December 30th, 2019 (re-print/re-edit)
The thought hit me last night and then again, this morning. The lie’s that we who call ourselves believers tell ourselves, is shocking.
This passage in Acts reminds me just how serous God see’s lying.
“Tell me,” Peter asked her, “did you sell the land for this price?” “Yes,” she said, “for that price.”
Acts 5:8 (CSB)
Moments later her dead body was carried out by the same men who had carried out her husband for the same lie told, only a matter of hours before her. They were not struck down by any Apostle or disciple, the Lord himself had issues swift and assured punishment for a fragrant lie propagated by the pair.
We clearly can see the seriousness of lying demonstrated in the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
God didn’t punish them because they didn’t hand over all the cash from the sale of their land. No! God swiftly terminated their existence on earth predicated on the fact that they were lying to Peter and consequently to God.
Not a real wise thing to consider doing.
But yet, as I stop to consider examples of the lying, we all do, I’m more than amazed, how much people that call themselves Christians lie to God, and themselves.
Men will rise up even from your own number and distort the truth to lure the disciples into following them.
Acts 20:30 (CSB)
The number of false teachers, both in the media and in our churches, is astounding.
Claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man, birds, four-footed animals, and reptiles.
Therefore, God delivered them over in the desires of their hearts to sexual impurity, so that their bodies were degraded among themselves. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served what has been created instead of the Creator, who is praised forever. Amen.
Romans 1:22-25 (CSB)
This abusive attempt of deception isn’t limited to the people standing up in the pulpits around the world and in our communities. Sadly, it is commonplace, for those who claim the mantle of Christ, to disregard, distort, and ignore verse after verse, so as to tailor the Gospel, to conform to their own fleshly desires.
For likely a myriad of reasons God doesn’t take them out as was the case for Ananias and Sapphira. Perhaps the one that might be most pressing is his desire that none perish but all find salvation in the grace of his Son, Jesus.
Another possible reason the Lord hasn’t smacked these fabricators, as He did the pair in Acts, is His grace. The timeline he is keeping, only He, is fully aware of. Part of this spiritual double-talk simply fulfills what He has revealed in his Word to us. Just as in the days Jesus walked among us, things must come to pass before Jesus returns for his bride.
When the judgement comes, it is terrifying to consider how many will stand before the throne of God and cry out claiming to be children of the king, only to hear, “I never knew you.”
Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you. Depart from me, you lawbreakers!’
Matthew 7:23 (CSB)
Wasted grace, wasted lives, wasted opportunity; simply because they were unwilling to surrender to the one that gave them life in the first place. The one that purchased their redemption even after he had a right of ownership, due to Him being our builder.
Instead, crafting their gods made up of their possessions, activities, and behaviors that were contrary to the Word of God. All the while, lying to themselves, their fellow church family, and God.
Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith. Examine yourselves. Or do you yourselves not recognize that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless you fail the test.
2 Corinthians 13:5 (CSB)
The simplest of tests is the one where you accept the scripture as God provides it and don’t try to avoid, alter, or divert it. There is far too much of that going on in our churches today, and people are dying because of it. Lost to grace, condemned to an eternity separated from God.
A lie will not do. Stand down from your self-crafted alter and repent. There is a God that loves you relentlessly, but he will not force himself upon you. He also will not save you if you insist on placing other gods before him because he is a jealous God.
Do not make an idol for yourself, whether in the shape of anything in the heavens above or on the earth below or in the waters under the earth. Do not bow in worship to them, and do not serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity, to the third and fourth generations of those who hate me, but showing faithful love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commands.
Exodus 20:4-6 (CSB)
Yeah, that is the Old Testament. And it applies to you if you are positioned outside the Grace of Jesus Christ. For if you are not under grace, you are under the law and anything we place before God is a violation deserving death as it’s punishment.
Knowing grace is found in Christ Jesus, doesn’t do it. Having accepted Jesus as Lord and Master grace is complete. Does he know you? Be honest with yourself and God, because your life depends on it!
With the New Year upon us, we all should examine our relationship with the Lord Jesus. Seriously, evaluate if we are twisting the truth to make God and His Word conform to our own desires.
While God may not strike us down as He did Ananias and Sapphira, spiritual truth is not altered by our own bias and desire for its conformity.
And just as it is appointed for people to die once — and after this, judgment — so also Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.
Hebrews 9:27-28 (CSB)
If you are reading this, it isn’t too late for you to repent and confess your sin to Jesus, who His Word tells us…
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
1 John 1:9 (CSB)
That’s the beautiful thing about grace, it is abundant and free to the repentant heart that trust in the saving blood of Jesus, the Messiah, who’s birth we celebrated just a few days ago. A Lie Just Will Not Do!
In His Grace!