Have you ever read a passage or story in the bible and felt like you were spiritually punched in the gut?
I’ve been making my way through the Old Testament, because regrettably, I have not read it yet. I’m in I Samuel, and I just read Chapter 15.
Most who read this will be familiar with the book of I Samuel, and so you know about the time king Saul disobeyed God when he took spoil after destroying the Amalekites. Saul was commanded by God to destroy everything, but Saul took the best of the sheep, oxen, and other things as the people saw were good. Then Saul took from the spoil and made sacrifices to God.
Here is a passage from I Samuel 15, and I want to draw some quick parallels that I am considering about Christians today.
1 Samuel 15:22-24
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
And Saul said unto Samuel, I have sinned: for I have transgressed the commandment of the LORD, and thy words: because I feared the people, and obeyed their voice.
What can we consider here? How might we apply this to our lives as Christians?
It is very seldom taught that Christians can be made free from sin in a tangible way. Not just some, as it is convenient for us, but all. Not by legalism or our abilities of self-righteousness and hypocrisy, but by the ability of Jesus working in us, healing us, renewing our minds, and conforming us to his image. Do we hear this, or do we hear that we will always be sinners?
We are promised, and indeed commanded by the Lord, Jesus Christ, to turn aside from ALL sin and iniquity by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts. Do we do this? Do we lay hold of this? Or, are we like Saul? Do we pick and choose which sins we want to hang on to, fear man more than God, and do things that are pleasing to the people of this world rather than live in obedience to the kingdom of heaven? Yes. We are to live according to the kingdom of heaven now.
Are we taking hold of the things the Lord commands we put away then sacrificing these things to God? Are we making acceptable sacrifices to the Lord when we go to church every week and even help out, yet we look down our noses on the poor and afflicted or live without mercy, patience, and forgiveness? Are we making acceptable sacrifices when we are doing good to be seen as upright, yet in our hidden lives we are deep in sin every day?
What about myself?
I’ve written many times about how the full gospel is seldom taught in the Western world. Yet, I commune with the Christianity of the Western world. I’m not so sure that is a good idea. Am I doing like Saul? I don’t know. Even Jesus went to the lost sheep of Israel first. Of course, I’m not him. Not by a long shot. However, as Christians, we should seek to be like him. So, I will keep seeking the Lord in this and praying that his people will turn to the fullness of the gospel.
As for me, all sin is rebellion. All sin is idolatry. If I hold onto anything in this world with a refusal to give it up as the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ promises and commands, I am rebellious and stubborn. If I continue, I might as well be committing witchcraft and idolatry. I don’t want that on my record when it’s time to stand before God.
Of course, we are forgiven by the sacrifice of Jesus and sins for which we repent are no longer remembered. However, grace is more than forgiveness. Grace also gives knowledge of the laws of the kingdom and freedom from sin if our faith is well-placed, and if we indeed have the faith of Abraham.
I want to keep all of the commandments of God, the chief one being love towards others and the Lord, Jesus Christ. I want to learn his laws of the kingdom of heaven and keep them. I want to know what faith in Jesus really means and honor his name rather than worship some false version of him. I want to be a good and faithful servant.
Parallel Between David and Saul vs Christians Both “True” and “False”
I have another thought. I haven’t read the story in depth, so forgive me if I am wrong. But, didn’t David run from Saul because Saul wanted to kill him at some point? Didn’t David have a chance to kill Saul but refused because he knew that though Saul was wicked, God appointed him? Maybe there is also a parallel here for us Christians who feel tempted to judge the “false” Christianity today.
As David, we should remember God’s patience rather than falling for judgement ministries — and there are many out there. Be cautious when dealing with these, and if you have a question about such a ministry, feel free to email me. We have to remember that God is in control and have faith that He will judge these things while meanwhile, we live in peace and patience. That’s hard for me to do, but the Lord is working on this!
It can be hard to have faith that Jesus can turn us from all sin and iniquity. If you’re having a struggle with this, feel free to email me and I will be of any support I can be. If we are sincere and want to be made free from sin, there is much freedom in the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ!