There are different ways to describe the existence of good and evil in our world. Light and Darkness are frequently used in the Bible as are Good and Evil, and Right and Wrong. If we are walking in Darkness we are probably doing Evil and are doing the Wrong things. We think of Heaven as Up and Hell as Down.
Regardless of what we call them, we are clear that there are two sides to this spectrum. Even in politics, we have the left and the right. How did that happen? Interestingly enough it first happened in France and the French Revolution. In 1789 during the French Revolution when determining if they were going to remain a Monarchy under the authority of the King or to limit his authority…the position one held determined the side of the room on which they stood…but I digress.
My point in all of this is that there are Christians whose view of God has become upside down. And I believe some of that depends if one is repeatedly walking in the flesh and falling into sin or if one is walking in obedience and living in purity.
Now, this really becomes a problem when we determine what God is like based on how we are living. The problem with that is that God remains the same…always has and always will. He is the one who is stationary and is not swayed by temptation or circumstances. In fact, we read in Hebrews 13:8…
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.”
And yet the enemy of our souls wants us to believe that how God is feeling about us is contingent on whether we are walking in sin or obedience. Because if he can get us to believe that God is angry with us when we are walking in sin then He becomes the one seeking to punish us and make our lives miserable. And if He has become that then we want to go further and further away from Him…and go deeper into our sin.
We begin to isolate ourselves because we now have something to hide. We do not want others to know the truth about us because we know we are not living the way we should be living…and somehow we have developed an addiction that makes changing course and returning to God very difficult. Because now we are not only afraid of God’s punishment and wrath, but we fear what others will do if they learn the truth.
So, to maintain a favorable impression with those around us we wear a mask to cover our double-minded ways. We go on the defensive always trying to keep others from getting too close to us where they might smell something is wrong. Like walking into a room of people after stepping in dog poop eventually someone is going to say; “Who stepped in the dog poop?” because the scent will be saying something about what you want to keep a secret.
What has happened is that we are trying to live on both sides of the fence. We have one foot on the dock and the other on the boat…and the boat is leaving. We become double-minded and begin to become “unstable in all our ways” according to James 1.
I think the best way to describe this problem is using the terms light and darkness. For one thing, we should know with certainty…from 1 John 1:5…
“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you,
that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.”
That is easy for us to grasp. God is HOLY and there is absolutely no evil in Him. He dwells in the light because He is light and there is no darkness in Him. His motives are pure and His love is unconditional. He does not choose to love us based on our ability to remain obedient. He has always known the exact number of sins we would commit…and chose to love us anyway. We are not beloved one day and in the doghouse the next.
And yet we feel that way…don’t we? We feel that if we are able to stay away from porn God favors us but if we fall back into it He is going to punish us. However, there is a serious problem with thinking that way about God who never changes. It is a lie that we have believed about God and our enemy uses it against us as much as possible. Because if he can get us to fear the one who loves us unconditionally then we are on shaky ground and easily persuaded to think other lies about God.
For example, we might believe that because we have sinned over and over again that surely He must be done with us. We have tested the full extent of His patience so now He wants to punish us…when nothing could be further from the truth. The full punishment for all our sins has already been paid by Christ on the Cross.
“There is therefore now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
So, our loving Father is not punishing us…however, He does discipline us. He can do that directly by allowing some things to fail or He allows our sin to have its own consequences. If you stick your hand in the fire you are going to get burned…not because God wants that to happen but because you made the mistake and experienced the painful result of your skin not being able to handle the 400 degrees of heat in which it has foolishly been put.
The other fateful result of us continuing in our sin is that we come to believe that He has stopped loving us. Did you know that that can never happen? His discipline of us is because He loves us. We were chosen before the creation of the world by Him because He chose to love us…not because of how good or bad we might be…but just because He decided to love us.
And instead of me trying to polish up my achievements and hide my sin, thinking I am better than I really am…He knows the truth. I am a broken and sinful man who is loved by God and saved by grace. And He will never ever stop loving me. My choices have not earned that. All I deserve is condemnation…and yet He is always loving me.
And when I can be absolutely sure of that truth then I am keeping my Father, My Lord, and my Comforter right-side up!