Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11:28) There is much hope in this verse, it is invaluable at times, for many are the times that we are weary, the burdens seem to be enveloping us from every direction, but sadly, it is to Him that we seek refuge from last of all, searching out every avenue but Him first. Yet these words are truth, and He is our only rest.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) And all His servants would wholeheartedly agree, for these words are also truth, and when our Lord spoke them, He meant what he said. He spoke in parables to the lost, but even many of them could understand the truth, He spoke plainly to the disciples, but some of the truths were hidden from them for a short time, until the Holy Spirit made the words quite clear and obvious to them after the day of Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit that shows us the truth of the words of God, He helps us to understand plainly what the words mean. In these verses and many others, we find peace, mercy, grace, truth and love, but then we begin to pick and choose, we begin to make up a god of our own choosing, the god that best suits us.
If this statement was not true, we would have only one type of church, scattered throughout every town and village, all of them teaching the exact same doctrine from the Scriptures, separated only because of travelling distances. There would not be several thousand different religious organizations, all with their own interpretation of what they consider the truths of Scripture. We begin to formulate within ourselves a god that best serves us, we compose a creator who best fits our ideas of what a loving god should be, we begin to see Him as we want Him to be and not for who He is in his totality. These are the verses that fit our idea of what a god should be, this is the god I have designed for myself, and this is the god I will follow.
We would like to think that by our own free will we came to the Lord, that the decision was completely up to us, and though many have tried, no one can fully comprehend our own free will in this matter, it is the Father that draws us to Himself, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44) we believe it is our decision to heed this call, yet “many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt. 22:14) We do not have as much free will in this matter as we would like to think, and so some throw their own works in to try to add to His perfect sacrifice, just in case.
We like to imagine in our minds as we read the accounts of our Lord in the gospels a man full of love and compassion, concerned with the physical and spiritual needs of almost all He met, and rightly so, for what He did was who He was, yet how many cringe at the thought of our loving Lord taking the time to make a whip before He went into the temple. (John 2:15) How many try to make themselves believe that He really didn’t use it on anyone, He only made it to scare them, the god that these individuals serve would never do anything like that, in fact, He might have even went around and apologized to all those people later that day.
It is no wonder that the lost are so confused about what a Christian is supposed to be, I know of communities with less than one-thousand people in them that have seven or eight churches, pick your church, pick your god, one of them has got to be close enough for you.
We love to serve the God who parted the red sea, the one who brought water out of the rock and manna to the children of Jacob, but we are really not very enthusiastic on the idea of Him killing fifty-thousand and seventy men just because they looked into the ark of His covenant. (1st Sam. 6:19) When certain individuals here the the words in Romans 9:18, “Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardens,” they like to believe that they mean that God simply showed these people who they really were down deep inside, not that He actually meant what He said, that He will harden or have mercy on whomever He will. These many do not want to take at face value. And, of course we would skip over that “vessels fitted for destruction part,” (Rom. 9:22) there is no way that God would make souls so that He could show the power of His wrath, we must be misinterpreting that one. Pick and choose my friends, pick and choose, which god do you want to serve today.
We like to believe that certain verses in the Scriptures mean exactly what they say, and others are open for interpretation, figure them out for yourself and that will be close enough, and if you can’t, well, just forget about them, either they are of no real value today, or their meanings are not for us to know, best bet either way is not to spend too much time on them, all it does it make me question God, right, and then I won’t be able to see Him like I want to believe that He is.
Jesus didn’t really mean it when He said, “Let the dead bury their dead,” (Matt. 8:22) He was probably just in a bad mood that day, let the lost bury the lost, let those who are dead in their sins bury their own, that soul is now in hell, and if they do not follow me that is where they will go also. “How rude! Jesus would never say that, you just don’t understand that verse, why don’t you come to our church, we never even discuss those verses, they are so disconcerting and there is no reason to even bring them up.”
We wouldn’t want to take the Scriptures to literally, would we, at least not some of the verses, the ones that do not fit into our ideas of who God is, let’s just use the verses that we are comfortable with and make a god out of them, that way we can feel good about Him and ourselves all the time. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26) “Now that’s going to far, we all know that Jesus just meant ‘love less,’ our Savior would never mean for us to actually hate anyone, especially not those people or even ourselves, even if those people in my life that I hold dear were not saved, even if they mocked my faith and cursed God to my face, you are suppose to honor them, not hate them for spitting on the face of the Lord every chance they get, we are suppose to love everybody all the time, He just meant not to put anybody above Him, not hate them.”
Even though it is in the Old Testament, I am going to guess that Duet. 21: 18-21 is not one of these individual’s favorite verses either, mothers and fathers would never seek to have their rebellious children killed, probably don’t want that one in our God profile either, do we. I have always thought that it would be a good idea if every church along with its doctrinal statements of faith also had a checklist, as it were, about their ideas on some of these verses, but then again, most people just either pick a building with a cross on it or go to the one their parents or friends go to, doesn’t really make that big of difference, does it. In truth, as long as the person standing behind the podium sounds like they know what they are talking about, everything will be okay, that’s what they get paid for, right?
There are few that find the gate my friends, (Matt. 7:14) few, just because you repeated some words, got yourself baptized and go to a building with a cross on or in it someplace does not mean you are saved. Then again, maybe I should just do what the Lord said I should do, “Let them alone, they be blind leaders of the blind,” (Matt. 15:14) because if I don’t, I might just end up thinking like Him and say along with Him, “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you?” (Matt. 17:17) Oh, that hit a nerve, didn’t it? That is definitely not the Christ that people want to serve today, that speaks nothing of a loving and caring Lord who died for all, that Jesus just doesn’t exist for most people.
The God that I serve is going to let people burn forever in a lake of fire, in fact He is going to personally send them there, condemned forever to eternal damnation and complete hopelessness. He is going to sit on a throne with a rod of righteousness, and those who will not serve Him will be punished, no questions asked, no jury of their peers. The God of the Bible demands to be served, and rightly so, if He wants me to suffer for Him, suffer I will, if does not matter one bit if I like it or not, I am not in charge, I am not sovereign, He is. It is time we stop trying to make God into what we want Him to be and start accepting Him for who He is, stop serving the god of your own choosing.
Some are going to spend eternity in the presence of His unending love, some will spend the exact same amount of time screaming in anguish and pain, that is Almighty God’s will. Our Lord made a whip, He looked people right in the eye and told them that their father was the devil, (John 8:44) He said that whoever denied Him would be cast into the lake of fire, He meant every word He said, and He died for every one of us.
Stop picking and choosing, stop serving the god that you have made up in your own mind, your own idea of what God should be, and start serving the master, the Lord of Lord and King of Kings who does what He wants, whenever He wants, to whomever He desires, always for his own glory. We exist for His pleasure. We cannot understand everything that He does or the reasons behind His actions, and it is probably best that way. Our responsibility is to serve, without question, without doubts, in complete trust and the knowledge that He always know best.