Good for Goose and Gander; One and All?

There is an old proverb that says: “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander! The meaning is: ‘What is good for a woman is equally good for a man.’ The principle is: What is good for one type is equally good for another type, despite any irrelevant differences between the types. Well, we live in a culture and society wherein it seems the rights of the individual are being promoted and respected over the good of the group, even if those rights are detrimental to the group of which the individual is a member.

I’ve been thinking about something that I am trying to ‘flesh-out’ to see if it is a universally applicable principle in view of the insistence of individuals to demand the right to express themselves, even if their expressions are contrary and harmful to the group. Here’s the principle I’ve been investigating: ‘If it is good or right for one or some; it should be good or right for all!’ Now, let’s see how that works with some of the issues that are being debated in our society today.

Let’s start with racism. If it is good or right for one or some people to be racist; it should be good or right for all people to be racist! But, what kind of world would it be if everybody was a racist? Would it be a world that anyone would want to live in? I don’t think so! I think it would be Hell! If everybody thought and acted like they were better or more privileged than everybody else, we would have the recipe for a chaotic and dangerous society!

And speaking of danger: What would society look like if it was good and right for everyone to own and carry guns? Well, we really don’t have to imagine what it would look like; we’ve already been there and done that: It was the era of the wild, wild west! You can see milder versions of what that was like by looking at old episodes of Gun-smoke, Rifleman, and Bonanza! As I am typing this post, I am recalling news reports of shoot-outs between gang members and law enforcement that rival and surpass the famous gun fight at the OK Corral!

At the risk of being labelled hateful and insensitive, I dare bring up the issue of homosexuality! If it is good and right for one or some people to be homosexual; it should be good and right for everybody to be homosexual. But what would our world look like if everyone was a practicing homosexual? In fact, perhaps an even greater question is: Would there be a world at all? It takes a man and a woman to have a baby. Would we really be at ease and satisfied with a generation of test-tube babies; all produced by artificial insemination? I don’t think we would!

What about criminal activity? If it is right and good for one or some people to be crooks, then it is good and right for all people to be crooks! But what kind of world would it be if everybody was a crook? If everyone was a liar, a thief, a deceiver, a devious person, a pervert, or whatever? Do you see my point?

The point is this: Whether we like it or not, there are moral principles and guidelines that have been instituted by a Higher Power! Man, in his arrogance, likes to think of himself as being his own god! But, if everybody was their own god; society would break down into chaos! (By the way; since we have thrown off the yoke of the true God, this is exactly where we are headed!) Just because you may not like or agree with these moral principles, that doesn’t exempt you from their jurisdiction! People think it is OK to break God’s laws, but in the final analysis; they really don’t just break the law; the law breaks them! Our world is filled with people who are broken, disconnected and lost because of their attempt to be their own god! In the final analysis: What’s good for the goose may or may not be good for the gander, but it is not the right of the goose or the gander to decide what that ‘good’ is! That right is reserved only for the Creator of the goose and the gander! The Creator of the goose and the gander knows that there are some things that are good for the goose and the gander, but there are also some things that are good for the goose but not for the gander!

Just As I Am?

    just-as-i-am  The song says: “Just as I am, without one plea, Thou blood was shed for me. And Thou that biddest me come to Thee, O Lamb of God, I come, I come!” Traditionally, the song has served as a testimony of God’s grace toward the repentant sinner. However as of late, the phrase: “Just as I am” is erroneously being used by people who have no intentions to change or repent to come to God. Let me explain. There really is no need to “clean up” before coming to God. In fact, if we could “clean ourselves up” there would be no need to come to God! The Bible declares in Isaiah 64:6: “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” (KJV) It is of interest to note that the word translated as “filthy” in the Hebrew text was the same word used to denote a woman’s menstrual rag! The prophet was saying that all of our so-called righteous deeds are like a woman’s used tampon or Kotex pad in God’s sight! Ugh!!! The point I am trying to make is this: There is nothing we can do to make ourselves “presentable” or “worthy” of God’s acceptance and grace. In fact, if we could, then grace wouldn’t be grace!

