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Vol.  9  No. 7 July 2007  Page 17
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Robert JohnsonWhose Will Do You Serve?

By Robert Johnson

    You may or may not have heard about the flap the Pope’s visit to Brazil has caused among some US legislators. During his flight there, he told reporters he supported the decision of Mexican bishops to ban politicians from receiving communion after they had voted to legalize abortion in Mexico City. Eighteen members of the House of Representatives have criticized him for making such a statement, and charged that the Pope’s stand, and by implication the teaching of the Catholic church, “offends the very nature of the American experiment.”

    I suppose keeping an image of being in good standing religiously plays in their image profile come time for re-election. Loosely interpreted, however, their response is basically “we want to do things our way and no church or God has the right to tell us differently.” It is this response to authority that I find interesting.

    There has always been a tendency for humanity to engage in “will worship,” to elevate one’s own will or desires, to the place of authority in one’s life, over the will of God. Nadab and Abihu did this when they substituted a different fire than that which God had specifically commanded (Leviticus 10:1-2). Jesus pointed out such during his earthly ministry. He asked the scribes and Pharisees, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3). He went on to say, “You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men’“ (Matthew 15:7-9). Even Paul warned Timothy, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

    This same attitude is prevalent in the Lord’s church today, as well. The move to use instrumental music in worship, to change days the Lord’s Supper is observed, to broaden the scope of women’s roles in the church to include leadership and a host of other issues is not a reflection of deeper study and insight into Scripture, but rather a desire to elevate one’s will in place of God’s revealed will. One person advocating the use of instrumental music circumvented Scripture altogether in offering his justification for such, and claimed God had told him it’s all right. Of course, one must now explain Galatians 1:9; “As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.” Years ago, I heard a preacher of the Gospel relate how he had spoken with another preacher who wanted to change the role of women in the church, that they might be elders, preachers, etc. When the Gospel preacher told him he couldn’t do that in the framework of how Scripture is interpreted, his response was, “We need to interpret Scripture differently then.” For some, the truth of Scripture is dependent on what they personally want to believe.

    It is nothing new for people to be offended with Scripture, but that doesn’t change what Scripture teaches. Jesus told his disciples, “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me” (Matthew 11:6). And Paul asked the Galatians, “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Galatians 4:16). The answer to that question by some today would be a resounding, “Yes.” God [it is thought by many] is supposed to accept our will, not the other way around. In the day of judgment, however, it will be quite a revelation that God’s Word is inviolable and it will be the standard of judgment, not our wishes (John 12:48).

    How does this fit in your lifestyle? How do you feel about being faithful in attending worship, giving as you’ve been prospered, using your time for service in the kingdom and many other biblical principles? Are you substituting your will for the will of God? Which will avail in eternity? “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
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