Thursday, January 5, 2017

Protecting the Family Name

Someone I met claimed, as I understood it, that God does not need us to perform good works because he already knows what is in our heart. That was the essence of the position, but it went deeper. Personally, I chafed at the idea. How can God see what is in our hearts if we do nothing. Action is what demonstrates who we truly are, what we really believe. Recently, I commented on Proverbs 27:11 as foundational for my conviction. The one proving to be a real son to his father would naturally want to act in a way that doesn’t discredit the family name, his father, or his own reputation.

The principle would extend to the “spiritual” level (the ultimate principled level of obedience to God) in that believers would identify with being considered God’s “sons.” So they would understand the scripture as speaking to them. I personally view that scripture that way. God is telling me to ponder / consider my course in life, my life choices, my actions, my thoughts, in a way that demonstrates wisdom (insight into effects, consequences, etc.). This is truly because it is a matter of protecting the family name. Just as a slanderer may level wild charges at a family member, Satan the devil does the same. It is Satan who “taunts” God. How? He claims that God is hiding something from mankind – man’s ability to “be like God, knowing good and bad.” Then, on the other side, he taunts God that mankind is in reality nothing more than selfish beings that are only loyal to God because he bribes them. So it is up to each individual to prove, through actions, that they are defending the name of their father and family.

But Proverbs 27:11 is not the only scripture that conveys action as a mandatory requirement for those truly loyal to God. Consider for a moment: Would a person who is kind, generous, patient, empathetic, be a person who is a Christian? Could be. But it could also describe an atheistic philanthropist. So what differentiates Christians from an atheistic philanthropist? Jesus commanded real Christians to “preach the word” of God. The apostle Paul showed how we should all consider this a personal commission. Further, in Paul’s letter to Timothy, he exhorted Timothy to be at the preaching work “urgently.” Also, there is Paul’s account of faithful pre-Christian individuals at Hebrews chapters 11 and 12 – how they took ACTION. In chapter 12 Paul concludes what Christians should do with this knowledge. In verse one he urges: “let us run with endurance….” Undeniably, demonstrating action is required. Then, there is the whole book of Acts that recounts numerous “acts” (actions) on the part of early Christians. Clearly, true worship, both pre-Christian and Christian, requires action. Any arguments to the contrary are merely efforts to confuse a very clear, consistent (throughout scripture), and easy to understand directive.

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