude that morality is evolving. Modern morals are superior to ancient morality.

Even the church has bought into this evolutionary idea. We’re embarrassed to maintain biblical morality written thousands of years ago. Many who claim to be Christian promote moral evolution.

Today we talk about changing your morals to be “on the right side of history.” When people look back on this day, you don’t want to be viewed as being on the wrong side.

Typically, and ironically, this statement is said by people who despise history as a record of oppression written by the winners.

To be honest, I do not care what side of history I am on. People’s opinions of my morality bothers me very little.

I believe my morals are correct because, as best I can, I base them on God’s Word. The only side I’m worried about being on is God’s side. His judgment is the only one that matters.

God’s moral standards are eternal. They don’t change. Right will always be right and wrong will always be wrong. God’s truth is not evolving. God’s truth does not change by majority vote.

In the end, the old, out-dated biblical morality will shine through. People who maintain biblical morality will avoid the ailments that come from immoral living. The fruit reveals the wisdom.

In the end, this world will be melted and dissolved. What a melted planet thinks about my morals bothers me none. Use eternal morality to guide your temporal living. You’ll shine in the end.

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.

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Jesus Christ Does Not Drag His Followers Kicking and Screaming

Jesus’ desire is that people repent. “Repent” means to turn. We turn from our old life to a new life in Christ. A life headed in Christ’s direction, not the direction our flesh was planning on going.

God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

If this is God’s desire, and God has all authority and power, why doesn’t He just make it happen then?

This is where the Calvinist will tell you that God has many different kinds of will. They redefine words to fit their theory even though the Bible never speaks of differing wills of God.

If God desires (the same Greek word as “wills”) all men to repent, and yet also has a will that prevents people from repenting, then God is a house divided.

Instead, we should just go with what the Bible says. Sola Scriptura, don’t ya know.

God wills all people to repent. Not all repent. Therefore, we must conclude that God’s will is not always being done on earth.

In fact, we can see that clearly in the Lord’s Prayer where we request the Father’s will to “be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

God’s will is not being done here.

God leaves it up to us. Notice His words: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

“If any man will” is an important part of the verse. Jesus does not force people to follow Him.

What He says is: if you desire to follow Him, if you are willing to follow Him, then deny yourself, take up the cross, and follow.

Jesus Christ does not drag people behind Him kicking and screaming. If you want to come, then come. He tells you how. It’s up to you whether you come or not. He’s done everything necessary by His grace to provide the way.

You just need to decide to follow Him in The Way.

Following Christ Is What Faith Is

Jesus gives these instructions to prospective followers: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Denying yourself means giving up ownership of your life, coming under a new Master–not your flesh, but Jesus Christ, your Lord and Savior.

Taking up the cross is the means by which we do this. Christ died for us, and by faith we see ourselves crucified with Him.

Following Christ is the last part. This one seems fairly self-explanatory.

However, I’ve been around people long enough to know that the most self-explanatory things are often the things we confuse the most.

Following Christ sounds good in theory, the practical application, however, doesn’t sound as fun. I’ve received resistance from many people over the idea that we have to follow Christ (which is an amazing thing to see in the church of Jesus Christ who is the Head of the Church. Head being the thing that leads the body that is following).

To follow Christ means to obey His commandments.

Again, heads explode. “We’re not under law; we’re under grace! We don’t have to do any commandments!”

The Great Commission tells believers to go into all the nations and teach them to observe whatsoever I have commanded you.

John says, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.

John says in Revelation, “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Paul says, “If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings.

Listening to Christ is kind of the whole deal. People who profess faith and don’t listen to Christ are liars, and liars have no place in the New Heaven and New Earth.

I understand why people don’t want to listen to Christ. I get it. My flesh doesn’t want to listen to Him either.

But a person who truly has the Holy Spirit will want to obey the one whom the Spirit testifies of–Jesus Christ.

The flesh and the Spirit will battle every decision. But the believer in Christ will see growth and victory over sin. There will be increasing freedom from sin’s rule.

“Be followers of me as I am of Christ” says the Apostle Paul. Peter tells us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ.

There is no other point to new life in Christ than living the life of Christ: following Him.

Familiarize yourself with the life of Christ, and may we all have the desire that Paul expressed:

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death

Dying on a Cross is the Only Way to Live

Jesus says to any who would follow Him, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Self-denial is disowning your life, not living for your desires but for your Creator and Savior’s desires, since He owns you.

Taking up your cross is the means by which self-denial happens.

I once had a guy tell me that we don’t have to take up a cross, Jesus already did that.

This is quite silly.

Obviously Jesus took His cross. He’s not asking us to take His own cross, He’s asking you to take your cross.

What is your cross?

