In the Book of Kings we read that God allowed Israel, described in the scripture as God’s beloved and His wife and His first born, to be taken into captivity by the king of Assyria “because they obeyed not the voice of the Lord their God, but transgressed His covenant and all that Moses, the servant of God commanded, and would not hear, or do” (2 Kings 18:11-12).
There is a confusion in modern Christianity as to the exact nature of God; His love is given an overarching emphasis that is not found in the scripture; His love is looked upon as all that there is of God, but love is only one of many divine attributes and does not render irrelevant His other qualities that form part of His character and are reflected in the covenant that He has made with those who have faith in Christ. For example, God is also just, and His justness demands that the conditions of His covenant be met. Some of those demands are for holiness, righteousness, death of the self-nature, taking up of the cross and following Christ.
We tend to emphasise the “goodies” in the New Testament; what Christ has done for us; but there are yet things that we must do. While it is true that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves – for Christ has done it all, and only He could – there is much that we can neglect to do that puts our salvation at risk. The doctrine known as “once saved always saved” is a modern heresy based upon the propensity for modern preachers to preach only “positive” messages to build up the flock. But what they are building up is a false security, based upon selected readings of the New Testament, which ignore the whole body of scripture.
The Bible is not a supermarket, where we can select that which seems good to us and pass up that which doesn’t; God’s word cannot be circumscribed and made to measure to conform to our desires; the Word of God is not our servant but our Master.
The Church is meant to be salt to the nation; salt preserves and purifies and make savoury, but the nation is not preserved or purified or savoury to God; on the contrary it has become rank and putrid, because the salt has become tasteless and trampled under the feet of men, just as Jesus prophesied (Matthew 5:13).
The Church is meant to be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14), but it can only fulfill that function as it is connected to the “true light”, Jesus Christ (John 1:9) and thus, able to reflect His light. This is hardly the case today and how it must grieve the Holy Spirit of God to see the doctrines of men and the spirit of the world making the Church opaque and unable to reflect that glory that belongs to the Lord of Glory!
In these dark days, the call of God is, once again, as it has always been;
“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).