Thursday, December 17, 2015

I Am Called To Faith, But Am I Called To Be Nice?

There are people in the world and in the Church that have this picture in their minds of "nice Jesus". I have had unbelievers tell me that I did not live up to the standard Jesus set for me because I was not "nice" about something. I have heard Christians come up with the same thing. "Would Jesus say that?"

All I can say is that I do not believe these people have read their New Testaments and especially the gospels.

Jesus would excoriate people regularly; particularly the religious class of His time. He would have no truck with people that would put their religious traditions before God and His law. He also had issues with religious people that would try to insert themselves between God and His people to control them.

Jesus regularly gave the Pharisees and Sadducees a beat down for their hypocrisy. Read Matthew 23. You will see what I mean. There is also Jesus' encounter with the same types in Matthew 15. Jesus is accused of violating the traditions of the elders by not washing His hands before eating. Our Lord pummels them with God's truth. Then the disciples ask Jesus in 15:12, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this?”

Well duh! Do you not think that was the idea? Of course they were offended. Jesus' entire life was an offense to them

Then there were His true followers. They were not so much hypocritical as they were ignorant. Countless times in the gospels Jesus says to His own disciples, "Oh ye of little faith...". He takes them to task constantly for failing to put the pieces of reality together that He has given them so they can get the big picture of what He was (and is) trying to do. The light does not really go on for them until the Holy Spirit comes in power in Acts 2. By the time they really "get it", He is gone, but He has left them the tools to get this new kingdom, the Church, underway.

And that brings me to the apostles as they were in the early Church. Were they "nice"? Well sometimes, but I think about how Peter called down judgement on Ananias and Sapphira and how Paul would take his own Jewish brethren to task as well as the Gentile Christians and I think that Paul was not always nice.

Why do you think it is that people find the Bible so offensive? It's because it points to us and says we do not measure up and we need to repent. To be completely frank, in our age, it pisses people off.  When we put our own selves before the will of God as expressed in scripture, we can either be offended by being called out or we can submit to God in faith and seek forgiveness.

The gospel is offensive. It is not nice. It demands obedience and threatens eternal damnation to those that refuse God's will and Word.

But it also offers eternal life...

My thought is this. Surrender to Him. He loves you. Make His will your will. If you do that, all those offensive things that you might sense coming from scripture, will no longer seem so offensive.

So am I not being nice or am I just telling you the truth? Sometimes they go together don't they?

Of course, there are times when I'm really not nice. You can call me on it if you like. I will try not to accuse you of not being nice :^)  

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