An Offensive God

“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16

We live in a world where increasingly people consider it unacceptable to label their behavior as wrong or sinful. Behaviors that in the past were recognized as being sinful, even by those that habitually engaged in them, are now expected to be treated as normal, healthy, and even noble. It’s getting to the point that churches are beginning to be concerned that any preaching of messages that identify behaviors as sinful will be labeled as hate speech.

Scripture, however, is not sparing of our feelings when it comes to pointing out sin. Unhesitatingly God, through his pen men, warns that everyone is a sinner and then proceeds to illustrate his point by providing numerous examples of the kinds of behavior that constitute as being sinful. In his letters to the early Christian church the apostle Paul characterizes the Christian life as being one that is a struggle between a depraved sinful nature and a holy spiritual one with the Spirit guided choices of the individual being the deciding factor as to which nature rules the life. In Galatians 5 the impulses driving the sinful nature are called the lusts of the flesh and the impulses driving the righteous nature are called the fruit of the Spirit.

The consequences attending the choice we make as to which nature will have control are literally eternal life or death. Given this fact scripture and Holy Spirit don’t spare our feelings when it comes to pointing out sin. And sinners have generally not welcomed this revelation. Prophets throughout scripture knew that faithfulness in carrying God’s messages often meant that they were endangering their own lives.

But how do you help a person realize their need for help and healing if you don’t identify the illness? You can’t. So God, through the Holy Spirit, has been working in each persons life, for as long as they’ve been alive, to lead them to a knowledge of their sinfulness and his compassionate righteousness. Sometimes he adds the witness of your life or my life to strengthen his influence. He loves us. He desires us. He wants us to be with him but this can only happen if we’re willing to get rid of the lusts of the flesh and live only the fruit of the Spirit.

Ultimately, we make the choice as to whether or not God is worth the effort and the change. I think Jesus is more than worth it. How about you?

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