Modern man has tried to cloud the idea that there are limits. We are told that it is wise not to think of things in a black or white manner. The more sophisticated we are, the less sure we are about anything. Seeking is noble; finding is considered confining.
To many today, to be simple is to be simplistic–that is–in our making of simple, we lose essential reality. Postmodernism states that there are no universal principles in the universe, just random acts. Life is unpredictable. If that is true, we can’t trace certain outcomes to the acts that caused them to happen.
Honestly, some things are complex. You may think that anesthesia is just a matter of putting you to sleep and making sure you wake up again, but the doctor is concerned about age and weight, general physical condition, how long the procedure will likely take, any allergies, etc.
But back to the spiritual world, in Jesus’ day, it was the Pharisees who made spiritual things complex; Jesus made things simple–not easy to do maybe, but simple to comprehend.
We have been studying Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, in our series called The Path. I am struck over and over again by His call to make the right choices, to choose the right path. Most often Jesus casts these as binary choices–between two contrasting things.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matthew 7:13-14)
He shares that there are sheep and wolves, good trees that produce good fruit and bad trees that produce bad fruit. There are the wise who build on rock (obedience to the word of God) and the foolish who build on sand (hearing but not heeding the word of God)
Later in his gospel, Matthew writes (from Matthew 25)–
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
We serve a two-handed God
I am reading through the Bible this year. As I read, I am struck by Scripture’s focus on choice leading to destiny. Not many, not few, but two. It’s all the way through the Bible. Some of the many examples:
- At Creation, Adam and Eve were given two choices–to obey God or give in to temptation—and two outcomes that follow that.
- God created two equal but differing genders–male and female.
- And the LORD had regard for Abel and his offering, but for Cain and his offering, he had no regard. (Genesis 4) Two sons—one follows God and worships. One envied and became violent.
- I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live… (Deuteronomy 30)
- For the LORD knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (Psalm 1:6)
- The Apostle Paul describing his mission: ...to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me (Jesus). (Acts 26:18)
- At the very end of time–only two destinies, only two destinations: And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20)
So as our days play out we have choices that lead to destinies. It is a powerful encouragement, and also a serious warning:
“Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”(Galatians 6:7-19)
-Pastor Mike O’Connor