Though it was written long ago, the Bible continues to provoke many strong and varied reactions today.
Most people would agree that words such as “love your neighbor as yourself” and “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another” are good guidelines to live by. In fact, other religions also teach similar things. So what does the Bible say that is so different and can help us with life in the present day?
Is the Bible still relevant today?
The Bible deals with the very root of our biggest problem as human beings, which is sin. It is our self-will, which acts contrary to God’s will, that makes things so difficult. Think about the radical words Jesus spoke in Matthew 5:29: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.”
Jesus’ intent wasn’t that people do harm to themselves, but to impress on them the seriousness of sin. This statement was true in His time, and continues to be true in our time when there are so many easy outlets for impurity. Our situations have changed, but our human nature remains the same.
The spirit of the times
In today’s society, all sorts of sins have become acceptable and normal. Adultery, lust, greed and egotism have all become par for the course. Think of the pressure on one to become something great in this world, perhaps even at the expense of others. Think of all the impurity on television, in movies and on the Internet. Today it can even be considered strange when one does not give into these temptations to lust and egotism that are clearly spoken against in the Bible!
Are there any benefits in following after this “spirit of the times,” either personally or for society as a whole? Quite the opposite! How many families have suffered because of unfaithfulness here? What kind of foundation are you laying for your own life in this area, and for those around you who see you as a role model? The Bible shows us the way we can get grace through Jesus to resist these temptations in our thoughts so we can become completely free and pure!
The life of Jesus
In the Bible we read about the life of Jesus, our forerunner, who made it possible for us to live a life without sin. He was “made in all things like His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17) and “was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15) He never sinned, even though He was tempted in all points as we are!
He died as the spotless Lamb of God for the forgiveness of our sins, but that isn’t all He did for us. He also left footsteps that we should follow. (1 Peter 2:21) Jesus Himself said “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin … [but] if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.” John 8:34-36. The apostle Paul exhorts “Therefore, do not let sin reign in your mortal body [in the body you now have!], that you should obey it in its lusts.” Romans 6:12. Is that a freedom that appeals to you? Or do you want to remain a slave to sin?
What will you choose to follow?
If you want to live for your own selfish pleasures, hold grudges, or put others down to make yourself appear better, then it is much more convenient to choose not to believe the Bible. The Bible rebukes such selfish behavior. The cost to bring your life in line with God’s Word is to give up your own will completely. Most aren’t willing to pay this price, but choosing not to believe something, doesn’t make it any less true.
Are you easily anxious or fearful? Are you prone to anger, envy or jealousy? Do your thoughts constantly return to things someone said or did that bothered you? The Bible can help you become free so that life becomes light. It is possible to be transformed when a person puts their faith completely in God’s Word. It costs everything, but you get everything in return. The complainer becomes full of thankfulness. The stingy man becomes generous. The liar becomes honest and trustworthy.
Is there a sincere longing for victory over sin in your heart? If so, are you willing to give up everything to lay hold of it? Will you choose to believe the words written in the Bible and let it transform your life?