Monday, February 16, 2015

February 16 – Benefits without the cost?

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.  Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.  (Revelation 21:14-15 HCSB)

It’s so simple. All sinners are welcomed into the Kingdom of God with open arms, as long as they wash their robes – repent and turn from their sins. No one has to pay for their sins any longer, because that price has already been paid by the painful death of God the Son. The minimum God requires is to wash our filthy robes of sin, and live in obedience to His ways and His Spirit.  

God wants us as His children, and paid the ultimate price. Yet most people don’t really want to treat Him like their Father. They’d rather have all the benefits of heaven at no personal cost, other than “being good” according to their standards. Free us from the penalty of sin, but don’t make us sacrifice sin. Some church leaders encourage Christians to just accept Jesus’ sacrifice as a gift, and be thankful. Keep up the profanity, keep up the addictions, enjoy the raunchy conversations and act on those desires now and then, as long as you’ve “accepted Jesus as your Savior.” But entry in to heaven comes at a high cost to us too, the cost of killing our flesh. Unfortunately there will be plenty of people who flat out refuse, and will be left outside the gates and destined for hell:  

The sorcerers, who God equates to those with a rebellious heart, in 1 Samuel 15:23.  (Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft…) That means a lot of sorcery is going on among “nice” people right now. Whoever consults psychics or mediums, who tries to communicate with dead relatives, who dabbles in the horoscope or tarot cards, all fall under this category because they are invoking evil spirits.   

There are the sexually immoral, who feel no guilt doing exactly what Jesus said in Matthew 5, that even looking at someone lustfully is the same as committing physical adultery before God. Dabblers in porn, erotic novels and films, they are all far from God and outside His gates. 

The murderers, who Jesus also says are not just those who kill the body, but who harbor thoughts of hatred or grudges, who call people fools and look down on others with contempt. In God’s eyes they have murdered one of His creation. 

The idolaters, who adore their children, their marriages, their personal wealth or possessions, their independence or their social standing, above God. They’ll sacrifice more for these treasures than they ever would for the God they give lip service to. They’re idol worshippers.  

And then everyone who practices lying, who deceives to get ahead, and who even deceive themselves into believing they’re just fine, when they’re lost. 

This is too serious to ignore. 21st century Christians in general are far too casual about this unprecedented gift of salvation, and are tossing it aside to keep indulging their own flesh. What a beautiful Kingdom we could all belong to right now if we choose wisely. Let’s be sure every day that our robes have been washed and that we’ll be given the right to eat from the tree of life. 

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