Some people act as if they are laying claim to—as if they can own— the borrowed lives, time, circumstances and blessings of this temporary life. They take clear parts of the Word that belong to God and wrest them to make their current circumstance of business, marriage, or pleasure palatable to a quickly hardening conscience. They attempt to seize the terms of faithfulness that belong to God. They act as if the very earth on which they are sojourners is theirs for all time and eternity. They transgress His law, His precepts, His testimonies and His commandments. They take these commodities that can only rightly belong to Jehovah and pretend they own them. They sometimes even pretentiously say the words “I am going to live my life for God” while making decisions that are diametrically opposed to the clear counsel of the I AM,. The I AM has clearly rejected the notion that we can claim any “confusion” inherent in the statutes of the God of lovingkindness. He has rejected this notion with redundancy and clarity. If we cannot understand His commandments, we might as well throw the Bible into the trash heap. But we can understand. His word is profitable for training in righteousness and for correction in our lives, (2 Timothy 3:16). We can understand Him. We just find it convenient, when we are tempted to sin, to wrest/twist the scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). It is a great temptation of the master tempter and I cannot ever claim immunity from the temptation to twist truth—to challenge His sovereignty.
In the LAMED section of Psalm 119, we see at least 8 immutable commodities to which the Lord lays solid claim:
While there may be some redundancy here, we can boil this passage down to a clear emphasis on the sovereignty of God. The earth and all of the life on it are His. We do not decide if we are His. We only choose whether or not to accept that reality. Faithfulness is HIs. It is inherent in the divine nature. Because we are His and He is faithful, we choose to follow the law, commandments, precepts, and testimonies that He has issued. He issued them, not because He is tyrannical or vindictive, but because He is faithful.
Not to oversimplify, but when we walk away from His precepts, it is because of one of two things. It is because we have been convinced that He does not exist or it is because we have vainly decided that we know better than the God of the universe. We are arrogant before Him.
In my judgment, the person who has believed the lie of Darwinian evolution, or of some other of the world’s blatantly idolatrous religions, is perhaps less culpable, in some ways, than the person who has studied Him, knows Him, and then pretends that there is confusion about His precepts. ( I can quote the golden rule and I know what the Word says about good stewardship, but I believe my trips to the casinos can be justified because of the ‘social/educational merits’ of gambling.” … “I can quote Matthew 19:9, but I have decided of late, in view of my circumstance, that this means something other than the surface text implies/warns. I’ve studied and learned that I can remarry anyway.”… “I know what the Bible says about purity of thought in Philippians 4:8, but I think I can go on and allow my children to be entertained by material that has a few curse words or that mocks God in various ways, without harm. My kids know I want them to serve Jesus and that’s what matters.”… “I’m rethinking worship and authority and Christianity and I am not even sure we can truly replicate the New Testament church today.” … “I know there are commands. But my God is not sitting around hoping I will mess up. He is a God of mercy, so I am on a journey to love Him and experience His grace, not necessarily to dot every i and cross every t. I want to love and embrace His mercy, so I am less concerned about statutes and laws.” “I don’t want to talk about sin x. That’s something with which I struggle and I don’t want to discuss my continuing participation in that particular activity. God knows my heart.” (Notice the interwoven truth in the conscience-soothing rationalizations. That’s what makes them palatable)
I’m not saying that the person who rejects God entirely is “less lost” than the person who is on a pew somewhere on Sundays and becomes unconcerned (or unwilling to talk) about holiness and who finally “reinvents” the word of God to fit a lifestyle of worldliness. Neither am I saying that those who continue to be concerned about commandment-keeping can feel smug and secure about their own salvation. All of us must be giving diligence to show ourselves approved of God (2 Timothy 2:15) and all of us are hopeless without the blood. I am saying that when we know the Word and then convince ourselves that we can alter or amend what is undeniable truth, we do so to our own peril. We become like the dog returning to his vomit or the pig that goes back to wallowing in the mire. God says it is a sorer punishment for the man who walks away after experiencing the grace coupled with faithful obedience. It’s not hard to understand:
For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:18-22).
It’s interesting to notice that these people who have left righteousness and returned to the “vomit” are speaking great, swelling words of vanity. They are professing their own righteousness, while they are servants of corruption, entangled in sin, and overcome. It would have been better if they had never even know the way of truth.
Cindy Colley can never go back to a place of “not knowing truth.” If I am lost, my punishment will be the sorer one. I need His mercy even at my miserable best. But may I never tout his mercy to the exclusion of keeping His laws. Have you known the way of righteousness? If so, don’t ever look back. It’s a putrid and muddy extreme to which you can only travel once you have known the way of righteousness!