Photo by Chad Runge / Creation Swap

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Imagine you're "like God." Imagine going through your day knowing how it's going to begin and how it's going to end. You see every obstacle before you and you're able to make decisions knowing the outcome of every single one of them.

Being omniscient, then, you would have infinite awareness, understanding, and insight and possess universal or complete knowledge. This according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Like God, you would be able to see people the way they are, the choices they make, and you would even have the capacity to understand why they do what they do.

But seriously, let's get back to reality. We are not God and are not like Him, at least not in this sense. Does this make you wonder why though? Let's look at what we do know through Scripture. Genesis 1:26 says "26 Then God said, 'Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.'" AND Genesis 3:22 states, "22 And the LORD God said, 'The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.'"

God had a purpose in mind when He created us. Not that we would be just like Him. I'm not even sure that would be possible. The very notion goes beyond human understanding. But rather, God made us to be in His image. Additionally, if we look at Scripture, we were also created with the express purpose of giving God glory.

1 Chronicles 16:24
24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

1 Chronicles 16:28-29

28 Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength,
29 ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name.
Bring an offering and come before him;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.

Psalm 29:1-3
1 Ascribe to the LORD, O mighty ones,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters;
the God of glory thunders,
the LORD thunders over the mighty waters.
Psalm 66:2
2 Sing the glory of his name; make his praise glorious!

Psalm 86:9
9 All the nations you have made
will come and worship before you, O Lord;
they will bring glory to your name.

Romans 4:19-21
19Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah's womb was also dead. 20Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.

1 Corinthians 10:30-32
30If I take part in the meal with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of something I thank God for?
31So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God—

So, if we're created to give God glory, we have to understand what is glory. Glory seems to encompass a wide range in its definitions according to the Bible Encyclopedia. It contains the ideas of size, rarity, beauty, light, and adornment. It also means wide, great, bright, and desire to name a few. It probably could be narrowed down to one other word: magnificent, or maybe splendor. Needless to say, God's attributes are such that He is notably worthy in His character in many, various ways. The only word aptly used to try to capture these attributes is glory. It tries to open our minds to the greatness of God.

So the fact that we were created in God's image tells us one thing. We were unique and set apart from all of God's other creations from the beginning. And by how we were made, we were created to give glory to God! As such, we have minds to think and reason. We have the ability to love and show compassion. We are even given the opportunity to commune with God, our Divine Creator.

We were created in the perfect sense. Originally, we were borne into an environment with no concerns or worries. Our relationship with God was pure...and innocent.

The point being is that man had a good thing going with God. God wasn't requiring much from man except for obedience. And we didn't even do that very well. Then things changed. Something happened that would change everything and set us on a path that would alter the course of human events for all time. This event was SIN.

One could say that at that point we were, let's just say, no longer living in paradise. Life, as we knew it with perfect communion with God, would be no more. Life would now become very different; full of uncertainty, difficult, painful, alone...and dead (spiritually speaking).

God altered His relationship with us because of our disobedience. He changed how we would have access to Him. He had to. God is perfect...holy. Holy means being set apart. Because of our sin nature, we would no longer have direct access to God.

So God had to provide another way. He began revealing Himself to us through dreams and visions. God chose a select few to be His prophets and they would be the main conduit by which man would receive communication from Him.

However, this is not the kind of relationship that God wanted with man. But God couldn't just ignore the sin. Sin had to be dealt with and had to be judged. God's holy nature demanded it.

God, of course, being omniscient had a plan and knew the way in which He would restore man into a right relationship with Him. This would happen through a series of events, and would all occur according to His predetermined plan and purpose.

Now because of man's sin nature, a separation existed between the Creator and the created. The Bible explains how man was no longer seeking after God. Man had gone his own way and was virtually incapable of pursuing or knowing God. (Romans 3:10-12)

God, therefore, gave man what is called faith. Faith can be a misunderstood word. Too often, it is misused and/or taken out of context.

What is faith? According to, faith is a "confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing." Or it could be a "belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence," among other things.

