Friday, July 12 2024

Bible Reading for: July 11

Acts 10:34–48

Let there be no confusion. There is a judge, and His name is Jesus. Jesus will judge the living and the dead so do as He has commanded and share the Gospel.

Not too long ago, a sitting U.S. Senator grilled a presidential nominee about his religious writings. He was rather outraged that the individual nominated for a government position had expressed a basic Christian tenant in an article he wrote. The allegedly objectionable comments by the nominee are as follows, “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.” The senator labeled the statement “indefensible, it is hateful, it is Islamophobic, and it is an insult to over a billion Muslims throughout the world.”

Here is the problem. Jesus made the statements upon which this nominee’s comments were based. In John 8:19 Jesus said “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also”. In Luke 10:16 He said, “The one who rejects me rejects Him who sent Me.” In John 3:18 Jesus said, “Whoever believes in Him [Jesus – the Son of God] is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already.” And in John 14:6 Jesus said, “No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So, a sitting U.S. Senator, a former presidential candidate to boot, stated, in essence, that the words of Jesus, as paraphrased by a presidential nominee, are indefensible, hateful, and insulting. The senator ended his comments by saying, “I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, that this nominee is really not someone who is what this country is supposed to be about, I will vote no.” Now it is possible that the things that caused this senator to say that the nominee was unsuitable for office had to do with policy and not his statements that are consistent with basic Christian beliefs, but then again, why excoriate the man for his religious comments if they had nothing to do with determining the man’s qualifications for hold the position to which he had been nominated?

Let me tell you brothers. People like this senator have always hated Jesus, and by extension anyone who truly follows Him. Oh, there are posers out there who claim on the one hand to be Christians, and on the other that there is more than one way to Heaven. Unfortunately, to believe such a thing requires a corresponding belief that Jesus was either a liar or insane since He clearly said that He was the only way to Heaven. How do you follow someone who you believe is a liar or insane? What kind of faith is that? Such a person believes in fairytales. They concoct a story that sooths their fears of The Truth and lets them sleep at night.

The story of Jesus is not some cute little bedtime story like Mother Goose. The story of Jesus is the story of salvation in the face of judgement. Our reading today starts with this statement from the Apostle Peter:

Acts 10:34-35 ESV
“So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”

God shows no partiality. Those that do right are acceptable to Him. Ah, but what does it mean to do right by God’s standard? Well, one has to comprehend a good amount of the Bible, Old and New Testament, to really understand that. If you’ve been reading along with us over the years, then you’ve read enough to know one cannot do right in their own power. They can only do right if they have God’s Holy Spirit residing within them, and that is only available to those who have sought forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice upon the cross.

Boy, how hateful of God. He comes down in human form and sacrifices himself upon the cross for the sake of all who are willing to accept His sacrifice. That’s just indefensible, isn’t it? Why didn’t He come down and die many different ways and offer many different opportunities for people to get into Heaven? Why didn’t He say, “look, just figure out how each of you want to get into Heaven and we’ll do that”? How dare He. To think that His death upon the cross would be enough. Can you imagine the gall? I mean, who does He think He is?

Many like to say that Christians are “judgmental”. It is this alleged judging that they find so very objectionable. A true Christian, however, knows that he is not the judge. They also know there is a Judge, and His judgment is coming.

Acts 10:42-43 ESV
“And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Jesus is the Judge. He will judge the living and the dead. I will be judged. You will be judged. That nominee will be judged. That senator will be judged. And whether any of us like it or not, if we have not accepted His sacrifice upon the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, if we have not accepted Him as the Son of God and the only way to be made right with a Holy God, we stand already condemned.

The thing is, Jesus doesn’t want to condemn; He wants to save. How can one be saved if they haven’t heard the truth about salvation? How can the truth of salvation be shared if condemnation by our elected officials intimidates the followers of Christ from doing so? Don’t you see? It was the hypocritical senator condemned others because they did not believe as he did. I am certain he has no comprehension whatsoever that he is guilty of exactly that which he condemns.

Brother, I’m not angry at the senator. I am heartbroken for him. He stands condemned. Not by me or any belief I hold. He stands condemned by his own rejection of God. He stands condemned not because he disagrees with me, but because he rejects God and His right to judge and to save as He sees fit. Please pray for this man. Pray that God will open his heart and mind to hear and respond to truth. Let us not wish him ill but rather blessing – the only blessing that matters – the blessing of salvation through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Love him enough to pray for him for Jesus will judge the living and the dead.

Victorem Vivere! (Live Victorious!)

Your brother and servant in Christ,
Bill

Dying to self, living to serve!

Alternate Reading Plans
Bible Order: Psalms 138-144
Chronological Order: Isaiah 5-8
Old Testament Only: Ezra 7–8

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