Sunday, July 6, 2014
Our Promises TO God
In the ancient world, there was a religion in which people could claim favor from God. A new boat? Pray for one! Perfect health? Pray for it! A better job? Heaven will reward you! A perfect spouse? Favor from God will send one your way! In fact, fate could be manipulated to bring great 'Favor" to you, as long as you simply have faith and pray the right way.
Unfortunately, this faith was paganism. The old Roman, Greek and other pagan deities were supposedly in the business of granting favors if we had "right belief" and all their worshipers had to do was to believe and pray, and they'd force the appropriate 'god' to grant them their wishes and desires.
Flash forward today, and the bookshelves are bursting with 'Christian' books outlining the promises God is required to give us if we do one thing: give Him our belief. If we believe "on" God (and his Son, Jesus Christ) so this line of thinking goes, God is REQUIRED to give us "favor" and grant our wishes and our basest desires.
Using extremely selective proof-texting, the Hebrew scriptures, the words of Jesus and the "New Testament" are ripped out of context, and with a sense of self-entitlement, 'Christians' make God into their Servant, rather than the other way around.
But that's not what Jesus says - and one would think that Jesus, the one whom God sent as His spokesman and Prophet - is supposedly the one to whom these 'Christians' should be listening to gain knowledge of eternal life and a morally abundant life here on earth.
In fact, a fair reading of Scripture shows just the opposite: That it is US that owes God, and once we repent of our sinful actions and pledge to walk according to God's path of Righteousness - becoming daily the Light of the World - our promises are ever MORE important, because we have become fully aware of what we owe to God and to our fellow human beings.
The one who DOES the will of God, our Father, is the one who is saved (Matt. 7:21; 12:50.) Not the one who merely spouts the name of Jesus, not the one who believes they are "entitled" to salvation from the first minute they pledge to be a 'Christian.'
It is the one who does Righteousness, not the one who merely says they have it, that actually is righteous (Matt. 5:20; Isaiah 33:15.)
And it is the one who seeks to do what is Righteous in the eyes of God that will be Saved, not the one who disobeys God and serves their own desires instead.
Our “favor” from God is His endless love and mercy, and also His holy justice – and we receive our just reward for our own actions, not our mere words or the supposed imputed deeds of others (Deut. 24:16.)
Jesus calls on us to deny ourselves (Mark 8:34) not make ourselves comfortable, wealthy and detached from the cares of others. We must, if we love Jesus, serve others first, and do so with a perfect self-sacrifice, as modeled by none other than Jesus himself (Matt. 20:28; John 13:15.)
When we promise to serve God through His Son Jesus, we forfeit the right to demand "favor" from God. God, however, has every right to expect us to follow the one whom He sent, Jesus, whose life is the example by which we are saved, if we strive to follow it.
Our promises TO God, therefore, are far more relevant to our faith than what God has promised to us, and we must avoid impiously holding GOD to His word, while we fail to live up to our own.