I got a fair bit of criticism (on Facebook and Instagram, mostly.) over my last post, and it made me think about some things – I spent that night in prayer after the first few negative comments, praying for God to reveal Himself to me again and let me know if what I’m doing and what I’m writing is what He is calling me to do. It wasn’t long after that, in my own Bible study, I found a few verses one after another. God most definitely speaks through His word, and these verses really spoke to me.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
“Cry aloud; do not hold back; lift up your voice like a trumpet; declare to my people their transgression, to the house of Jacob their sins.
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
I want to start off by saying this – I’m aware that these verses aren’t specifically talking about me. I am in no way as amazing as the disciples were, I am not the person written about in Psalm 1, I am not the person in Isaiah, I am not who God was originally speaking to in His word, but He is clear on this fact…He uses the Bible to speak to all of His followers, whether they lived in Jesus’ day, in the 1940’s, or in 2016. As long as the world goes on, He will speak to His followers using the Bible and prayer. And each time I have received these negative comments (whether they are sent in kindness or just to be hateful.) I want you all to know, I’ve prayed over them. I have spent a lot of time in prayer and in my Bible. Before I post anything, I pray about it and I try to make sure it aligns with scripture best I can as a fallible human being. I’m not right all the time, nor am I perfect. I sin, just like everyone else. And when someone refers to me as a pharisee, I’m going to take those comments and I’m going to think on them and pray about them, because God forbid I ever turn into someone like that. Psalm 1:1 says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicket, nor stands in the way of sinners.” A bigger fear, however, is to stand in the way of sinners and stand between them and God, and make it harder for them to come to God. This fear sits right up with my other biggest fears, and those all go along with disappointing God, and standing in His way. And I would rather receive negative comments than stand in the way of someone finding and accepting the Lord.
But, negative comments should (some of the time.) be taken seriously. I have to make sure, perhaps more than some other people, that I am living in a way that God can be somewhat proud of because I have put my words and life on a public pedestal and allowed strangers from all over the world, lost souls and saved souls alike, for them to read and, hopefully, enjoy and be convicted by. God convicted me greatly not long ago to write in the way that I have been writing. I originally (some of you older readers will remember) started off with blog posts with religion sprinkled ever so lightly in. I would mention Jesus occasionally, and then He convicted me to talk about Him more. Still, I failed. I failed to be bold. And God has always called me very clearly, ever since I was saved, He has commanded me and convicted me to preach the Gospel without apology, without fear, without cherry picking. And although some of you may claim that I seem like a hypocrite, or think I’m judgemental or that I’m scaring people too much because I mention Hell…I know this – God has called me to write this way, and I will not cease unless He tells me to stop.
I want you all to know this, whether you are saved or unsaved…God does not make negotiations. And He will not put up with sin. God does not compromise. He hates your sin. Now, that doesn’t mean He hates mine any less. I have sinned, I have fallen short of His glory. Every single day, I fail Him in ways I don’t even want to think about. It sickens me to think about how often I fail Him. How often I ignore His calling for me, How often I ignore His convictions, how often I lie, I say hurtful things, I fail to forgive and love others. I fail Him, and He hates that sin in my life just as much as He hates your sins. But, and I do not say this is a self-righteous way, because it is only through His strength and grace that I am able to do this, I repent. I turn from my sins and do not dwell in them. There are times when I backslide harder and for longer periods of time, but here is the most important thing – I strive to come back to Him. If God judged me by my works here on earth or by my righteousness, I would be going to Hell just as quickly as the murderer, the homosexual, the liar, the thief, the pedophile, any sinner, really. But He doesn’t, and I thank Him for that. I praise Him because His grace abounds to even the worst of sinners if they are willing to accept Him as their Savior.
Under my blog’s title on the header, there is a quote I hope you’ve noticed. It is on the back of my shirt for my blog, it is the quote I use any time I mention the blog to someone and am explaining it’s purpose. My life verse is in 2 Timothy, and (one of) my life quote is by John Bunyan. The quote says, “My name is now Christian, but my name used to be Graceless.” I am constantly reminded of His grace and love towards me. “While I was yet a sinner, Christ died for me.” And this is one of the reasons why I feel the necessity to share the Gospel, even the hardest, roughest, most convicting parts of it. Because you can not have salvation without repentance, and you will not repent if you have no knowledge of Hell. My intention is not to scare anyone into a false conversion, and as far as I’m aware, that has never happened. I have had people ask me more about salvation after telling them about Hell, and I have tried my best to either explain it well enough or send them to someone who can do so better than myself. I have had people ask me more about sin so that they can learn about repentance, and I have had people get angry with me. But I refuse to tell someone to say the sinners prayer and voila, they have salvation. So, I don’t believer I’ve ever scared anyone into becoming a false convert.
You see, God commands us to either pick Him, or pick Baal. He does not allow us to be fence straddlers, He commands us to choose a side. Does this make Him graceless? No. Does this make Him impatient? No. It makes Him righteous, it makes Him holy. God can have a relationship with someone who is living in sin. This is why when we are saved, we become a new creature. And if you have not turned into a new creature, you have not been born again, and He does not live in you. Think of the pharisee in Luke (the one who was praying next to the Publican. We’ll talk about him in a minute.) He claimed to be saved, like many people, he even lived well, kept the commandments, and was as righteous as a human can be, as far as good works and living go. But he had no inward change, he was not turned into a new creature. He relied on HIS works, not God’s. He was a prideful person, and chose his own side, not God’s. Then, we think of the Publican. This man was sinful, he was vile, he was a bad man. But he came to God reverently, and knew that he was a sinner in need of a Savior. He relied on God 100%, and the Bible says he walked away justified. Do you think he left and, after that humble, heartbreaking prayer, begging for salvation and forgiveness, continued living sinfully? No! If that was the case, he wouldn’t have been justified/saved! When God saves you, you become a new person, you leave your sinful behavior! And if me saying this offends someone, maybe it’s time we are offended. The reason this country (and world.) has gone so down hill is because Christians (yes, US.) aren’t standing up for God and His holiness! I am sick and tired of hearing people make excuses and lead people into thinking they can commit sin and tolerate it after being saved! God ABHORS your sin, and that sin is leading to the damnation of this world.
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
The Bible says that Hell is real, and the wages of sin is death. If you continue sinning blatantly with no regard for God and His word, you have not been born again. The end result of your sin will always, always, always be Hell unless you truly allow God to transform you. And He can. He is willing, because He is full of grace. No matter what sin you commit, as long as you’re willing to let go for Him, even if you backslide and have to return to Him time and time again, as long as you are trying to live for Jesus, and trusting in Him and relying on His strength..He will always be willing to give you that grace, that second chance. His love is everlasting.
I want to end this post with my life verses, which I always look back on during hard times. God has always brought this scripture to me any time I am struggling. 2nd Timothy 4:2-5 says,
2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.
3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.