I’ve heard some say their bum knee was their cross to bear. Some say it’s their old beater car. One guy even told me his cross to bear was his wife.

The cross we are to bear is the cross of our own crucifixion.

Paul says in Romans 6 that we were crucified with Christ. Galatians 2 says “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.”

Taking up the cross is seeing yourself as crucified with Christ. When Christ was crucified, by faith, you identify yourself with Him there.

By the Spirit we mortify the deeds of the body. We mortify our members which are upon the earth. If you are dead to sin, why live any longer in them?

This sort of death language is all over the New Testament. You are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God.

To follow Christ means not walking as unbelievers walk.

To follow Christ means not doing things for your fleshly lusts and desires.

To follow Christ means to follow Christ’s lead, not your, nor anyone else’s lead.

Taking up your cross is the means by which we see ourselves under new ownership, my old life is dead, I have nothing to fight for there.

By faith, I have been raised up with Christ to newness of life. Resurrection life takes over, which is completely different in every way from our old flesh life.

Take up the cross. You’re already dead to this world, to the flesh, and to sin.

To those who have taken up the cross, physical death has no sting, nor power over us. We’re already dead! What can death do to us?!

Seeing yourself as crucified and dead with Christ is liberating for the Spirit. But for the flesh, it’s, well, death. Your flesh wants no part in taking up a cross.

Don’t be surprised if people oppose you on this doctrine. People don’t like dying. But according to Jesus, dying is the only way of living.

Self-Denial is More than just Skipping Dessert

According to Jesus Christ, following Him is an all-or-nothing proposition. There’s no halfway following.

He says several times, words to this effect: “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

You cannot follow Him and follow yourself. You cannot be living a life after Him, if you are still living your old life you had before you knew Him.

You can’t.

These are not words just for super-Christians either. These are words for any believer. Any follower of Christ.

He says we are to deny ourselves.

Many have the idea that self-denial here means not eating that second piece of pie, or not buying Pearl Jam CD’s anymore.

But the word “deny” actually means denounce or disown. You don’t belong to you anymore. You’ve given up ownership over your life.

It’s a similar concept to Philippians 2:7 where it says that Jesus Christ emptied Himself (made Himself of “no reputation”). He was given a body, not to do His will, but the will of His Father who sent Him.

Paul describes Christ’s work like this: He who was rich became poor, so that we who were poor might be made rich.

Jesus Christ our Lord gave up heaven to humble Himself to suffer and die on the earth, so that we who were suffering on this earth might be able to live in heavenly glory with Him.

Self-denial is more than denying yourself fun and enjoyment. Self-denial isn’t necessarily mopey and depressed, long-bearded guy in a cave eating bugs.

Self-denial means doing what God says because you acknowledge that God made you and owns you–you were bought with a price.

For the new man created in Christ Jesus, doing what God says is not grievous. It might even be enjoyable. It might even include another piece of pie.

Then again, maybe you don’t get pie. I don’t know, it’s what you can do before God in faith. But simply skipping pie doesn’t mean you’re denying self the way Jesus meant it. It might mean you’re pride is dominating.

Self-denial is a way of life resulting from new ownership over your body.

Lay down your bodies as living sacrifices. Prove God’s will. You are not your own.

Babel and Big Government

Genesis 11 tells us about the Tower of Babel. People gathered together to build a tower to heaven. God confused their languages to defeat their purposes. The end.

Most applications of the story are about not trying to save yourself by good works–building a stairway to heaven (without being alarmed with bustles in your hedgerow). Or it’s about pride and how God wants to crush you.

The obvious application of the story, which I’ve never heard anyone say, is that God is against unity. He’s against people gathering together.

When I was a kid, I always did worse things in a group of other kids than I did alone. Collective stupidity is greater than individual stupidity.

Humanism was invented to gather humans to achieve greatness. The Olympic spirit. Can’t we all just get along? People are all for unity and bumper stickers tell you all the time to “Coexist.”

Everyone is for unity, which is how you know it’s wrong.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: The New Testament tells us there should be unity in the Body of Christ.

Indeed it does. Unity, however, is not the goal. Unity is a result of each individual growing into Christ. If each individual is determined to grow into Christ, there will be unity.

But, if unity is the goal, expect God to get left out.

Ecumenical movements spring up throughout Church History. Attempts to unify result in watered down doctrine. We end up with such rigorous statements of belief as “We believe in a god.” Any more depth than that, unity is gone.

When unity is the goal, God will be left out.

When people gather to celebrate how awesome they are and “look what we can achieve,” God gets left out. We’re not interested in Him; we’re interested in us.

This happened at Babel. It also shows up in Revelation. The Great City Babylon (notice anything similar about that name?) represents the one world government and one world religion. Unity. There will be temporal peace and celebrating of the awesome. Until it comes unhinged and eventually toppled.

