“How can you tell me what’s right for me?”

Patient education and its source. I’m a nurse, and I work at a hospital. I care for four or five patients at a time, and a big part of taking care of them is patient education. We teach them that with whatever their condition is, they need to do this and that. If you do these things, we say, you will be better off, and you won’t have as many negative outcomes from your disease. Maybe it’s eating more fiber, or exercising more, or checking their blood sugar. We also tell them there are things they shouldn’t do. Maybe we tell them, you can’t smoke anymore; you shouldn’t drink too much fluid; you must avoid alcohol; you should rarely eat fried foods; you need to cut back on your salt. You need to avoid these things, we say, and if you don’t, bad results will tend to happen to you. What if I instructed my patient like this: “You shouldn’t be eating any salt, and if you do, you’re a bad person and you deserve what’s going to happen to you”? I never talk to patients like this, and it isn’t true, anyway. I have made no determination or judgment about a whole person based on whether they do or don’t do what I tell them. But I still have to tell them what they need to do. I have to tell patients what are the expected outcomes of their behavior so they can make informed decisions about their lives. Why is it that I can say with such certainty that, for example, my patient with heart failure mustn’t be taking in much sodium? I can say these things because I have resources with evidence. I have the authority of research built up over the years. My sources show that if you don’t avoid these things, bad outcomes will happen. I trust this authority because it’s been proven by years of scientific research.

The source for spiritual education. When I come across someone in my life who is living what we like to call an “alternative lifestyle” and I say that homosexuality is wrong, what gives me the authority to say that? On what grounds can I make such a generalized allegation? Am I simply another bigot? Am I forcing my opinions on an entire category of people because I, personally, am grossed out? Not so. I have an authority. I have evidence. I have a trustworthy source I can go to that mentions that very thing. I have this book, you see. I have this book that is credible because it was written by forty or more people over a period of about 1600 years and doesn’t have any contradictions in it. It’s unified, presenting one message and one theme, even though it was written by people of different languages, times, countries, and cultural climates. I have this book that had historical facts in it hundreds and sometimes thousands of years before our archaeologists could even hazard a guess at some of those facts; they couldn’t confirm they were true; they could find no record of the people described therein… until they did. I have this book that had scientific knowledge and understanding contained in its pages, waiting for hundreds of years to be recognized by the scientific community as truth. Knowledge that was far before its time, yet correct. So I trust this book because it has things in it that were impossible to know.

The diagnosis. This book says that homosexuality is wrong. Now, if I approach someone I know, and I say to her, “My source says that what you’re doing is bad for you and bad things are going to happen to you if you continue to live this way,” have I made a judgment about that person as whole? Do I know her heart? Have I said that she’s a horrible human being? Have I asserted my own personal beliefs that I came up with on my own, because I don’t like the way she dresses or how she talks? I haven’t said any of that. If I tell her my source disagrees with her behavior, it’s nothing personal. It’s nothing I made up of my own accord. It’s a statement of fact. I didn’t arbitrarily decide it. It’s nothing I have against these people. If I say to someone who supports abortion, “Abortion is wrong, and there is a very negative outcome waiting for you if you continue under that persuasion,” I haven’t said I hate him or want him to die or anything. I simply said that according to the best information available—a perfect and infallible source with impossible knowledge—he is expected to do better, and I encourage him to do so.

The prognosis. I don’t know if you know, but it’s even more inflammatory that just these hot button issues. The Bible doesn’t just teach on homosexuality and abortion. It doesn’t say, “Those who are heterosexual and pro-life shall inherit the kingdom of God.” It doesn’t condemn just those two things. It also says that all liars will burn in the lake of fire and brimstone (Revelation 21:8). All liars. Who hasn’t told a lie? I have. I think almost everyone has. It also says things like that those who are disobedient to their parents have sinned (Romans 1:30). That’s practically everyone. I mean, yeah sure, all the murderers and rapists will be punished. Most people are okay with that. But what about “fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Hebrews 13:4)? Fornication is sexual activity outside of marriage. Adultery is sexual activity with one person when you’re married to someone else. I would guess that between the two of them, we’re now talking about three quarters of the population in this country. So it really doesn’t stop at these hot button political issues. My resource, my authority has a lot more to say about your life. But you know, it’s not even just all those people. My resource says that “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23). All of us, every accountable human who’s ever lived, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Seriously? All of us have done things that are bad for us, and will result in bad outcomes if we continue living our lives this way? That’s what my source says. You know it also says that the wages of sin, the dues that you’re going to be paid if you’ve sinned, the wages of that sin is death (Romans 6:23). Now have I just said that I think all homosexuals deserve to die? Well, that’s really not what I said. But my source says that everyone who has sinned deserves death. Death and sin go together. Sin causes death. Not only the homosexual and the fetus killer. Not only the murderer and the rapist. We’re talking everyone who has told a white lie; everyone who has fooled around; everyone who has dishonored their parents; everyone who has uttered a single vain word (Matthew 12:36); everyone who has ever lost their temper (Ephesians 4:26). That’s pretty much the most negative outcome you can imagine, and the diagnosis falls on everyone.

