Tied Hands

There has been much talk against the police here of late. They have been attacked on every level and especially politically. The President of the United States believes that the attire of the police is too intimidating. Even more local politicians have basically all but blamed police officers for things that have gone wrong in communities across the country. Consider, for instance, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake who told the police to stand down during the Freddy Gray riots. She then suggested that the police were not doing their jobs when the fact is their hands were tied behind their backs by the mayor.

Since those tragic riots the murder rate in Baltimore has sky-rocketed. Officers are concerned about doing their jobs because they don’t want false charges brought upon them. Now, it has yet to be made public what actually caused the death of Mr. Gray. This, however, has not stopped the mayor and others from coming down on the officers with the full force of their offices. The police have been maligned to such an extent that if they do their jobs they are wrong and if they don’t they are just as wrong. Well, who can work under such circumstances as that? No wonder murder has gone up! And, still citizens say the police are in the way too much and when criminals take over they are called upon them to return. But, why would they with tied hands?

People being moved by false emotions are no new thing. I recall working as a substitute teacher in Fort Smith, Arkansas. There, at the time, was much talk about the use of red pens to grade papers. Even more the idea of telling a child he provided a wrong answer was gaining ground among some. This, as it were, caused the child to have his feelings hurt or was feeling intimidated upon by reason of the red pen marks or bad grades. By extension the teachers’ hands, in some cases, were tied because they were not allowed to properly assess the progress of the students which inevitably led to failure of the one whose feelings were hurt. Hence, when the hands of authority figures are tied then comes the failure of those who should heed the sage advice of those authority figures.

Tied hands not only cause problems in the public sphere but also in the church. We have come to a time when preachers are not “allowed” to preach the Gospel. To call sin sin is to be a bigot in this day and age. There is now a “feel good” gospel this is permeating the thoughts of some while others simply want their Sunday fix without being told how to live outside the church. This has resulted in the preachers’ hands being tied. Some want the full churches and want people to feel comfortable in church so there is often no cry against sin. This has created a double standard in the church which has poured into the streets where right is wrong and wrong has become right.

This is how the “hands” of Christ have been tied. All too often there is no standard of holiness presented by those who are to lead the way. Also, the way many “Christians” dress pulls away from the standards of holiness. Even so, the preaching of Christ has nearly been nullified to the extent that many see no need to have Christ as Lord and Saviour. They see no reason to bow to the One who can give them eternal life because insofar as they are concerned life is this fading time on earth. Therefore, when one sees no reason to honour the Holy One the redemptive hands of the Redeemer are tied so that He cannot pull sinners from darkness.

Romans 8:34 reads, “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” This intercession is not for those who choose not Christ rather it is for those that love Him and His appearing. When this happens our enemy makes accusations for us. However, because Christ makes intercession, much like an attorney for his clients, He can only represent those that have “hired” Him. Those who do not fall under the redemptive arm of Christ have tied the hands of Christ so that there is no defense for them. There is no salvation because deliverance has not been sought. The only end that can be had is death and destruction much like what is taking place in Baltimore. When the hands of authority are tied there can be no good end.

Do you have the hands of Christ tied? Are you willing to let Christ in so that he can plead your case or will you continue to live a destructive life wherein death is the only clear outcome? Please make a decision to untie the hands of Christ so that you can live a life of total victory.

Are We Yet Slaves?

The annals of history show the early days of the United States fraught with slavery.  It was a time that tainted the flag of freedom showed as a cloak of burden. The slavery in the United States presented an institution that was anti-Constitutional, yet many fought to keep certain of the citizens downtrodden by hatred and selfishness. Slavery meant that segments of the population were under the control of the masters with no freedom to choose or live any other way except as instructed. The ever-present bondage meant that the slave was beholden to his master no matter the slave’s desire.

There were also instances wherein slaves were freed. The freed slaves were no longer beholden to their masters. However, some slaves chose to live in a state of slavery except they were often counted as indentured servants. They chose to stay because in the master’s house there was comfort. There was a place to sleep, and food to eat. There was no need to buy food because the master took care of everything. As long as they stayed with the master the master made sure they were well.

Not much has changed in these United States. There is still slavery except that the slaves are not bound by chains. Some have been freed from the harsh taskmaster, yet they have given him allegiance because of the things he provides. Often these taskmasters present all the comforts of that can be had. Fame and fortune sometimes come with giving in to a taskmaster that loves only what can be done to further his own mission. However, there is no true freedom. There is nothing but constant appeasing of the thing that seeks only destruction.

