Who's telling the truth?
The world is full of noise. A sea of voices with contradicting opinions and varying worldviews crashes against our ears every day. We've been told to listen only to the Word of God, but when everybody's trying to tell us what to think, how do we make sure we aren't mixing the truth with lies? If we want to avoid pitfalls and be sharp-minded, we had better know the answers.
Culture says: Abortion is a woman's right. She should have the freedom to terminate a pregnancy.
God says: "I hold the power over life and death" (John 5:21 and Rev. 1:18).
God is the giver and sustainer of all life. When we take this power into our own hands, the death that results is never just the loss of a life. There are other casualties: our morality, our self-respect, our humanity, and our hope. God didn't give us authority over life and death because the consequences are too costly for us to bear. That's why it's neither our responsibility nor our right to decide that a child should not be born. The emotional, psychological, and spiritual repercussions of abortion can leave deep wounds no one can see. Only God's love can heal this pain.
Culture says: Homosexuality is a natural and legitimate lifestyle.
God says: Every desire - whether sexual, material, emotional, or -physical - must come under the lordship of Jesus Christ. (See 1 Cor. 6:18, Romans 6:20-23.)
Homosexuality is one of the most controversial issues in our culture. We can be quick to condemn, but God alone is the final judge of every person. He loves all people - heterosexuals and homosexuals alike. None of us deserves God's love, but He has freely given it. Whom did Jesus turn away? Not tax collectors or prostitutes, but the Pharisees who passed judgment on "sinners."
This is the truth about homosexuality, as the Bible makes clear: it is sin. But we should let Jesus be our example and treat those mired in sin the same way He did during His earthly ministry. Jesus didn't condone sin and didn't let people remain in it, but He also loved sinners and treated them with respect. As John 1 says, He came full of grace and truth.
Culture says: Sex is for personal pleasure and the enjoyment of two consenting individuals.
God says: Sex is a sacred bond that should be shared in marriage between a man and a woman.
Matters of sex will always be a point of contention between God and the world. As fallen human beings, we don't like anyone telling us what we should or shouldn't do, even if that Someone wants to protect us from ourselves. People who misuse sex play with fire. A fireplace warms a house. But uncontained, fire destroys homes and lives.
Is it any wonder that God created boundaries for sex? The misuse of sex devastates lives, ruins relationships, perpetuates disease, and creates poor environments for children of unplanned pregnancies. How much more will it cost us before we submit to God's truth?
Culture says: We should indulge all our wishes and desires.
God says: Surrender your desires to Jesus Christ and you will have life, and have it abundantly (Romans 8:6, John 10:10).
Celebrities who lack self-control often end up in the news. But we all struggle with selfishness. Our materialistic culture feeds it by telling us to buy, eat, own, make, and do whatever we want.
Our selfish desires can become cruel and unforgiving idols. Their "blessings" always end in curses. But God's truth shows us that what He has created to give pleasure can serve His purposes and bring Him glory. With God at the center, we become able to put everything else in proper perspective. The apostle Paul summed it up well in 1 Corinthians 6:12: "'Everything is permissible for me' - but not everything is beneficial. 'Everything is permissible for me' - but I will not be mastered by anything."
Culture says: There are many paths to God. Every religion leads to the same thing.
God says: No one will inherit eternal life except through salvation in Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11-12).
The only way to God is through Jesus (John 14:6). To many people this is narrow-minded and intolerant. But we are in much greater danger than we realize. If you were hanging over a cliff and someone handed you a rope, you would not be offended if they had not provided a few more methods to save your life.
Without Christ, we would fall to our eternal death. Only Christ's blood can pay the life-debt we owe to God because of our sin. The only Person strong enough to carry the cross, every bit of our sin, and the weight of God's wrath, is Jesus.
Christianity is the only religion based on love and grace. Every other spiritual belief system relies on human effort. But our sin has placed us so far out of reach from God that there's nothing we can do to be reconciled to Him. But in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we have been made pure and presentable to God.
Stop listening to the lies and believe the Truth in this noisy world. Speak clearly the love of God, and people will know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.
The full article appears in the January 2012 issue of essential connection. © 2011 LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Used with permission.