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No Condemnation!

No Condemnation!

We’re continuing our study through Paul’s letter to the Romans. In this post we’re starting chapter 8.

Remember, in the last chapter we saw that there’s a battle going on between my mind and my flesh. Each of them is submitting to a different law. But, we can get victory through Christ.

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Romans 8:1-2

Here’s another one of those passages that people like to take out of context. It’s one of the favorite verses for people who hate correction. The least bit of constructive criticism causes them to respond, “Stop speaking condemnation over me!”

That statement shows a total misunderstanding of what this verse means. It literally reads that there’s no guilty verdict in Christ Jesus. We’ve been declared “Not Guilty” in Christ. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t miss the mark sometimes.

Jesus made a statement to a woman who was caught in the act of adultery. He couldn’t have made it any clearer.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

John 8:11b

We need to take this to heart. Telling someone to stop sinning is NOT the same as condemning them. It’s part of the assignment of Christian leaders to lovingly warn believers of the outcome of their actions.

Condemnation is the final verdict. That’s why the phrase, in Christ, is so important. It’s because we’re found in Christ that the law of the Spirit of Life liberates us from law of sin and death.

What, exactly, is this law that liberates us? It’s in Christ.

If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

John 15:7-8

Actually, what Jesus said here was for us to remain in His Word. His Word remains in me if I remain in Him. James talked about this as well.

Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

James 1:21

He went on to say that we can’t just look into the Word, then forget it. We must continue in the Word. He concluded with an important statement of truth.

But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it – he will be blessed in what he does.

James 1:25

Please understand that James is not simply talking about reading the Bible. He’s talking about remaining in Christ and allowing His Word to be planted in us. Notice that James equates the implanted Word as the perfect law that gives freedom.

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom…

James 2:12

The truth is that we’re not going to be judged on the ten commandments. We’re going to be judged by the Word planted in us. This is the law of the Spirit of life that sets me free as I allow it to take root in my life.

Question: What’s the difference between condemnation and warning against sin?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
 

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Judgment?

Judgment?

Paul’s letter to the Roman church starts in chapter 1 with a Word about unsaved society at large.  He talks about the results of rejecting the true knowledge of Jesus Christ.

As we enter chapter 2, Paul shifts a little and starts speaking directly to those in the godless world around us.  That’s who the apostle is speaking to in verses 1 through 16.

You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.  Now we know that God’s judgment against those who do such things is based on truth.

Romans 2:1-2

Let me repeat myself.  This passage was not written to believers.  It is a Word to the unsaved.  He’s explaining the foolishness of ungodly people judging one another.

I know of believers who were living sinful lives.  Then a concerned brother or sister comes to them and tries to help restore them.  The sinning believer immediately quotes this verse and says, “The Bible says not to judge, so stop judging me.”

A quick look at Paul’s other letters will show the fallacy of this remark.

Even though I am not physically present, I am with you in spirit. And I have already passed judgment on the one who did this, just as if I were present.

1 Corinthians 5:3

This was concerning a believer in the Corinthian church who was involved in an affair with someone else’s wife.  Look at what Paul also said.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?  Are you not to judge those inside?  God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked man from among you.”

1 Corinthians 5:12-13

The fact is, believers are supposed to judge the actions of other believers.  In that way we can lovingly warn them of the result of what they’re doing.

What I’m not supposed to judge is your motives.  I don’t know what you’re thinking.  So I’m not to judge you based upon what I perceive your intentions are.

Also, we’re not to judge the lives of the unsaved people around us.  Sinners are going to sin.  It’s not our job to tell them that what they’re doing is wrong.

For the most part, the unsaved know that there’s something wrong with their lives.  What they need to hear is the love, forgiveness, and salvation that are only found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Too often the church is accused, and rightly so, of preaching a word of condemnation.  On the contrary, my place is to preach the Good News of Christ.  That’s what will draw people to the cross.

Getting back to the verse in Romans above, Paul points out the foolishness of what goes on in the world.  It’s full of people who are condemning one another.  He says that when they pass judgment on someone, they’re actually giving themselves a guilty verdict.