Humans gathering to be awesome can be a dangerous thing. The Tower of Babel clearly tells us this.

Look at the places people gather to celebrate humanity: places like universities, Hollywood, Washington DC, I shall even suggest large cities in general. Notice anything about the reputations of those places? Anyone? Anyone? Those places predominantly vote for big government and have, as the news shows us every day, disgustingly, horrible morals.

Think Babel has some points to make there? I think so. What the application is, I shall leave with you.

8 Thoughts on the Problem of Why Christians Still Sin?

One of the biggest problems and discouragements for the Christian is: why do I keep sinning?

Here are several thoughts on the subject:

  1. We sin because we’re still in the flesh.
    Although we have been given the Holy Spirit and have been raised up to newness of life, we still have a flesh body. The flesh body doesn’t want to die. It is selfish and wants to satisfy it’s appetites no matter the cost. Although the believer can grow and can see victory over sin, sin remains persistent and temptation will always rear its head as long as we’re in this flesh body in this fallen world.
  2. Sin is a problem.
    If the fact that you still sin doesn’t bother you, you’re doing doctrine wrong. I’ve been around Christianity long enough to know all the “doctrinal” reasons why sin is OK. But sin isn’t OK, never has been, never will be. Sin is bad. We’re not supposed to do it. If the fact that you continue to sin does not make you feel guilty, occasionally doubt your faith, make you weep and fast, etc., then I think you need to read larger portions of the Bible. There are even righteous people in the Bible who were disturbed to the point of tears by observing sin around them. Sin should bother you; that’s actually a good sign if it does.
  3. God knows our frame.
    Our sin does not take God by surprise. He knows our frame. He knows we are dust. He knows the temptations of the flesh (remember He was in the flesh being tempted before). God has made many beautiful, wonderful, and tasty things down here. Our flesh really enjoys them. Our flesh goes crazy and turns the beautiful and the good into ugly sin. God is aware of the struggle and the pull. He is also a faithful and sympathetic High Priest.
  4. God is gracious.
    God is slow to anger, merciful, and willing to forgive. This is a blessed thing. If God is not these things, then there’s really no point to feeling any given way about sin, because it matters none at all if God doesn’t forgive. We’d all be condemned and done with. If God is not good, He’s the last place you’d go with your guilt, shame, and sin. But God is good, this is what leads us to repentance.
  5. Confess your sin.
    Many evangelicals shy away from this idea to avoid the Catholic notion of confession. Confession is a rather simple thing. To “confess” means to “say the same thing as.” It’s to see your sin the way God sees it. To acknowledge that it’s there, that it’s a problem, and that only God can truly deal with it through Christ. To not confess your sin is to say you don’t have sin. And he who says he has no sin is a liar. Deal with reality. When you sin, admit it. Deal with it. Talk to God about it.  He already knows it anyway; He’s waiting for you to wake up about it.
  6. Your good aint all that good.
    Paul says, “When I do good, evil is present with me.” All our goodness, while being truly good, gives our flesh opportunity to sin. We get pride, self-righteousness, judgmentalism and comparison going. We can truly do good things. But doing good creates it’s own pitfalls. Our flesh is so messed up, it can even turn righteousness into evil. Let not your good be evil spoken of. Be aware of your flesh and it’s power to taint.
  7. Sin is a bigger problem than we’ll ever know.
    There are times the Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse of who we truly are. It’s ugly. Often one or two big sins in our lives will capture our attention. It’s not until we deal with those that our eyes are clear enough to be able to see other sin in us. The older I get, the more I realize how much of my habits and natural responses are actually sin. I had no idea. I can only assume that the more I progress in the faith, the more clarity I will have about my sin.
  8. Be humbled.
    We sin. We sin even when we don’t know we’re sinning. We can sin even while we are doing good. Sin is ugly. It put Christ on the cross. Humility is  huge. God knows you. He sees you for who you are. Nothing is hidden from Him. Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and let Him lift you up. Humility brings peace. I don’t have to defend myself, or protect my stuff, or maintain an image or reputation. I can rest in the humble knowledge that I’m nothing without Christ. Be humbled by sin. Humility is a virtue our world despises, but one our Lord and Savior fully embraced when He humbled Himself in the form of a servant to become obedient unto death on the cross. Sin even humbled our Savior, and He didn’t even do any of it! How much more should we, who actually sin, be humbled?

If you are a Christian and still sin and this doesn’t bother you, make sure you’re actually more than a Christian by name. If you are in Christ, sin will bother you. If sin is not a problem in your mind, then you have bigger problems than you know.

Face the problem. Deal with the problem. Be humbled by the problem. Look forward to the day when we will be released from the problem of sin and will be made like Him when we see Him as He is.

Even so, come quickly.