The solution. My source has this word that it uses sometimes. It’s a lovely word. Because see, the rest of that verse that tells us sin deserves death reads, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (Romans 6:23). We have just discussed that every one of us had death coming as a result of the things we’ve done and the choices we’ve made. But the gift of God is eternal life? We don’t deserve life, we deserve death. Every one of us. We need help. We all need saving. We need someone to take our place, to take that death for us so we can live. And so, even though we don’t deserve it, someone came. Someone came, and in the most beautiful story ever told, and the main reason my source was composed, someone came and took the death that we were scheduled for. He came, and took the horrible death for us. And when he did, all the sins that we’ve ever committed, all the lies and deceit, the hate, the lies, the jealousy, the lust, he took it all away. He gave us the ability to have our slates wiped clean. I think you know who that was.

The treatment. Mohammed didn’t die for you. He didn’t die for anyone. Neither did Buddha. Neither did Confucius. What about other men whose names we take and wear proudly? What about Martin Luther, the first Protestant? Did he die for you? What about John Calvin? Did Calvin die to save you? You see, we couldn’t have just anyone take our place. We discussed that we have all fallen short; all have sinned and missed the mark. In the time of the Old Testament, under the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and its associated code that God gave Moses (which were the shadow of things to come in the New Testament), in that old time people had a sin problem just like we do… just like I did. And the thing God told them to do to take care of their sins and clear their names was to sacrifice. There was bloodshed. They would take a lamb and kill it so that they could be forgiven of their sins. But it couldn’t be just any lamb. It couldn’t be a spotted or blemished lamb. The lamb couldn’t be blind, couldn’t be gimpy, couldn’t be a weakling runt. It had to be youthful, strong and healthy; it had to be perfect. It had to be the best that you had (Leviticus 22:17-22, Malachi 1:8). And you would select that best, strongest, healthiest-looking lamb that you had, take it to the priest, and have it killed. The Bible teaches sin requires blood in order to be forgiven (Hebrews 9:22). It had to be a perfect lamb, and God wouldn’t accept it if it were a blemished lamb. We have all been blemished with sin. Mohammed was blemished with sin. Luther, Calvin, Joseph Smith, any other human you can think of, they have been blemished with sin. But Jesus Christ? My source tells me he lived for 33 years and he never ever sinned (1 Peter 2:21-24). He never hated anyone. He never cheated or stole. He never lied, or lusted, or envied, or gossiped. He was perfect. He had no blemish, no spot, no stain of sin on him. He was the only appropriate sacrifice (Hebrews 9:28). And the shedding of His blood takes our sins away in the new law, under the new covenant (Hebrews 9:14).

So I guess it’s worse than you think. Christians don’t just think all the homosexuals are going to burn in hell. Because our source tells us that anyone who hasn’t come into contact with that saving, perfect blood of Christ is going to be lost. And it doesn’t even matter if you’re straight. It doesn’t matter if you are pro-life. It doesn’t matter if you try to live your life as a basically good person, and not speed, or steal, or lie too much. What matters is whether or not you are wearing the blood of Christ. You must come into contact with His saving blood, accept the gift of God given freely, through immersion in water—not a bath, “not the putting away of the filth of the flesh” (1 Peter 3:21), but the moment at which Jesus’ perfect blood is able to wash away your sins and make you as clean as if you had never committed any. This is what he accomplished at the cross. This is why he died for you and me.

My source says that the best way to take care of yourself after immersion is to “walk in the light as he is in the light” (1 John 1:7), trying to imitate Christ’s perfection as much as possible. But we can’t be completely without blemish, and he knows that. When we do sin after contacting his blood in immersion, re-staining our souls with the sin that brings death, if we confess that we’ve done it, he’ll forgive us again. My source says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). And he can forgive any sin. I think you’ve seen from the discussion that no sin is worse than another sin. He doesn’t need to die over and over when we sin (Hebrews 9:25-28). If I lie today, he won’t have to die again for me. I’ve already come into contact with his saving blood. All I have to do is ask for forgiveness from him. That’s what my source says, and because it hasn’t been wrong yet, I will continue to believe and share its words.

Sharing the truth. God’s people should be just as vocal about the “little” sins as we are on hot topics in politics and the news. We should always be speaking out against pride, covetousness, deceit, and extramarital sensuality (Mark 7:21-23); against immodesty; against lustful thoughts (Matthew 5:28); against adultery and fornication (Hebrews 13:4); against jealousy (Galatians 5:21); against divorce (Malachi 2:16, Mark 10:9); against hate and murder (Matthew 5:21); and against disrespecting parents (Ephesians 6:2), as we uphold the good things the Bible promotes such as love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, meekness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22, 23). We should be vocal on all those things to accurately represent our stand in line with The Source, The Authority, the only rules that really matter. Because science changes, research findings change… but my source hasn’t changed. The Bible says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). And there’s a warning in my source the Bible that says anybody who adds anything to the message in the book is going to be just as lost as the other people we’ve mentioned. Anybody who takes anything out of the message is going to be just as lost as those people, too (Revelation 22:18, 19). I’m not happy about that. I don’t like that. I haven’t made judgments about those people saying that they’re 100% terrible people and God hates them and I hate them. I don’t know their hearts. It’s terrible what Satan has done, how he’s beguiled so many people. He tells so many lies through society, through pop culture, denominationalism, and through other world religions. As long as he can keep you away from Jesus, from really and truly getting to Christ and His message, that’s all he needs. That’s all he wants. That’s all he has to do to keep you from getting the wonderful outcome reserved for God’s children: eternal life. But my Jesus, my perfect, holy, saving God Christ? He just wants to save you. So please, please try not to be angry or indignant when I try to share with you the evidence they have for why they believe what they believe, and what it means for you. I’m just trying to help you make informed decisions about your life based on the evidence I’ve been given.