Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Positives vs. Negatives

Some people have the wrong impression of Christianity. They think it’s a system of behavior, a lot of dos and don’ts—especially don’ts. I can understand why they might think that way. They read the Ten Commandments and find dos and don’ts. They might know a self-righteous “Pharisee” who has a whole list of must dos and must not dos in order to “earn” a place in heaven.

Christianity is, in fact, a relationship with the Person of Jesus Christ. It isn’t determined by lists.

I was reading 1 Thessalonians 5:11-22 the other day. I started listing the positives and negatives in the passage, the dos and the don’ts. Here’s what I found:

            Comfort yourselves together. (verse 11)
            Edify one another. (11)
            Esteem Christian leaders highly. (13)
            Be in peace among yourselves. (13)
            Comfort the mentally challenged. (14)
            Support the weak. (14)
            Be patient with all people. (14)
            Follow what is good. (15)
            Rejoice evermore. (16)
            Pray without ceasing. (17)
            In everything give thanks. (18)
            Prove all things. (21)
            Hold fast to the good. (21)

NEGATIVES, actually instructions for their good:
            Warn the unruly. (14)
            Don’t pay back evil for evil. (15)
            Don’t quench the Holy Spirit. (19)
            Don’t despise prophecy. (20)
            Abstain from all appearance of evil. (22)

In this passage, we’re given a total of 13 positive statements and 5 negative commands. They are all for our good. All are so that church people can live happy, fulfilled, and joyful lives.

God isn’t an ogre! He doesn’t have a list of impossible goals for us that make us a good Christian or a bad Christian. We can’t earn a place in heaven anyway. It is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast (from Ephesians 2:8-9). After salvation, sanctification is the process of God’s working in us to conform us to the image of His Son. Jesus said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10b).
The positives definitely outweigh the negatives!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your thoughts.