|Volume 22 Number 6 August 2020||
The Lord Jesus Christ said, in the Gospel account of John 13:34, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” This is not a suggestion. It’s a command, directly from the King of Kings and Lord of Lords! To whom does this apply? In Matthew 7:12, we read, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” Here is the clear command to treat others as we would treat ourselves!
If we were at the mercy of an enemy, would we not want mercy? So, we realize that according to the blessed Redeemer, there is no room for hate in the heart of one of His followers! In 1 John 3:15, we read, “Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.” Yet, there is a hate that’s held onto and passed along like a precious heirloom—racism. It is a cancer that reaches to the very depths of the soul and endangers those infected with the peril of hellfire.
Jesus commanded Christians to “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:15). That refers to all mankind. In John 3:16, Scripture says, “For God so loved the world.” This is as inclusive as it gets! God loves the world and all who are in it; He loves the human race in its entirety. Acts 17:26 says that God “hath made of one blood all nations of men.” We are one blood; we are the sons of Adam and daughters of Eve. We have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Christians are told in Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”
In the Book of Revelation, we have a glimpse of Heaven, where there is no segregation. God’s kingdom is no apartheid state! In verse 9 of chapter 7, we are shown “…a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.” Did you catch that? All nations! Red, yellow, black, brown and white! All nations are one in the kingdom of our Lord! There is one King, one kingdom, one people and one blood. Racism cannot and should not be defended! What’s learned can be unlearned; hate can be put aside and the love (that practical concern for our human brothers and sisters) can take its place. It brings respect, care and a color blindness, where we see with our souls the fellow child of God. Sinners need a loving, merciful and inclusive Savior King who came “to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11).
If we are to be faithful to Christ, then, we must forsake inherited patterns of bigotry, the language of hate and the use of degrading words that are clearly unacceptable in the heart, mind or mouth of one who calls himself a follower of the loving Lord Jesus Christ. These words unfit for mention are aimed at dehumanizing others for whom Christ gave His life!
If you have hatred, you must get out of it and get into Christ. In Galatians 3:27, we are told how we can be purified from our sins. “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Put away hate and embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Unlearn hate and learn love from the Master who made us all with purpose, with love, with compassion and with joy. The Master Artist, Jesus Christ, created all things (John 1:1). He offers His mercy and grace to all. The rich man was told to leave his riches, and we, too, must leave the things that are keeping us from Heaven. Give up your old treasured sins and become the Christian that God requires you to be.
The Evil Days
“Remember also your Creator in the days of
your youth, before the evil days come
and the years draw near when you will say,
‘I have no delight in them’” (Ecclesiastes 12:1).
As Solomon wrapped up his sermon, he offered a warning. This warning is especially directed to the youth, although people of all ages can learn from his wisdom. People need to “remember your Creator” when they still have the capability to do so.
Say what? Yes, there is a danger that as one grows older, he will no longer have the capability to think seriously about God, His Word and His will. This is illustrated by Solomon’s reference to the “evil days.” It is unfortunate that the translators translated the Hebrew as “evil days.” Solomon was not talking about days filled with sin and wickedness. Rather, he was talking about hard, difficult and troublesome days. He, then, proceeded to describe those days. They include numerous physical breakdowns. The hearing goes, the eyesight fades and the arms are not as strong as they once were. There are even mental problems, such as various fears.
This section of these “evil” (growing old) days teaches us important lessons. First, all people will endure these days if they live long enough. It is God’s plan that there be a physical breakdown over time. This world is not our home. God wants us to long for that better place where we will be given an immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:53; 2 Corinthians 5:1-4).
Second, mental breakdowns will impede one’s relationship with God. In this world of dementia and Alzheimer’s, we see what happens to the mind of the aged. The clarity of thinking decreases; the ability to make logical or rational decisions is impaired. As a result, Solomon encouraged us to make God a priority while we still have the mental capacity to do so.
Third, physical breakdowns impede one’s relationship with God. Even if one’s mind is still sharp, if he or she deals with physical pain or a handicap, it can impact one’s relationship with God. When we don’t feel good, we don’t want to do anything. When our bodies hurt—demanding our attention—our attention may be diverted away from God.
Fourth, we don’t have forever to figure things out. Perhaps this is the most important point about the “evil days.” As we journey through life, we need to have our priorities in the proper order. We need to be “seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). Solomon described the journey into physical and mental breakdowns, with the end result—death. When death occurs, opportunities are gone. If our lives were a mess, it is too late to fix them once we die. While we have life, we have an opportunity to figure out things and put God in the proper place in our lives.
Let’s all take time to do a serious self-assessment. Are we where we need to be in our walk with God? If not, let’s fix it. Those “evil days” are coming.