Promises and Secrets
A website for those not afraid to examine their beliefs, compare them to the real world, and make sure they fit.
Living in Lot's World
It sure seems as though the world is winning over the Christian minds of today. To get an idea of what this means, think about Lot and his family living in Sodom.
We have to live in the world, but we are told in the Bible to not act like the world.
What do you think?
Everyone remembers the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, but few remember how many of Lot's family were lost, and why they were lost. Living in a society that accepts sin as routine, or even desirable, will cause people to let down their guard. Yes, even Christians. Why would they do this?
There were that many?
Remember Lot's family? Lot lost his wife when she looked back, as everybody remembers. Then Lot and his two daughters continued on away from the city being destroyed. They had even been warned not to look back by the angels. That little warning meant more than his wife evidently believed, and it cost her her life and very likely her eternal life as well. How many of us today think that many Biblical warnings don't really mean anything to us any more?
Everyone knows that story, but few people remember that there were two sons-in-law that thought Lot was kidding when he told them what was going to happen (Genesis 19:14
14So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters. He said, "Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!" But his sons-in-law thought he was joking.
). Now, when you count the numbers, Lot lost half of his family in that episode. Why? Because they became so comfortable with everything that was happening around them, and the fact nothing was stopping it, that they forgot to stay close to the word of God. A lot of Christians are doing exactly that today.
"C'mon, I'm not as bad as that guy..."
Think about it. When people think about their own righteousness, how do they determine it's strength? What list do they use for the comparison? Is there even a list to use? The most common comparison tool used by today's Christian is the world - other people around them. They compare themselves to people they know, people they work with, people they see on the news, even others in the same church they attend. Since people do not see any "accepted" list of dos and don'ts, they have to make up their own. You can only make up something from something you have or know about.
The quotes around the word "accepted" above are because there are lists for us to use as guidelines, but even the Christians do not use them. Worse, they refuse to use them. For the world, this kind of makes sense, but for Christians, it doesn't make sense at all - yet, that is what most of them are doing, all the while claiming that God doesn't care if they do so.
"There aren't any lists..."
Think not? Ever hear of the six commandments? No, wait, that's not right. Oh, yeah, it's the 9 commandments. At least, it is if you go by what Christians do, rather than what they say they believe. In fact, since most "Christians" don't keep the fourth one, that means they are not keeping the first one, so it's really only 8 commandments that seem to matter to most church-goers.
It's called the Ten Commandments, but almost nobody keeps them all. Why should they? If no one around us keeps them all, and they seem to be doing all right, why should the rest of us bother? Of course, there is that little fact that God gave them to us with instructions - and consequences.
And if you take a look at the book of Leviticus, you will see a bunch of lists. Yeah, yeah, that's the OT. So, why are you following some of them and not others? Of course, the first 10 chapters of Leviticus are all about those stupid Jewish offerings that were still going on 30 years after the death of Christ. Even Paul was doing them as well as keeping the Feasts, while preaching to the Gentiles to do the same (1 Corinthians 5:8
8 Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
"OK, admit it, we don't have to sort meats."
But look at chapter 11. According to "modern Christianity", nobody bothers with that silly meat restriction anymore and they are doing just fine. There's proof that God doesn't care if we ignore something He only gave to Jews, right? Then there is that other nonsense about cleanliness, purification, and atonement for sin. Nobody around us is doing that, so why should we? But, most of us follow Leviticus 18 to the letter. That must be because what God said there is important, while what He said in chapter 11 is not. Since no one would ignore something important that God said to do, we're fine. Right?
People even misuse passages to claim they say something they don't. People point to Acts 10:9-16
9 About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. 10 He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. 12 It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. 13 Then a voice told him, "Get up, Peter. Kill and eat."
14 "Surely not, Lord!" Peter replied. "I have never eaten anything impure or unclean."
15 The voice spoke to him a second time, "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean."
16 This happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven.
and claim that this proves we can eat anything. Have you read the summary of what Peter learned when he explained to Cornelius the message he received from God? Read Acts 10:34-47
34 Then Peter began to speak: "I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism 35 but accepts from every nation the one who fears him and does what is right. 36 You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. 37 You know what has happened throughout the province of Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John preached- 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him."
39 "We are witnesses of everything he did in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They killed him by hanging him on a cross, 40 but God raised him from the dead on the third day and caused him to be seen. 41 He was not seen by all the people, but by witnesses whom God had already chosen-by us who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name."
44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.
