- From the Cedar Street Times, Pacific Grove
What does God say about the two sides? He says pick one!
We are in the middle of a great war, Eph 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” God is on one side asking us to choose to be part of His eternal family. Satan is on the other side trying to fool us into refusing God’s offer. There are only two sides in this war.
One side is with God, Mk 9:40, “For he that is not against us is on our part.” And, the other side is against God, 1 Sam 12:15, “But if ye will not obey the voice of the Lord, but rebel against the commandment of the Lord, then shall the hand of the Lord be against you, as it was against your fathers.” We might think we have not chosen a side, however, everything and everyone in this world is part of one of these two sides; and the most important decision of our lives will be the side we choose to support.
God describes the people on the two sides of this war as the sheep and the goats, Matt 25:31-33, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.” He only tells us about two sides, the sheep, and the goats. But, who are the goats, Prov 14:12, “There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” The goats are those who have chosen to live this life in their own way, instead of following God’s advice. Or, as Samuel has told us, they rebel against the commandments of the Lord.
Who does God call to be on His side in this war? Everyone! He calls the weak, the poor, the strong, the rich, the foolish, the disabled, the leapers, the slaves, the murders, the adulterers, everyone! As an example, this is what he told us about David, a murderer and an adulterer, Acts 13:22, “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.” God sees who we will become, He knew David was far from perfect, but God knows our hearts and those who will ultimately choose to follow Him. It is not our past mistakes that define us; but rather our choice to accept Jesus as our savior, our willingness to repent from our sins and the resulting actions we take, which honor our God, or not.
When we oppose God we are in fact deciding our own eternal fate, 2 Thes 2:3-5, 8, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things…And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:” Those who choose to refuse God’s offer will have chosen the same fate Lucifer chose, Is 14:12-13, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:” God calls each of us to choose our own fate, Deut 30:19, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:”
Michael Youssef, Ph.D. explains Satan’s battle plan, “We are in constant spiritual warfare against Satan. He tries to enslave our bodies with addictions and excesses, our minds with heresies and paralyzing doubts, our spirits with guilt and shame. He seeks to take away our joy, rip apart our families, and wreck our relationships with Jesus Christ and His church.”
Once we decide we want to be on God’s side, what are we to do in this life?
We are to live the fruit of the Spirit, Gal 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” At first, this will be a trying process, as we will be living in direct opposition to most of what this world tells us we must do. This world says, “Win at any cost” and “hate those who are not following the world’s mantras;” but following these mantras leads us away from God and His calling.
This world wants everyone to worship leaders who will lead us toward man’s image of the perfect person. But, God tells us we are all unique, endowed with the very special gifts He has chosen for each of us, Eph 2:10, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” When we use our gifts for good works, we show our love for our neighbors and ourselves. God calls us to use the gifts He has given us to shine His light into this world, so as many of us as possible can find the path that leads to Him, in love, no matter our shape, size or color, Rom 12:10, “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;” This unselfish nature leads us to love everyone, even our enemies and leads them to love themselves, and ultimately, everyone else, Matt 5:43-46, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?”
This is the guiding principle behind the two commandments Jesus gave us, Matt 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” These two commandments summarize the Ten Commandments God gave to Moses, the first one summarizes the first four of the Ten, Ex 20:3-11, and the second one summarizes the final six, Ex 20:12-17. All of them lead us to Him, for they all direct us to love and God is love, 1 Jn 4:8, “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”
Many of us see God’s love as impossible, impossible to understand and too impossible to be real. We look at the Bible and think, “Who can know, who can understand this large complicated book?” But, God is telling us it is simple if we would only come with a heart willing to understand Him; He is love and everything in the Bible is there to help us understand that fact. Once we do, this large complicated book becomes a simple user manual for this life. We find the answers to our questions and they lead us to God’s side of this war; and to His peace and joy. There are only two sides, those who accept the Bible as God’s Word and it leads them to Him, and those who accept the devil’s lies about the Bible and it leads them away from Him.
I pray each of us will reason with His Word to determine for ourselves whether it is truthful and righteous. We only get this one short life to make this decision.
May the Lord bless and draw all of us to Him!
Comments, opposing opinions and suggestions for future topics are all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.