Promises and Secrets

Promises and Secrets Promises and Secrets

A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.

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21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)

How complicated is it, really?

A neighbor of mine has a small scroll-type sign in the front yard. It says:

God is with you wherever you go.

It is meant to be a comfort to all who believe. However, this is really a true statement whether or not you are a believer. Is that really a good thing for us? It is if you live your life trying to stay in the will of the Father. If you do not, and God is with you wherever you go, then that will keep you from the kingdom of heaven. There is no other way to understand this. It is that simple. It's not necessarily always easy, but it is simple.

Now, to be completely honest, my wife thinks that I am being too strict. She feels that each person has their own way of interacting with God, and that He will be merciful in His own way with each one. I understand the need to feel that way, and the end result may be exactly that way because He can do whatever He wants (Romans 9:15
For he says to Moses, "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion."

). However, when you read Matthew 7:21
21Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.

, and take to heart what it says, what does that mean to you? I would rather err on the side of love, obedience, and caution. It costs us nothing to be obedient, except maybe our comfort in this world. But, it will cost us everything if we ignore God when we shouldn't.

"Everpresent ogre", or concerned Parent?

Let's say that, instead of God, it was a policeman who followed you when you were driving. Would you drive the way you do now? Based on the practices of many drivers on the street, there would be a lot more tickets given out. But, God doesn't give out tickets, He just writes it down in His books (Revelation 20:12
12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.

). Or how about an IRS agent who followed you and audited you based on what he or she saw you do?

People don't think about God as someone who knows everything they do. When they do think of it, and realize the things they do that are outside the will of God, it should make them nervous. However, most people don't worry. Nothing has happened to them because of their actions, so it must be OK to continue. They act as they do because they feel that they have already been forgiven for every bad act they will ever commit because that is what their pastors say.

Aren't we supposed to change...?

They feel that they can continue their old lives and still expect the best in eternal life, even when the Bible constantly tells us that that is not true. Well, they don't murder or steal, but why not? If they have already been forgiven... If more people would think about Hebrews 10:26-27
26If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, 27but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.

, 2 Peter 2:20
20If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.

, or better yet Romans 3:25
25God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished - (emphasis added)

and 2 Peter 1:9
9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins (emphasis added).

, maybe they would take the will of God more seriously. But first, they would have to learn the will of God, and the definition of sin (1 John 3:4
4Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness.

) by reading the Bible.

What few people see

When you accept Christ as your Savior, you accept Him as Lord of your life. You repent and change your life to fit inside the will of God. He then forgives your past sins (John 5:14
14Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, "See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you."

, 2 Peter 1:9
9But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins (emphasis added).

). If your life does not change, you have not truly repented. If you do not repent and change, you will lose that forgiveness (Matthew 18:23-35
23"Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. 25Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

26"At this the servant fell on his knees before him. 'Be patient with me,' he begged, 'and I will pay back everything.'' 27The servant's master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

28"But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. 'Pay back what you owe me!' he demanded.

29"His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, 'Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.'

30"But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

32"Then the master called the servant in. 'You wicked servant,' he said, 'I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33Shouldn't you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?' 34In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

35"This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart."

). People, including most pastors, do not even attempt to identify sin. If you can't identify it, how can you avoid it? If you don't avoid it, it will be written in the books mentioned above.

And, don't fall for that, "Those rules don't apply to us, only to, uh, God's people." nonsense. If God wants His people to act in a certain way, what makes you think that you can ignore that and still be one of His people? By the way, His people are the only ones that will live with Him in eternal life. Would you invite people to live in your house with you if they refused to follow your house rules? Well, God feels the same way:

22" 'Keep all my decrees and laws and follow them, so that the land where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23You must not live according to the customs of the nations I am going to drive out before you. Because they did all these things, I abhorred them. 24But I said to you, "You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey." I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.

25" 'You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds. Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground - those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 26 You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.' " (Leviticus 20:22-26, emphasis added)

"Because they did all these things, I abhorred them." God abhors people who disobey Him by not doing what He said to do and by doing things He said not to do. That's not just me saying that, but it's right out of the word of God. Remember what Jesus said, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' " (Matthew 4:4
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.' "


Apply that principle when you read Psalm 15:

A psalm of David.

1Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

2The one whose walk is blameless,
        who does what is righteous,
        who speaks the truth from their heart;
3whose tongue utters no slander,
        who does no wrong to a neighbor,
        and casts no slur on others;
4who despises a vile person
        but honors those who fear the Lord;
who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
        and does not change their mind;
5who lends money to the poor without interest;
        who does not accept a bribe against the innocent.

Whoever does these things
        will never be shaken. (Psalm 15)

Now, look around you and see who really does all this, and compare what you see to Psalm 12 in the middle column.

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This site is based on the plea of David, the author of Psalm 12.

Psalm 12 (NIV)

1Help, Lord, for no one is faithful anymore;
those who are loyal have vanished from the human race.

2Everyone lies to their neighbor;
they flatter with their lips
but harbor deception in their hearts.

3May the Lord silence all flattering lips
and every boastful tongue -

4those who say,
"By our tongues we will prevail;
our own lips will defend us - who is lord over us?"

5"Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan,
I will now arise," says the Lord.
"I will protect them from those who malign them."

6And the words of the Lord are flawless,
like silver purified in a crucible,
like gold refined seven times.

7You, Lord, will keep the needy safe
and will protect us forever from the wicked,

8who freely strut about;
when what is vile is honored by the human race.

A submission from a reader:

 What Got in the Way

    I didn't want the what I found
    Nor did I even care.
    I didn't seek to understand
    The what I saw in there.

    No matter what it can't be true
    I know 'cause I can see
    Just what I want, and what I don't
    And what is wrong with me.

    What absolutes are promised.
    That's not how I depict it.
    And what my what is wanting,
    would make it all conflicted.

    So even though the what is there
    I'd just assume it's not,
    'cause if it was of consequence
    I'd have to ask - then what?

-Steven Glen of Caleb and Company


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