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Monday, June 22, 2009

Turn or Burn?

And men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power over these plagues; and they did not repent, so as to give Him glory. Revelation 16:9 (New American Standard Version)

I really hate the mess we humans have made of life on planet Earth. It gets so that when I see something on the news that I believe to be the heart of depravity, the next morning there is something new that tops the previous day in its vileness. I’ve caught myself thinking, “Lord, if only you’d lay some really heavy judgment upon these evil people to get their attention they’d clean up their act.”

The Word of God teaches just the opposite; that human nature and its natural reaction to God’s will would be to despise and blaspheme His name. Jesus said the unregenerate heart hates Him first and seeks darkness because its deeds are evil (John 3:19, 20, 7:7). How else would degenerate people react to having light shone upon their evil choices except to display anger and hatred against that Light? And even though that judgment is justly deserved in the examination of a completely holy God?

It is mostly true that unbelievers know us Christians not for what we are for but for what we are against. While grace is mostly misunderstood as weakness by the world, I’ve found the general feeling toward it by many Christians is hostility and an unsympathetic viewpoint toward its lack of deserved punishment. If those unbelievers would just start acting right, going to church, not cursing, not having abortions, not using drugs or alcohol…and on and on. Those kinds of changes won’t happen by themselves; they will only follow a change of heart. A means to this change comes from our offering grace and truth to an unbelieving world and being spiritual salt shakers (Matthew 5:13). How will they know unless we tell them? How will they trust us if we come at them with a “turn or burn” attitude? The apostle John said people will know us by our love and the apostle Paul said there is no law against love. True love breaks down barriers opening hearts and minds. As we love and show grace to an unbelieving world the power of Christ can change lives by cleansing and transforming the inside of the cup (Matthew 23:26). An attitude of judgment hinders relationship while an attitude of love breaks no law at all. The latter is what Christ wants us to be known for.