You may have noticed that our last post was just Part 1. You may also be wondering why. I mean, that was a pretty long post. What could possibly be left?
Well, Part 2 is for those who already accept Part 1. It’s for Christians. And it’s about 1 Peter 1:15. (Which, by the way, says, “but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”)
If you believe with all of your heart that Jesus is the only way back to a right relationship with God and the only way to be washed clean from sin, that is beautiful. Yes, beautiful. That kind of declaration is tear-worthy, and I hope those that know you celebrated with you in joy. It means you have realized, like we talked about in Part 1, that God’s seeming closed-mindedness about salvation is actually out of a deep love for people, not intolerance.
But how far do you trust Him to lead you NOW?
There are so many Christians who don’t trust God to keep leading them through their every day even though they have put their souls into His keeping. While His One Way policy made sense for salvation, a glance through His commandments turns them around real quick. “The Bible can’t possibly still be relevant,” they say. “God knows the world changes. He doesn’t mean any of those things to apply to us.” If He possibly meant what He said, they’re saying, He would be ridiculously closed-minded.
You might not associate yourself with such sweeping statements, but what about little things, parts of the Bible that are scarily against culture? Do we trust Him to lead us well even then? Do we believe Him when He says, “the word of God is living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12)? Even today?
To be really honest, God is no more open-minded about following His commandments than He is about our salvation. Remember 1 Peter 1:15? He demands holiness. Holiness! And look at these:
In John 14:15, Jesus said, “If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
In Luke 6:46, He challenged, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?”
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all.”
While this might seem demanding and restrictive, it’s for the same reason He demands one way for salvation: a deep, unselfish love. Any open-mindedness that allowed us to sin would, in fact, be nothing short of cruel.
To give another picture of what I’m talking about, this time I want you to imagine a toddler, your toddler. Now, this toddler daughter of yours happens to love running in front of cars. That’s just her thing and it makes her laugh. As her parent, you know this is a very, very dangerous life choice. And so you’re faced with a choice of your own: Do you let her be a free spirit who lives life on her own terms (that way you aren’t that closed-minded, stuffy parent) or do you teach her the way she can be safe even if she hates it?
I certainly hope you all answered the second!
In the Bible, God is simply choosing that second option for us (though we are being directed away from something far more dangerous than cars).
Remember in Part 1 when we were talking about how God is the ultimate authority on the laws that govern the Earth, since He’s the One who created them? That applies here too. He knows the best possible path for our lives because He knows how the world was originally created to be. His commands are His directions. The Creator is giving us directions for how to go about living this life (Psalm 119:105). That’s wonderful! Right?
One would think, but instead I see Christians saying that God would be ok with them lying because it’s for a good purpose. Or that homosexuality is ok because the people love each other. Or that we can miss church because we need to rest or be with our family or worship in our own way.
When we wave God’s words aside like that, we are telling Him we think we know better, that His closed-minded view of our lives is wrong. (Talk about arrogance!)
God offers us freedom—freedom from sin, freedom from guilt, and freedom from the need to earn His love—but He is not open-minded about how to interpret His Word or whether we follow it. Nope. God calls us to holiness, and there are no exceptions to that.
Does He understand when we mess up? Absolutely, and He’s ready to forgive. Is He ok with the modern idea that He just loves us and wants us to be happy no matter what? Absolutely NOT. Instead, He loves us enough to want nothing but the best for us (which is pretty much the opposite of cruel closed-mindedness, by the way).
“Blessed are those who keep His testimonies, who seek Him with the whole heart!” -Psalm 119:2