But when it comes to true faith, The Glory Land offers this explanation (shortened):

The Biblical definition of faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 is probably the most concise definition of faith found in the Bible. It is considered the classical definition of faith.

Faith is both the substance of things hoped for and the evidence that things exist that are not yet perceived with the senses.It is a condition of the human heart that is as real to God as the thing we asked for will be to us when we receive it. It is the exact image of the thing for which we ask. When we receive what we have prayed for the image is replaced by the actuality.

Faith is not based on human feeling but rather it is based squarely on the fact of what God says. The evidence is not found in the feeling, rational, visible or sense realm.

So, as you can see, faith is an essential element to our relationship with God. In fact, the Bible says that it is impossible to please God apart from faith. (Hebrews 11:6) A lack of faith even caused Jesus to withdraw from His own hometown and limit the miracles He would perform there. (Matthew 13:57-58)

Faith is so important, that God uses it as the catalyst to bring us to salvation. As such, faith came onto the scene even before the law. The law does its part, of course, leading us to conclude that our sin has left us dead spiritually. More than that, it exposes our sin. As Romans 3:19-20 state, "19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."

But faith does what the law can't do. It makes us right before God. If you apply the Biblical definition of faith to our situation, you have to conclude that this faith is something hoped for in Someone that we cannot see or perceive with our senses, but whose existence is very real. Our faith is not based on feelings or on human senses, it is based on the fact that God says that if we believe in His Son, we will be saved. (Romans 10:9)

Let's look at this following passage in Romans. This ought to give us hope:

Romans 3:21-31
Righteousness Through Faith

21 But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28 For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law. 29 Is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.

There is so much more that we can discuss about faith. But suffice it to say that faith is everything. Without faith, we would have no hope. So where do we get faith? "17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ." (Romans 10:17) Clearly, God has done everything so we can be with Him, for all eternity. Remember our sin problem earlier? The text in Romans tells us that Jesus justified us and redeemed us by His sacrifice. So if you haven't already, by faith believe in the One, Jesus Christ, who can justify you apart from the law. Isn't that good news? I think it is.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


How many times have you watched a game you cared about, such as football, and got all excited when they won? It's a thrill, isn't it? It gets your blood probably even jump up and down or pump your fist in the excitement. You might even yell, scream, or hoot and holler.

It can be very emotional when your team wins. Do you ever get a sense of pride? Although you contributed absolutely NOTHING to the success, do you feel as though you helped will your team to victory?

After the game, what do you do? Do you somehow suddenly calm down from the euphoria and move on as if it was no big deal? Or do you take your pride to the next level? You know what I mean. I'm talking about rubbing it into your friends that rooted for the "other" team...the losing team.

This kind kind of behavior...boasting... is normal though. It's part of the human condition. Sure, we try to tone it down. We even suppress our emotions at times to show sportsmanship. But in all actuality, we get very excited and we allow ourselves to show it. Often times we end up making fools of ourselves by how extreme we get in the celebration.

Now let's apply this behavior to another area in our lives. How attractive are our attitudes when we begin boasting about being Christians? Don't get me wrong, the fact that God has saved us through His Son Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross ought to raise us to the level of excitement that surpasses any earthly event. To hoot and holler because of Christ? Definitely! Psalm 9:2 "I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High."

The problem is is when worship and praise for what God has done turns into something else. As a Christian, you know you're on the winning team. You know that Christ has the victory!

1 Corinthians 15:51-57
51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

But we need to be careful. Sometimes I think we can become full of pride because of all that God has done for us. Did we deserve His salvation? Did we somehow turn God's head for Him to say, "Wow, look at [insert your name here]." It would be wrong to think that we did anything to deserve God's favor. The fact that God shows mercy on us means nothing about anything we have said or done. Romans 3:9-18 makes that clear.

