(Today's post by Adam Cooper)
Have you ever sat down and thought about what we are tasked with as Christians?
We are tasked with loving God and loving each other.
Through this love we are tasked to tell the “Good News” of Christ to anyone we come in contact with. But in doing so we have a great responsibility. There are many who are gifted and ordained as teachers of the Gospel. These “teachers” or “shepherds” have the daunting task of making sure they tell God’s truth from God’s Word. And if they fail at this task by speaking falsely into the lives of those around them they are held accountable to God for that failure. However, even though we are not all ordained as teachers or shepherds we still bear a burden of making sure everything we tell someone remains true to what God’s Word says because we too will be judged for our deception in the end. The prophets, shepherds, teachers, and oracles of Jeremiah’s time had failed God miserably and were responsible for preaching the stories of Baal in the Holy Temples of God and leading people into lives of sin and idolatry.
Misrepresenting God, for lack of a better term, makes Him angry. Not so much from the aspect of Him being angry because we misrepresented Him, but more so from the aspect of His disappointment in our continued failure. God’s will is not for us to deny or misrepresent Him, His will is for us to come to the saving grace of knowing Christ. Even though He knows ahead of time what we will do, I think it still grieves Him deeply, to the point of anger, when someone turns their back on Him. Just because God knows we will fail Him doesn’t mean that it is okay for us to do so.
This failure in the time of Jeremiah was just another failure in a long string of failures and God called them to task to make a point and renew their faith in Him.
When we come to the saving grace that can only be attained through Christ and the movement of the Holy Spirit within us, we become new people. The old spirit (little s) dies and we are filled with the new Spirit (big S) and are justified. We then begin the gradual process of sanctification which I believe will never be completed during our time on Earth. The thing that confuses everyone is human nature and the process of sanctification. We are made holy as God is Holy and are indwelt with God Himself in the form of the Holy Spirit. If we continue in our old ways the Holy Spirit convicts us of our actions and we must confess those to God and as we are gradually sanctified we begin to walk a life that is more in line with the desires of God. We are still human beings on the outside, we look just like the person next door who may not be saved; but on the inside we have been made holy and forgiven. As we grow and learn and walk more in the ways of the Lord we continue the process of making our lives resemble Christ’s more.
Some people may read stories like those in the book of Jeremiah and simply write their behavior off as that of a fallen world. They may point to the stories in the old testament of the debauchery and idolatry and say that behavior is to be expected from fallen people. But with the intercession and sacrifice of Christ, we cannot use the excuse that we are simply products of our broken world because we have the indwelling of the Spirit. For that reason, behavior that is inconsistent with the fact that God is within us is behavior that is convicting and wrong that we must confess. With that realization it is important that we understand that our relationship with God today is much more personal than that shared by God and the ancient Israelites.
We can all enter beyond the temple veil and speak to God in person.
We can work out our indiscretions individually and personally.
We no longer have to shed the blood of an innocent animal because of something we may have done.
My prayer is for everyone that reads this today to realize the responsibility they have in sharing the Word of God in ways that are truthful, accurate, and based in God’s Word.