Madeline Crabb
Obedience to Christ is NOT an option! Part two
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By Madeline Crabb
March 31, 2017

Why do so many people reject Christianity? It's because of the hypocrisy of professing Christians.

During my study and research for this series of articles, I viewed a video by a pastor who posed the above question. The answer was out of my mouth before he gave it. Later that day the same question was posed by yet another pastor. Why mention it here? Because hypocrisy demonstrates disobedience, and for professing Christians, obedience to Christ is NOT an option! Ever.

We are told throughout the Bible the importance of obedience towards God and His Word. Jesus said simply, "If you love me, keep my commands." (Jn. 14:15) In life it has been said that we are judged by what we do, not by what we say, and that actions speak louder than words. Further, even the Lord Jesus tells us that at the end of our lives, all of us in fact will be judged by what we have done.

The Holy Bible is the instruction book on how to live our lives, and is given to us by our loving Father and Creator. Those of us who accept the Bible as our instruction guide, and call God our Father, and Jesus our Lord and Savior, enter into a contract with God and His Son. In biblical terms it is called a covenant. Basically this means that God does His part, and we are supposed to do our part. And how do we know what our part is? It's all laid out in the Bible – God's instruction guide. Wow! God made it so simple for us, so what's the problem?

It is stunningly clear that Christianity is becoming less and less of an influencing force in America. Why? Is it really because of the ACLU, or government regulation, or political correctness? Or could it be due to compromise and the casual attitude professing Christians demonstrate towards God and His Word?

Last week we discussed a multitude of sins practiced not just by the unsaved world, but by so-called Christians. What is happening within the Church is unconscionable! But increasingly, there are winks and nods towards sin within the Christian community. One excuse I've repeatedly heard over the years from professing Christians is that we all "get in the flesh." Yes, this is true that all of us have moments of weakness that cause us to sin. That's why God gave us His Holy Spirit to convict us when we have those momentary lapses in judgment. However, when we are talking about things like divorce, adultery, pornography, abortion, homosexuality, shacking up, and many more abominations within the Church, we've gone way beyond momentary lapses. We are talking deliberate, habitual sin. Scripture tells us, "It is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." (Jas. 4: 17 NLT)

Let's consider the parent-child dynamic...What is the bottom-line expectation of parents from their children? Isn't it obedience? Jesus said that if anyone wants to enter heaven, we must turn from our sins and become like little children. (Matt. 18:3) In explaining this verse, the Matthew Henry Commentary says, "Children, when very young, do not desire authority, do not regard outward distinctions, are free from malice, are teachable, and willingly dependent on their parents." In a word, children are submitted to their parents. Likewise, we who call ourselves Christians should be submitted to our Father. If we were, we wouldn't deliberately sin.

How can we possibly think that God approves of our blatant worldliness, compromise, and sin? Looking just at divorce paints a disturbing picture. Referring to the figures listed in last week's column, the divorce rate within the Church rivals that of the un-churched. If that fact isn't alarming enough, a 2004 study by Barna Research showed that 23 percent of all so-called Christians who got divorced did so multiple times. (Mind you, this was 13 years ago. Figures are likely much higher today.)

Within the Christian community, divorce should be unheard of except in extreme cases. Scripture tells us that marriage is between one man and one woman, ordained by God. "So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate." (Matt. 19:6 NIV) Regarding divorce, Jesus continued, "Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery." (Matt.19:8-9)

Christians are called to be like children in obedience and submission to our Father. Jesus tells us that we will obey Him out of our love for Him. Marriage is a covenant relationship with another human being, born out of love for that person, much like our relationship with the Father. However, in Christian marriage, there are three parties involved in the covenant relationship – husband, wife, and God the Father. As explained above, a covenant relationship means that if we do our part, God does His part. The success of any covenant relationship relies on love, which is demonstrated in commitment and submission. Divorce happens when the parties do not honor their covenant "vows" to one another and God.

