The Final Test
Do you ever wonder what the outside world sees when it looks at followers of Jesus? I think to our shame it’s not a very pretty picture. Over the past few years, I have been in a number of meetings where people have felt compelled to stand up for Jesus on a variety of issues which seems to be a euphemism for screaming and pounding on pulpits and condemning those who are not in agreement with them theologically. And we certainly know from history that this is a time honored approach that has done wonders for the kingdom of God.
And Jesus is our role model, right? So just like it says on our bracelets, we want to do what Jesus would do. After all, it says in the book of John that God sent his Son into the world to condemn the world, right? Oh, no-wait it says “God sent His son into the world NOT to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” Who thought that one up -like it’s really going to work. How will people know they are wrong if we don’t condemn them? If we were in their position, wouldn’t we want to be condemned? Would we not be totally overpowered by the love of God as they screamed at us and called us names?
We have a responsibility as believers to point out the error of people’s ways. And they have a responsibility not to return the favor. That would just be name calling. We have to stand for truth, and when people don’t accept that, we have no choice but to separate ourselves from them. We have historical precedent on our side. In the middle ages, people divided themselves over important issues like how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Then we digressed into things like different understandings of baptism and communion, works versus grace, free will versus predestination, the role of women in ministry, and a host of other issues that called for us to separate ourselves and put up walls to keep out those infidels who would destroy our faith by holding a different viewpoint than our own. Those walls were critical for our survival.
Paul talks about building walls in my King James Bible, and you know you really can’t trust those other versions, but Paul actually used the King James in his travels, so naturally, it’s right in there. And yes there are folks who say the King James was translated in the seventeenth century at the bidding of a bisexual king, but we all know that’s a weak attempt to discredit the real Bible. And it doesn’t change the fact that Paul talks about Jesus building walls. Hmn -actually Paul talks about Jesus tearing down the walls of partition between us.
Even so, we have to deal with those who are in error in their doctrinal understanding or social testimonies. The Bible plainly says that there will be a final judgement where Jesus will say to some people, “you believed the right stuff, come with me,” and to others He will say, “you had it all wrong, you’re out of here.” Whoops-wrong again. It actually says He will separate people on the basis of what they have done or not done for others -“inasmuch as you did it for the least of these my brothers, you did it for me.” It’s like He’s saying what you do is more important than what you say or believe, that standing up for Him is about doing for others. Now I ask you what would happen to religion if we all took that to heart?
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