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Easy Come, Easy Go
Globalism - Ecumenism
Monday, November 03, 2014
Pete Garcia

In recent years, there has been a seemingly unending slew of compiled data from various Barna Group Studies that show interesting religious trends in the United States.  There is a levelling off, or even a slight decrease in the number of those who have a profession in the Christian faith in the overall population. 

On the surface, that sounds ok.  But juxtaposed with that, is an increased number of professing Christianity, who are increasingly skeptical of the claims contained within the Christian faith, particularly in the areas of the exclusivity of Christ, marriage, and the inerrancy of Scripture.   It’s not shocking for me to say this anymore, but America (and the west at large) has become increasingly Post-Christian in nature…and even hostile in many places to the name of Jesus Christ.

Yet, what interests me, is that while professing faith in Christ alone for salvation is seemingly out of vogue, professing faith in a generic Jesus who accepts all and requires nothing from the believer seems to be in style.  People want to say they’re Christian, but when you try and get into the specifics of what that actually means to them, the ‘Jesus’ they profess is very different from the Jesus we know in the Bible.  The ‘Jesus’ they profess, demands no change, no repentance, no condemnation, and no exclusivity.  Their ‘Jesus’ accepts the Muslim, the Buddhist, the Wiccan, the New Ager, the Hindu with equal enthusiasm, because to them, all paths lead to ‘God’. 

So it shouldn’t be a shock to see a rise in spirituality in a post-Christian nation, but a decline in a true, Orthodox faith at the same time.

We live in a day and age, when taking a stand for true biblical standards, will actually start to cost you something…and that is not sitting well with many.  Now, for many places around the world, taking a stand for Christ will cost you your life.  But here in the west, this concept of persecution is a new and uncomfortable place to be in. 

Increasingly, politicians don’t want to go on the record to take a stand now, because they don’t want to offend any segment of their constituency.  The military has to be a-political, so they’re just going to follow the dictates of whichever party is in power.  The Hollywood elites want to keep working in Hollywood, so for the most part, they keep opinions to themselves, and publically echo whatever perverse trend is making its rounds as culturally fashionable. This year, homosexuality is in.  Next year it could be bestiality, or incest.  And that might sound absurd, but so was the concept of gay marriage fifteen years ago.

And the churches, presumably the last bastions of Christian thought and teachings in a post-Christian America…are also following suit.  Not all of them, but it is a growing trend.  It began in the twice dead protestant denominations…who in a last ditch effort remain relevant, began redefining “Christianity” to become less exclusive and a lot more inclusive towards all lifestyles.  Their message seems to only be centered on the fact that Jesus frequently mixed with all walks of life and that God is only love.  Then it was the Mormon’s (who are not Christian to begin with, but have recently began to appear more mainstream) who made a bold stand in California with Proposition 8.  But after the backlash they received, they seem to be back-tracking and doing a 180 on the issue.

It was the Roman Catholic Church who although, wrought with a plethora of doctrinal and theological difficulties, AT LEAST were on the moral high ground in regards to issues like abortion and the sanctity of marriage.  They too are now following the lead of Pope Francis and making heaven accessible by papal decree to atheists, homosexuals, and Muslims.  And last but not least, are the so-called “evangelicals” who are starting to see their denominations split and peel away to become more ‘accepting’ of alternative lifestyles.

Assessment

And when the scribes and Pharisees saw Him eating with the tax collectors and sinners, they said to His disciples, “How is it that He eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”  When Jesus heard it, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” Mark 2:16-17 NKJV

There are those who frequently love to point out that Jesus hung out with the degenerates of His day as if that justifies their position to redefine what sin is.  But they tend to disregard the words which always accompany Jesus’s message, which is ‘to repent’.  Jesus didn’t hang out with the drunkards and prostitutes so that they could remain drunkards and prostitutes, but so that they could repent and be changed and given new life.  To the Pharisees and the adulteress they brought before Jesus in order to corner Him and condemn her, He said to her…

“Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  John 8:7-11

Jesus never gave sin a pass with anyone.  He didn’t tell her, ‘go forth and do whatever you want’.  He told her to change her ways.  But today, the message that sin is sin, and sin separates you from God is considered highly offensive.  And the growing trend and leading goal in Christianity today is to not offend anyone.  With so many groups out there claiming to be offended by seemingly only the Christian message, one would have to water down the Gospel to the point of luke-warm irrelevancy in order to not make someone angry.  And a gospel that is luke-warm is of no effect, which is Satan’s intent all along.

