GREAT AWAKENINGS: Are you living a religious lie?
The great Christian leader, Paul of Tarsus, appointed a young man he was mentoring to lead the church in the city of Crete within the Roman Empire.
He wrote a brief letter filled with guidance for his task. Part of it was a warning about some ungodly teachers that were doing tremendous harm: “They profess to know God, but they deny him by their works. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.” (Titus 1:16)
This strong, but accurate statement, hits on a theme of the Bible. It springs from a problem in the human heart, that causes one’s words and actions not to align with each other.
This type of living is a lie.
It is deceptive and manipulative, leading to a lack of personal trust and integrity.
It is spiritually dangerous, potentially causing the damnation of one’s personal soul.
Paul received this teaching from Jesus, whom spoke about it when He asked a rhetorical question to His listeners: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46)
In other word’s Jesus is asking, “Why do you say you believe in me, but do not obey my commands?”
This was also dealt with hundreds of years before Jesus, as God spoke through the prophet Jeremiah: “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely... then come and stand before me... ?” (Jeremiah 7:9-10)
All three quotes are statements of contradiction.
On one hand, people profess to know God or His Son Jesus through their words or Christian activities, but contradict that profession in how they live. What they say on Sunday and how they live the rest of the week does not match up. They give ample reason for another to question the genuineness of their faith, if they have truly been born again or to wonder about their salvation.
They say with confidence, “I pray”, “I believe”, or even “I have asked Jesus to forgive my sins.” Yet, their life is a walking illustration of a religious conflict when sins like drunkenness, sexual immorality, anger, bitterness, profanity or others mark their life.
How can this be?
They may respond with, “No one is perfect.”
Yes, that is true, but it is no excuse for continuing to do what one knows is wrong, especially while boldly professing Jesus to be their Lord and Savior.
This is a hypocrite. A religious actor.
It is written: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man... ” (Romans 2:1)
This is a widespread problem. Why have so many chosen to live this way?
Simple. There is no cost to it. It is a vain attempt to have two kingdoms. God’s and mine.
This way of thinking provides the benefits of religion. One can pray, believe in God, experience His blessings, or even enjoy worship and taking the Lord’s Supper, while receiving a sense of peace and ease of conscience. But then one also has the freedom to live how one chooses without feeling judged.
Those who teach or believe this, are embracing a dangerous lie. For God strongly condemns this and will not be deceived or mocked.
Jesus will one day say to them: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” (Matthew 7:23)
To enter into God’s Kingdom, you must walk away from YOUR kingdom.
Yes, there is a cost. There might be relationships that need to be broken or places you need to stop going.
This is repentance and is costly, because it means you are turning away from someone (you) and toward someone – Jesus.
If God were to examine your life, what would He see? Just empty religion or a life that is totally sold out to Christ?
A prayer for you: “Lord God, examine our lives. Help us to see what you see. If we have been living for two kingdoms, show us. From this day forward help me to live fully for Christ, the One who suffered, died and rose again that I might truly live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Clint Decker is President of Great Awakenings. Please share your comment with Clint at email@example.com and follow his blog at clintdecker.blogspot.com.