America and the Book of Judges
Most bloggers will tell you that their latest blog is the most important one. The Lord, Himself, knows that this is often how I feel, yet this time, I think there is more to that statement than just a personal recency bias. In America today, we are bombarded with the Secular Humanist message that is as old as The Original Sin itself, that is, that you can be God and that you can determine right and wrong for yourself.
It's such an important topic, that AN ENTIRE BOOK was written about it in the Tenakh (Old Testament), and its purpose is to highlight the repeated failures of the Israelite people in keeping God's law, and their repeated attempts to define right and wrong for themselves. The book chronicles their failures and their punishments, and it is instructional in understanding the eventuality of the Babylonian captivity.
There is one repeating scripture verse throughout the book, and not once, NOT ONCE is it said in a positive way or in a way that is favorable to the people. That scripture?
In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes. - Judges 17:6 (Repeated)
Now some will claim that Jesus fulfilled the law, and offers a universal salvation which covers EVEN the sin of wonton rebellion. Yet, such a teaching ignores yet another repetitive scripture, this one from The Christ, Himself. That saying, "Go, and sin no more."
How would Christ define sin? If there is no "real" sin and if man can define "sin," then why did Christ say, "Go, and sin no more?" Why wouldn't he have just redefined sin right there on the spot? When the adultress is brought before him to be stoned, why didn't he just use some universal application of grace to say that she had done what she was ok with and that it should be ok because He loved her?
Because Christ recognized sin as sin, and said to her, after having compassion on her FOR HER LIFE, NOT HER SINS, "Go, and sin no more."
Even the often misquoted passage from Luke 5 (verses 31 & 32) show that Christ's objective was to reach people to help them STOP living in sin, not to offer some type of universal grace that allows them to willfully disobey and live lives of rebellion.
Teshuva (or Repentance) is a fairly easy concept to understand, even if it is difficult to apply, and harder to live. Teshuva means to return from. Teshuva (or Repentance) is a required part of faith, and faith is what saves. You can't have faith in God if you don't have faith in how God told you to live, and choosing to live in open rebellion to the ways of God shows a complete lack of both Teshuva and faith.
This is what Israel learned so long ago in the Book of Judges. Sefer Shoftim (Book of Judges) is a warning to Israel against turning away from God and His ways, it was applicable to thse living at the time of The Christ, and it's just as pertinent today applying to both the Christological Law and the Apostolic Law.
The end result is, if the New Testament refers to it as sin, then sin it is, and your opinion, and my opinion, even together in agreement, don't amount to a hill of beans. If our RIGHTEOUS DEEDS are nothing more than filthy rags before the Lord, then what must our pompous, prideful, and ultimately sinful opinions on right and wrong be before Him?
Nevermind, I don't want to know, I only know that I want to avoid insulting Him in that way.
I want to do that which is right in His eyes, because I know the consequences of doing what is right in my own.