In several discussion with friends both online and off-line over past several weeks one of the heart-rending topics was the lack of holiness in the Church along with God’s Holiness and His commands that His children be holy as He is Holy. My brethren, God is patient and that is a good thing, but eventually He is going to cleanse things and bring judgment to pass and the lack of fear of God that we are witnessing in many so-called “Christian” leaders about this is astounding. However, much of what is overlooked in this issue is that these compromises within the visible Church are actually mirrored in the same issues that run very deep within our society.
This blog is public enough that I do receive quite a few comments and emails from those who contend that “religion” is a scourge and a plague in the world. While I agree that that does describe man-made religion, we contend that genuine Christianity is not man-made, or man-controlled, or in any way a scourge or a plague. The blunt instrument that these “fellows” use in their “contentions” is entirely based in relativism. They claim to be using “reason” while accusing all who live by faith as being blind fools for being so certain.
Several years ago after Bobby Knight had retired from coaching college basketball I saw an interview with him on ESPN during a tournament. People emailed questions to him directly. One of the emails asked about how “kids” had changed since he first began coaching and how that had influenced him to retire. His answer went something like this, “kids are kids, the problem is really with the parents.” That got my attention! He then spoke of the parents not teaching their “kids” to respect authority. He said it made coaching very difficult when the players refused to submit to the authority of the coaches.
This same issue is simply another “symptom” of the same problem we see in the “Church’s” lack of holiness. I am sure that if you have watched any television lately you have seen those commercials that show people doing “the right thing” as if that is exceptional. It shows people doing things to help others selflessly. My friends, what is tragic is that this is seen as exceptional. Relativism and self-centeredness is the real scourge and plague in our society. The Church simply mirrors society. Divorce rates in the professing Church are the same as society in general for example.
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found; Call upon Him while He is near. 7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the Lord, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon. 8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:6-9 (NASB)
God tells us that His ways are not the world’s ways. His ways are right and perfect for He is Righteous and Holy and Just. There is no darkness in God. There has never been any nor will there ever be any in Him. God is Holy and Just yet He will abundantly pardon those who repent and turn their hearts away from the flesh and the world and return to Him. This turning is the act of submission to Him as Lord. It is a dying to self. It is also submission to those in authority whom God has appointed over us all.
1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5 Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. Romans 13:1-5 (NASB)
Paul spoke in this passage to the great need for believers to submit to the governing authorities. Why is this essential? He states that we must be in subjection to not only avoid God’s wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. What has the conscience to do with this?