Friday, January 8, 2016

Good, Evil, Respect, & Worship

"Yes, Virginia", besides our own sin, there is great and prolific evil loose in this world. But, world history and the Bible show us a great truth about good and evil, namely that, over the long haul, good shall always triumph over evil. But, knowing that we do not always feel or see the good in situations, we need to turn in faith to learn and accept God's measurement of success, rather than our feelings, sufferings, yearnings, or other temporal, earthly definitions. God has established such faith as a fact for us to digest, that we might choose Him and His goodness instead of us choosing to wallow in sin and evil. To choose earthly things over godly things shall always fail the test of eternity and God's Judgment.

There are a lot of people who try to blame the devil or demons for all the trouble in the world, but that isn't biblically accurate, nor does it fit common sense. Yes, biblically speaking, the devil and demons comprise 1/3 of the former host of heaven. God cast that rebellious 1/3 down to Earth so that their true rebellion and desires would be made clearly and fully manifest. Do not despair! That means that 2/3 of the godly angels are still working with God to fight against those fallen angels that rebelled and that are now called demons. Even Satan once stood in a place of responsibility and honor before the throne of God, but that was not enough for him, so he and his co-conspirators were tossed out. Those entities that rebelled against God now spend their time doing all the worst that they can imagine to do, whether they do it subtly or grossly, including leading people into all sorts of temptations and misleading spiritually ignorant folks to follow false teachings. Remember that Satan can show up as an angel of light to deceive those who are willing to be led astray from what God wants for us. We must, also, remember that those fallen are created beings, like us, and that they cannot be in more than one place at a time, nor can they know everything. Only God the Father, Christ Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit are omnipresent and omniscient elements or personalities of the One True God. Though the fallen devil and demons have greater individual power than individual humans, yet anyone who accepts and trusts in the biblical salvation of Jesus Christ, that recipient soul has the Holy Spirit living within and contains that power of the Godhead within to be used and released according to God's will

Outside of the believers who have received the Living Christ, human sin and other evil are expressed and tolerated by God, even though they are against His will and desire for Creation. The devil and his minions, obviously had the will to rebel against God, but the Word of God is clear that they have so corrupted themselves that they cannot or will not repent of their evils. Humans, also, have free will, and we have definitely used and abused that gift. Since the days of Adam and Eve, though God commands us to walk with Him and live, yet, free will is being given its free rein, and its free reign, so that at God's Judgment Seat the devil and demons shall have no excuse for what they have done, that every evil thought and act shall be exposed as a deliberate act, chosen by the perpetrators, against the will of God.

To be clear, God does and shall, forever, hold accountable every similarly unrepentant human soul, for each and every one of our thoughts and actions. The wonder is that, for us humans, in His infinite mercy, God has simplified the test of free will. He offers us ONLY ONE way out of that spiritual predicament: He promises to forgive us...  IF... we repent and accept that Jesus, the Christ of God, left heaven to be born of a virgin to live a sinless life among us, and that Christ willingly sacrificed Himself in our place, so that He alone paid for all of our sin with His own sinless blood, which meant that He alone died physically on our behalf, and that He physically rejoined Himself to that dead body, resurrecting it to new life three days after it was killed by crucifixion. He did all that to take away all of our sin and to prove that He alone is THE ONLY Master of life and death, the ONLY God and only one deserving of our allegiance, love, and worship.

Deep down in our awareness, virtually every person knows that there is a struggle between good and evil, and that each of us falls short of God's perfection and glory. The Bible says that all Creation speaks to us of our Creator. The question is whether we admit that awareness to ourselves, or do we bury it away from our consciousness, as we try to isolate ourselves from our eternal responsibilities to God. For those who think themselves immune to God or His calling upon our lives, think on these things, in the perspective of what the glorified Christ says to one of the churches in Revelation.

In our human frailty, we each choose, to some degree each day, to sinfully satisfy our fleshly and worldly desires, whether fleetingly or to wallow in sin. In that struggle with our own flesh, we discover what kind of person we really are, whether we are more desirous of evil things or more desirous of godly things. This battle rages within our hearts, minds, and lives, from the simplest soul to the most godly, from the billions of souls who labor to scrape together their daily meals to those thousands and millions of souls who are affluent, comfortable, or in great power. (Side note: Battling the sinful inclinations of our own flesh probably teaches us more about our spiritual strengths and weaknesses than all of our external battles put together, and definitely is an eye-opener to our urgent need for Christ's salvation, if we're honest with ourselves.)