That’s because, in God’s eyes, they’re habitually practicing the same wrong behaviors.

So when you, a mere man, pass judgment on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgment?  Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, tolerance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness leads you toward repentance?

Romans 2:3-4

It should be obvious now, from this last passage that Paul is speaking to the unsaved.  We need to hear God’s heart.  The goal of all this is repentance.

In dealing with the world, our goal should be the same – introduce them to the love of the Savior.

Question: What is your attitude toward our godless society?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2020 in Legalism, The Gospel

 

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God’s View of a Sinful World

God’s View of a Sinful World

I’m continuing to go through Paul’s letter to the Roman church.  We’re now about to enter one of the most controversial sections.  I have to be careful in how I explain it.

This passage of Scripture is not controversial because we argue over what it means.  On the contrary, the meaning of the words is very clear.  We argue over whether or not to believe it as God’s Word.

Personally, I choose to believe everything in the Bible as written.  That being said, I also believe that there’s no place in the Christian life for self-righteous hatred, bigotry, or condemnation.

Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones.  In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.  Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.

Romans 1:26-27

The first thing to note is what this passage is and is not saying.  Too many Christians grab this verse and run with it to attack others. That’s not the purpose.

We have to remember that everything in Scripture is based in God’s unfailing love.  There’s no one outside of God’s love.

Even in this section I see the grace and patience of the Lord.  There’s a phrase that’s repeated three times – here, in verse 24 (which we looked at in the last post), and in verse 28.  It reads, God gave them over.

That literally means that God surrendered or yielded to their desires.  In other words, God allows us to do what we want to do.  He doesn’t stop us, even if we head in a wrong direction.  He gives us the freedom to choose our own path.

Another issue we need to understand is that sin is about actions and not desire.  In my flesh, I may want to do wrong, but the spiritual battle isn’t over until a final decision is made.

Of course, that brings me to an important point…what exactly is sin?  When people hear that word they immediately think, “Evil”.  But the truth is that sin isn’t always evil or bad.

The literal definition of sin in both the Old and New Testaments is to miss the mark.  God holds up the ideal of the perfect life.  We strive to reach it.  But, when we miss God’s best, even by a little, that’s sin.

The Bible is clear that all sin is the same in God’s eyes.  It all comes with the spiritual death penalty.  There’s no grading on a curve.  A white lie and murder are equal before the Lord.  That’s why we need a Savior who carried all of our sin to the cross.

As human beings we like to assign different values of severity to sin.  We think some are worse than others.  Because of this, we’ll vocally attack some lifestyle choices, while we nurture others.

Case in point – before the pandemic you would have to stand in line to get in a buffet restaurant on a Sunday after church services conclude.  We would happily join someone with a gluttonous lifestyle, as they satisfy that craving.  (I can say that because this is one of my personal battles I’m trying to overcome in my life.)

Finally, we have to realize that we’re all under God’s grace.  There’s no condemnation until the final judgment when Christ returns.

STD’s are not God’s judgment on alternate lifestyles.  Just as heart disease and cancer aren’t God’s judgments on overeaters and smokers.

Yes, as Christians we need to know what actions the Bible labels as sin.  But we also need to walk in the love and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.  That’s what our dark society needs right now.

Question: How do you show Christ’s love to those who are not living by God’s standards?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2020 in Spiritual Walk

 

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Spirit or Law

In my last post, I talked about not turning our New Covenant into a law.  Trying to follow a set of rules to please God is what got Israel in trouble.

Many try to use the “cookie-cutter” approach to Christianity.  They try to get everyone to follow the same set of rules.  But that’s not what life in the Spirit is all about.

Yes, there are certain absolutes that the Bible tells us will bring death into our lives.  There are also some other things that God desires us all to do.  But a vast majority of our walk with God is based upon what we learn in His presence.

The fact is that life in the New Covenant is greatly superior to what it was like under the Old Covenant.

Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious?  If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness!  For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory.
2 Corinthians 3:7-10

The beginning of this passage is about the former ministry that condemned men.  The glory that God exhibited back then was indeed glorious.  But Paul says in verse 10 that we’re now living in the day when God wants to exhibit His excellent glory.

When I think about the glory He showed in the Old Testament, I wonder how it could be any better.  He ordained a place of worship that was lined in gold.  Even the utensils used in its service were mostly of gold and silver.  The priests themselves were lavishly dressed – the high priest having precious stones on his garment.

But we have to realize that having a powerful ministry is not about things, but about spirit.  It’s based on who you are.  Are you living up to God’s expectations for your life?  This is different for everyone.

In some places, it might mean a large building and the latest technology.  In other places around the world, however, a great ministry might mean a building with a roof that doesn’t leak.  I’ve found that in some cultures, just starting a meeting on time is a mark of maturity.

When you look at ministry, the difference is in our attitude.  Turning the New Covenant into a set of rules brings condemnation.  On the other hand, ministry in the Spirit brings life.

That’s how you can tell the difference between the two.  What’s the focus?  If a ministry is always pointing out our faults without showing how to let God change us, then they’re missing the most important aspect.

The Lord came to bring us new life.  I do need to know where I’m missing the mark.  But I also need to know that I can’t change myself.  It only comes as I yield to the power of the Holy Spirit.

Christ is looking for people who will allow Him to shine through them.  That should be our desire as well.  Then the world will see and be attracted to the excellent glory of God revealed in us.  Oh, that the Church would rise up in the excellence of our New Covenant, that the world might once again be turned upside down for the glory of God!

Question: How does the glory of the New Covenant play a role in your life and ministry?

© 2020 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2020 in Legalism, Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Faithful at the Oars

We need godly leadership in the body of Christ.  But what’s the greatest character trait that a leader needs?  As we continue our study of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we see one that I think is high on the list.

So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.  Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
I Corinthians 4:1-2

The Apostle Paul wrote this section of Scripture to encourage spiritual leaders to be faithful to their calling.  He’s talking to those who work in the ministry.

The word, regard, means, to account or to take inventory.  In essence, we’re told that when other people take inventory of our lives as leaders, it should be obvious to them that we’re servants of Christ.  It should be just as obvious that we’ve been entrusted with the secret things of God.

Unfortunately, what should be is not always what happens in reality.  There’s some uncertainty in Paul’s writing because he uses the phrase men ought to.  This means that he faced the same problem in his generation that we have today.  There are many leaders who don’t live up to their high calling in Christ.

The issue should be as clear to those around us as it was to the members of the Sanhedrin in the book of Acts.  It says that when meeting with the apostles they took note that these men had been with Jesus.  The apostles talked, ministered, and acted like Jesus.

That should be our testimony as well.  It’s sad that in many parts of the church, the ministry has fallen short from this ideal.

But if we judged ourselves, we would not come under judgment.  When we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32

In the context of this verse, Paul is teaching on the subject of the Lord’s Supper.  He makes it clear, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that if we would only take the time to judge ourselves we would not come under judgment.

When will we learn this simple lesson?  We wait for condemnation to come on us from the outside before we’ll take a long, hard, and honest look at ourselves.  Then, when we’re criticized for our failure to follow in the footsteps of Christ, it seems to be easier to get defensive than to take stock of our own lives.

We should be constantly comparing ourselves to the ministry of the Lord.  Only in that way can we be assured that we’re adequately portraying the role of a leader.

In the verse, from I Corinthians 4 above, Paul uses the word servant.  It actually refers to an under-oarsman.  Like those responsible for propelling the ship forward, we have a shared ministry with Christ.

Leaders need to be supplying vision to the people.  The church should have a forward momentum because of our commitment as those who lead.  In most cases, if a rowboat isn’t moving, the problem lies with the oarsman.

It’s up to us, as leadership in the body of Christ, to set the speed and direction as ordered by the Lord.

Questions: What are your areas of ministry?  How do you submit those areas to Christ?

