I’m going to confess one of my struggles to you right now. This is a failure I have made countless times. Usually, this happens when I am talking to my mom. I’ll be driving down the road, having a lovely conversation with her and all of a sudden, I realize that one of two things has happened. Either I am in the wrong lane for the exit that I need to take with no way to get over, OR I’ll realize that, while conversing I have long since passed my exit and now have to find a different way to get where I’m going. I remember one specific time driving home from college where I missed my turn off by almost 20 miles! While that can be highly inconvenient, it doesn’t really have much bearing on eternity. In today’s readings though, we find some things that, if not addressed in time, can have eternal ramifications!
It’s easy to look at certain people or groups of people and label them as “bad people.” Drug cartel bosses, serial killers, and you fill in the rest of the list rise to the top of the “bad people” category. When they are sentenced, everyone cheers that justice has been served. The same has been true for all of human civilization as we compare ourselves to others instead of to the Perfect One. Jesus knew that, and in Luke 13, he picks out two groups of “bad people” and tells His listeners that, like those individuals were “justly” punished, so too would the hearers be justly punished unless they were willing to repent of their sin.
Many people like to find what they want out of the Scriptures. I was talking to a coworker a while back and in discussing a given biblical topic, he said, “Well, that’s not the interpretation I want to take [because it doesn’t fit my agenda].” It made me think immediately of 2 Peter 1. The Bible isn’t about what you want it to be. The Bible says what it says, and just because you don’t like what it says, or it doesn’t fit your agenda, doesn’t change what it says. It’s a very dangerous thing to twist God’s Word to fit your own desires. In doing so, it not only undermines the authority of Scripture, it places me and my opinions ABOVE the Bible, and in essence declares that I am able to tell God what is ok and what isn’t. What a fearful place to occupy when we begin to tell God what He can and can’t say!
This tolerance that is really just a subjective view of right and wrong that is incredibly prevalent in our culture today is spelled out in Micah 4. “For all people will walk every one in the name of his god…” When there is no supreme authority, no absolute truth, no objective standard, everyone can do whatever he wants with no fear of recourse. There’s no one who can tell me that I’m wrong. So then we must all be “tolerant” of others beliefs. However, when there IS a supreme Authority, when there is absolute truth, and when there is an objective standard, that is by nature an exclusive view. Anything outside of that standard is wrong, anything aside from that truth is a lie, and anything aside from that Supreme Authority is invalid. We have to follow the second half of that verse, “…and we will walk in the name of the Lord our God for ever and ever.” It doesn’t matter what kind of tolerance the world demands, God demands that we follow Him regardless. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude to the world, but we can never compromise on truth. If we do, there are significant consequences for us to deal with.
Don’t allow yourself to fall victim to these traps of Satan this week. God’s Word is the supreme authority and it isn’t subject to your own opinions. As we look into the “perfect Law of Liberty,” it is important that we compare ourselves against that objective standard, not against those around us. If we forget these truths, there can be incredible ramifications, but if we follow God’s Word, we can be changed into the image of His dear Son and our Savior, Jesus Christ!