“By What Standard Are You Living” – Guest Writer
By Jamie Davis
Our world is filled with standards by which we operate and conduct ourselves on a daily basis. We have and expect a certain level of quality that is accepted as normal. These standards are often associated with a pattern or form that we have been taught. In our country, we have standards of distance (miles, feet, inches), standards of weight (pounds and ounces), and a standard for keeping measuring temperature (Fahrenheit). Other parts of the world use different standards that typically fall under the metric system. The metric system uses meters and grams in order to measure distance and weight. The Celsius scale is used to measure temperature. Although there are differing standards of measurement, each of these units and patterns can be reconciled usually by a simple formula. Thus, these standards can co-exist.
There is one standard that exists which cannot be reconciled with any other. When it comes to the standard and pattern by which we measure how we are to live and conduct ourselves morally, there is no standard on par with or greater than that of the Word of God (the incarnate word – John 1:1-2, 14) and that which is given by inspiration – II Timothy 3:16-17).
Paul wrote in Romans 6:17-18, “But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
The standards of God cannot be reconciled with the standards of the world. Sadly, there are many Christians who attempt to live by both Godly standards as well as by the worldly standards from which God tells us to flee. Whether it is through indifference or through choice, more and more of our brothers and sisters are following this troubling path.
Christians should be reminded as to why we cannot embrace both God’s principles that have been conveyed to us through His son and worldly standards.
God does not change, whereas the world is constantly evolving, or “devolving”.
God has said that same-sex relationships are an abomination (Lev 18:22) and unnatural (Romans 1:26-27), while the world has become more accepting of these unions. During our most recent election, the people of a few states voted for the acceptance of same-sex unions and thus made them apart of the law of their states.
Our popular culture loves to convey images of lascivious behavior, whether it be drinking to the point of intoxication or sexual immorality. Just in the last 60 years, the acceptance of living lives to fulfill only fleshly pleasures has increased to the point that even brothers and sisters in Christ throw caution to the wind.
Our God is immutable, meaning He does not change. In Malachi 3:6, God affirms, “I, the Lord, do not change.” James wrote in Chapter 1, verse 17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning.” So we must conclude that His word as it stands to our morality and acceptance of things that are an abomination to him.
We will embrace one and despise the other.
Jesus warned those listening to him during his sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:24) that “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Though we often look at the verse as pertaining to earthly wealth and possessions, the application to living between God and the world, morally speaking, applies. Truly we cannot hold on to the precepts of God while entertaining unholy and ungodly behavior that has been condemned by the Lord.
Sin keeps us from the presence of God.
Isaiah wrote (59:1-2), “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear, (2) but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear.
Ezekiel wrote (39:29) that God hid His face from Israel because they trespassed against Him.
If we cling to the sinful nature of the world, God will not embrace us.
Only through Jesus Christ can we receive the greatest promise ever given (an eternal Home in heaven).
John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whoever believes on him should not perish but have eternal life.
Nothing of this world can boast of such a greater promise or greater gift. No other religion, man-made creed or person can offer redemption for mankind.
Let us stand firm in our faith in God and His song Jesus Christ. Let us hold to God’s principles and announce boldly to the world as Joshua did (Joshua 24:15).
14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Jamie Davis is a graduate of Freed-Hardeman University (c/o 1999). He and his family reside in Chester, VA and worship at the 4th and Cawson Street church of Christ in Hopewell, VA where Jamie serves as a deacon.