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Recently, as part of an item for our TV program, we filmed the killing of a lamb, in order to illustrate the meaning of Passover. Well, that is what I wanted to do! But life is not this simple! There are regulations that, unless your program is a pure documentary, you are not allowed to show animals being slaughtered. So I was forced to compromise, simply showing before and after scenes.
A young man accompanying us, did not want to look at the lamb being killed, although he is perfectly happy to eat meat purchased in a packet from off the supermarket shelf. For people who live in cities, in the western world at least, this is all too commonly the case. We are now over protected from the true reality of life, from death and suffering, in most situations.
This sanitising process has also occurred with our perception of God. We see him as a 'lovey-dovey' benefactor simply there to meet all our whims. The ultimate Father Christmas in the heavens! But God has a rounded character, one of both love and judgment. Yet, in today's church, all we generally hear about is God's love, but little of His judgment. Judgment that will surely be displayed again, as the Bible promises, at the end of the current Age of Grace. There is now so little fear of God that most people, including many Christians, don't take God, or sin, seriously. We are conditioned to live 'sanitised' rather than 'sanctified' lives!
As in general society, we in the church too are taught our 'rights' (of unconditional salvation for simply saying the 'sinner's prayer - actually unbiblical!) while neglecting our 'responsibilities' (to walk as Jesus did).
The harsh reality is that the cost of sin is death. The price of our individual reconciliation with our Heavenly Father is death. Firstly it was the substitutionary death of animals. Then under the New Covenant, the death of Jesus. His death on the 'awe-ful' cross on Calvary's hill, nearly 2,000 years ago was a substitute for our own life. The reality is, Jesus suffered the horrible, painful, tragic death of a totally innocent man, on your behalf and mine. He became the 'life for a life', as God required. Yes, Jesus paid the ultimate price. His body was broken. His blood flowed. He died the most terrible death imaginable, in order that we might be reconciled to the Father without having to literally die ourselves.
Yet we so often treat His sacrifice with contempt. We glibly thank Him for what He has done, sitting in a comfortable pew in a beautiful church on a Sunday, then simply go out and live our lives as we wish. We mistakenly believe His sacrifice will magically cover the next 6 1/2 days of unrighteous living, without any fear of consequences. Feeling free to live 'sanitised rather the sanctified' lives. For God's love surely has (and will) cover all our unholy behaviour - wont it?
But this is not what my Bible says. My Bible tells me that those who live under this misconception of God's never ending love and grace will surely face a fearsome judgment!
26 If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27 but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. 28 Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” and again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:26-31)
Wow! But then, maybe this passage is only in my Bible, not in yours! You'd better check me out!
My friend, I care enough to warn you, as I warn myself, that we must 'walk the walk', not just 'talk the talk' in order to show both God, and others, that we truly believe. We live our faith by 'dying' to our own natures and conforming to the nature of Christ. 'Flaky Christianity', based solely on God's love while ignoring His judgment, as so often is taught and believed today, will finally come at a terrible cost to its adherents, for insulting 'the Spirit of grace.' Yes, 'It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
We had better believe it!
By David Tait via PGIM vol 254 Sept 4, 2006
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