Pendulum Swings

Published on Aug 2nd, 2017 by Pastor Ed Hlad | 0
Pendulum Swings

Pendulum Swings When I was a teenager I can remember an evangelist coming to our school and shouting to us that “rock music is a drug”. He had been saved out of that lifestyle and he saw the dangers in it. Some other folks, never knew who they were or how they figured this out, taught that if you played rock music backwards that there were hidden messages that glorified Satan. It was called “backmasking” and I can remember my youth leaders bringing these massive speakers into Youth Group and playing “Stairway to Heaven” backwards. They would get all excited as they stopped the backward music when they heard a homage to Satan. I must admit that I really didn’t hear much but mumbled sounds but I was never into rock music that much (I liked Carpenters and Barry Manilow – there I said it out loud, I am not ashamed...I liked Barry Manilow...ok, I am a little ashamed). We had other special speakers in to our group. One told us that we should always have six inches between us and our girlfriend or a Bible placed in between ua at all times. The idea was that it would be spiritually uncomfortable to crawl over the Bible to kiss your girlfriend. I am sure that this probably just resulted in many creased Bibles.

Recognizing that much of these were man made ideas that were meant to produce good actions of supposed holiness, we grew up and taught our children that we are under grace and that Jesus fulfilled the law. Now I have had folks angry with me when I spoke to them about living together before they were married (although I am sure that they are abiding by the six inch rule). I have been accused of being judgmental and not understanding God’s grace. I have been told that I need to understand the patience and mercy of God in a deeper sense. If I could just grasp those ideas better I would be more free to experience his grace, as they have, and I wouldn’t be hung up on the outward.

Obviously the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction but it does bring up an interesting study for us as believers. I John 3:4 says that “sin is lawlessness”. What law is it talking about? We are no longer under the OT law but we still believe the 10 Commandments are good, don’t we? Is he just speaking about a law of loving one other? What do we do with I Cor 10:23, “All things are lawful, but not all things are helpful. All things are lawful, but not all things build up”? Do we get to decide what we believe those unhelpful things are? Where is this law that allows all this written down? What does God mean when he says, “Be holy”?

My life has been transformed and is being formed by God’s grace and mercy. I am so grateful that God is patient and forgiving. When I look into his grace, mercy, patience, and forgiveness I see a beautiful and loving God. I also see a holy, righteous, and perfect God. As much as his grace and love draw me to him...his holiness and righteousness show me how far away from him I am. It is only because of Jesus and his blessed work on the cross that I am able to come into his presence and to enjoy a familial relationship with my heavenly Father. This privilege that has been bestowed upon me was not by any effort or work on my part. I rest in this relationship by the grace and mercy of God. I come boldly into his presence and I have an intimate relationship that brings comfort, confidence, and peace. I do not strive to earn a relationship that was all ready bought by the work of Christ. But I would hate to think that I would ever mistake his love and grace for an excuse to live by the desires of my old heart. Jesus died so that I could be delivered from those things that bring death. Why would I ever be so flippant as to think that his patience means that he is “ok” with me living in this sin?

I am not anyone’s Holy Spirit and so I try not to speak to any “unhelpful” things in people’s lives. Unless they ask for my opinion. I do, as a brother, speak to those things that God speaks directly against. But may God deliver us from the mentality that believes that because we are under grace that we do not need to pursue holiness in our lives. You cannot be looking intently into the eyes of Jesus and not be moved to pursue holiness. The only way to continue to live in sin is to create a god that is not the God of the Bible. It is a god fashioned after the idols of your own heart. It is a god who says not to give a second thought about certain sins. It is a good who sees everyone who speaks to your sin as judgmental and self righteous. It is a god who is more concerned about a message that is heard backward in a song than he is about singing for his glory alone.

Fixing our eyes on Jesus should drive us to a grace and mercy fill life of true holiness and not to a life lived by our own opinion or desires. Is today a day where you are so transfixed on Jesus that you are driven to a life of holiness? Or is today a day that is driven by what you desire?

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