As I was crafting this blog post, “Popular Opinions” I faced a grave and heavy obstacle. If you were to examine my earlier drafts of this project; I had already listed the five most reinforced ideas harming the Christian faith and how these untruths usurp people’s opinion over God’s Word.
However, a conversation at church, made me rethink why I was drafting this blog post. It was a serious conversation concerning sin and how people in the church responded to a situation in the past, and it made me reflect on how I treat others who stumble. The conversation lingered in my heart and mind. It stayed with me, a peculiar aftertaste. The conversation brought feelings of distress in me as I realized again. The power the Christian church has and how it can be used for God’s purposes or man’s evil. First, there is a need in this world for Christians to call out sin and for very good reasons.
As it is written in Matthew 5:16, “16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Jesus commands all Christians to be shining examples in this fallen world. We recognize our good works are to not earn pats on the back, but to do any and everything, all for the glory of God. At the same time, this desire to maintain and protect holiness can cause unnecessary harshness and irreparable damage in the body of Christ—if not performed in love.
As I was once told by a great mentor,
it is not what you say, it is always, how you say it.
So the question remained, the Holy Spirit asked me, “Why, Tory are you writing this blog post?”
The Holy Spirit penetrated into my soul until uncovering my distress and quietly inserting His purposes instead. “Popular Opinions” originally was a blog post detailing the five most popular opinions humanity says and how it stacks up against God’s Word. This intention remains, however an added element now is to provide understanding of why, so many Christians have wondered away from the church, and why these opinions have become decrees amongst our culture.
Finally how Christian authenticity and love of God’s Word can be restored.
Amongst us now, are various Christian denominations, churches, and ordinances. Christians are divided when we’re supposed to be united. Mankind has drawn lines where there should not be any, and Christianity has been used and abused to discriminate those it should have protected. At the end of the day, men truly know how to destroy a good thing. All we know is evil…but thank be to God! God sent Jesus. Through Jesus there is not a wound that cannot be healed or an abyss not bridged. All those who’ve accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are spiritual brothers and sisters. In Christ Jesus there is no division, only Jesus and us.
Jesus and us.
This includes the struggling Christian, the mature believer, and carnal Christian. And if we’re not working together, building each other up according to God’s Word, His truth then we’re doing Satan’s work for him.
So, I challenge everyone cast your opinions aside and let’s take a refreshing look into God’s Word regarding these statements. May we not continue to live with borders standing between us.
Everybody has an opinion it does not matter what the subject is or who the topic is about. Each person has an opinion, a different perspective about everything. Have you ever watched a courtroom or forensics drama? A notable, ongoing series is the show called Investigation Discovery. A one-hour show dedicated to finding the murder using forensic counter measures and proving the perpetuator is guilty or innocent in court. Well, if you ever watched a courtroom series, then you know the jury listens intently to the case provided from both the prosecution and defense. The jury does not know what the truth is and hearing different perspectives of the same story; they must then, piece together the true story.
This is why it is so hard to separate truth from opinion. Opinions are coated by our feelings in regards to the topic. These opinions are created through different life experiences, shaping how we see the world. It is no wonder people are so protective of their experiences. Humanity loves their opinions it is one of the great components defining us as individuals. However, there are some cases where opinions should never be a ruling factor and such a sector is the Word of God. Contrary to popular opinion, God’s Word is not a history book, fable, or a bed time story. It is the real truth. Every single word transcribed from the original text has been used by the Holy Spirit to send home an important message: Jesus Christ is our Savior.
God’s Word is Truth
Over the years, God’s Word has been watered down because opinion, no matter how uninformed or misguided is now the only thing that matters. Foremost let us establish the most important concept in this blog post: God’s Word is Truth. Like our heavenly Father, God is not a liar. God is not even human. The Lord God is absolutely holy, meaning He is devoid of uncleanliness, wickedness, and sin. Where in people there are shadows, in God is only light.
“5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)
The message of what we heard from Jesus is God is Truth. He is the Living God, an absolute perfect God. Do you know to be absolute perfect means there are no gray areas? God does not think in shades of black and white. He dwells, acts, and thinks in complete and total righteousness. People and even believers struggle to live a pure and godly life—we sin almost as easily as we breathe. As evil and moral filth crosses our minds, God’s character cannot fathom committing sin, and the idea cannot cross His mind, for He has no desire to commit evil. So it befits the Holiest of Holies to have a perfect, complete truth telling book representing His thoughts and beliefs.
According to 1 Timothy 3:16-17,
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Scripture is God-breathed. Do you know what that means? God’s Word is living, it is conscious. Before God blew life into Adam, He formed Adam’s body out of the dust. The first man was a merely a clay figure, a man without a spirit. Once God breathed into Adam, this breath of life was passed unto each human therein after. Notice when God blows His breath unto anything, it is permanent, eternal, and has a purpose. No matter the translation from language to language or how many years pass by, God’s Word remains untainted and when we do not understand. The Holy Spirit will reveal to us, God’s truths.
Therefore, Bible is not a book. It is God’s love letter to man, a call to action. The Christian’s instructional manual here on this Earth, so as we disrupt the popular opinions of man, let us keep in mind no one’s opinion can hold a candle against the Word of God.
“God is Love and God does not hate”
The first popular opinion is “God is Love and God does not hate.” As I written before, the best lies are combined with the truth, but anything not 100% the truth is a lie. The truth God is love. The lie God does not hate. God hates. Consider, it would be God’s nature if He did not hate what is disgusting, perverted, and wicked. He grievously hates, abhors, and detests sin. Here are a few verses as examples:
“The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favor with Him.” (Proverbs 11:1)
“The Lord detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy.” (Proverbs 12:22)
“The Lord examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence, he hates with a passion.” (Psalm 11:5)
Jointly, this same God is love. He is Love; He is Holy.