Then Peter said, 47 "Surely no one can stand in the way of their being baptized with water. They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have." 48 So he ordered that they be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked Peter to stay with them for a few days.
and let me know where the message includes any discussion about diet or meat at all. Also, show the rest of us, anywhere in the whole chapter, where God called anything in the sheet clean. Read the Bible for what it says, not what you want it to say.
"All right. We do have to avoid some bad stuff... but no more."
Then there is Leviticus chapter 18 that we mentioned above. Now, if we don't have to do chapter 11 (because that's only given to the Israelites), we sure don't have to bother with anything past that (chapter 18 is only given to the Israelites, as well), right? So, what is Leviticus 18 about? Incest. But, that's OT, so it doesn't apply to us. It's not even one of the ten commandments. I mean, we eat pork and shrimp, so having a little family party won't hurt, right?
"OK, we have to keep the nine commandments, but not the laws they are mixed in with."
And what about Leviticus chapter 19? Supposedly, there's more proof that we don't have to pay attention to the Old Testament. Things like Leviticus 19:3, 4, 11, 12, and 13:
3" 'Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must observe my Sabbaths. I am the Lord your God.'
4" 'Do not turn to idols or make metal gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.'
11" 'Do not steal.
" 'Do not lie.
" 'Do not deceive one another.
12" 'Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord.
13" 'Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.'
" 'Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.'
He mixed the ten commandments right in with some other laws, but since many feel that the Old Testament doesn't apply to Gentiles and Christians that just nullifies all of them, right? Especially verse 4. And look around you, no one is keeping those silly laws (Note that verse 3 above mentions the only two of the ten commandments with a "Thou shalt do" motif, instead of "Thou shalt not"). Besides, He only gave these to the Israelites, not real Christians. We Christians don't have to worry about verse 12 or 13. The way people act, they're more like suggestions, anyway. God doesn't really care.
How much does it take before we realize that we are not following God's instructions? And the consequence of not following God's instructions is huge. Just ask Lot.
"That's old hat, we don't have to do that..."
Yep, that's what you hear. However, when you ask them to show that to you in the Bible, they go to some generalized, pastor-approved statement by Paul that is not even talking about the commandments. But, when you look around, it's still not OK to murder, steal, make images to worship, sleep with your brother or sister, curse in the name of God, or any of the other things in the same lists.
So, we are supposed to understand that God makes a list on Mt. Sinai, and then told Moses, "OK, here are some things I don't like for people to do. Follow some of them. The more you follow, the holier you will be. But don't get legalistic about it. And whatever you do, don't tell these to the Gentiles." ???
James doesn't agree
That's not the way I remember it. James
For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. (James 2:10 NIV)
either. Break one and you break them all. And how many are the average Christians breaking? Only one? The problem is not just breaking a commandment, but doing it continually, knowingly, and without remorse. That caused the citizens of Sodom and Gomorrah to get some pretty serious consequences. It's a good thing for even the Christian realm today that God doesn't continue to punish sin that just keeps getting worse.
And, if the facts are straight, James wrote this well after Jesus died for us (62 C.E. or 69 C.E.). Some scholars place the writing as late as mid-to-late third century. In case you are wondering, that would be way after Jesus died. But, since no one else is following the rules, we can "get away with not doing them, too." Right? It was a good thing for Lot that he didn't believe that lie.
The lists are there
And not just the Ten Commandments. The Proverbs constantly admonish people to pay attention to the Wisdom of Adonai, know His words, read and study, and pay attention to their instruction. However, this is Old Testament, so it is often discarded as optional. Not intentionally, mind you, but the underlying thought is that we can read it and take away only what makes sense to us. Surely, we think, God won't hold us to the rest of it.
What's your plan?
So, to make sure you get to Heaven, I guess you just look around and make sure you are better than that guy or gal across the room or street. If they make it, then that insures that you will make it. Right? That's what Lot's sons-in-law evidently thought. But, what if they don't make it? How will you even know whether they did or not? Even if you did know, what's your backup plan? Is that something you will employ "when and if it becomes apparent that you need it"? How will you know?
Just because the world, including most of the "Christians", do it or don't do it, doesn't mean that God is leading them on that issue. Just like Lot, you don't want to lose half of your "family" because no one takes you or God seriously. And if you do lose them because of unbelief, make sure you are doing what God said so you don't follow them. Lot's plan was evidently, "Live in the world, not of the world." (John 15:19
19If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.
, John 17:14-16
14I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.
) Worked for him.
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