Editor’s Note: I (“SlimJim”) am away in a family trip and this is a pre-scheduled post. It is written by our guest Russ M. He is currently in the Marines.
The purpose for writing this article is that of the issues of biblical versus unbiblical worldview. In some cases modern evangelicals have lost our identity. There is an identity crisis not realizing that our true identity is found in Christ and God’s word. We died with Christ 2,000 years ago and we also resurrected with Him that we now walk in the newness of life (Romans 6:4). As Paul stated, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me…” (Galatians 2:20 NASB)
In light of our present world, the church of Jesus Christ has been relying on their own thoughts and ideas revolving around popular culture, that they seldom consider the words of Scripture. By failing to analyze common pop culture opinions without the accordance of Scripture we are vulnerable to the prince and powers of this world (Ephesians 2:2). Even the devil masquerades as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14 NASB), producing words of light that affects even Christians, because they do not guard their hearts with Scripture.
Though the war is won at the cross the battle still rages in the fight for souls. It is our responsibility. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
How do we watch with all diligence?
By examining it, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1 NASB).
Shell of God’s truth stuffed with the Devil’s lie.
1. “Christianity is not a religion, it’s a relationship.”
Is Christianity a religion?
If you mention the word, “religion” in any circumstance with popular culture, almost automatically there are negative connotations associated with that particular word; in the Western civilization the word, “religion” has become a curse word. Words that associated with “religion” are as follows; narrow mindedness, blind faith, dogmatic, fundies, just to name a few.
But in laymen’s terms religion can be defined as, “man’s attempt to reach God”, like the ladder of Babel theology, which God cursed in Genesis 11. It is true that Christianity is not a religion because Christians are not attempting to reach God. Also, Christianity is God not attempting to reach man, but God purposefully saving specific men and women through the God-man Jesus Christ. While it is noted that Christianity is not a religion, is actually biblical.
Is Christianity a relationship?
The latter of the statement, “…it’s a relationship” is too generally stated. When our cultural thinks about a relationship they think about earthly relationships with feel-good sensations. Our culture relates a relationship with a father/mother parenting their children, they think about their best earthly friend on the planet, or some might even fantasize in creating an ideal relationship with a god to their likening; quoting words like, “Jesus is my homie.” With this broad terminology of relationship and the combination of not rooting our theology can be disastrous and can lead many astray worshipping a god of their imagination.
Everyone has relationship with the God of the universe. There are two relationships that God has with every individual on this Earth and is define in John 3:36
“He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NASB)
The one who believes in Christ Jesus has eternal life, and the one who do not has wrath of God abiding in them. Earlier in the 3rd chapter of John we see the characteristics of eternal life, “unless one is born of water and the Spirit,” in (John 3:5) and is sandwiched with, “unless one is born again” in verse 3 and “You must be born again in verse 7. Being born again is not just saying I have a relationship with Christ, but demonstrating new desires of holiness, desires of witnessing to the lost, and desires of becoming more like the Christ of Scripture. Another question that must be asked is, “What is a Christian’s relationship with sin? Do they love to sin? Do they relish sin? Do they enjoy sin?” If they do say yes then they are still slaves to sin. “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (NASB). Therefore, you can have a wrathful or eternal relationship; there is no grey area here.
It’s not justification through relationship? It’s Justification through faith in Christ trusting in the holy sacrifice. (Ephesians 2:8-9).
What kind of relationship should we have with the God of the universe?
“Christianity is not a religion; it’s more than a relationship. Christianity is about submitting to the lordship of Christ can conforming to His image daily. (Romans 12:1-2)”
2. “God loves the sinner, but He hates the sin.”
In my youth I recall this phrase being used in a Christian rap artist’s lyrics and in the preaching of the pulpit during an evangelistic crusade endeavoring to win the lost. But where do we get such theology? Do we get it from t-shirts? Do we get our theology from photographic memes? Or do we get our theology from the unadulterated truth found in Scripture?
Yes, God does love sinners (John 3:16). Yes Jesus came to seek and save that which is lost (Luke 19:10) Yes, Jesus is a friend of sinners (Mark 2:13-17). Yes all true, but the statement, “God loves the sinner, but He hates the sin.” is only half-true, and half-truths are nothing more than deadly lies.
But imagine if someone close to you were murdered in cold blood for no reason. Would it bring justice to say, “I love the murderer, but I hate the murder?” Does God really love the nouns, but hate the verbs? Does God love the thief, but hate the thievery? Does love the homosexual, but hate the homosexuality? Does God love the adulterer, but hates the adultery?
Yes, God does hate those actions, but He even hates those who commit does actions. Yes, God hates the sinner and the sin.
“There are six things which the LORD hates, Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.” (Proverbs 6:16-19 NASB)
When we look at these six things the LORD hates, they are all nouns, showcasing the body parts that connects to the sinner that commits the sins or verbs: haughty (verb-sin) eyes (noun-sinner), lying (verb-sin) tongue (noun-sinner), hands (noun-sinner) that shed (verb-sin) innocent blood, heart (noun-sinner) that devises (verb-sin) wicked plans, feet (noun-sinner) that run rapidly to evil (verb-sin), and A false witness (noun-sinner) who utters lies (verb-sin)
Here are more verses that support God hating the sinners.
“The boastfull shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all who do iniquity.” (Psalm 5:5)
“The LORD tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates.” (Psalm 11:5)
Still in unbelief? Does God punish sin in hell? Or Does God punish sinners in hell? The corresponding NT Greek word associated with hell is Gehenna, occurring 12 times in the NT Scripture, 11 out of the 12 came from Jesus own mouth. No sin is in hell, but only sinners weep and gnash (Luke 13:28), not sin.
There is no beating behind a bush around this, this timeless truth is uncomfortable yet when sinners are confronted with the gospel they will either cling more to the cross of Christ or continue to live an unrepented anti-God lifestyle.
We are naturally God-haters from the moment of conception, but once a sinner recognizes their exceedingly sinfulness, then they will see how amazing grace really is, because they were formerly wrath abiding citizens, but now are children of light, they will truly see the love of God, and they will abide in Christ through trails, tribulation, persecution, and even death.
We must not have an itching ear virus lecturing to our felt needs; bad theology runs rapid with the gross amount of false teachers. Let us go back to the word of God and sift any lumps of coals and be careful to examine the words that you hear in pop culture. Let us not be lax and test everything with the Scripture. “[The word of God is] more desirable than gold, yes than fine Gold; Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb.” (Psalm 19:10 NASB)
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