Recognizing and admitting his own sin nature, even a godly man and apostle like Paul said, "Oh, wretched man that I am." His confession begs these questions. How do I conduct myself? Do I push away God and goodness, or do I fight against sin? What and whom do I choose to emulate, protect, worship, or follow? In what am I investing my life, things that last forever or things that decay? Where do I want to spend eternity? Have I honestly faced my sin and sought redemption from the Christ of God? If I am not willing to admit my sin, why am I daring God to let me live another moment? Each of my choices demonstrates my immediate degree of interest and investment in good or evil. The more I look to the world for answers the more likely I am to despair, but the more I look to God and His Word for answers the more I depend and rejoice in God's mercy and goodness.

Those who pursue evil in order to indulge in selfish interests, enslave, subjugate, or abuse others, or seek unholy ways to be rich, famous, or powerful in this world, seem very eager to avoid the True God of the Bible, or they try to twist His Word to suit their own ends. Their perversion or avoidance of the True God of the Bible is not surprising, for the Self-Existent Eternal God, His Word, and His Christ expose all manner of sin, in every person in every walk of life. Souls like that, who embrace sin instead of God's redemption, condemn themselves. That is true of every soul, from the least regarded laborer in society to the most elevated and worshipped human idols that some people serve, and in the end, that self-condemnation is true of their societies, for as the citizens live and die, so the society lives and dies.

In the Gospels of Matthew through John, Jesus spoke repeatedly and pointedly about lustful and greedy people, about power seekers, about fleshly and worldly dictators (small and great), who usually worship themselves and expect everyone else to worship them, also. They love being at the top of society and to be worshipped for being there, even though it is God who has allowed them to rise to such heights, as He tests their character and motives. The worship of people and things is evil, though we may owe earthly respect to the title or office to which God has allowed that person to rise, simply because God established that position.

Many souls fail to understand that there is a difference between respect for the position of authority held by someone, as opposed to worshipping the person who happens to fill that position. We must not mistake respect for authority of office with worshipping the occupant of that office, instead of worshipping God. Worship boils down to putting faith in and emulating that which is before us or from which we seek to draw our strength and hope. We must not confuse respect for the authority of office with the practice of falsely worshipping someone whom God has allowed to inhabit that office. History is loaded with that kind of confusion and false worship. Even in our modern world, too many people worship their leaders and fail to hold those leaders accountable to the nature of their offices. But, at the Final Judgment, God shall have them and their followers give account, yet they shall be unable to defend what they have sinfully done, even as every other unrepentant soul.

God is the only one deserving of our worship, for He, alone, never sins. In worshipping God, instead of humanity or worldly things, we learn to stand, by faith, in His confidence, responsible, and with a clear heart and mind before God, able to adjust to and face all the evils that the world throws at us. Even if the world is allowed to take all the worldly things that God gave us, yet, the world cannot touch nor destroy the salvation and eternal life that God offers and secures to everyone who will accept God and His plan of salvation. Yes, we may have to endure some horrible things, but in the eternal scheme of things it is evil itself and its worshipful unrepentant evil-doers who shall have lost the war.

Show me one unrepentant, ungodly culture or political entity, besides the struggles of God's chosen people, the Jews, that God has allowed to remain a viable culture for more than a few centuries. Today's political and spiritual battles are no different from all that has previously come to pass.

It is ONLY by our surrender to accept and receive Jesus Christ, and then our daily walk with THE Living God of Creation, Jesus Christ, that we can ever hope to endure and overcome the evil inclinations of our own flesh and the evils of this world. Our arms of flesh shall fail us, as God's Word says, but the Arm of the Almighty shall never fail us. He and His Word shall accomplish the Final rout of evil, and we must trust in that, no matter what befalls us in this life. Our expectation and worship must not be toward earthly things, but in all that God has made eternal, and in which He wants our eternal spirits to partake with Him.

The God of the Bible is adamant that you and I will choose, in this life, and for ourselves, to spend a conscious eternity in one of two places. God says that either we will choose a joyful eternal life with Him, or we will choose to suffer in the lake of fire in an eternal unending conscious death. God doesn't force any human being into the choice that we make about this crossroad in our lives.

I chose eternal life with Jesus Christ on March 15, 1984.

Please, join those of us who have chosen Jesus Christ and life eternal. Choosing Christ Jesus is not about religion, but about the eternal life of redemption from our sin, in which He offers us opportunities to grow spiritually here and that we have an eternal home with Him.

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