So then, it is because of our inability to clean ourselves up and the power of God’s grace that we can come to God “just as we are.” However, although we can come to God just as we are, once we come to God, we cannot remain as we are! One of the aspects of salvation that is not being talked about much these days is the concept of repentance. We read of John the Baptizer’s stance concerning repentance in Luke 3:7-14: He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruits in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children for Abraham. Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.” (ESV) Note that for each individual or group that came to John to be baptized, a change of attitude and behavior was required to serve as “proof” or evidence of conversion.  Biblical repentance (the repentance that God requires for salvation) is not simply being sorry or remorseful for sin, but rather it is a change in attitude and behavior! It is not just a matter of turning to God, it also involves turning away from sin! In other words, the drunk can come to God just as he is; a drunkard, but he cannot continue to be a drunkard and expect God to be OK with it! The Bible demand repentance; a change in attitude and behavior!

Now this change of attitude and behavior is completely beyond the capacity of the sinner to do on his own! When a person truly repents and comes to God, that person is “born again!” God places His nature or His Spirit within that person; a change instantaneously occurs and a spiritual transformation begins to take place. The instant change is called “being born again” and the transformation is called sanctification: It is the process whereby the truly repentant and saved individual is gradually conformed to the image of Christ. In the “old church” the emphasis was mostly on being “born again.” But being “born again” is not the end-goal, but rather being born again (made a new creation in Christ [John 3:3-8; 2 Corinthians 5:17]) is just the beginning of the process whereby the individual is transformed into the person God called and created them to be! (See Romans 12:1-2) Just as a baby is born in a moment and we are happy, we would stop rejoicing and start being concerned if the baby didn’t grow and develop from infant to adulthood through the process of growth and human development within the framework of time.

We can accept and understand this in the natural course of life, but when it comes to the spiritual realm, there are many today who are expecting some completely unnatural and even freakish developments! For instance, it is unnatural to expect God to accept and be OK with sinners who keep on sinning after they claim to have been saved! I’m sorry, I know this statement is not “politically correct” in our day and time, but there really is no such thing as a “saved sinner!” For instance, the idea of a “saved liar!” is absurd! A saved person doesn’t consistently, habitually as a lifestyle trait and action, tell lies! Now this is not to say that saved people never lie! No! I am not saying that! But I am saying: Saved people do not consistently, habitually, practice lying as a lifestyle trait! I use lying as an example, but anything the Bible designates as sin can be substituted and the principle remains the same: The truly “saved” person does not make the practice of sinning a consistent, habitual, lifestyle trait! The Apostle John wrote in 1 John 3:9: “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him; and he cannot keep on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (ESV) Listen! I don’t care how much they might speak in tongues or how much anointing they might claim to have; according to the Bible, people who consistently practice a lifestyle that the Bible calls sin are not saved! The fact that they consistently practice a sinful lifestyle is the proof! Now, the issue today is that people want to “redefine” what sin is! But it really doesn’t matter how “natural” it might feel, if the Bible calls it sin; it is sin! And no matter how we might try to justify our sinful behavior, by our “redefinition” on sin, that doesn’t change the fact that our behavior is sinful!

