Summary: Many people today want a God who doesn’t require any changes in us, & who places His stamp of approval on whatever way we want to live.
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: `I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’
"Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know Him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.
"Jews demand miraculous signs & Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews & foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews & Greeks, Christ the power of God & the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, & the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength."
ILL. Some time ago the topic of the day on an Oprah Winfrey show was "Having Affairs With Married Men." She had brought together several people who were currently having an affair to get their comments on how they felt about it. One lady responded very positively, saying that her affair with a married man had been a long-standing affair, & she was very happy in it.
Then someone raised the question of morality. Instantly, the woman took offense. "Wait a minute," she said. "I’m a Christian, but I want everyone to know that my personal life & my religion don’t interfere with one another." Then she went on to say, "I believe in a God who wants me to be happy. And if this man makes me happy, then God approves of the relationship."
That’s an amazing belief, & I wonder where she found it, because I’ve never discovered that in the Bible. But that kind of thinking is not new at all. It has been around for a long time.
B. People have always wanted a God who will place His stamp of approval upon their life-style, never requiring any change for the better. And they have come up with all kinds of euphemisms to make it sound all right.
So what used to be called "living in sin" is now called "a meaningful relationship." What used to be called "self-indulgence" is now called "self-fulfillment." What used to be called "chastity" is now called "a neurotic inhibition." And what used to be called "killing the unborn" is now called "the right to choose."
ILL. Jesus encountered that attitude in His day. He looked at the Pharisees & Sadducees & called them "hypocrites" & "whited sepulchers." On the outside they appeared to be pious & prayerful & obedient to God. But inside they were rotten.
People are still like that today. The lady on Ophrah’s show was just an example. We want a God who doesn’t require any changes in us, & who places His stamp of approval on whatever way we want to live.
C. That may seem to work for a while. But sooner or later, we bump into an old rugged cross. There we meet a God who says, "I don’t approve of the way you are living. I don’t like your sin. Your sin is so horrible to Me, so evil, that it requires that I go to the cross & suffer & die for it."