Romans 3:9-18
9What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. 10As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11there is no one who understands,
no one who seeks God.
12All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
13"Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14"Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15"Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16ruin and misery mark their ways,
17and the way of peace they do not know."
18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

It's easy to find ourselves full of pride though, isn't it? Maybe since becoming a believer you found yourself looking at others differently. You wondered why some people don't get it. Why are they still blinded to the truth? Why don't they understand right from wrong? Why is it they're still caught up in addiction? Can't they see that fornication is just plain wrong? What's wrong with these people who are advocating same-sex marriage? .....If we're not careful, we can be guilty of the very thing that Paul was talking about in Romans.

Romans 3:27-28
27Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. On what principle? On that of observing the law? No, but on that of faith. 28For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from observing the law.

The point I believe Paul is making here is not that we should tolerate sin. Sin still needs to be exposed and confronted. But it's our attitude. Do we sometimes think that because we're saved by the grace of God that we're better than the sinner next to us? Whether we outright boast about our position in Christ or whether we secretly boast within ourselves because God saved us, we can be guilty of this sin. Psalm 12:3 says, "May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue." Paul says there is no boasting when it comes to our salvation because it had nothing to do with us "observing the law." Rather it was by faith, and even God gave us the measure of faith to believe to begin with!

There are other areas of concern, to be sure. If you're a pastor, worship leader, evangelist, youth leader, or any number of prominent positions, boasting can become an issue for you as well. The heart of God has never been about position, status, or glory for ourselves. Rather, God has made sure that we would have no reason to boast at all. 1 Corinthians 1:28-30 tells us that, "He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption." And again in Ephesians 2:8-10, "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Can it be any clearer? Boasting should not have any part of the Christian life. Not for ourselves anyway. If you want to boast? Boast in Jesus! He is the only one worthy of our boasting!

Psalm 34:2  "2My soul will boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and rejoice."

Psalm 44:8 "8In God we make our boast all day long, and we will praise your name forever. Selah"

2 Corinthians 10:17 "17But, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

Galatians 6:14 "14May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


In the study of Romans, I came to the place where Paul, in Chapter 2, is writing to the Jews regarding the law. The law, of course, being the Pentateuch or Law of Moses. These were specific commands from God that the Jewish people were to follow as part of their covenant with God.

Perhaps because of pride, or a misunderstanding of God's intentions, the Jews began thinking of themselves more highly than they ought to have. At this point in Romans, Paul is clarifying one of those misconceptions. So Paul attempts to show that the law affects everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike.

Romans 2:12-16
 12All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God's sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, 15since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) 16This will take place on the day when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

Another problem, it appears, was that the Jews at that time thought that because they had the law they were somehow justified before God. But Paul is clearly saying here in this text that this wasn't the case. The Jews had the same problem as the Gentiles. The only difference, however, was that God entrusted to them His laws and commands. This, Paul explains later on in chapter 3.

It's important to know this because in our culture there is this similar misconception in some churches that if we somehow do enough or are good enough, we can somehow make ourselves right with God. Look at verse 12 again. Not only is Paul refuting this faulty thinking, he goes a step further and shows us that the law does the exact opposite. "All who sin under the law will be judged by the law." Is there anyone in church who believes they have never sinned under the law?

Also, can anyone have an excuse because they haven't heard of God's laws or commands? Paul says no because God has placed within us the concept of right and wrong. I believe that this is our conscience. Paul says it as much in verse 15 that God has written it on their hearts. In fact, when they try to do good, they "do by nature things required by the law, [therefore] they are a law for themselves."

Again, let's go back for a second. What about those who do know about the law? Paul says they'll be judged by the law due to their sin. So is it possible that there are those who can obey the whole law and be declared righteous by God as in verse 13? Paul says that if you could, then you would be declared righteous. But here's the thing...Romans 3:10-11 says this:

Romans 3:10-11

10 As it is written:
"There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.

So it's clear Paul isn't saying that it's possible to be righteous before God. Whether you have the knowledge and understanding of God's laws or not, there's no way we can stand before a Holy God justified by how we have lived our lives. NO ONE is righteous.

