By John Larkins
You probably have many examples of the importance of truth. If you were fortunate enough to have at least one parent who nurtured you with love, you may have had experiences that made you respect truth and avoid lying. The society outside your family has demands on speaking the truth to avoid legal consequences. I remember events in school that required telling the truth, also.
I mentioned last week that Jesus requires us to not give false witness. The penalty for lying may be delayed until after death, but sometimes the penalty is experienced sooner, in some way that makes us wish we had not lied in the first place. Maybe this is a good time to mention a favorite church sign: “Sin is sin, legal or not.”
Hidden in the rules God gives us is the fact that God created us and that His commands to us are actually the best trouble-free ways to live our lives. You can think of some actions that fit this description, but suppose you decide to cheat in school and copy another person’s test answer and then find out the answer is wrong. Or suppose you decide to become drunk, but as the night wears on, decide to drive your car home, and your driving attracts the attention of a policeman. You would then discover the monetary and confinement penalties for running your own life the way you want to do.
You might think that some examples of disobedience would be outgrown with age. Please give God the credit for knowing the characteristics of the creatures He created. Revisit the interaction between God and Adam and Eve in the very beginning. Can you see me or you in these same situations? Why do we perfectly mimic Adam and Eve?
Someone says, “Lets steal some gas from that guy’s tractor!” and we say, “Sure, that stuff’s expensive; it’s dark and no one is around.” And just as you siphon the gas, you swallow a big mouthful. Perhaps God did not create us to suck gasoline. Honest ways are part of the truth.
Jesus spent three years walking around His part of the world, instructing His Church bishops on how to convert the Jews to His new Church. The Jews had to understand that Judaism was not the final covenant with God; they had to convert to Christianity. He taught that following Him to eternal salvation was a voluntary action. They needed the sacrament of baptism, not circumcision, or they would not be saved.
Jesus depends on your willingness to act to follow Him. Jesus is truly clear and very consistent in the many Bible passages He inspires for His teachers. One such story is in Luke 16: 22–31:
“The time came when the beggar died, and the angels carried him to Abrahams’ side. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.’ But Abraham replied, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us.’ He answered, ‘Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets, let them listen to them.’ ‘No, Father Abraham,’ he said, ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they will not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’”
Will you seek the truth? You see, someone did rise from the dead. Beware of false teachers.
His formal education includes a BS certified for science teaching, an MBA from the University of Missouri and an MPA from Jacksonville State University in public administration and environmental management. For the past 15 years, John evangelized on the street, door-to-door, in tent revivals and in church situations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.