This is a HUGE topic and I am not even going to pretend like I understand it all but I will try to share from what I am being taught by God through the Holy Spirit, because He is always willing to teach and we must always be willing to humble ourselves and learn from God!
Those who don’t believe in God will continue to deny Him and His Word and aren’t interested in the things of God. They are usually after debates and keen on winning arguments, not learning the truth. I’m not saying they’re all like that, but the vast majority fits this description.
Those of us who do believe in God and follow Him and His Word, must seek after what He wants, not what we/others like/want or think is right/fair. The Creator is greater than the created!
When it comes to faith in Jesus and its impact in our lives, we are either all in or out, there’s no middle ground. Jesus addresses this in the book of Revelations:
“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.”
Basically, Jesus is saying that He will have nothing to do with those Christians who aren’t serious about Him.
I fear that many Christians don’t spend any/enough time in God’s Word, earnestly seeking to know Him and as a result, their understanding of God is weak and they are more prone to be swayed by the waywardness of the world than to stand firm in the ways of God.
Therefore, I have written this post to benefit fellow Christians, though non-Christians may find it interesting and informative or infuriating.
The Old Testament (The Old Covenant)
The Old Testament is where we learn about the laws that God revealed to His people (Israel) and the sacrificial system for addressing sin. God used Moses to deliver His people from slavery under the Egyptians and He then proceeded to tell them everything they needed to know to live a life that is pleasing to Him. He gave them laws (The Ten Commandments + various other laws relating to all aspects of life and conduct) and how to deal with those who broke the law. God made it very clear to His people that if they live according to His ways, then He would bless them and if they turn away from Him, then they would suffer the consequences of their disobedience.
For Christians today, when we look at the Old Testament, we should be very grateful to God that we don’t have to follow the law to the letter (the same way it was observed and executed by the Israelites back then) and rely on priests and sacrifices on a yearly basis to deal with our sins.
However, the laws that God revealed to His people in the Old Testament, is relevant to Christians today in that those laws tells us what displeases God and what we must avoid as we pursue a life of holiness in Christ under the New Covenant/Testament.
The Apostle Paul drives this point home perfectly:
What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.”
Do you see what he is saying? We wouldn’t know what sin is unless God told us what it is! Paul uses covetousness as an example here but the same can be said about all the other sins.
It is a mistake to discard the Old Testament laws as being obsolete or irrelevant because in doing so, we are creating an environment where people are free to redefine what sin is and what God approves or is against, which is what I believe is happening within the Christian faith.
Let me make it crystal clear. Today, we don’t follow the Old Testament laws exactly like God’s people did in Israel, that is, we don’t punish those who break the law in the way it was prescribed under the law then, nor do we perform animal sacrifices once a year to atone for our sins.
So, how do we fulfill the law without following it in the same way as back then?
The New Testament (The New Covenant)
Before we look at some of the things Jesus said and did, we need to establish who He is. This is extremely important because if the identity of Jesus isn’t clear, how/why would anyone take Him seriously?
Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of God, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary and is true God and true man. (Matthew 1:20-25, John 1:1-3; 14; 18; 5:18, 8:58-59, 20:24-28, Romans 9:5, Colossians 1:13-14, Hebrews 1:8, I Thessolonians 4:14-18, Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1, Matthew 1:1-16, Luke 3:23-38)
Jesus is fully God and fully man. Our inability to comprehend this truth doesn’t make it any less true!
Jesus also made it very clear that He is not just claiming to be some god, but THE God that revealed Himself to Moses and all the prophets of the Old Testament! While this truth is clear in the verses mentioned earlier, here is another portion of Scriptures from John where Jesus makes an emphatic statement about His equality with God the Father:
“I and the Father are one.”
Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”
“We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”
There’s no ambiguity here. The Jews who heard Jesus say these words, were ready to stone Him because He was claiming to be God!
Now that we are clear about who Jesus is, let’s take a quick look at why He came.
The purpose of Jesus coming to earth is best summarised in a Scripture verse that most are familiar with.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Here is another verse that puts it in the context of sin.
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We know that those who sin against God must die (as per the Old Testament law) but the same sinner can now have eternal life in Jesus (the sinless righteous man who chose to die in place of the sinner who deserved death)!
Jesus makes His position on the Old Testament law very clear from early on in His ministry.
“Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”
If the Old Testament law means nothing under the New Covenant, would Jesus have said any of the above? He makes it clear that we are not to deal with the law like the religious leaders of His day, who thought they were righteous because of the manner they observed it, when in reality, they were only doing it for show but their hearts were far away from God. They were religious but not in a relationship with God!
Do you get it?
The Old Testament laws tell us what sin is and instead of facing the prescribed punishment, in Jesus, under the New Covenant, we have forgiveness, redemption, salvation, the price paid for our sins!
We have already established from the Scriptures that the God of the Old Testament and Jesus Christ in the New Testament, is One and the same!
We also know that God doesn’t change His mind like people do.
We also know that the Bible has this to say about Jesus:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
Do you see where I’m getting at?
If Jesus is God, who is unchanging, then the laws God/Jesus revealed in the Old Testament remains true even today because He has not changed His mind about what is pleasing to Him and what is detestable to Him!
The law hasn’t changed, only the way lawbreakers are dealt with has changed!
So dear Christian, the next time someone decides to throw a random Old Testament law at you to try to snare you so that they can mock/ridicule you, point them to the New Covenant/Testament, how sinners aren’t condemned to death and can receive forgiveness if they turn to Jesus!
Nowhere is this more beautifully illustrated than in the case of the woman caught in adultery and brought before Jesus:
But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. Early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery, and having set her in the center of the court, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women; what then do You say?” They were saying this, testing Him, so that they might have grounds for accusing Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground. But when they persisted in asking Him, He straightened up, and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. When they heard it, they began to go out one by one, beginning with the older ones, and He was left alone, and the woman, where she was, in the center of the court. Straightening up, Jesus said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”
The religious leaders were ready to stone the adulteress to death, in accordance with the Old Testament. Jesus turned everything upside down when He said that whoever standing there is without sin, can be the first to stone her. Everyone walked away because they knew that none of them were sinless. Jesus being sinless, was the only One who could stone her, but instead, chose to forgive her and commanded her to not sin again! He didn’t punish her as her sins deserved (death as per the Old Testament – see Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 22:22; Leviticus 20:10) but upheld the Old Testament law in that He charged her not to sin again!
I don’t think I need to say anything further on this matter.
I pray that the Holy Spirit will help you understand what I have shared.
Same-sex marriage is the current hot topic and has everyone all twisted up.
It has also caused unnecessary division amongst Christians.
When it comes to the Bible, God is very clear in what He defines as marriage, which is between one man and one woman. That’s the biblical definition (God’s definition) of marriage, not based on the likes and dislikes of people (that God created mind you), but based on what is right according to Him.
Then there’s our society that is trying to define marriage in a new way, in opposition to the traditional sense or God’s definition.
I honour God’s definition of marriage and every other attempt is another example of man’s rebellion against God.
This might come as a shock to some Christians but honestly, when it comes to same-sex marriage, the actions of people who don’t believe in God or honour the Bible, doesn’t affect my walk with Jesus or relationship with Him. I can tell them where I stand on the matter but I cannot force them or convince them to believe in what I believe in. That’s not my job. That’s not what I am called to do as a Christian.
When addressing same-sex marriage, the sexual aspect cannot be ignored, for there in lies the heart of the issue. Like every other sin (taking God’s Name in vain, idol worship, adultery, lying, stealing, coveting etc), God hates the sin of sexual intercourse between people of the same sex. Rather than going into detail about what the Bible says, I will direct you to this article: https://bible.org/article/homosexuality-biblical-christian-view
To those who argue that Jesus never mentioned anything about homosexuality in New Testament, I direct your attention back to the fact that Jesus is God, the same God of the Old Testament who made His position about homosexuality very clear in the Old Testament laws.
Calling me names or hating me will not change anything, especially God’s view on this.
God hates ALL sin but He has also made a Way for ALL sinners to come to Him through Jesus!
“I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”
When it comes to the Old Testament, people (especially non-Christians) are quick to deride/mock/hate God because of the way He enacts His justice on those who sin against Him. What they don’t realise is that even in the Old Testament, God has a deep desire for sinners to come to Him.
Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign LORD. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live?
This of course falls totally in line with why Jesus came and what is revealed to us in the New Testament.
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9
God/Jesus doesn’t want sinners to perish in their sin but for them to repent (turn from their sins), place their faith in Jesus and be saved!
It’s unfortunate that many Christians are focusing on this one sin when reality is that they should be just as troubled by all other sins.
Jesus has this to say about people who focus on others while ignoring themselves.
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.
Rather than going around judging others, Jesus is challenging people to deal with their own sinfulness and relationship with Him.