© 2019 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2019 in Leadership, Ministry, The Church

 

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The Power of Guilt

In my last post, I talked about how Jesus sent His disciples to prepare the towns ahead of Him for His arrival.  As they went, they begin doing the same miracles as Jesus.  Word starts to circulate about the power of Christ and His team.

Finally, word reaches Herod, the ruler of the region.  Mark now begins to explain the relationship between Herod and John the Baptist.  You may want to read Mark 6:12-29 before you continue.

King Herod is an interesting person in Scripture.  He was actually only Jewish by religion, not birth.  He used this religious affiliation as a means to wealth, and political power.

When he heard about the ministry of John the Baptist, he was attracted to the message.  But like so many people, he only wanted to hear God’s Word until it meant that he needed to change.

At one point, Herod took his brother’s wife, Herodias, as his own.  She also happened to be his niece.  As a preacher of righteousness, John the Baptist had something to say about that.

For John had been saying to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
Mark 6:18

Herod found himself in a tight position.  He felt the conviction and power of John’s words.  On the other hand, he didn’t want to stop what he was doing.  Not knowing what to do, he had John arrested and put into prison.

But there’s more to the story…

So Herodias nursed a grudge against John and wanted to kill him.  But she was not able to, because Herod feared John and protected him, knowing him to be a righteous and holy man.  When Herod heard John, he was greatly puzzled; yet he liked to listen to him.
Mark 6:19-20

There was a conflict raging on the inside of him.  It was the tension between the knowledge of truth and a refusal to walk in repentance.

It’s sad to say, but many believers find themselves in this position.  They hear a message about God’s call to a holy life, but they want to hold on to their present lifestyle.  They try to quiet the inner voice of the Spirit by convincing themselves that they don’t have to accept the “message of condemnation.”

Please understand; a call to repentance is NOT condemnation.  Being condemned means that you’re given no chance to repent.

Eventually, through trickery and deceit, Herodias’ grudge turned into full-blown murder.  She had John the Baptist beheaded.  You may think that this was the end of it.  It wasn’t because guilt seems to have a life of its own.

It continued to eat away at Herod’s thoughts.  That’s why, when he heard about the works of Jesus and the disciples, all he could think about was John.

King Herod heard about this, for Jesus’ name had become well known.  Some were saying, “John the Baptist has been raised from the dead, and that is why miraculous powers are at work in him.”  Others said, “He is Elijah.”  And still others claimed, “He is a prophet, like one of the prophets of long ago.”
But when Herod heard this, he said, “John, the man I beheaded, has been raised from the dead!”
Mark 6:14-16

So strong was the guilt he felt, that he actually believed that John had been raised from the dead.  It was consuming him.

Don’t allow guilt to work death in your life.  If repentance is needed, then handle it quickly.  Allow the life of Christ to bring renewal and restoration.

Question: What are some positive results of repentance that you’ve experienced?

© 2018 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2018 in Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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A Call to Repentance

We’re continuing our look at John the Baptist in the Gospel of Mark.  He had a very important ministry.  He prepared Israel for the coming of the Messiah.

He’s also a good example of what our ministry should be like.

And so John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.  The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Mark 1:4-5

John was a minister who didn’t feel the need to impress people.  He lived separately from society.  He didn’t let the day to day fads affect him.  He simply ministered the message he was given.

I’m glad that there are churches today that are attracting lots of people.  They have a modern atmosphere.  There’s smoke, lights, comfortable seating, and a professional sound.

That’s fine, as long as the message of Christ isn’t watered down.  When the methods become more important than the message, then we’re starting to compromise.  When the cash-flow required to maintain the look becomes the purpose; now the church is in trouble.

It seems to me that it was the message of John the Baptist that was attracting the crowds.  Their lives were being changed.  They came back from the Jordan River with a new outlook on life.

There’s also an aspect of John’s ministry that I think we miss because we’re on the other side of the cross.  We have to remember, while we read the Gospels, that the events described were taking place under the Old Covenant.

