The First Command
Saturday, December 12, 2009

Holiness- Why the Bad Rap?

“Give thanks to the Lord, call on His holy Name; make known among the nations what He has done.”  (Ps. 105:1)

                There is a comment by A. W. Tozer that is well worth remembering as we celebrate Christ this Christmas.  “Were we able to know exactly what our most influential religious leaders think of God today, we might be able with some precision to foretell where the Church will stand tomorrow.”   That is a sobering thought as we contemplate our churches.  Religious leaders today teach such a low view of God and such a high and exalted view of humanity, tomorrow does not bode well for Christianity.

                You see, this is really about the first commandment.  “You shall have no other gods before Me.”    For many years, I thought the first and second commands were the same.  But my journey of recent years has shown me how very distinct they are.  I always thought the first commandment dealt with other religions (don’t put Buddha, Mohammed, or Caesar before God, while the second meant don’t carve out images in the form of birds (Falcons, Eagles, Cardinals, etc.), animals (Broncos, Colts, Rams, Longhorns, etc.) and worship them.  Yet, I missed totally God’s meaning of the first commandment.  You see, to think wrongly about God, and then worship what our wrong thoughts, is a clear violation of the commandment.

                Ezekiel said, the priests had taken what was holy and made it common.  That is a sin against God.  When we think of God as less than a majestic and holy God, and then go to churches across our land and worship that watered down God, we are violating the first command.  Tozer wrote his words a half a century ago, just as liberalism was in full charge of our seminaries and denominations.  And the state of the Church today is a clear reflection of his truth.  We ordain homosexuals because the sex life of people is more important than God’s commands; we kill our unborn, because the right to choose is more important than children created in God’s image; we get high on drugs because our God is too small to satisfy (and the church is supporting medical marijuana in many quarters); we insist that the greatest evil is intolerance, when God insists we should have none before Him; and we place our constitutions and by laws above His holy Name.  We have taken that which is holy, made it common, and then bowed down and worshiped the common.

                There is an adage and I find it true wherever I go:  “A church will not rise beyond its leaders.”  And why shouldn’t this be true.  After all why would God want to exalt a church which does not exalt Him?  Why would He celebrate unfaithfulness?  So I stand with Tozer (on many fronts) and challenge that the health of the church tomorrow depends upon its exalted view of God today.  And based upon the moral corruption of denominations; the financial and sexual sins of pastors; the unfaithfulness of congregations in worship, service, and giving – I shudder about tomorrow.

                The sad thing is however, no so much the state of the church tomorrow, but the state of our hearts, because we decline to exalt God as we should.  We leave Him out of our meals, our families, our workplaces, and even our churches.  And because our God has become a lesser god, we have hard and conniving hearts, which want to be able to sin as we please, therefore we must preserve the rights of others to do the same.  Our god becomes less, God’s enemy becomes greater, and our lives will never achieve the wonderful things God created us for.

Kingdom Road Ministries
PO Box 503
10 South Main, Suite 201
Victor, ID 83455
903-262-5088
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