But just in case you think you can find a loophole, Paul shows us again that there is no way in and of ourselves that we can declare ourselves righteous before God. For example, if you're a Jew, Paul explains in length that it's neither the act of circumcision or having the law that makes any difference. Even for those that weren't Jews, Paul says if they weren't circumcised but kept the law's requirements, they would be regarded as though they were circumcised. The point is is that it's not really the outward act of circumcision that had any merit. What has merit is the circumcision of the heart.

But wait! There's more. Previously, we got a taste of the beginning part of Romans 3. Now let's look at the rest of the text in context:

Romans 3:12-19
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one."
13 "Their throats are open graves;
their tongues practice deceit."
"The poison of vipers is on their lips."
14 "Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness."
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 ruin and misery mark their ways,
17 and the way of peace they do not know."
18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God.

Can you see the extent of the problem? We've turned away from God, we've become worthless, not even capable of doing good. Paul describes how our sin has permeated our entire being from our throats, our lips, our mouths, and our feet.

So what does the law do? It obviously has shown us at this point that it can't save us. In fact, what it does do is show us how very bad off we are. If there is no way to be justified before God and we have sinned and are being held accountable to God, what can we do? Where is our hope? Certainly, we are in danger of receiving His wrath.

That's the bad news. Fortunately, Paul didn't end his discourse there. The good news is that God has a way for us to get around this predicament. And what a predicament it is! The one way, and the only way, is through His Son Jesus!

From there, Paul goes on to tell us about God's righteousness...RIGHT AFTER telling us how totally messed up our situation was. So okay, he explains that God is righteous. How does that help us with our problem? God's righteousness IS the answer to our problem. Romans 3:22 says, "This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe." But wait, there's more! Look at what Paul writes here:

Romans 3:22b-26
22b There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.

Do you see? Paul said before that whether one had the law or not, they had the same problem. And here he says that there's no difference again. Jews and Gentiles alike have sinned and we all fall short of God's righteous standards no matter how hard we tried or no matter how good we were.

Praise God! He had an answer! Despite our sin, He provided a way through Jesus for us to be justified...APART FROM ANYTHING WE DID OR COULD EVER DO! Paul says that through Jesus, God's sacrifice of atonement on the cross, we are able to be justified freely. Nothing for us to do but to receive by faith this offer of Christ's atonement.

But why did God do this? Why did God offer Jesus as a sacrifice so that we could be made right with God? The text says that He did it because He had to demonstrate His justice. He had to show that He was just, for one, to show that He could not let sin go unpunished. But He also did it to show that He is the One, the only One, who could justify us by putting our faith in Christ. To put it in a nutshell, not only was God the Judge and Executioner, but He took our place as the Defendant as well.

So how can any one of us refuse this offer? An offer where Jesus takes the penalty for our sin and justifies us before God with His own righteousness? How?

Let's make one thing clear here. Jesus did not die on the cross so that He could be the Savior for those who would choose to deny Him though. The text says that God is the "one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." That means there's a choice to be made. Have you made that choice? Even if you say you don't know, or haven't decided yet, you need to understand that you have already made a choice. But it's not to late if you're reading this. You can change the choice that you've made. The only clear way to receive Jesus' substitutionary death on your behalf is to choose to put your faith in Jesus while you still have the time.

It's not hard, but you need to be sincere. You can't hold back from God by going through the motions. He knows your thoughts and He knows the intents of your heart. Have you, or will you, receive God's free gift? There's no other way, you know. Ask Him to show you how. Talk to Him, pray to Him, draw near to Him. Your life will never be the same.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Hypocrite. What an interesting word. What goes through your mind when you hear it? Do you instinctively think positive thoughts? Or negative ones?

What if someone were to call you a hypocrite? How would that make you feel? Would you instantly become defensive? Or would you self-evaluate yourself and ask, "Why would somebody call me that? Is there something that I need to be aware of about myself?" It could motivate you to make some kind of change about yourself.

