Posts filed under ‘salvation’
THEN we get to verse 6b of Zechariah 13 and the famous verse that some take to refer to Jesus. It is clear that the false prophet is being questioned here, but about what? The “wounds” on his arms. This is where some people assume it refers to Jesus (because of the wounds He received leading up to and including the crucifixion). Unfortunately, IF we consider that the context is all about false prophets, then the wounds referred to here are more in line with what the prophets of Baal did to themselves in 1 Kings 18:28. They cut themselves in order to get Baal’s attention, much the same way Muslims cut themselves today during certain ceremonies to gain Allah’s attention and favor. Throughout history, there were many of these types of self-mutilation ceremonies connected with Phrygian, Syrian, Cappadocian, and other cultures.
Christians today need to grasp the big picture, the one from God’s perspective. Instead, we are often too concerned about saving America. Our job is the Great Commission, in which Jesus tells us to go and make disciples of all nations. He never tells us to save a specific country. He is concerned about lost souls and so should we be. The problem is that all too often (and we can all fall prey to this, including this author), we become embroiled in the political scene because we think that if good men “do nothing,” disaster is the result. We need to choose carefully what it is we are “to do,” because we cannot be both evangelists to the lost and politically involved to save America.
I’m not sure the average Christian truly understands how important it is that Christians actively persevere in the faith, on a daily basis. Though I believe that this will occur for all true Christians, too often today, those who profess to be Christians provide themselves with every excuse to act like the world. We have lost a true reverence for God (if we ever had it). We have no real fear of failure. We do not understand the depth to which our sin causes the Holy Spirit to grieve. We are constantly giving ourselves a pass on the things that we do that we know are wrong. Our job is to submit to Him that His will might be lived out in and through us. He doesn’t expect us to do that in our own strength. He will provide the strength. He simply says we must open ourselves to His will all the time. This is what actively recreates the character of Jesus in our hearts and lives, though clearly, God is in charge of that. Nothing can be taken away from Him.
But if you take the time to listen to the so-called Christian music of today, much of it is short on majesty, theology, and reverence and long on showmanship. Take time to really listen to the singer of some of the music that is being pushed by Christian artists. Some of them sound as though – forgive me – they are sexually aroused while they are singing. That is the growing trend. Then, when a young woman gets up in church to do the same song, who do you think she imitates? Yes, the original artist. So, there she is, standing at the microphone, both hands on the mic, sort of “growling” and slightly swaying as she croons her way though the song. When she’s done? People applaud. They applaud, which simply proves to me that all eyes are on the singer and not God.
It should be obvious that if Christians are not careful, we too can fall prey to the trappings of peer or group pressure. Recently, a group of people in a local church were put on a committee to go through all the resumes in hopes of finding a new minister of music. Eventually, one was found and those involved extolled the process as being good and unifying. They felt that the person they eventually called to the position (and he accepted), must be the person because they (the committee), was in full unity over it.
Paul could not possibly list everything that would try but fail to remove us from His presence, so he provides an overview for us. Simply because he does not include our “free will,” does not mean to imply that it is the exception to anything. It is actually included in Paul’s words – though not specifically stated – with the words “nor anything else in all creation.” Is free will part of God’s Creation? Of course it is and Paul could have simply said for these two verses “Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord,” but chose to give some examples to elaborate on his meaning. In doing so, some people mistake Paul’s words thinking that what he specifically did not include, is the very thing that can remove us. Unfortunately, this line of thinking completely changes Paul’s intended meaning. Reading the entirety of Romans gives us the full picture.
This “thief in the night” description references people who are not prepared. Like the person who runs an errand and they leave their home wide open. They return to find their home has been robbed. They were not expecting it and took no precautions. They did not even consider the fact that a thief might decide to rob their home. Never crossed their mind. This is the unsaved person who has no thought of God, much less of His impending return to the planet He owns. They go about their daily lives and when Jesus returns, they will be profoundly shocked because it is something they did not ever believe could or would happen. In fact, they likely joked about it often.