Sunday, November 01, 2015

Several Mistakes to Avoid

          We all know by now that it’s a good thing to avoid mistakes.  While we can learn from them it’s evident that life would be more efficient and less stressful if we’d learn by observing the mistakes of others, with the result of making better choices than they did.
Can most people be wrong?
Jesus said that most people make the wrong decision (Matthew 7:13). Busy-ness and stress seem to occupy most people’s time and energy; they coast along with three assumptions that lead to a major mistake. 
What are the three assumptions?
Overwhelmingly, people of all times and all places in life have accepted three common assumptions that the Bible tells us are not true.  
  1. God is tolerant.
  2. People are good at heart.
  3. We can earn God’s approval in some way. 
These three ideas are universally popular, but lead to devastating consequences — a dreadful mistake.  
Why are these assumptions incorrect?
  • If God is tolerant, then He is not holy.
  • If people are good, then where does sin and selfishness and evil originate?  It’s not a mere lack of education or absence of spiritual awareness that keeps mankind from goodness.
  • If there were some way for us to earn or deserve God’s approval, some way to remove all of our imperfections, then God would not have sent His Son Jesus, the Messiah, to suffer and die to redeem mankind.  God’s Word then would have listed all the merits and demerits, and we would be on our own to work hard to assure our place in Life after death.
What does the Bible say?
From the first chapters of the first book of the Bible we find the first man and woman disobeying God’s one and only command.  Their sin robbed them of their spiritual covering, leaving them physically uncovered, too.  God provided them garments of the skins of animals. (Genesis 3:21).   The Bible doesn’t specify, but that occasion may have been the sacrifice of the first lambs.  Throughout the Old Testament, the system of sacrifice was continued, and in the New Testament Jesus was called, “the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world,”  (John 1:29, 36). 

What difference does it make?
If we picture God as a Heavenly Person with whom we can bargain or bluff, then we’ll probably be satisfied with what we now believe and how we live.  There’ll be no limits, no absolutes.  Taking this approach may feel reasonable, but runs the terrible risk of being 100% wrong and permanently fatal.  
    The Bible says that after death is the judgment.  No chance to return and redo life on earth. Now is the time to avoid making a big mistake.
     Why doesn’t everyone accept what the Bible says and take the easy way out?  It sounds so simple to just do what the Bible says:  acknowledge that you aren’t absolutely perfect in thought, words, and actions.  Ask Jesus to be your Savior and take away your imperfections and sins.  Be baptized. (Acts 2:38). Live a new quality of life by the power God gives to His born-again children: a life of love, joy, peace, faith, obedience. He doesn’t want any to be lost. 

Four stumbling blocks prevent us 
from doing life the Bible way.
  1. Acknowledging to ourself that we’ve been doing it the wrong way, clear up to now.
  2. Acknowledging to others that we’ve done it wrong, so far.
  3. Turning our stubborn minds and wills in a new direction takes some thoughtful effort.  
  4. Giving up our well-rehearsed questions and viewpoints that we’ve used to insulate our hearts from the reality of God’s Word.
Three questions disturb most people.
  1. What is the eternal destiny of the unreached natives in far-off lands? 
  2. Why do Christians have to suffer for their faith?  If they’re doing life according to the Bible shouldn’t they have it easier than unbelievers?
  3. Why do a lot of “bad guys” have it so good? Shouldn’t they have to suffer here and now?  
Is your understanding of the Bible correct, 
or is mine?
Other viewpoints demand a hearing:  Can’t we both accept the fact that people come to different conclusions about the Bible?  The original languages, Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, seem to allow some various shades of meanings. 
Can’t we allow for diversity of opinion? Nice people have different traditions, different emphasis, different personalities. 
Can’t we just “wait and see”?  It seems pushy and unloving to insist on one way above another. 
No.  It is not kind or understanding or helpful to watch a house burning, without yelling for the people to get out. 
So, I really care about this?
Yes.  It’s not that I’m earning Brownie points with God or with my church by bringing this matter up to you.  It’s not that I’m feeling in any way superior to you. Not that I’m an expert, either, but I know enough about other belief systems to see how they drastically differ from the Bible. 
Don’t let any stumbling blocks or questions rob you of peace of mind.  There are Bible answers to your questions and objections. Avoid the mistake of turning away from God.  

I care about you.               

by Elaine Hardt ©2004