Book: Lord, What Should I Do?

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The Word of God clearly teaches that salvation is a gift. Yet, each Christian is individually responsible to God to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We must believe the truth and live by it. God will not grant us salvation simply because of our physical presence within a corporate church organization.

Each Christian is responsible to work out his or her own salvation through the indwelling power of God’s Holy Spirit. Paul instructed the Philippian brethren, “So then, my beloved, even as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God Who works in you both to will and to do according to His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:12-13).

This passage clearly shows that Christians must maintain their personal relationship with God. Every individual will have to give an account of himself or herself (Rom. 14:10; II Cor. 5:10). Never compromise your personal relationship with God for the sake of men—or for the sake of social fellowship. Remember this Christian testimony, “It is better to live the truth alone, than to live a lie in a group.”

If you continue to fellowship in a church that teaches anything less than the whole truth of God, you are giving tacit agreement to their teachings. Paul warned, “You cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and the table of demons” (I Cor. 10:21).

God Will Not Prevent Us from Choosing Evil

The history of early Christianity as recorded in the New Testament contains a valuable lesson for us today: God did not personally intervene to stop false teachings in the first century—and neither will God intervene to stop ministers and pastors from teaching falsehoods today.

Why not? From the beginning of this world, God has allowed mankind the freedom to choose to obey or choose to sin. God did not stop Adam and Eve from sinning. God did not keep Cain from killing his brother, nor did God prevent the wickedness of all mankind before the Flood. But when God did choose to intervene and execute His judgment, He sent the Flood to destroy the wicked, and spared only eight persons. God did not stop human corruption after the Flood. He did, however, confound the language of the people in order to postpone the fullness of evil until the set time in His plan.

God did not intervene to prevent the idolatry of Israel and Judah, but He sent many prophets to warn them, calling them to repent and to return to the true God. Some of the kings and the people repented and chose to follow God. They did so by free choice, not because God forced them to serve Him. God forgave and blessed those who repented, and God will bless us whenever we personally choose to repent and to love and obey Him and His Son Jesus Christ. But if we choose not to repent, God allows us to continue in our sins.

When the leaders of a church choose to not repent of their false ways, God does not intervene to keep them from continuing to teach false doctrines. He simply allows them to go on practicing their error. Because they have chosen myths rather than truth, God will let them fall.

God Commands us to Choose Life

God is not now intervening to stop wars, famines, oppression, crime, sexual perversion, and all the evils of mankind. He has not chosen to stop these evils at this time. Rather, He has given mankind the responsibility to choose between good and evil.

God has given us the free moral agency to choose. We are blessed or cursed, and we live or die by our choices. It is God’s desire that we choose to love Him and keep His commandments and live. But because God has given each individual free moral agency, each person must make his or her own choice.

Instead of choosing God’s righteous ways, most people have chosen the easy, evil ways of Satan and the world. Those who choose to do evil will receive the wages of sin, which is death. But everyone who chooses to love God and live by His truth will receive eternal life. Here are the choices God has laid before every human being: “Behold, I have set before you this day life and good, and death and evil, in that I command you this day to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments so that you may live and multiply. And the LORD your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it [our goal is the promised Kingdom of God].

“But if your heart turn away so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I denounce to you this day that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it.

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, that you may love the LORD your God, and may obey His voice, and may cleave to Him; for He is your life and the length of your days…” (Deut. 30:15-20).

These words, spoken by Moses to the children of Israel in Old Testament times, are especially meaningful for “spiritual Israel” today—those who are the children of Abraham through God’s grace and who make up the spiritual Church of God. For those who are truly in the spiritual Church of God, it is time to make a choice between good and evil—between truth and error. Ultimately, if we do not prove the truth, live by the truth, and defend the truth, we will become spiritual victims—deceived into believing what others claim to be the truth

As we have seen, Christianity today is threatened by lukewarm “Laodicean” attitudes, inept ministers who teach nothing but pablum, and a corporate one-size-fits-all mentality that has failed to provide for the spiritual wellbeing of its followers. Within many congregations, false doctrines undermine the faith of true believers.

But make no mistake: When ministers, leaders and members choose to reject the truth—either deliberately or through neglect and complacency—then God allows them to follow their error. That is the lesson God teaches us throughout the Bible. God has made each of us responsible for his or her own choices and actions. God will bless or curse accordingly, but He does not prevent us from choosing even error!

In this time of increasing error and deception, we who are the spiritual Church of God have choices to make. Will we choose the truth of God or the myths and traditions of men? God wants to know what is really in our hearts. Do we truly love God the Father and Jesus Christ with our whole being? If we do, we will obey Christ: “If you love Me, keep the commandments—namely, My commandments” (John 14:15). Do we truly love His Word, which He has so wonderfully preserved for us? Do we exemplify the love of God in our daily lives? Do we really want to inherit the Kingdom of God and live with God the Father and Jesus Christ for all eternity?

To those churchgoers who would be His true followers, Jesus made it absolutely clear that the stakes were high and the way was difficult. He said, “Enter in through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter through it; for narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few are those who find it” (Matt. 7:13-14).

Jesus describes the single-minded devotion that is required of a true Christian: “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate [or, love less by comparison] his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brothers and sisters, and, in addition, his own life also, he cannot be My disciple. And whoever does not carry his [own] cross [make whatever sacrifice necessary] and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (Luke 14:26-27). Jesus emphasized this truth when He said, “The one who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and the one who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And the one who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matt. 10:37-38).

As these passages clearly show, the true Christian can put nothing before God—not even family. We must “take up our cross”—do whatever is necessary to follow Christ into the Kingdom of God. And this includes seeking and adhering to the truth of the Bible—or we are not worthy of Jesus.

Each of us is personally responsible to God the Father and Jesus Christ for his or her own actions and beliefs. We are being judged individually by God according to our faith and our conduct. God commands us to love Him wholeheartedly and live by His every Word. If we stray from God and begin to believe and practice error, God will make us aware of our sins in the hope that we may repent and have our sins blotted out by the blood of Jesus Christ (I John 1:6-2:2). But God will not stop us from sinning—not even if we are a top leader or minister in a corporate church organization. Those ministers who choose to preach pablum, tradition or outright error will be warned by God to repent—but God will not stop them if they choose to follow deception and apostasy!

We Must Accept Our Personal Responsibility

In today’s world, people readily blame others for their irresponsibility and their lack of character and self-control. They often blame society, or their mother or father, or their boss, or the government, or others in positions of authority. Because people do not want to accept personal responsibility for their own sins and actions, they try to place the blame on others. That is exactly what Adam and Eve did after they sinned. Such excuses have no standing before God and cannot release anyone from his or her personal accountability to God.

Unfortunately, when ministers and church leaders sin by complacency, negligence or by accepting and teaching error, the brethren suffer by becoming confused, deceived or lulled into a spiritual stupor.

If your church has reached this condition, it is important to remember that every Christian is personally accountable to God to continually be studying the Word and to “prove all things” (I Thess. 5:21). We cannot blame others for deceiving us if we fail to lay a solid foundation in the Word of God. God has given each Christian the personal responsibility to hold fast to the truth, to grow in grace and knowledge, to follow that which is good, and to love Him with all the heart, with all the mind, with all the soul and with all the strength. Ultimately, each one of us will be required to stand before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of what we did with the truth of God.