The people coming out to hear John’s message were “church people.”  If they were participating in the traditions of the Law of Moses, then they were saved and on their way to Heaven.  This was not the same baptism that we receive after salvation.

These people were already a part of the Old Testament congregation of believers because of the sacrificial system.  This baptism was a preparation for the continued work of Christ in the lives of His people.

Jesus didn’t just die on the cross to give me my initial salvation.  He took all my sins to the cross so that I could remain clean before God.  This baptism was looking forward to the ongoing work of grace in our lives.

That’s because we see the people confessing their particular sins, then being baptized for their removal.  It corresponds to the continued work of Christ’s cleansing in our lives.

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:8-9

This verse isn’t telling me that I need to be rebaptized whenever I fall into sin.  I’ve already been baptized to identify with Christ.  Now, all that’s needed is for me to confess my failures to God and receive His forgiveness and cleansing power.

I explained all of that, to simply say that this ministry is fading away in our generation.  Where’s the call to repentance in our day?  It seems that when someone preaches against sin and calls for repentance, a cry goes up that they’re bringing condemnation.  This is not the way it should be.

Yes, we’re righteous in the sight of God if we’re in Christ.  However, there’s an ongoing work of cleaning that the Holy Spirit wants to work in us.  That process requires conviction, confession of sin, repentance, forgiveness, and purifying.  Please don’t ignore the whole work of salvation that Christ wants to accomplish in you.

Question: When was the last time you went before God in repentance?

© 2017 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on November 29, 2017 in Prayer, Revival, Spiritual Walk

 

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Spiritual Restoration

Toward the end of Paul’s letter to the Galatian church, he begins to talk about some important issues for dealing with people.  The first is working with people who aren’t perfect.  I think we forget, sometimes, that none of us walks in the clouds.

Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently.  But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.
Galatians 6:1

Paul talks about someone who’s had a side-slip.  Whether intentional or not, we sometimes see our past sinful life try to make an appearance.  That’s why God has us doing life together.

The Lord’s desire is always for restoration.  It’s not about guilt or condemnation.  When we experience a failure, there’s usually enough self-condemnation, so that we don’t need to add any more from the outside.

I believe that’s why the Holy Spirit wants restoration to be accomplished only by those who are spiritual.  Notice that He didn’t say that those versed in psychology, or those who’ve never sinned, should work with them.

The qualification is for those who are spiritual.  They spend time listening to the Holy Spirit.  It’s evident from their lives that they consistently produce the Fruit of the Spirit.  They’re the ones uniquely qualified to bring restoration.

But even spiritual people aren’t above being tempted.  Tempted to do what?  Paul goes on to talk about this temptation.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.  If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions.  Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load.
Galatians 6:2-5

In dealing with the weaknesses of others, there’s always a temptation to compare.  We end up comparing our strength with their weakness.  But that gives us an inflated view of ourselves.

It also makes it easier for us to begin judging others.  We start to criticize and condemn, instead of bringing the restoration of the Holy Spirit.

I think that an important part of this is understanding the difference between a burden and a load.  These are two very different words in the Greek.

The word burden simply means a weight – something heavy.  There are times where, because of what we’re going through, our life seems a little too tough to handle.  Spiritual people are a help during these times.  The law of Christ is their internal prompting by the Holy Spirit to bring encouragement during these times.

The word, load, on the other hand, speaks of an invoice or work-order.  That’s our God-given assignment.  No one can do that for us.  Mine is different than yours.  I can’t compare what I’ve been called to do with your calling.

There are people only you can reach and assignments only you can do the way the Lord wants them done.  So it’s not my job to take over because I think you’re inadequate.  If I truly am spiritual, then I’ll encourage and strengthen you so that you’re able to fulfill your unique destiny.

Comparison and condemnation have no place in the body of believers.  We’re here to fulfill the plan of Christ, not to please each other.

Spend time in the presence of the Lord and then be a blessing to those around you.

