1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (God's Word Translation)
"Don't put out the Spirit's fire. Don't despise what God has revealed. Instead, test everything, hold on to what is good. Keep away from every kind of evil"
Today's road sign is "justification". This has blinded so many of us because no one likes conviction. Matter of fact, we avoid it. We would rather feel warm and fuzzy, having people giving us praise and flattery. (that's another deception we can talk about later)
HEY, WAIT A MINUTE, you might say. The bible says there is no condemnation for those in Christ. You are absolutely correct. There is a difference between condemning and conviction. Condemnation brings nothing but guilt while conviction brings confession of sin and change to be in the likeness of Christ. It brings freedom and life. All of which is a huge threat to our enemy.
Why do we see so many situations that seem hopeless? It's because the enemy has made a big yellow road sign that says: JUSTIFICATION. My friend, your God has a bigger symbol that pictures the cross. This symbol represents forgiveness, change, new beginnings, death of self and risen in a new spirit.
On this Easter morning, I can't help but think of the people involved in the most cruel death of Jesus. The same people who were praising him one minute are so easily swayed by some insecure, jealous religious leaders that they can turn so quickly. Yes, I understand that Jesus had to be the sacrifice for all man's sin, but to see it unfold in that manner is disturbing. It shows us all how ugly sin is and why God can have no part of it. It shows us what mankind is capable of without Christ. Let's look at how easy it can be to justify our actions:
Judas: handed Christ over for some extra cash
Peter: denied knowing him because of fear
Pilate: stuck to Roman law that denied Jesus' release because he refused to defend himself (knowing he did no wrong)
Samson: touched and ate things he was instructed not to and had relations with one he should have been far from (oh, this one could preach)
Jonah: found his plan more appropriate than God's plan (how did that work for him?)
Abram: couldn't wait on God's time schedule, so he took matters in his own hands and made it work
David: liked what he saw and had his men do his dirty work....because "technically" he didn't kill Bathsheba's husband
Uzzah: when the ox stumbled and the arc of God started to fall, he reached out and took a hold of it. Now this one is tough because most people are thinking...man, kinda harsh to be struck dead when he was just trying to help, BUT the bible explains that they were irreverent. They forgot and took for granted the holiness. It should have never been transported that way.
There are so many other examples I can use but I think you get the picture. I want to remind you that when you are led by the spirit of God you have less temptation to walk in your flesh and take this road called justification. For example, Joseph could have easily justified torturing his brothers as they tortured him. He could have never revealed himself or welcome them in as family. Instead though, he clothed himself in God's spirit, revealing the character of the one who changed him. I'm sure he recognized that he held himself and spoke out as a young boy but had grown as a man after God's heart.
So, my point is sin is sin. I hope we don't go there....but if you do, know that conviction leads to repentance and repentance to forgiveness and forgiveness to freedom and freedom to an abundant life that those without Christ will never understand until they experience it for themselves. Today, make your life inviting for others. Even in the mistakes and repenting, your life can be inviting (probably even more so because you put to death your pride and demonstrate humility).
May God continue to reveal himself to you where you can easily recognize deception.
NEXT BLOG: Idols......
The Mrs. Pastor