The fact of the matter is that there is no reason for anyone to be enslaved. This is particularly true when it comes to sin. While it is true that the sin nature of man is natural it is more natural for the Son of God to come and provide a path of freedom from the sin. His vicarious death on the cross meant that no one has to give in to the bondage of the yoke of sin. All one needs to do is accept the atoning death of Christ as atonement for his own sin. However, there are those that choose to live in the bondage of sin, even though the Messiah has shed His blood so that sin can no longer have mastery of its subjects.

Galatians 5:1 shows Paul encouraging the church at Galatia with the words “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” The yoke Paul refers to is sin. Sin is a relentless slave master that promises all the world while doing nothing more than pulling the slave deeper into the abyss of death and destruction. Are we yet slaves to sin? Must we give our lives for a few comforts and a little pleasure?  Must we remain in bondage so as to seal our eternal fate out of the presence of a loving God?

The fact is that Christ did make us free. In His freedom, the liberty is without bounds. All we need do is shed the robes of sin and replace those robes with the garments of praise. The praise will serve only to keep sin far from the one singing praises while building that relationship between God and man. And then there are those that choose not to walk in the liberty provided by Christ. There are some who chose to stay with the slave master who will only use them until they can be used no more. Are we yet slaves? Must we where the yoke of bondage that serves only to choke the life out of us?

Living as a slave to sin is living to fulfill the lust of the flesh. Adultery, fornication, and uncleanness are tools of the slave trade. Must we give in to lasciviousness and idolatry? Are witchcraft, hatred, and variance so important that we must relent our freedom? Are we yet slaves to wrath, strife, and seditions? Must we give in to Envyings, murders, drunkenness, and reveling? Do we have to lay down our freedom for the temporary fulfillment of desire?

The death of Jesus served to set man free from the power of sin. Sin enslaves and separates while salvation joins and liberates. If Christ died for our sin are we yet slaves to sin?

Get Right With God

The past couple days of been somewhat somber for me. A family that I mentor and advise spiritually lost the lady of the house. The most immediate impact of her untimely demise is to her husband of thirteen years and four young children from the ages of seven to eleven. While I can delve into the hurt and pain associated with losing a loved one the thing that came immediately to my mind was the old song “Get Right With God.”

Yes, there is mourning taking place. Even I expect to see her sitting in her favourite spot when I enter the family home. It simply does not seem real because she was taken out by a sudden massive heart attack. But I am reminded of the fact that when Christ returns to collect His Church He will come quickly and without warning. He has provided us with warning after warning of His soon and sudden return. Preachers having been warning for years that the return of Christ will be as a thief in the night as the Church is suddenly taken from the present world. Just look at the present situation in the United States alone.

It is accepted by many to tell lies of the lie is harmless. Yet Scripture teaches that all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire. Yet even those holding positions in church choose to lie. But lying is part of the problem. Many continually entertain unclean thoughts. The vast array of unclean thoughts will not be addressed here but one can easily surmise that when thoughts are not taken captive according to the Word of God any number of things can happen.  Unclean thoughts are part of the reason that many are living with the idea that altering their minds with marijuana, alcohol and other illicit drugs are OK so long as no one else is being harmed.

And the evil thoughts continue in so many ways such as the increase of immorality on every front. Said differently, this nation has succumbed to the disease of sin. Sin is what pulls away from God and sin will be the cause of eternal damnation. You see in the Book of Numbers God provided His people specific instructions. If they adhered to God’s Word they would find themselves walking in God’s blessings. Yet if they disobeyed Numbers 32:23 clearly indicates that “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

I certainly mourn the untimely death of this forty-six year old lady even while I wonder how many people die without making things right with God. How many die knowing that God is there for them yet they figure that they have the rest of their lives while the numbering of their days is at hand? And then what about those on the fringes of the church walking around with a form of godliness but denying the very power thereof? And then you have those that work as though their very services are the means to get into the Kingdom.

It is high time that this nation return to its roots of trusting in God. We have left our first love and need to fall on our faces in repentance. No, just a verbal acknowledgement of shortcomings but rather actions turning away from those things that turn from the holiness of God. It means that those on the fringes will submit to the Cloud that covers and protects while allowing the Holy Spirit to not only indwell but also to guide and comfort. It is time that we, collectively and individually, get right with God and do it now!