Tuesday, December 13, 2022

No Exceptions in Being a Christian

No Exceptions in Being a Christian 
by David Brenneman 

An exception is defined as "a person or thing that is excluded from a general statement or does not follow a rule." according to the online Oxford Language site.  

We read in the Bible that we're not to love the world nor the things in the world.  That's in 1 John 2:15-17 NASB "Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God continues to live forever."

So why do people try to impose exceptions to what God's Word says?  There are no exceptions.  There are no things of this world that we ought to elevate higher than obedience to God's Word. 

People who claim the name of Jesus Christ as their Savior shouldn't treat people as the Priest or the Levi in the story Jesus told in Luke 10:30-37 NASB "Jesus replied and said, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he encountered robbers, and they stripped him and beat him, and went away leaving him half dead. And by coincidence a priest was going down on that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite also, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan who was on a journey came upon him; and when he saw him, he felt compassion, and came to him and bandaged up his wounds, pouring oil and wine on them; and he put him on his own animal, and brought him to an inn and took care of him. On the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper and said, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I return, I will repay you.’ Which of these three do you think proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell into the robbers’ hands?” And he said, “The one who showed compassion to him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do the same.”"

Sitting in judgment is yet another way.  People going off on people of whom they know nothing about.  They utter a railing condemnation and demean, berate and belittle and excuse it because they've created an exception to God's Word in the name of politics or sports. 

Jesus never did this.  If we're to walk as He walked, becoming a Disciple as He taught the Apostles to make...then why embrace exceptions and create exclusions?

Isn't that more than an implied sin?

Nowhere in the Bible are we given an out to sin in the name of entertainment or in views on life.  In Christ we are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works that we might walk in them.  Period. 

We show not the world the love of Christ Jesus when we sound and are just like the world.

There are no justified reasons for berating, belittling or degrading people. Scripture says that Jesus Christ died for all mankind.  Including those people with whom we come down on. Including those who aren't yet saved.  Including that guy or gal who cut you off while driving. Including those coaches and players in the game you watch. By God's definition all who have the breath of life are who Jesus died for. 

It's not right that people try to cop out of obedience to God's Word. 

As I was taught...hate the sin not the sinner.  God hates sin He doesn't hate His creation.  He came, lived a sinless life, died a death He didn't deserve, to bring life to mankind. To offer eternal life to all who would believe. 

Many think they know me yet extremely few have honestly tried to get to know me.  They might remember who I used to be like and what I used to do.  My life in Christ Jesus -as it ought to be- changed me.  My prayer has been to become the man of God that God wants me to be.  It means letting go of worldly thoughts and ideas. It means making whatever is important to Jesus important to me.  It means desiring what He desires.  

Our lives in Christ are not our own, we were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ.  Our lived should be lived in such a way as to honor what Jesus did to save us....without exceptions or exclusions.

There are no acceptable exceptions to idolatry.  God's definition of what it is...the putting of anyone or anything in the place of Jesus on the throne of our hearts is idolatry.  
There are no exceptions to anything that God's Word says is sin.  None.  No if's and's or but's about it. 

If you hold onto things or people more than you hold onto your life in Christ, if you indeed have come to Christ, then you have elevated them. 

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and Spirit. Love your neighbor as yourself."  There's no room for anything or anyone else.  As our Pastor often says "It comes down to loving God, loving people".

There's a lot in the Bible about idolatry that people keep thinking is about the 'other guy' that it's not happening in our own lives.  

When we put ourselves above God we are, in our selfishness, committing idolatry. 

Look at what you've done. Look at who or what you have put on a pedestal in your life.  Look at what you wear to show who or what matters most to you. 

Every life of every human being will give an account of the deeds done in the body while on this Earth.  For Believers it's about what all we did for Jesus. For the unbelieving it will show that without salvation in Christ Jesus their lives didn't come close to measuring up to salvation in Christ Jesus alone. Those will never see Heaven.  

In Proverbs 3:5-6 NASB "Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight."

Our paths aren't straight because of sin. Our paths can be made straight through obedience to God's Word. 

Letting go of self is an integral part of it.

From the worst in this world to the best in the world Jesus died once for all.  Salvation is free to all because of Jesus Christ.  We ought not be as the world in its condemnation of people when Jesus exclaims "It is FINISHED! I died for you!".

Take a good look at your thoughts. Do they condemn you before a Holy God? 
Look at who you rage about.  Are you praying for them instead? 
Look at what or who holds a place in your heart...are they or it taking Jesus's place, even if for a few minutes or hours?

Have you decided that what God says is sin or sinful is ok under certain circumstances and conditions?  

This is a heavy topic I know.  Much of my life has wrestled with it. In recent decades it's been heavily on my mind to live as Jesus wants regardless of how the world sees me.  

The Bible says that if anyone lacks wisdom to ask of God who gives it freely to all who want it. James 1:5.

I won't put things or people above my relationship with Jesus. That's a personal conviction that I have come to understand from the Word of God. Love God with everything, love people. 

The challenge is to look at everything in our lives to make sure it's as God honoring as it can be...in everything.

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