But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble. Malachi 2:8
The priests in Malachi’s day modified the Word of God. They compromised His standards and led people to believe that God would be content with less. They accepted imperfect sacrifices. They turned a blind eye when worshippers approached the temple with the blind and the lame headed for the altar. God’s grief was evident when He told them to close the temple doors! How long did He suffer watching this parade before His patience ran out. If we go by history, it was a long time. How God longs to bless.
Every person is a teacher. My faith affects others whether or not I intentionally try and I perpetuate the essence of my own brand of faith. If I am theologically sound and have a heart alive to God, my faith will be contagious. I pass on a legacy that time cannot erode because truth stands. If I modify the counsel of God however, I pass on corrupted faith. For instance, when any one aspect of God’s character is preached to the exclusion of all others, faith is perverted. I asked the Holy Spirit this morning to show me some of the ways His Word can be modified. What came to me surprised me.
- If I become obsessed with God’s holiness but forget that the radical love of Jesus made it possible for me to approach His Father with confidence, then I pasS on self-condemnation.
- If I become obsessed with sin and repentance without framing it with the colors of grace and forgiveness, then I pass on pervasive shame.
- If I embrace the friendship of God but fail to understand His righteousness, then I pass on the message that the cross of His Son was but a casual thing.
We all have the same Bible. Why might a person read of God’s holiness but fail to notice the greater message of love and redemption? It’s about flawed eyesight. Our own stories of pain blind us to the whole Gospel. Those raised in an atmosphere of condemnation will likely be the ones to see God as condemning. His holiness will be their focus to the exclusion of love. Those raised in an atmosphere of permissiveness will be tempted to preach various distortions of grace. His love will be their focus to the exclusion of holiness.
May I never read one verse of the Holy Scriptures without embracing the whole counsel of the Word. I can be sure of one thing ~ at least one of my views today is distorted because I am imperfect, jaded by sin. Each day, His face should be clearer. “Be thou my vision”, indeed.
I want to see You as You really are, Jesus. No distortions. Amen