God wants to be taken seriously. Here are some passages
worth reflecting on.
ON NOT ABUSING YOUR FREEDOM
GAL 5:13 You, my brothers, were called to be free.
But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful
nature; rather, serve one another in love. - Considering
that Galatians preaches about Christian freedom, it
is appropriate that Paul preach on the nature of that
freedom. Our freedom is freedom from sin and not freedom
to sin. How strongly did Paul feel about this? Read
1 Pet 2:16 Live as free men, but do not use your
freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of
God. - Written mainly for young disciples. Peter told
them to be careful not to abuse their freedom.
1CO 8:9 Be careful, however, that the exercise of
your freedom does not become a stumbling block to
the weak. - The Corinthian church was getting abusive
of the weaker disciples.
1JN 2:1 My dear children, I write this to you so
that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we
have one who speaks to the Father in our defense--Jesus
Christ, the Righteous One. - While the general feeling
is content not to "sin much" the conviction
that John advocates is "not to sin at all."
This should be our goal. Even if we cannot be perfect,
the goal should still be not to sin at all.
RO 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome
evil with good.
2CO 7:1 Since we have these promises, dear friends,
let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates
body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence
for God. - The whole passage before it is about holiness.
1 Tim 5:1-2 Treat younger men as brothers, 2 older
women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with
absolute purity. - Also stress that what deacons and
elders are to be, all Christians are to be.
HEB 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with
all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will
see the Lord.
Also note these verses to describe holiness: As walking
in uprightness (Isa 57:2). As a highway (Isa 35:8).
As departing from evil (Ps 34:14; 37:27). As satisfying
(Jn 6:35). As crucifying the sinful nature (Gal 5:24).
As a new creature (Gal 6:15). As a new self (Eph 4:24;
Col 3:10). As a rest (Heb 4:3, 9). As pure, peaceable,
gentle (Jas 3:17).
ON BEING CAREFUL TO OBEY
Lev 18:4 You must obey my laws and be careful to
follow my decrees. I am the LORD your God. 5 Keep
my decrees and laws, for the man who obeys them will
live by them. I am the LORD. - Even after so many
point is to be careful.
LEV 25:18 " `Follow my decrees and be careful
to obey my laws, and you will live safely in the land.
-Not just for Levites!
DT 5:32 So be careful to do what the LORD your God
has commanded you; do not turn aside to the right
or to the left.
Dt 6:25 And if we are careful to obey all this law
before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that
will be our righteousness." - This is good to
preach to those who are sacred to be 'legalistic again'.
We cannot do things by force. At the same time it
is not good to do things because that is the church
norm. But we have to preach this verse in the light
of personal righteousness. If you are careful to obey,
that is what God sees as righteous. The question is
not just are you obeying, but are you careful to obey.
DT 7:12 If you pay attention to these laws and are
careful to follow them, then the LORD your God will
keep his covenant of love with you, as he swore to
your forefathers. - Note the condition. This is an
IF statement. God is loving but he expects us to do
RO 12:17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful
to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If
it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live
at peace with everyone. - To stress the importance
ON READING THE BIBLE
MK 12:24 Jesus replied, "Are you not in error
because you do not know the Scriptures or the power
of God? - Jesus was talking to religious people! These
Sadducees had studied the Bible most of their life.
The average male Jew started reading and memorizing
the Torah at age 5.
Is 66:2b "This is the one I esteem:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit,
and trembles at my word. - Consider that his was given
to a divided kingdom. There was lack of desire to
return to God. Still God lifts up those who follow.
ON LOVING GOD
MK 12:17 Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar
what is Caesar's and to God what is God's."
And they were amazed at him. - Are you giving God
what he deserves?
Jn 14:21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them,
he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be
loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show
myself to him." - Jesus clearly connects obedience
with love. In fact, its not just obeying the commands
but knowing them. Besides, what is exciting is that
Jesus will show himself to that person.
1CO 16:22 If anyone does not love the Lord--a curse
be on him. Come, O Lord! - The Greek word used here
is the root of the English word "anathema".
It has a strong implication. A curse (anathema cf.
12:3; Ro 9:3; Gal 1:8) meant that the person involved
was to be delivered over or "devoted to the divine
displeasure"; it has the image of being under
the wrath and curse of God. [more to come]