by Tom Kelton
God calls us to declare publicly which side we are on. Beginning with our first parents, the alternatives are clearly spelled out: obedience or disobedience; life or death; loyalty or disloyalty. Take your choice. But you must choose.
The challenge from the Word of God:
• God to Adam and Eve (Gen. 2:16-17): “And the Lord God commanded man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”
• Moses to the people of Israel (Deut. 30:19-20): “I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore, choose life, that you and your descendents may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice, and cleaving to him.”
• Joshua to the people of Israel (Josh. 24:15): “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
• Elijah at Mt. Carmel (1 Kgs. 18:21): “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.”
• Jesus, Sermon on the Mount (Matt. 5:24): “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other, or else he will hold to one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
• Jesus, to a would-be follower (Luke 9:52). “No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
• The Holy Spirit to the churches (Rev. 3:16): “So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth.”
From Genesis to Revelation the challenge is the same: choose your side! Be committed! Declare yourself! Take a stand!
Despite all the incentives to straddle, limp, vacillate, and hesitate, there are compelling reasons for taking a stand. I’d like to emphasize three:
• Integrity compels us to declare ourselves. Jesus was right. No one can be loyal to two masters at the same time.
• Obedience compels us to declare ourselves. As Christians, we pledge ourselves to stand with Christ all the rest of our days. To do this we must contend for the faith that once and for all has been delivered to the saints.
• Love compels us to declare ourselves. “For the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14, rsv). We must give ourselves wholly to a defense of the gospel.
Although one can give without loving, one cannot love without giving. God loved us so much that He gave. When we truly love Him in return, we also will give: of our lives, our commitment, our ambitions, our money, our time, our talents, our all.
When we do that, we will know, and God will know, and the world will know whose side we are really on.