Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.-James 4:4
Adultery is a strong word to describe “friendship with the world”. It emphasizes the importance of the discussion in this book. When we deliberately choose to follow the path of the world – the pursuit of what is earthly, sensual, or demonic – we are choosing to reject God’s ways. How easily we dismiss this decision as “no big deal”.
I think we look at the spiritual realm through the eyes of the flesh. We cannot see it. We do not see the devastation and the travesty of sin. We know that people are hurting themselves and others, and it does not register that we are doing the same.
Perspective of the Sacrifice
From the perspective of the sacrifice of Jesus, this makes sin a major problem. It reveals to us that sin is so terrible that the only remedy required the sacrifice of God’s own Son. There should be no wonder over the fact that we will be punished by God in the Day of Judgment if we refuse to follow Jesus. By choosing to reject Him, we choose to reject His sacrifice, to spit in the face of all that God has done for us so that we can have fellowship with Him. We reject the life that He provides for us. We put aside the relationship we have with our Father and turn to something else. We may not think of the consequences of our actions, and that is a serious problem.
I clearly remember numerous times in my life when I was terrified of the consequences of my sins. I felt the guilt and the shame of having spit in the face of God and then coming to the realization of what I had done. I didn’t comprehend the nature of what I was doing. I thought I was merely choosing some other path. But, now and then, I have been hit as if from a lightning bolt. And the realization of what I faced terrified me.
I wish that I could nobly suggest that I learned my lesson and never turned my back on Him again. But that, I am ashamed to say, is far from the truth. I’ve betrayed Him many times. My only hope is that He will extend the mercy and grace that He has promised. I’ve turned to Him and sought His redemption and mercy through His Son by looking at His conditions and finding my way back.
Have you ever been there?
The consequences of turning our backs on God are almost never immediate. Because of that, we easily convince ourselves that we have escaped the consequences. But what we cannot see is what should scare us the most.
I am not one to focus on the “negatives” in religion, but I cannot deny that they exist and yet claim to have achieved balance. I am convinced that punishment will follow people who are not forgiven of their sins against God. This will occur because of the justice of the holy and righteous God of all. The Bible speaks clearly of Hell and eternal separation from God, and to deny it is to deny the Bible.
But I do not take the description literally. I do not believe there will be a literal flame with literal heat. We will not have the physical bodies that we do now, when we are in the afterlife. Of course, I realize that this is talking about something that is terrible. It’s revealing something that we cannot imagine. And there will undoubtedly be pain of some kind. There are too many passages that teach us that fact to deny it. And no matter what other kinds of pain that might exist, I believe that the worst possible pain will be the separation from God – the fact that God is no longer with us.
I’m not talking about a sentimental suffering and anguish of the mind like a married couple forced to be separated by long distances for a long time. I mean separation from God and all that He is. On earth we find blessings from God around us. We feel the warmth of love and peace even in the worst of times. But can you imagine an existence in which there is no love at all? There is no peace, or happiness. It’s a gruesome idea.
Choose Wisely In Bible Study
James reminds us that if we choose the world, we have rejected God. There is no way to pursue both. They go in opposite directions. If we choose sin, we are choosing to oppose God and make Him an enemy. I, for one, want to avoid that.
So think clearly about the decisions you make in life. When you face temptation, trials, and decisions of any kind, look for and choose the pathway of godliness. Build your life of faith, so that you can spend eternity with God in heaven. Do not make friends with the processes and pursuits of this world around us. That is the way of death.
And that way of death can seem to be religious and godly. It may look and feel right.
Bible study and finding that pathway of righteousness requires courage. It requires honesty. Without it, we will not make it where we hope to be. Thankfully, we all have the capability to be honest with ourselves, with a little training. That’s where Bible study helps us. It forces us to be honest, if we want to understand what we find there.
Don’t be content to find surface ideas and pretend that you have studied the Bible. Bible study that does not change you is merely a study of self. This is why I am thrilled to be doing this blog and the podcast for Constructing Faith. I am helping to tear away the selfish pursuits and reveal the truth. It’s greedy on my part. I’m doing this for my own benefit. And I hope that it is helping you too.
Are you seeking God or self in your studies?
See you tomorrow!
~Jason[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”” parallax=”” parallax_image=””][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]