Keep the Iowa Standard Going!
I won’t ask if you have close friends or family that are unsaved (those without a saving faith in Jesus Christ) because we all do. Nor do I question if you love them, as their cherished status in your life indicates that you do. The essential query is this, is yours a love unto eternal life or are you loving them to death? The usual meaning for the expression “loving someone to death” is to love them always, but for this topic the context is tragically literal. Do you love someone enough to tell them the truth about their lost state before God or instead, out of a worldly concept of love, are you affirming their sin? This second option, while well-intended, doesn’t fit the biblical standard for love.
“(Love) Rejoices not in iniquity (sin), but rejoices in the truth;” (1 Corinthians 13:6)
Easy to read, not as easy to understand given the rampant confusion being dispensed today about the definitions of love, truth, and sin. Societal expectations tell us that to love someone is to consent to whatever they believe (unless those beliefs are Christian), and that if we don’t, we hate them. Where does this come from, that to righteously disagree with someone is equated to hatred? In truth, it’s those who reject Jesus who are doing the hating.
“The world cannot hate you [since you are part of it], but it does hate Me because I denounce it and testify that its deeds are evil.” (John 7:7) AMP
Friendship with the world and its evil deeds has certain conditions. The lost get to openly proclaim their rebellion to God yet, as a Christian, you aren’t entitled to speak your heart which is exactly what God requires of us. Have you thought of it this way? You have to accept the beliefs of others while remaining silent about your own. Is that friendship or servitude?
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord (including family or friends)].” (Matthew 6:24) AMP
As you can see, we’re presented a choice. Friendship with God or friendship with the world.
“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity (being actively opposed or hostile) with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:14) AMP
There’s no ambiguity in that verse. If you’re feeling conflicted right now that’s the Holy Spirit speaking to your heart. Listen to Him. I understand that it’s natural to want to get along with people and not hurt their feelings. But at what cost?
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:26)
Are you a Christian influence on your unsaved loved ones or are their thoughts, attitudes and even language, influencing you?
“Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33) AMPC
Who you’re friends with reflects on who you are and what you believe. We’re warned not to engage in close personal relationships with the unsaved. Yes we still love them, yes we maintain our witness, but we keep them at arms’ length, so to speak. Otherwise we’ll start compromising our beliefs to accommodate theirs. The idea of separation from non-believers is important or it wouldn’t be included in the Bible.
“Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismatched alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God have with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14) AMPC
Some try to confuse the issue by recalling that Jesus went and ate with sinners. Yes He did but note His purpose; He called them to repentance.
“And after these things he (Jesus) went forth, and saw a publican (tax-collector), named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me. And he left all, rose up, and followed him. And Levi made him a great feast in his own house: and there was a great company of publicans and of others that sat down with them. But their scribes and Pharisees murmured against his disciples, saying, Why do ye eat and drink with publicans and sinners? And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:27-32)
Levi repented of his sins and entered into close fellowship with Jesus, becoming the Apostle Matthew. There was no coddling of sin or telling those living a life of sin that it was okay. It was Jesus’ proclamation of truth and Levi’s acceptance of it that transformed and saved him. I’ve witnessed parents, siblings and friends, all who formerly held to a Christian worldview on moral issues, change their opinion when a loved one chose a sinful lifestyle contrary to God. As if one’s personal circumstances somehow alter the immutable, God-ordained definitions of right and wrong. Friend, I assure you that they don’t.
“Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth?’ (Galatians 4:16)
You might be thinking, who am I to judge? Let’s examine that. I make no moral judgments as to what’s right or wrong. Only God can and has. As a Christian I’m expected to know, understand and affirm His judgments. All Christians are. That’s the basis of the judgment that we’re supposed to exercise.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)
When we rightly divide the word of truth and are inevitably attacked for it, understand that it’s the “judge not” inquisitor who’s actually doing the wrong judging. They’re judging God. And what does God say about the issues of our day?
There are only two genders.
“And he (Jesus) answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4)
There are no other genders. Mental illness and moral depravity are states of mind, gender isn’t. Biology determines gender; the two are inexorably linked. Genital mutilation via cosmetic surgery and/or taking hormones doesn’t alter this. There is no such thing as a “transgender” person. That’s a made-up word for the purpose of delusion. I realize what the “experts” in the various mental health fields have to say, they who attempt to treat sin with secular theories driven by the cultural wants of a predominantly godless people.
“And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
Transvestitism, which is intentionally dressing like the opposite sex, is an abomination.
“The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5)
Marriage is only legitimate between a man and a woman.
“And (Jesus) said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:5)
Homosexuality is always sin.
“You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)
As is lesbianism.
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:” (Romans 1:24-26)
Sex between unmarried people is known as fornication.
“Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6:18)
Living with someone and calling them your fiancé doesn’t alter the fact that a marriage hasn’t taken place. Unless you’re actually married you aren’t, no matter your intentions.
It’s in instances such as these that we ultimately choose who we love and believe in most; God, ourselves or others.
“He that loveth father or mother more than me (Jesus speaking) is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.” (Matthew 10:37-38)
If the closest of human relationships are held to this standard, so are all others. Think of your loved ones. If you aren’t willing to tell them the truth out of love for them, who will? Of course there’s the fear that a consequence of telling a family member or friend biblical truth could cost you that relationship. Yes, it might. That’s their choice. Your choice is to tell them the truth anyway. Or not. If you aren’t loving them to life with the truth of God’s Word then you’re loving them to death, walking alongside and encouraging them toward hell.
“Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:3)
As is now obvious, you can’t walk with God and the wicked simultaneously. Its two completely different directions. You are known by the company you keep, by the world, and by God.
“The thoughts of the righteous are right: but the counsels of the wicked are deceit.” (Proverbs 12:5)
Are you being deceived by your counsels? Your current relationships are what they are though I pray that things are clearer for you now. It’s far better to have fewer friends than to have the wrong friends. The same goes for close family relationships. I’ve lost friends and I’ve had relatives distance themselves from me. That’s okay. Praise be to God I’ve also had some come to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. It’s these latter I’ll be spending eternity with.
How about you? Where are you and your friends going?
Are you loving them to life? Or are you loving them to death?
Original story here.