Someone recently asked me, “if there was one verse in the Bible you could give to your children to remember, what would it be?”
Well, I thought about this and decided that there were just so many to choose from. The Bible as a whole gives the best picture of God’s wonderful love for us and what it took to save us from ourselves. There is the obvious verse from John chapter 3 verse 16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
‘Perish’, a word that distinctly describes where our world looks like it is heading and this concerns me for the sake of future generations. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord,” (Romans chapter 6 verse 23).
Some days after listening to the news I feel so downhearted and I know many others do too. The world is in a mess and I wonder what our world is going to look like for our children and their children to come. What will Primary school and Secondary school education look like in the future? What will public advertising look like in the future? With bombings, senseless killings, and countless controversial issues, it is not a time to fall in a heap and just accept things the way things are.
God cherishes the heart of those who mourn over the evil things that are done in this world. In Ezekiel (chapter 9 verse 4), the Lord says, “Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it.” These people were kept safe in an hour of terror.
I love my future descendants even though they are not yet born and I want this world to be a better place for them. Call me old fashioned, that’s ok and nothing to be ashamed of, but I want schools and society to largely reflect the same set of values that I have been brought up with in my Christian faith.
Unfortunately Christian opinions and beliefs are often scorned at, belittled and tossed aside even though it is these morals, where followed, that are the backbone to creating a good and healthy society for generations to come because that’s why God, in all his wisdom, ordained them.
In Psalms 119 it seems David was feeling the same way. “Though rulers sit together and slander me,” he says, “your servant will meditate on your decrees,” (verse 23).
Of course there are many who call themselves Christians who, without remorse, have also committed atrocities either out of selfish gain or in the name of their faith. But that doesn’t discount those who have a heart to follow the word of God, especially knowing that they themselves are sinners and that God has saved them from a path that will lead to destruction.
We know that by no means, anyone is without sin. “There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus,” (Romans chapter 3 verses 22-24).
Jesus socialised with those the world despised, tax collectors, prostitutes, adulterers etc. yet he did not conform to their ways or lobby to change the laws of the land to allow their behaviour, instead he said to one adulterer, “go now and leave your life of sin,” (John chapter 8 verse 11).
Because of his great love, he then paid the price for her and everyone else when he died on the cross.
God meets us where we are whatever shape we are in, and he loves us. But once we have ‘met’ with him, we cannot help but be changed. When we have truly ‘met’ with him, we want to put away our old selves and go and sin no more. We are changed just like the adulterer was.
“Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law,” (Romans chapter 3 verse 31).
We are not to compromise our faith for popularity. “If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all,” (Isaiah chapter 7 verse 9). We need to keep our saltiness.
Romans chapter 12 verse 9 says to “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” Notice it says hate ‘what’ is evil, not ‘who’.
So what are we to do? Jesus says, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you,” (Luke chapter 6 verses 27-28)… “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink,” (Romans chapter 12 verse 20).
I know, it goes against our initial response, but God asks us to love the person without accepting the behaviour.
Jesus says, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them,” (Luke chapter 6 verse 32). Therefore we have to step out of ourselves and love without compromising our faith.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,” (1 Corinthians chapter 13 verse 13).
So if you asked me what verse I would give to my children in this day, I would say Jeremiah chapter 29 verse 11: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
For God does not give us rules to spoil our fun. They are there to protect us individually and collectively as a human race because he loves what he has made, and so that we may enjoy life in ‘all it’s fullness’. I would tell them that their Father in Heaven has the best plan for their lives and to love his precepts and that regardless of what the world does – God is still God, and always will be even long after we’ve left this earth.
“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” (Deuteronomy chapter 4 verses 38-40)
First published in Christian Today Australia, 24th June, 2013
(c) Rebecca Moore 2015