I can’t speak for other Christians but this is one of the reasons why I don’t focus on this issue. I continue to serve Him and share the Good News about Jesus with those who are willing to hear. The Holy Spirit is the one who convicts people of their sin and leads them to Jesus! I am called to be a faithful witness to people, not convert them!
God wants all people to repent of their sin, no matter what sin they are struggling with or living in.
It’s God’s love that sent Jesus to the cross and those who turn away from their sin and turn to Christ, are saved!
We shouldn’t brush aside any sin but nor should we whack people over the head with the Bible.
As Christians, we must live Jesus in word, thought and deed. We are called to be salt and light in this world.
We are not called to convert or convince anyone. The Holy Spirit does that.
Don’t let the fear of ridicule or rejection affect the faith you profess in Christ and where you stand in terms of what God says and what the world says. Those who do not believe in God will call you a “bigot” and all sorts of other names because you choose to follow God’s Word. It may cost you in other ways as well. I don’t know what sort of struggles and persecution you will face on account of Jesus but I encourage you to stand firm and not let it cause you to fall away from Jesus. We may lose a lot, even our lives, on this side of heaven but the LORD has promised a great reward for those who endure in Him. I pray these Scripture verses (Matthew 5:10-12; Matthew 5:44; John 15:19-21; 2 Corinthians 4:8-11; 2 Corinthians 12:10) will encourage you to hold on to Jesus no matter what.
Of course, if you never really accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour (merely going through the motions) and your faith in Him never took root (read the parable of the sower in Matthew 13:1-23), you will not have much trouble denying/forsaking Jesus and agreeing with the ways of the world.
But be warned, for Jesus has this to say about those who deny Him in this world:
Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
If you read Matthew 10:24-33, you will see that Jesus is encouraging us to stand firm in Him, to proclaim His Word, in the face of persecution and even death.
Many well-meaning Christians will argue that when two people love each other, they should be allowed to get married and to stand against that is just not very loving of us as Christians. They argue that Jesus is all about love and therefore would have no issues with it.
I have already established how the God of the Old Testament and Jesus in the New Testament are One and the same and how the Old Testament laws are still important under the New Testament. Thus, to say that Jesus would have no issues about this is just plain wrong.
We saw earlier how the Bible and the world/society define marriage and how they oppose each other.
In the same manner, love as defined and expressed by God in His Word and love as defined by the world/society, aren’t the same either.
There are many passages in Scripture that talks about love but I want to direct you to 1 John 4:
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
1 John 4:7-21
If God is love, without God, what is this love that is being exchanged by those who do not know Him?
Without God and His regenerating work in us through the Holy Spirit (that begins when we accept Jesus as Saviour and Lord), we are unable to love in the manner that pleases God.
Anything that is originally from God that is now devoid of God, is a counterfeit.
The same is true of love.
Love that is devoid of God, isn’t true love.
This isn’t my opinion. It’s what God says in the Bible.
Jesus is the greatest expression of God’s love for without Him, death and eternal separation would be the gloomy end awaiting us all.
The romantic love that we are all familiar with, is the love God has ordained between a husband and wife and no other. Sadly, this is no longer the case in the world we are living today.
When we receive Jesus into our hearts, the Holy Spirit of God comes into our lives, enabling us to love like Jesus, to love others with the right kind of love.
So dear brothers and sisters, if you have confessed Jesus to be your Saviour, Lord and God, please be mindful that love isn’t what you think it is or what the world makes it out to be, but what God says it is because God is love!
Whether people (Christians or otherwise) like it or not, there are things that God approves and there are things He doesn’t.
Without a proper understanding of God or the Bible, many Christians will find themselves in dangerous places as time goes on.
God has this warning in the Bible for all of us:
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.
2 Timothy 4:3-4
How can we live the truth and share the truth, unless we know the truth?
I pray the Holy Spirit will help you humble yourself before the LORD and diligently study the Word, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you all truth.
I pray that the LORD will give you a hunger and passion for God, so that those around you will see how wonderful Jesus is and want Him for themselves.
I pray the LORD will bless you with the wisdom, courage and boldness to stand firm in Jesus and to proclaim His Word.
I pray the LORD, through the working of the Holy Spirit, will enable you to love Jesus and love others the way Jesus calls you to love them.
I lift this prayer request to our Heavenly Father in Jesus Name.
Wherever Scripture references have been made, I have used the New American Standard Bible (NASB) translation.