SHORT BIBLE LESSON - BLURRED LINES
Jesus drew lines in the moral landscape of Israel. He opposed the religious hypocrisy of the Pharisees and Sadducees and set a proper distinction between what is holy and what is hypocrisy (Matt. 23). For this, He was killed. But, the powerful testimony He left before His death and after His resurrection is recorded in the Bible. His words and life are a beacon of light to all who want truth and desire to know the difference between right and wrong. With Jesus, there were absolutes. With Jesus, there really is such a thing as truth and error, right and wrong.
However, in today's world relativism is a serious problem not only for the secular, but also for the sacred. In the world people are taught to not pass judgments on others about their beliefs or lifestyle preferences, especially if those beliefs and lifestyles contradict the Bible. Sin is considered an anachronous and meaningless concept. The world does not want the Christian to shine a holy light on its sin. Instead, the world wants to have its sin without condemnation and without guilt. The world offers a philosophy of "It is right if it is right for you," and "What is wrong for you is not necessarily wrong for anyone else." In relativism there are no absolutes. There are no paradoxes. This makes it easy to do what is right in its own eyes.
It doesn't take long for any serious Bible student to recognize the problems in the Christian church as well. We see so-called Christian denominations and churches that approve of homosexuality, or couples living together, etc., and that teach a weak doctrine of God, sin, Christ, and salvation. Unfortunately, these kinds of churches are in bed with their secular mistress and are being seduced into further and further spiritual adulteries. In other words, the lines that Jesus drew so sharply in the Gospels that separate the sacred from the secular are becoming more and more blurred by the relativism of today as it seeps into the Christian church.
The blunt truth is, however, that there is an absolute right and wrong. We find it in the Bible which says that homosexuality is a sin. It is not an "alternate lifestyle." It is a rebellious act of people who oppose the God-ordained institution of marriage between a man and a woman (Gen. 2:18-25). The Bible says that living together is a sin. It is wrong since it is the participation of the sexual union outside of the covenant establishment of marriage. The Bible teaches us about husbands and wives, not about "significant others." The Bible teaches us to NOT bow to social norms if they contradict Gods' word. Therefore, it is always wrong to lie, to commit adultery, to steal, to bear false witness, etc. It is wrong because God says it is wrong.
Furthermore, doctrine is important and there can be no compromise on the truth of what God has revealed. There is only one God in all existence who has always been God (Isaiah 43:10; 44:6,8; Psalm 90:2). God is a trinity (three persons in the Godhead - Matt. 28:18-20; 2 Cor. 13:14). Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:1,14). Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). If you do not believe and trust in Christ alone for salvation, you are damned to eternal hell (John 3:77-18; Matt. 25:46). These are only some of the many truths of the Bible that are under attack from the world and from the cults and other false religions.
If we Christians are to sharpen the lines of truth and morality, we must first know what the truth is. We must know what the Bible actually says about right and wrong, about doctrine, about God, etc. And then, we must be willing to say, "That is sin" when we see sin. We must be willing to stand up for righteousness, even if it costs us. Far too many Christians let the world give them comfort and safety in exchange for integrity and truth. The manifestation of this compromise is found in liberal theology and churches with social agendas. The world wants to blur the lines of distinction between the absolutes of morality and truth and lies and compromise. It wants no more blurred lines, but the church is supposed to sharpen those lines.
But, should we be a people that stand united in truth with fists raised in defiance against the world's relativism and moral compromise? Well, yes and no. Yes in that we are always to stand up for what is right. No, in that if standing up for what is right is not done in love, then our message of truth cannot be heard. Truth without love is hypocrisy. Love without truth is is a lie. Both truth and love must be presented in harmony. The Christian church should be true and it should also be beautiful. In other words, it should teach what is right and it should LIVE what is right. "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith," (1 Tim. 1:5).
In your life are you living both the truth and the love that Jesus presented to us? Are you proclaiming truth at work? Are you teaching it at home? Are you standing up for truth in society? And, are you proclaiming truth in love? Are you teaching truth by a loving example? Are you standing up for truth with love as your foundation?
Lest I risk teaching moralism and further the degradation of truth in the world, I must make it clear that both truth and love are based on the cross of Christ. At the cross we see the perfection of truth and love realized together on the hard lines of that bloodied tree. It is true that Jesus died and rose again. It is true that His love for us bought us our salvation. It is true that the cross is the only hope for mankind. It is true that people need to die to themselves. It is true that love is sacrificial and that it can cost us our lives. It is true that there is such a thing as sin and it is true that we can point out what is right and wrong in the world because Jesus lived what was right and wrong, died, and rose from the dead to prove that what He said was true.
The church that has lost its truth is a false church. The church that has lost its love is a godless church. The more the lines are blurred between the sacred and the secular, the more we move towards apostasy. No! We must lovingly trace out the lines already drawn and lovingly point out that there is a right and a wrong. But pointing this out must be preceded by living the truth, not in simply proclaiming it in a form stripped of love.
We need to make sure that the lines between the sacred and the secular do not become blurred. We must make sure that they are sharp. We must proclaim Christ and Him crucified and that He alone is the way, the truth, and the life. Without Him judgment follows.
VERSE OF THE WEEK.
2 Peter 1:5-9
"Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge; 6and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness; 7and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love. 8For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins," (NASB).