Who are we to call what God has called wrong; right? In fact, the Bible pronounces doom upon those who do this! “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20 KJV) One of the things I learned early in life is that when you’re in living in someone else’s house, you must abide and live by their rules, whether you like them or not! The last time I checked; God was still in control! This is God’s world, not ours! We are living in His house! No matter how we might not agree with Him, that does not change the fact that the LORD, He is God! It is He that has made us! Contrary to what many might like to believe; God is NOT a creation of man; man IS a creation of God! And since God is the Creator, the creature is subject to the rules of the Creator! And if the Creator calls it wrong, it’s wrong! If the Creator calls it sin; it’s sin! It doesn’t matter how “good” or “natural” it might feel! It is His world that we are living in! It is He that made us; we didn’t make Him! And it’s not a valid excuse to say that it’s OK because that is the way the Creator made us! He made us perfect, but when sin entered into the world, His creation was marred! (See Genesis 3) Therefore, we were all born a certain way that wasn’t the way God originally made us! We were all born “wrong,” that’s why we all need to be “born again!” And since we were all born wrong and we all need to be born again, when He invites us to come to Him “just as we are,” it is foolish and absurd on our part to think He would be satisfied to leave us in the same broken and helpless condition in which we were born!

All Dogs ‘Don’t’ Go To Heaven

all dogsIn an age of political correctness and moral inclusiveness, talk of the concept of Hell is passé and distasteful, even in the church and in religious circles. It seems that there is a prevailing belief today that it does not matter what is done in life or what type of life one may live, when one dies; there is an automatic admission into Heaven. In other words, the prevailing belief is that all dogs go to Heaven!

I was confronted with this common belief that everyone goes to Heaven when they die when I viewed a Facebook posting not too long ago. It was a memorial posting in memory of someone who had been murdered, who during their life-time, was a known drug-dealer and gang-banger. I would have passed the post up were it not for the artistic rendition of the deceased drug-dealer, hovering in the clouds with angel-wings and a gold chain around his neck! Among the many comments to the posts were comments like: “Rest in Peace Hommie!” and “I know you’re in a better place now!” Now, I am not one to judge whether or not this person actually is in Heaven or not; that’s not my call. All I’m simply saying is this: You can’t die a devil and be raised a saint! If he did not accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior, he is not resting in peace and neither is he in a better place!

I know we don’t like to talk about it, but if the Bible is true, then we must accept the fact that there are people in Hell! We must accept the fact, no matter how distasteful it might be, that all dogs DON’T go to Heaven! If that were the case, then Jesus came and died for nothing! If everybody goes to Heaven anyway, then there really is no sense in church, morality, or even right-and-wrong! If all dogs go to Heaven; the Bible and the idea of God, is a lie!

Now, people like to think that God is a God of love and that such a loving God would not send people to Hell! And they are right! That’s why the Bible says: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 KJV) God loved us so much that he sent His only Begotten Son. The Son loved us so much that he gave his life on a cross. The problem today is that people want to go to Heaven on their own terms! And they are upset and they reject the idea of a Holy God who would dare to put restrictions upon their desire to live a lifestyle that is pleasing to their immoral nature!

But the bottom line is this: No matter how people try to deny it, ignore it, or explain it away; Hell is real! At least Jesus said it was! In fact, he talked more about Hell than he did about Heaven!

God and Heaven paid the ultimate price to keep us from going to Hell! So if there was no chance for us to go in the first place, then the redemption process recorded from Genesis to Revelation is one big fairy tale and if that’s true, it was also a colossal waste of time!

The greatest demonic trick of all times is deniability! Satan wants humanity to disbelieve his existence! But even if you don’t believe in something, your disbelief does not negate its reality! I’m reminded of what I heard a young man say to an old preacher! The young man said: “I don’t believe in Hell!” The old preacher replied: “Your disbelief will not keep you from going!” No! No matter how we might try to deny it or try to “angelize” people who live sinfully, the truth of the matter is this; all dogs don’t go to Heaven!

Happiness or Holiness?

Holiness signI have a preacher-friend who sends me and several other preacher-pastors words of encouragement every Sunday morning. This past Sunday, he sent this message: “If you want to be popular, preach happiness; if you want to be unpopular, preach holiness.” As I read his message, I thought of the seriousness of the subject matter. Indeed, we live in a time wherein the most popular preachers and preaching advocate man’s happiness as the ultimate spiritual goal. But what does the Bible say about the subjects of happiness and holiness?