Question: What is a time that the Holy Spirit prompted you to be a help to someone else?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on November 3, 2017 in Encouragement, Legalism, Spiritual Walk

 

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Hurtful Words

I’ve been looking at how we need to keep a tight rein on our tongue. This is what much of the book of James is about. It’s from our tongues that we can see our faith and maturity – or lack of them.

Your tongue also shows how well you’re able to relate in the body of Christ.

Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you — who are you to judge your neighbor?
James 4:11-12

James is telling us not to speak against our brothers and sisters. That means it’s all about attitude. Where is your heart focused on?

I’ve heard people speaking evil things in regards to someone. When challenged about it they say, “I’m not gossiping. Everything I’m saying is the truth.”

According to James, truth is not the issue. The question is whether you’re saying something that will hurt that person. What’s the goal of your statements? Are to trying to make them look good or bad in the eyes of others?

The greater context of James gives us more insight into this. When he says that speaking against your brother is speaking against the law, he’s not talking about the Old Testament. In this book, James keeps referring to the perfect law that gives freedom.

When you slander your brother, you’re speaking against the grace of Christ Jesus. When you stand in judgment over someone, you’re saying that God’s grace is ineffective in their life. You’re taking on the role of the Holy Spirit and that’s a dangerous place to be.

James tells us that there’s only one qualified Judge. But in this case, He’s the same one who saves. His blood not only forgives, but can change someone from the inside out. Instead of talking against this person, you should be praying for their growth and blessing.

But there’s a greater danger that you enter when you use your words to hurt others.

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
Luke 6:37-38

I think it’s funny that we use these words of Jesus to apply to our money most of the time. Especially since it’s obvious that Jesus used them in relation to our words. He is giving us a warning in light of the law of sowing and reaping.

It’s clear that the Lord is talking about our words in this section. The same words you give will be given back to you – good measure, shaken together, and running over. This is true whether it’s words of judgment, condemnation, or forgiveness.

If you walk in grace and mercy toward others, you’ll find that you receive more in your daily life. When you sow grace, you receive grace. By your words you can set yourself up for the blessing of God. Just make sure your words are a blessing to others.

Question: How have you spoken a blessing into the lives of others?

Nick Zaccardi 2017

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2017 in Fellowship, Spiritual Walk

 

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Our Culture of Darkness

SunriseA little over a year ago I posted a series about Christianity as a counter-culture. I want to pick up that theme again for a few more posts. Too many believers want to keep their feet in both the church and the world. That’s going to become increasingly difficult as we approach the Lord’s return.

The world hates Christ and His people. Please understand what I mean by this. I’m talking about the world system and not the individual people themselves. It’s the system – the way our culture has established itself – that’s against the knowledge of Christ.

The Lord spoke about it.

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.
John 3:19

We live in a society that hates the light – the knowledge of truth. This is because truth is an agent of change. When I begin to know and understand the truth, I’m responsible to do something with it.

Because of this, the default response of the world is, “I don’t want to know the truth.” They have found that ignorance is bliss – at least in the short term.

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
John 3:17-18

Here’s what many people don’t understand. Christ didn’t come to condemn the world. And it’s definitely not our job either. We are not here to rebuke sinners for doing what is natural to them.

The problem arises when the light of truth becomes evident. Even though we may not directly condemn anyone, by rejecting the truth they stand condemned. In effect, they’ve condemned themselves.

When you know that there’s a right path, yet you knowingly chose the wrong way, you become self-condemned. At that point the only solution is to cram your life with so many distractions that you never think about this truth.

That’s where our society finds itself today. We have more opportunities to amuse ourselves than ever before. I chose that word on purpose. A-muse – it literally means to not-think.

On the other side of the coin, we as believers should be the ones who don’t fear the truth. We should delight in the presence of the Lord and His Word. We should be welcoming the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

We can’t afford to pick up the attitude of the world. Don’t fall victim to the distractions of this age which will short-circuit your destiny in Christ. Spend time in the light of Christ and His truth.

Question: How does walking in the light differ from walking in the darkness?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in Revival, The Church

 

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