Someone responded to my criticism of Rob Bell yesterday by stating that how we see the Bible depends on interpretation. I agree whole heartily and add that the vast majority of us are interpreting God's Word according to our own selfish desire. The only interpretation that is worth receiving is that given through the revelation of the Holy Spirit but we are too self-focused to listen to the Spirit. We would rather hear from man's interpretation, the kind that comes from man's own wisdom, interpreted through man's desires. Can you imagine how that turns out? You don't have to imagine, just look around.
We can go back and look at the original language, tear things apart, look at them under a microscope, debate them, chew on them, and apply it to our current culture. The problem is that man changes. Our values change. Our culture changes. Our desires change as do our priorities. But God doesn't change. Interpreting his Word to make it more relevant to our culture is plan stupid. God is always relevant regardless of the culture. Society is not suppose to shape the Church, the Church is suppose to influence the society.
Man does not get to define good and bad. We do not get to decide what God considers evil. God has defined it and man has ignored it. We don't need to pick on homosexuality here, we have a whole list of things we can choose from. We can pick on abortion if you want. Do you know how many Christians have murdered their babies because society says it is okay? They ignore what God says and accept murder. I know of many Christians who decide to live with their boyfriend or girlfriend in a sexual relationship because society accepts it and God considers them married, or so they say.
Let me get a little more personal. I am not throwing stones here because I have no leg to stand on. I have been lost in pornography in the past. I have lied, stolen, cheated. I am a divorced man. As David said, my sin is always before me. I am also forgiven and I know my God has forgotten all these things even if I can't. I praise him every day for his grace and for the fact that his mercies are new every morning. But I also know this, he is a holy God and he has called me to his holiness. I cannot make excuses for my sin and I cannot allow society to seduce me into the dark by accepting my sin as "normal." I must pursue the righteousness of God, not man.
Forgive me as I repeat that point: I have no right to excuse my sin and live in it according to the interpretation of my society. I must be honest with Jesus, understand where I have fallen short, repent of my stubborn ways and run after his righteousness. Not a righteousness as defined by me or interpreted by my culture but a righteousness that is, was and always will be my God. I have a responsibility to flee from what is evil, not embrace it, excuse it and re-define it:
But the foundation that God has laid is solid. On it is written, “The Lord knows who his people are. So everyone who worships the Lord must turn away from evil.” (2 Timothy 2:19)
It doesn't matter if society says it is okay to murder my unborn child; God says it is evil. Flee! It doesn't matter if society says I don't need to be married to have sex with whoever I want, male or female; God says it is evil. Flee! It doesn't matter that society says looking at naked bodies is normal and natural; God says it is evil. Flee!
I am praying for a re-awakening of God's children to a desire for holiness, that we would seek the character of Jesus again. I know that re-awakening must begin in me and I am crying out with all my heart, mind, soul and body. I am praying for this because I know that there will be no revival of God's children without it. We need to denounce the things we have done in the dark and society does in the daylight. We need to throw off what is not of God and seek his face with all our energy. We must call good good and evil evil. We must allow the Spirit to interpret God's Word to us and refuse the interpretation of man because man has it all messed up.
Let us make the decision to be his holy people again.