I must admit that I didn’t do an intensive study on the subjects before I wrote this post, but from what I have read, it would seem that the most important theme in the Bible is not happiness, but rather holiness! Just for the sake of clarity, we’re not using the term “holiness” just in the context of perfection or being without sin, but also in the context of being separate and set apart. God calls his people to be “in the world” but not “of the world!” There ought to be an undeniable difference between the world and the people of God. God has a standard of conduct that has been revealed in the Scriptures. The fact that we might not agree with those standards does not give us the right to change them.

From what I am hearing, it seems that the main pursuit of the world is happiness! All common sense and oftentimes human decency is being sacrificed upon the altar of human happiness! Today people are calling “right” what God has labelled as wrong simply because they want to be happy in their wrong-doing! So instead of allowing God to change them so that they might be holy, they seek to change God so that they might be happy! In many cases, instead of attempting to rise to God’s standards, men seek to lower God to their own standards.

They seem to be diametrically opposing standards at first, but when you really think about it, true happiness can only be found in true holiness! The happiness the world advocates is seasonal, temporary and conditional. But real happiness; the real joy that comes only from God, comes from adhering to and being obedient to God’s standards of holiness! When we are being and doing what God wants us to be and do; it is only then that we find real happiness! The happiness that the world offers apart from obedience to God’s standard of holiness is not really happiness at all. Happiness or holiness? You really don’t have to make a choice between the two because one leads to the other! It’s just a matter of getting them in the right order!

The Right To Be Right

right wrong signIn our world today it seems as though the right to be right is being sacrificed on the altar of political correctness! The needle of the moral compass has been broken and our world is teetering upon the jagged rocks of moral destruction. Whatever happen to the days when right was right and wrong was wrong? In those days, people who were wrong didn’t try to persuade people who were right that their wrong was right. They didn’t try to call their wrong right and the people who were right respected their right to be wrong!

But today, it seems as though no one wants to acknowledge they are wrong, even to the extent of attempting to force those who are right into accepting their wrong as right! But common sense logic dictates that if A is one way and B is another way, then A and B can’t be the same way! If A is going in one direction and B is going in the opposite direction, then A and B can’t be going in the same direction! Therefore if A is right and B is wrong, then logic dictates that A and B can’t both be right!

If we are to value the word of the ONE who determines what is right and what is wrong, then our society stands under judgment! In Isaiah 5:20-21, the Prophet declares: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (KJV) That is where we are today! We’re like kids playing on the playground who, because they don’t like the rules of the game, change the rules of the game. By the way, when you change the rules of the game from the original rules, you have in essence, created an entirely different game!

What am I saying? Well, the historical interpretation of the Judeo-Christian faith seems to suggest that a Supreme God created this world and everything within it, including humanity. The biblical record presents marriage as a God-ordained institution between a man and a woman. Therefore, according to the ONE who wrote the rule-book of marriage, any other union is not a marriage at all! Now, before anyone who may espouse same-sex marriage accuse me of being homophobic or insensitive, remember, I didn’t make the rules and neither did any of us! And just because we don’t like the rules, that doesn’t give us the right to change the rules!

The bottom line is this: In spite of modern society’s insistence to the contrary; there are moral absolutes! There is such a thing as right and wrong! However, being right or being wrong doesn’t make you any more or any less than anyone else. The Bible declares that we all have issues and if we are to be saved, it will be only by God’s grace and not by our works. But God’s grace is available to us only if we are willing to acknowledge our need for it. As long as we insist that our wrong (whatever it is) is right, we are estranged from grace. The first step to a cure of any disease is the acknowledgment and recognition of the disease. If you are sick, merely insisting that you are well and denying that you are sick will not make you well! It’s time to stop the moral nonsense! Right is right and wrong is wrong and calling wrong right does not make wrong right! We are all free moral agents and that means that those who are wrong have a right to be wrong and those who are right have a right to be right without being vilified by those who are wrong who insist that their wrong is right!