1 John 4:16 says, “16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them.”
We need God’s love. His love is what sustains us. Without God’s love, we would never have salvation. Salvation never began with man. While mankind flutters away committing every wicked deed, God out of His unconditional love desires to save us. There is no greater expression of love than when the Most High God gave Jesus to take our place on the Cross. God knows love because He is love. Jesus’s sacrifice comes, for God loved us first. God’s love motivates everything He does. It is the quality of His character which reaches back to save us when we deserved damnation. However, to say this is the only quality of God’s that matters is a complete falsehood. To say God is only love and all He can do is love creates a flaw in God’s perfect character. As children of God it is not our position to dictate who God should be or how He should act. God has an identity. A predetermined, fixed identity, God never looks for Himself or changes. He knows who He is and we need to respect and honor that. Picture, a child, instructing you on how to be an adult or how to raise them. The audacity, right?
Similarly, we behave the same way towards God. We take all His magnificent, and equally powerful traits throwing them away, because it does not fit our vision or narrative of God. God is love and He is merciful, gracious, and powerful.
Thank God He is the ultimate source of true, pure, and holy love. Although God’s wrath against sin is great and terrifying. No matter how much God loves and cares for us, if Jesus did not die, then we all would be going to Hell.
Romans 3:25 declares, “25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement,[a] through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”
Jesus was the sacrifice through His life and sufferings and ultimately His crucifixion. God’s wrath against sin was finally satisfied. God has an unending thirst for righteousness. Sin must be punished. Sin is rebellion. A declaration of independence against God’s Holy will and authority.
So, once again, who are we to dictate what God can hate and how much?
His holiness and love is not separate. They work, like all of God’s attributes interchangeably. God is Holy and an expression of His love and standard is hatred of sin. God hates sin, so much that after Adam and Eve disobeyed Him. He banished them from the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:23). No second chances. No working their way back into the garden or a point system. God hates sin, so much He ravaged the entire globe in a forty-day flood to kill multitudes of wicked people, except for Noah’s family. Only one family out of an entire planet was saved, because they feared Him (Genesis 6:5-8). God hates sin so much that when David committed adultery and murdered Uriah. God decreed the sword will never leave David’s household (2 Samuel 12:10-12). Therein David experienced turmoil, treachery, and bloodshed in His own household.
God’s wrath and holiness does not discriminate. He chastises His children and punishes the wicked. Our sins are not exempt, just because we like them or enjoy them. At the same time, God offers restoration and wholeness. While God hates sin, His Son Jesus is our sin offering. Through Him we’re reconciled to God.
Salvation is for Everyone
However, people cannot always accept this free gift. The culture of judgments builds an almost impenetrable wall. There is a difference between judgment, condemnation, and restoration. The Christian community has done a foul, disgraceful job restoring and encouraging people to repent of their sins.
People all over the world believe that if they sin, then they go to hell, but there is no conversation about Jesus Christ and receiving eternal life. You cannot discuss sin and hell without Jesus and eternal life. The gospel has been misconstrued and distorted to turn people into brow beating, broken individuals and not contrite, humble sinners. So many unbelievers, are bound to the opinions of self righteous Christians that they cling to whatever distorted image of God makes them whole. Hundreds of Christians stray away from church due to this desire to point out another person’s sin, without first examining our own sinful habits in the mirror. Yes, repentance has a place and recognizing sin is essential, yet there needs to be a balance. God provides redemption and it is no person’s place to close this door.
The famous Christian anthem is John 3:16, so simple a child can know it. Precisely what God intended. Eternal life is for anyone and there is no sin Jesus did not pay for on the Cross.
“16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16-18)
Believing in Jesus is the key to escaping from sin and gaining eternal life. God sent Jesus on a mission to save, not condemn. People stand in condemnation if they do not believe in Jesus Christ. This means they stand guilty or give grounds to conviction by not accepting Jesus Christ. People do not have to pay a price for their sins, because Jesus has already paid the debt for us. Jesus did not come to make friends, heal, and exorcise demons. He declares He came to die. He came to die for our sins, so we may live. Jesus gives us freedom from our sin. He breaks us free and reconciles us to God, the Father. Failure, to express the complete and total gospel makes unbelievers believe they are already condemned and from their sins there is no way out. How untrue!
Even when lifelong Christians stumble and sin, our response should be to help our friend to overcome their sin. A restorative mindset seeks reconciliation and repentance, humiliating a struggling Christian does not manifest spiritual growth. Instead this dangerous exploitation scheme in Christian churches burns bridges, fellowships, and fosters resentment against believers and creates a culture of fear in younger believers. At the end of the day, there is no perfect Christian. No one is righteous and focusing on the faults of others strengthens the divisions amongst us—at the same time each of us needs to love God more than we love our sin. Our love of God and constantly pursuing Him helps us to walk in obedience and not the flesh. Our prayers every night should be for the Holy Spirit to place a deep, seething hatred of our sin, as to bring glory to God and not cause our brethren to stumble.
For God has called us to be holy as He is holy. He has also instructed us to love each other as ourselves. The Bible rehearses both commandments throughout scripture, equally strong, and intertwined. We need both to live effective Christian lives.
1 Peter 1:16
“16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”[a]
“38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Copyright © 2018 by A Meeting at the Well