There is a lot of confusion these days about why Christians do many of the things that they do and why they don’t do many of the things that they don’t do. Why do Christians make such a big deal about going to church? Why pray? Why don’t many Christians accept the modern day revolution of sexual morality? What’s the deal with communion or baptism or singing about the blood of Jesus? How do Christians go about dating? Why do so many Christians say one thing and do another?
Our youth ministry staff hear questions like these on a regular basis. All of these questions, and many more, are legitimate and they are common. Additionally, they all fit into one of the four categories below:
- When the Bible is clear on a particular matter, we do certain things because God has commanded us to do so.
- When the Bible in not crystal clear on a particular matter, we do certain things because we believe that they are faithful to God’s principles within the things He has commanded.
- Where they do not contradict the Bible, we may simply follow our natural desires and inclinations, because we are free to do so.
- When Christians do things that are contradictory to the Bible, we do so because we are choosing to be disobedient to God and obey the sinful desires that remain within us even as Christians.
All of our actions and beliefs reflect one of the following:
Obedience to God’s commands: Faithful living requires that we do these.
Adherence to God’s principles: Faithful living requires us to choose well in these areas.
Morally neutral matters: Faithful living allows us to choose freely here.
Rebellion against God’s commands: Faithful living requires that we not do these.
Perhaps you have already noticed that, in order to live faithfully, Christians need to know their Bible very well. Many of us don’t and because we don’t know our Bibles very well, we often get things wrong. Either we take matters that are clearly in the first and fourth categories and place them into the second and third categories or vice-versa (summer camp students should catch a Camp Zion reference there!). Essentially, we often make black and white matters, grey, and grey matters, black and white.
For example, though God is crystal clear that sexual activity outside of marriage is sin, some of us pretend that it’s “up for interpretation” so that we can do what we want without feeling guilty. Although the Bible is clear that drinking alcohol in moderation is perfectly permissible (for those over 21!), we make it into an absolute sin for an adult to have a glass of wine and find an excuse to cast judgment on the behavior of fellow Christians who are not sinning. Both of these errors have disastrous consequences.
Do you know your Bible well enough to know the difference between the black and white commands of God and the grey areas that are up for reasonable debate? Better yet, does your Bible know you? Perhaps it’s time to be reintroduced to God’s Word and to gain wisdom for the decisions of life.
I know a great church that can help you with that.
Questions or Comments? Contact Youth Pastor Leo Barnes.