There is no finality to the Christian LIfe this side of eternity. Leonard Ravenhill

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The World Was All Before Them

"Some natural tears they dropt, but wiped them soon;
The world was all before them, where to choose
Their place of rest, and Providence their guide:
They hand in hand, with wandering steps and slow,
Through Eden took their solitary way."

Pause for a moment and think of that day that Adam and Eve were evicted from the beautiful garden called Eden...

It was an incredible place. Flowers bloomed endlessly. A veritable buffet of fresh, luscious fruit was everywhere. A cool tropical mist hung lazily in the air. A rainbow of color was splashed all around. Here the animals lived in perfection, never vengefully tearing one another apart, but peacefully existing together in a habitat of peace. Death did not exist, only life was here, perpetual and pure. It was paradise, it is no wonder that when God examined it His description was concise, but fitting, "It was good."

But even the most fertile imagination could not visualize this place as it actually was. Even the tongue replete with adjectives of wonder and mystery could not describe the beauty of Eden. Perfection is something we have never known. Completely unadulterated beauty is something our eyes have never seen. We dwell in a marred world, so a home without blemish is a foreign concept. We've never known anything but the fallen, the imperfect, the less than good. But still our minds can wonder as we imaginatively wander through a world better than our own.

The first time I read Milton's immortal lines, "The world was all before them", I inwardly shuddered. For although Adam and Eve had a big globe on which they could live, the crushing thing was, what they were leaving behind. The world with all of its vast opportunities was ahead of them but Eden was behind them. Though they were embarking on an incredible journey, they were leaving serenity, peace and fellowship, for an angel with a fiery sword to guard. Their sin opened their eyes but closed the gates of Eden. That one nibble from a good looking piece of fruit plunged the entire race of humanity into the abysmal blackness of separation from God, all because of a "little" sin.

So what's the lesson here?

While there are many directions we could go with this story, I want to emphasize the effects our decisions can have. When Adam and Eve were kicked out of Eden, though their all their life was before them, they had actually begun to experience the reality of death. God had said in Genesis 2:17, "of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." What God was saying here was not that the second their teeth sunk into the fruit they would drop dead; but that the instant they flouted His rule they would begin to die. Spiritual death would be immediate and physical death would begin to slowly, but relentlessly take its toll on mankind. Our souls would be lifeless and our bodies would steadily deteriorate.

When this couple left Eden they left all they had ever known to gain thorns, thistles and pain. Decisions have consequences. Sometimes we think a road before us will open up a world of opportunities, and sometimes they do. But what we must consider, is this gain we percieve at the cost of something far better? Are we gaining the world but losing Eden? Maybe an opportunity opens for career betterment, but pause and look at the situation circumspectly. Look at it with your eyes wide open in every direction. The fruit looked good to Eve but it cost her so much, more than she could have ever imagined. Your decisions just as Adam's, will affect others, your family namely. Think before you go on. Don’t consider your wants and desires primary in any situation. Your thoughtless bite from the tree of your own wants could drag others out of Eden. In all of life live with your eyes wide open and looking in evey direction, for all of the decisions that you make will have consequences, either good or bad.

"The world was all before them" but Eden was behind them.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Change Your Name or Change Your Act

He was just a young man, a soldier in the worlds most powerful army at the time. But he had failed in his service and had not been loyal to his country. He was now on trial before the great conqueror Alexander the Great for desertion. Alexander was a tough man, he was a commander who had conquered all of the known world by his courage and determination. He demanded complete allegiance from his subjects and was not compassionate to those who had disappointed him. But as Alexander sat there in judgment over the young man, he became touched by the soldiers pleas for mercy. All who were there anxiously awaited for the great conquerors verdict. Would he be released? Would mercy be shown? After a pause Alexander asked the young man, "What is your name?" The soldier feebly replied, "Alexander." The mighty monarch demanded once again, "What is your name?" The young man replied again, "Alexander, sir." The Macedonian ruler jumped from his seat grabbed the young soldier and threw him to the ground, he held him there and thundered angrily, "Either change your name or change your behavior."

If we are Christians our actions will coincide with the name we bear. It is not enough to be professors of Christianity we must live that faith out in our daily life. Christ must affect your character, and if He does not then you are not truly saved. If we claim to be Christians than there ought to be evidences of that profession. Jesus Christ should be the driving passion of our existence. We must, as Frances Schaeffer said, experience the Lordship of Christ in the totality of our life. We must not only talk Christian language we must live the Christian life day in and day out. As the book of James says, "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing."(James 1:22-25)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

All Roads Lead to God

"We will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, 'As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.' So then each of us will give an account of himself to God." Romans 14:10-12

Some religious theorists try to convince the populace that everyone regardless of spiritual persuasion will in the end get to Heaven. These pluralists preach that every man and woman on the face of this earth, in spite of their place in the religious marketplace, will get to God. Their basic theology is encapsulated in the old statement: All roads lead to God.

While such reasoning sounds warm and fuzzy, this line of thought is neither biblical nor rational. Jesus clearly stated in John 14:6 that He was the road to the Father and that no one no matter how hard they tried would get to God outside of Him. So we see that the "all roads lead to God" theory and the words of Christ are antithetical to each other. Secondly, this inclusive theology fails any standard of logic. How can all religions be right went they all believe very different things from one another? How can all roads lead to God when some religions don’t even believe in God? Does the Muslim get his hedonistic heaven when he dies, the Hindu his reincarnation, and the evangelical his golden streets and pearly gates? It just doesn't work!

Now having said all of that, let me say this, I do believe all roads in life do lead to God, but not in the traditional way. The Bible clearly teaches that every man and woman will stand before God at His judgment throne. This is far from something warm and fuzzy. God is a good judge and He will judge accordingly. The Word of God says we will all have to give an account of ourselves to God. This is everyone who has ever lived and everyone who will ever live, no one gets to skip the judgment.

It is here at "Jehovah's awful throne" that God Almighty will pronounce the verdict on our lives. If we stand before Him washed in the blood of Jesus Christ, cleansed from our sins and have been made new, our eternal destination in Heaven will be prepared.(Although we will still be accountable for how we have lived and should live every moment of our days in a way so that when we stand before Him, He will say "Well done") But if when you stand before God you stand alone as your own lawyer trying to defend your sin-stained self before a completely holy God, their is no hope for you, your eternal destination is also prepared. Heaven is a real place, it is the eternal home of those who have been saved from their sin by Jesus Christ. Hell is also a real place and it will be the eternal nightmare of all those who have rejected Christ.

The road that you are walking does lead to God; but not as a benevolent Santa Claus. The God you will meet is a perfect judge and He hates sin. So don't wait to get prepared to meet Him. (Amos 4:12) We get to live this life but once and then we have to face God. (Heb. 9:27) Don't depend on your own goodness, you won’t measure up. Put on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. (Rom. 13:14)

Remember: Their is a judgment coming!