By Dan Ecklund
When a car tries to race a train to the crossing and it ties for first place, it usually ends up as a loser. The odds the train will swerve to avoid the collision are zero, and the likelihood of the car winning the match-up is slim. Most collisions usually leave the car and driver so mangled that the identity of neither one can be easily recognized. Millions of dollars are spent on warning lights and crossing arms, yet the warnings go unheeded on a daily basis as drivers try to shave a few seconds off their travel time.
In a similar way, most people continually try to beat the odds with God. The majority of Americans consider themselves Christians; in fact, numerous polls show that between 90 and 96 percent of Americans confess belief in God. Yet, despite the belief in God, the population is divided in its opinions regarding the moral standard that should accompany their belief in Him.
People say things like, “My God would never create hell.” Or, “My God has told me He’s fine with my lifestyle,” and “My God told me [insert sin here] is okay.” Based on these statements, we must conclude one of two things: Either God has a personality disorder, or some of us have different gods.
Christians in Chaos
Even though most Christians claim to serve the same God, it is evident that we do not. It’s shown by the design a person puts on their personal god of choice, taken from the Christian God. A survey conducted by the Barna group supports this view. Here’s a list of divisions within confessing Christianity on key issues found within Scripture.
· One-third of born-again adults (33%) say that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior, compared with 45% of all adults, 4% of evangelicals, and 71% of atheists and agnostics (2004).
· Half of born-again Christians (46%) agree that Satan is “not a living being but is a symbol of evil” (2007).
· 46% of born-again Christians deny Satan's existence.
· 26% of born-again Christians agree that “while he lived on earth, Jesus committed sins like other people.”
· 36% of born-again Christians said they believe in moral absolutes.
· 37% of born-again Christians believe that if a person is good enough, that person can earn a place in heaven (2007).
Let’s focus on the last two of the 2007 polls first: 36 percent of born-again believers say they believe in moral absolutes. That means that for 64 percent of believers, there are no moral grounds that can’t be adjusted. That in itself explains the division within Christianity. If God’s Law, written in stone, is not an absolute, then a person can decide what is morally acceptable. This is of key importance. If something is absolute truth, it must come from outside of mankind, as it’s obvious we change what’s right and wrong to fit our desires. It is no different than saying we can decide whether we can beat the train to the crossing, despite the arms being down and the lights flashing.
Moral Rebellion in the Catholic Church
Recently, some Texas Catholics went into an uproar. The bishops wrote a letter that it was immoral to support the act of abortion, which had been the Catholic church’s belief for the last 50 years. When some of the church members heard the letter read during that service, they left. In a television interview some of those who left the service demanded that all churches be taxed for taking political sides. The former patrons had decided the issue of “life” was not a moral one, but a political choice, and the Catholic Church itself had no right to tell them what to do.
Runaway Believers Openly Rejecting Gospel Fundamentals
If God is absolute, then so are His laws. The laws of physics have yet to change in the car vs. train contest, yet some believe God’s laws will make an exception for them. During elections some “confessing Christians” vote pro-choice and endorse gay marriage. Some choose to believe the lack of absolutes, or want to justify their selections for what they think is best for the country. What is right biblically, compared to the way many professing believers do, say, and believe are right—seem to be in clear contrast: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs14:12).
One must conclude again that if the moral law of the living God did not change, then either we chose to ignore it or we have different gods. Scripture paints a very grim event in what are probably the most horrific verses in the Bible.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matt. 7:21-24).
No one seems to believe this would ever happen to him or her, despite the choices he or she has made in this life. None of the people mentioned in this Scripture thought they practiced lawlessness. Just as in the case of most of professing believers today, they deny absolute right and wrong, so they themselves could never have been “lawless.” Many of today’s professing will be in this group in “that day,” as Scripture mentions.
People always try to escape the consequences for their actions. Religion is often used as the escape for the conscience. Once people design a god in their minds that will never hold them accountable, they are free to enjoy their desires of all the sin they want. The conscience can be managed as one can rationalize that even if they “feel bad” for certain actions, their god would not punish them, nor cares what they do. It is the same as ignoring the blinking lights at the train crossing.
God’s Law was written in stone for a reason. It isn’t going to move for man's desires. The fact that man can’t keep these laws should serve as a warning that we're standing on the track. Laws without justice are useless suggestions. Many professing believers equate God’s commandants to be the “drive friendly” signs on the interstate of life. When God set the absolutes in place, the penalty of violation was also set. If God is good, just, and holy, He cannot let anyone escape accountability.
If a judge were to let a murderer go because he was sorry for his actions, the judge would be bad: no justice would be served, nor would the killer have paid for his crime. Yet professing Christians today believe their actions will not be brought into account, despite the fact they openly deny God’s absolutes. It’s the same as standing on train tracks with full denial of the laws of physics. Either you or the laws will be proven to be in error.
Standing on the Track
Many confessing Christians today are ashamed of Jesus. It sounds odd, but it is true.
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).
It’s not the image of Jesus we are ashamed of, many people wear crosses on their necks and place fish stickers on their cars. Even the secular world doesn’t have an issue with the image of Jesus, as they regard Him as a “good and moral historical figure.” But listen to Mark 8:38 again when Jesus said “and my words.” It’s His words we have a problem with and often refuse to accept.
How many Christians that you know openly deny many of the very words of Jesus? How often do you hear of Christians supporting the homosexual lifestyle, abortion, or even various other ways of reaching heaven? Their words and actions directly contradict the famous John 3:16 verse they can quote from memory. Many who openly claim Christianity also openly deny the very words of Christ.
Paul also warned believers about how they lived their lives. He didn’t given inch on moral accountability among those who follow Christ. He warned them repeatedly not to behave in a manner that was ungodly.
“You, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, 'Do not commit adultery,' do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who make your boast in the law, do you dishonor God through breaking the law? For 'the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,' as it is written” (Romans 2:21-24).
How many hypocrites do you know?
Yield Right of Way
If you’re a confessing believer who has in the past been unsure about what is morally absolute, consider the fact that you might be standing on the track, rather than being a passenger on the train. If you’re into challenging the authority of God to decide what is moral and what is good, then you do so from your own views, and do not submit to the authority of God’s laws. Understand that Christians who deny their own conscience, God’s moral standard, and the warnings from Scripture may have misidentified themselves as “Christ’s followers” from the beginning.
God alone will sort out the sheep and the goats on the last day. If you want to know which category you fall into, look at whom you select as your moral shepherd. Do you submit to God’s standards or are your values based on what society says is morally sound?
If you’re a Christian, you should know it’s not society that you must answer to.
“For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God” (Rom. 10:4).