If you're like me, you would be very defensive if someone were to call you a hypocrite. You would snap back at the accusation and demand proof of this allegation. Of course, saying this doesn't speak well concerning my character, obviously, and I know that I can learn from constructive criticism. But hypocrite?

Maybe it's because of this defensiveness we can identify with how the Pharisees felt when Jesus gave them that label...He exclaimed outright that many of the Pharisees were hypocrites straight to their faces. Ouch. Here are some of those examples:

Matthew 15:7
You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

Matthew 22:18
But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, "You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me?

Matthew 23:13
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the kingdom of heaven in men's faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to.

Matthew 23:15
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.

Matthew 23:23
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

Matthew 23:25
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.

Matthew 23:27
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean.

Matthew 23:29
Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.

Do you get the picture? Jesus did not mince words. And as you can imagine, the Pharisees did not take kindly to this.

What was it about the Pharisees that Jesus found so abhorrent? Reading these passages, it seems that the Pharisees would admonish the Jews regarding strict adherence to the law. But in contrast regarding their own disciplines, they would disdain God's commands for their own personal gain; even going as far as putting their laws (men's laws) ahead of God's.

It is quite apparent that God doesn't take hypocrisy lightly. Why else would Jesus have said "woe to you" concerning the Pharisees if it wasn't serious? Matthew 24:51 gives us some idea by telling us that a certain wicked servant, one who understandably would incur God's indignation, will find himself in the same predicament as a hypocrite. So you can see hypocrisy doesn't bode well for anyone. Can anyone grasp how bad God's judgment toward them will be? The verse says, "He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." This, of course, is a fairly accurate description of what it would be like for a person that is separated from their Creator, such as in hell.

Knowing that God is very much opposed to hypocrisy, it would seem pretty apparent then that the people of God ought to take this very seriously. But why Christians? Shouldn't they, of all people, be modeling godly character? The problem is is that we all have the tendency, perhaps due to our sin nature, to take on this wicked condition. Sadly, this kind of thing can take root in a church and cause greater problems.

Consider this following passage:

Romans 2:17-24
17 Now you, if you call yourself a Jew; if you rely on the law and brag about your relationship to God; 18 if you know his will and approve of what is superior because you are instructed by the law; 19 if you are convinced that you are a guide for the blind, a light for those who are in the dark, 20 an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of infants, because you have in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth– 21 you, then, who teach others, do you not teach yourself? You who preach against stealing, do you steal? 22 You who say that people should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? 23 You who brag about the law, do you dishonor God by breaking the law? 24 As it is written: “God's name is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”

Though you could argue that Paul's admonition was directed toward the Jews, I would suggest that believers in the body of Christ take heed as well. How often do we get on our soapbox and become all religious and begin pointing fingers? Is it possible that we're doing the very things that Paul was warning the Jews about? To put it plainly, do we brag about being Christians when all the while we put down sinners because they are in adulterous or homosexual relationships, then find ourselves engaged with prostitutes? What about pornography or sexually explicit romance novels? It's a very disturbing thing to see the church laden with sin when the church should be the ones modeling righteousness and being the light that draws people to our Savior.

Hypocrisy is never a good thing. But it's even worse when it's God's people who teach righteousness and truth by the Holy Bible and then live the lives of sinners. Verse 24 in the text tells us that because of the actions of such people, God's Holy Name is blasphemed among the Gentiles. In today's vernacular, think about how the scandals of the church today bring God's Name into question among unbelievers. Just think about it...God's Name is blasphemed. Doesn't that bring fear to your soul?

I know the last days will bring all forms of lies, deception, hypocrisy, etc. But my prayer is that Christians will be convicted of their sin and realize that their sin has consequences that go beyond just themselves. We need to be a body unified by the head, who is Christ. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and realize that our actions sometimes speak louder than words. How will the world know if this Christian life is authentic, if all that they see are a bunch of frauds. Let's be the church that God has called us to be. Let's be the authentic, genuine, and real Christians God created us to be and give God glory!