But the gigantic, neon news flash for anyone reading this is, THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST WILL OFFEND YOU.  Jesus Himself stated that His message would divide families (Luke 12:51-53), because we are unable to earn our own salvation (Eph. 2:8-9), and that He alone was the pathway to God the Father (John 14:6).  If the Gospel of Jesus Christ doesn’t offend you, then you’re not reading the right Gospel.  You might be being reading another gospel:

  • the gospel of Joel Osteen (just do good things and God will bless you financially/emotionally/physically)
  • the gospel of John Lennon (all you need is love)
  • the gospel according to Joseph Smith (you must earn your salvation)
  • the gospel according to Oprah Winfrey (all paths lead to god)
  • the social gospel (salvation comes by helping the less fortunate)
  • the gospel of Rob Bell (everyone makes it to heaven eventually)
  • the emergent gospel (the gospel is whatever you want it to be, it just can’t be what the bible says it is)

The Apostle Paul has a stern warning against those who would pervert the Gospel that Christ gave him.  (1 Cor. 15:1-5; Gal. 1:9-10).  But if anyone has ever had a truly personal interaction with the Jesus Christ of the Bible, who is God in the flesh, simply cannot walk away unchanged.  And if they remain unchanged, either one of two things just happened:

  1. They didn’t meet the Jesus of the Bible (they were presented with a false Christ).
  2. Or, they didn’t want to meet the Jesus of the Bible (they were unwilling to repent).

But these days, it is far too easy to profess Christ, and then live like the world.  Now, there is a reason for this too.  Because all true Christians (including myself) are sinners. (1 John 1:8) We were born with a sin nature because we are all descendants of Adam.  But since Christians are ‘born again’, we have a new nature and are now sons and daughters of the second Adam, who is Christ Jesus (1 Cor. 15:42-49), and that new nature has the ‘righteousness of God’ applied to it through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.  (2 Cor. 5:21)

I know that if the Apostle Paul struggled with sin (Romans 7), so will I.  Before I was saved, I was lost, and the lost only have one nature to contend with, which is unregenerate…and they do not know any better.  But the believer now has two natures, and he or she must choose which side they feed more and we are hated by the world because of it.

If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  John 15:19

So whether you struggle with your sin and lead a carnal, defeated Christian life, or you are running the race valiantly, increasingly un-phased by that sin-nature which is dying away, the world will hate you, simply because you are a new creation in Christ.

I liken the born again sinner and that of the salvation experience, to a caterpillar who is transformed into a butterfly.  After the metamorphosis, there is no turning back into a caterpillar.  (2 Cor. 5:17)  Salvation cannot be re-done or undone. (Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:10, 14)  Either the transition from death into life was real, or it never was.  And the carnal Christian, who still tries to live like the world, is like that beautiful, colorful butterfly who is still creeping along the branch with the other earth-bound caterpillars because he or she is too scared to let go and just fly.  And the reason he or she is miserable, is because they are no longer designed to live like that anymore.  But there is good news….

But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.  1 John 1:9

Don't worry about trying to be perfect, because you never will be…at least not on this side of the Rapture.  Don’t worry about losing your salvation when you do sin, because a.) You will sin again, and b.) Your salvation doesn’t depend on your own righteousness.  All Christians go through four phases in their walk with the Lord:

  1. Predestination: God predestined us to be conformed to the image and likeness of His Son, because He knew we would choose Him, therefore His Son’s death on the Cross becomes a substitutionary atonement for our fallen natures. (Romans 8:28-30)
  2. Salvation: is the culmination of justification by grace through faith at a single point in time, when we pass from death into life.  It is a one-time event, which cannot be repeated or undone. (John 3:36; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 2:13-14)
  3. Sanctification: this is our walk with the Lord and is a life-long event.  If we continue in unconfessed sin, our relationship suffers and we remain immature in the faith, along with the increasingly painful chastening from God to get us back on course. (Job 5:17; 1 Cor. 6:11; Hebrews 10:10-14, 12:5-11)
  4. Glorification: when our lives here are done, we go to be with the Lord either by death or by Rapture, and we will at that Day, receive our new, perfect, sinless, eternal, glorified bodies like Christ. (1 Cor. 15:53-55; Phil. 3:21; 1 John 3:1-3)

Don’t worry if the world starts to hate you more visibly now than it used too...that’s only because Satan still runs this planet for the moment, and he hates the crushing blow you and I represent through Christ’s victory at Calvary.  The west will become increasingly hostile to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and those who hold to it.  And we will increasingly see many so-called Christians turn away from the faith when our message become increasingly unpopular to a society in decline.  These are they who wanted faith without repentance, love without discipline, and salvation without sanctification.   

So don’t lose heart in these waning moments of humanity as our nation drifts further and further away from God’s word and His Son.  Our nation is in decline and will continue to force people to make a choice between Christ and the world.  But the world is passing away, and the lusts thereof…1 John 2:17 states, so choosing the world is like one abandoning their life boats to get back on the Titanic.  Their faith came easy, because it cost them nothing.  It will leave them just as easy, because when it comes to living out that faith, the cross was too much to bear.

They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us, because if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us. But they went out from us to demonstrate that all of them do not belong to us. 1 John 2:19

About Pete Garcia

Last week: The Great Red Dragon



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