Yes, I understand that there are many reasons and excuses for couples breaking up, but in essence it's the breaking of covenant. For so-called Christians, when we divorce our husband/wife, we demonstrate to the world that God apparently cannot heal our wounds – that He cannot help us overcome our problems. But dear friends, having been married for nearly four decades, I proclaim that God can heal every problem, every hurt, every slight if we allow Him to participate in the process! We go astray when we kick Him out of the relationship and begin making decisions without His guidance or, in other words, when we decide we are smarter than God, just like the ancients in Israel portrayed throughout the Bible. It's that "I'll do it my way" attitude that brings ruin into our lives every single time. It is nothing but foolishness and folly.

Also, let's consider that one of the main purposes of marriage is to produce children of good character. (Mal. 2:16) What do we teach our children about God and His faithfulness in healing and restoring us when we walk away from our marriage? Perhaps that God really isn't able to do such things? Or commitment is just another 'throw-away" concept? Maybe that's why so many young professing Christians are choosing to live together instead of getting married. Hey, in many cases we are now seeing so-called Christians who divorce choose the shack-up route – no need for pesky marital vows and commitment. It's all about self-gratification. Then, often times, the Church not only gives its seal of approval on such relationships, but allows these sinners (call them what they are) to participate in ministry positions within the Body. Of course, as we discussed last week, scores of pastors commit abominations before the Lord...and as we have heard it said, "What's on the head is on the body." Therefore, whatever is practiced by the leader will also be practiced by the members.

And we think the children don't learn lessons from such behavior? Actually, many such people reason that their children would never do what they are doing. Really?! There's an old adage, like father like son...and how about like mother, like daughter? People, we are living in a time of great deception, much of which is self-deception. Our children will learn from us, and copy our behavior. Look at your own extended families. How many examples of this can you relate to?

Children also learn a lot about rejection. In raising children of good character, we need to display good character in all areas. Sadly, when parents divorce, then seek out new partners, the children often take a back seat to the "needs" of their parents. What happens is not only rejection, but resentment towards both the parent and the new boyfriend/girlfriend. It is one thing for a married couple to show love towards one another (within reason) in front of their children. This is one way children learn how to lovingly treat others. It is quite another thing when a parent starts anew with another person, replacing a discarded parent.

Children already have a mom and dad, and don't have need for multiples of either. Further, whenever we are dating someone, our main intention is to please this person. Yes it is. What does this mean for the children? They don't get the attention they need or deserve. Sometimes children will seek out ways to get attention, many times destructive ways. We all know what happens to these kids. Teens will often get into wrong relationships with the opposite sex. Yes, girls needing the love of a father often fall into the arms of boys. No explanation needed here. And yes, all of this is happening within the Church, by people who claim to have a relationship with God. Read lasts week's article again...

Tragically, our children will suffer in many ways because of our sins. Scripture says, "The LORD is slow to anger and filled with unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion. But he does not excuse the guilty. He lays the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected – even children in the third and fourth generations." (Num. 14:18 NLT)

Divorce is only one area in which the Church dismisses God's instructions to us. This discussion is not meant to "pick" on anyone. Marriage is one of God's important institutions that build a stronger society. When we within the Church so readily trade in our covenant partners for another, or to simply gratify our own selfish desires, we participate in the tearing-down of society – brick by brick, relationship by relationship, for generations to come. With a few exceptions, divorce demonstrates disobedience towards our Father. As previously stated, and proclaimed throughout Scripture, obedience to Christ is NOT an option!

Dear friends, if we call ourselves Christians, don't we want to please our Father? As followers of Christ, aren't we supposed to display His attributes to the unsaved world? Then don't we need to stop being hypocrites the whole world recognizes, and start obeying God and His Word, in everything we do? We'll learn more in the next article. In the meantime, shouldn't we truthfully confess to God our sins and quit doing them? To anyone willing to hear....

© Madeline Crabb

 

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Madeline Crabb

Madeline Crabb is a Christian, a Constitutional Conservative, and a patriot. Holding a degree in journalism and public relations, and training from the Leadership Institute, she has been a columnist since 2000, and has written for various Christian newspapers around the country. As a “watchwoman” on the wall (Is.62:67), Madeline calls all citizens to awaken, arise, and act in restoring one nation under God.

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