Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the three-year lectionary.
I normally speak in more general terms on this blog. But today, drawing on Jeremiah 23:16-17, I’m going to identify a very specific problem which has come to my attention in a particular way in my culture. The beginning of our Old Testament passage warns against the teachers who say that everything is fine and that God would never judge anyone. Less than 48 hours before writing this post, a friend brought to my attention a news article about an alleged Christian bishop who is publicly saying that God’s love is so great that there will never be judgment against any sort of sin and that nobody will suffer from God’s wrath in the day of judgment, hell will forever be empty because God has decided everything is forgiven. The context of the news report was a gathering of people celebrating a lifestyle that denies the need for forgiveness, one that rejects family as created and instituted by God, one that denies the very created order. The “bishop” actively told people that their opinion was just as valid as God’s opinion.
This is not the Christian message. Jeremiah, along with all the rest of the Bible’s writers, point out, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that God has warned us against exalting our own opinions above His Word. God is God and we are not. How are we to live? We are to live lives of repentance. We confess, a word which means to speak in agreement with an authority, realizing that we need forgiveness and restoration to God’s will. We recognize that He has shown us what the world is really like, what our relationship with God and with one another should look like, and where we have failed. And we realize that we have all failed. What do we need? We need forgiveness of our sin, not affirmation that sin is not sin. We need the Lord’s loving care, not an open door to His wrath.
The self-appointed prophets of Jeremiah’s time ran to tell God’s people messages which contradicted God’s Word. They are still running around doing the same thing. We have been warned. God calls us to heed His warning so that we will receive His forgiveness and life. The message has not changed.
Lord, protect your people from false teaching.
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