SICK ABOUT DEALING WITH A NON-BELIEVER
QUESTION: My husband and I started looking for a home several months ago and there are things that concern me about our mortgage broker.She’s a really nice lady and has been an asset as far as teaching us about credit and housing, etc. But something has always bothered me about her.
We found a home and will be closing on it very soon so we have been in her office a number of times and I noticed these pictures on her desk of a man and the words, “may the blessings be”. She has also said this to me on several occasions and each time I see or hear this, it stirs something inside me like an alarm goes off in my head. I’ve learned it is a religion called Eckankar.
It’s “a religion of spirit and light” according to their website. I am literally heartsick now, I mean my stomach hurts and I’m just sick wondering what I have gotten us into dealing with this lady, I just don’t know what to do.
I know throughout life we deal with people who are of all sorts, different religions, and atheists and I know that God uses those very people to help Christians but I want to make sure I am not doing something wrong dealing with this person. So please, please give me your advice.
Thank you so much and God Bless!
ANSWER: Relax. Had you been looking for a Christian you would have asked about her beliefs right at the beginning, but you weren’t. You were looking for someone who could do a good job for you and you found one. Eckankar is a new age religion. Your discernment picked up on her false spirituality, but that doesn’t have anything to do with her ability to get you a good mortgage. Perhaps the Lord brought her across your path so you could tell her about the real Spirit and Light.
HOLDING A NON-BELIEVER ACCOUNTABLE
QUESTION: Could you please refer me to verses that deal with holding a ‘non believer’ business accountable for un-ethical behavior, where people are lied to and taken advantage of? I need to be clear as to how God desires that I proceed. Several years ago, a large sum of money (that was owed to me) was never given to me after I left the company. The business is still in operation and still deceiving people. Do I have a responsibility to act on behalf of those who do not know what is being done?
ANSWER: There are no verses telling us how to hold unbelievers accountable for their behavior because unbelievers are not bound by Christian standards. There is only the warning against being yoked with unbelievers (2 Cor. 6:14). You will need to pursue any remedy you may have through the legal system. There is no Biblical prohibition against doing this. We are only admonished against taking a believer to court (1 Cor. 6:1-8). You may consider yourself to have a moral responsibility to warn others, but would have to consult with an attorney to determine if you have a legal responsibility.
BELIEVER OR TRUE BELIEVER?
QUESTION: I have a question concerning the difference between “believers” and “true believers” and the Rapture. I have many friends and relatives who believe that Jesus is the son of God and believe that he died on the cross for our sins, but they do not have Jesus as Lord of their lives and it seems they have no relationship or fellowship with Christ. According to John 3:16 will they be taken in the Rapture just based on their belief in Jesus or will they have to endure the Tribulation?
ANSWER: John 3:16 is just one of many verses that identify our belief in what Jesus did for us as the single qualification for salvation. The Greek word for belief is pisteuo. Its primary meaning is, “to think to be true, to be persuaded of, to credit, or place confidence in the thing believed.” John 6:28-29 & 6:40, Romans 10:9, Ephesians 1:13-14 and others all use the same word.
This kind of belief is more than just an intellectual assent, it’s an emotional commitment, something we’ve staked our eternal destiny on. The Greek word for faith comes from the same root. It usually manifests itself in the form of changed behavior, but not always, so there’s no specific outward sign that can prove your belief to others or theirs to you. Only the Lord knows for sure who are His because only He knows the inner thoughts of our heart. (1 Cor. 4:5). But all who possess this belief will go in the rapture no matter what their life looks like to others.
DEALING WITH RELIGIOUS PEOPLE
QUESTION: How do you deal with religious people that constantly push self righteousness? With one breath they say Jesus is their Savior, and the next breath, they say this person or that person is going to hell because they do this or that. I know Jesus had to deal with this, with the Scribes and Pharisees, but how do we deal with it today? How do we walk in Love and not offend this person who seems to put all their faith in filthy rags, and insists on dressing others in the same clothing?
I am aware of the story, Jesus told of the two men standing and praying…..but what do you say to the one that is proclaiming their own righteousness? Sadly, I find anger rising up in my own heart concerning it, and then I feel guilty, because I fall into judging another. I used to be extremely religious and it made me quite smug… but by the Grace of God, he led me to Pauls teachings which pulled the rug out from under my feet. It was much easier to have faith in myself by keeping all the man made rules, than to be honest with my wretched self and trust Christ to save me. You would suppose that because I too was like this once, I would know how to deal with it, but I don’t. Can you help?
ANSWER: Experts say we’re most impatient with the traits we see in others that we have overcome in our own lives. (Think of former smokers for example.) Overcoming these traits tends to make us less tolerant of others rather than more, probably because we know they can be overcome. If we let him, the enemy will use this awareness to defeat us, just like he formerly used the trait we’ve overcome.
If you think of your intolerance as an enemy attack, and treat it accordingly, you can defeat him again. Reject your thoughts of judgment and anger in the Lord’s name (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Resist the devil and he’ll flee from you (James 4:7). Soon you’ll be at peace again.
DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE
QUESTION: Do you think God puts difficult people in our lives for a purpose? Do you think God wants us to spend more time with difficult people and let friendly people out of our lives? Do you think He puts them there to shape us, to mold us, to change our hearts, and to helps us grow to become more Christ-like (i.e conforming to the image of His Son-which is spiritual growth)?
ANSWER: I know the Bible shows us how to deal with difficult people, but I have trouble believing it’s because God deliberately puts difficult people in our lives to help us grow to become more Christ-like. I don’t understand what His point would be in doing so, since He’s going to instantaneously perfect us in the rapture. That’s when we’ll conformed to the image of His son. In the mean time He has already chosen to see us as thought we’re perfect (Hebrews 10:12-14), holy and blameless (Ephes. 5:27), a new creation (2 cor. 5:17).
I think Satan is the one who brings difficult people into a believer’s life, as a way of tormenting us. He does this because he’s trying to take away our joy and destroy our Christian witness in the world. The best way to combat this kind of attack is to apply the principles Jesus, Paul and others taught us. When Satan sees his methods aren’t working he will leave us alone (James 4:7-8).
In my opinion, all the talk about God doing this or that to His children (illness, strife, persecution, etc.) for some noble purpose is man’s way of denying the reality that Satan is in control of this world (1 John 5:19) and he’s the real culprit.
ARE WE RELIGIOUS OR SPIRITUAL?
A Bible Study by Jack Kelley – gracethrufaith.com
These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men” (Isaiah 29:13).
God had the prophet Isaiah condemn the people of Israel for their religious practices although many of these practices had been ordained by God Himself. He had tried to show them how to live holy lives, but they had created a set of rules that emphasized form over substance. He desired a relationship with them, but their rules taught that external behavior was everything; the internal motive of their hearts was ignored.
Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder; the wisdom of the wise will perish, the intelligence of the intelligent will vanish.” (Isaiah 29:14)
Isaiah hinted at a coming Messiah who would teach the people what love is all about. And when He came, what did the Messiah say about their religion? All of Matt 23 is devoted to His condemnation of their “form without substance” religious practices, saying they actually prevented people from entering the Kingdom of Heaven (Matt. 23:13). Their zealous keeping of rules had given birth to a religious pride that was the biggest sin of all.
Pharisee or Tax Collector?
“Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’
“But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’
“I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 18:10-14)
In this parable the Pharisee’s pride was evident as he thanked the Lord for not making him like the tax collector; for making him obedient to the rules. But it was the tax collector who went home justified, because it was he who realized that he was a sinner in need of mercy. In Matt 23:2-3 Jesus was careful not to “throw out the baby with the bath water” by reminding the people to obey their leaders, but warning them against following their example of relying on external behavior for their salvation.
Later He explained His point more clearly. “A time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:23). We are to be a spiritual people, seeking a relationship with the Father even as He seeks one with us, not a religious people, mindlessly obedient to a set of rules taught by men.
But the problem of religious works didn’t go away go away with the birth of the church. A few years later, Paul warned, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy that depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ” (Col. 2:8). Already man’s tendency to add to what God had done was becoming evident in the church.
What Religion Are You?
Someone once defined religion as “sinful man’s vain attempt to cover himself before a Holy God.” It began in the Garden of Eden, as Adam and Eve, realizing they were naked, hurried to clothe themselves before the Lord saw them. But the Lord had a different remedy for their nakedness. He clothed them in the skins of animals, demonstrating that it was by the shedding of innocent blood that they would be covered, not by the works of their hands (Gen 3:7 & 21). It continues to the end of the age as He warns the apostate church at Laodicea to “buy white clothes from Me to cover your shameful nakedness” (Rev 3:18). Through out the Bible we are either “clothed in His righteousness (Isa. 61:10)” or “naked and shamefully exposed” (Rev 16:15) in in a vain attempt to clothe ourselves.
A Moving Experience
Needing help to move some furniture, I called the Salvation Army for a couple of strong bodies. They sent me Bill and Cliff, two young men enrolled in their rehab program. Bill was raised a Mormon while Cliff grew up Catholic. These two groups are noted for adding rules and traditions to a biblical foundation. Riding along in the truck I had rented, we had time for talk so I steered the discussion to matters of eternal significance. They both spoke about things they had been taught, and I suggested that the Lord won’t be interested in the particular church we attended, but in the motive of our hearts as we did so. Finally Bill, in one of those break through moments said, “So it all boils down to the faith in your heart.” Bill had gotten past all the religion he’d been taught, and was finally listening to the Spirit within him.
The Protestant Work Ethic
Work hard, live right, and you’ll succeed. Good advice, as long as you remember that everything you have has come from the Lord; even the intellect and energy you think is responsible for your success (Deut. 8:18). The only thing we have to commend ourselves before God is the realization that we have nothing but our faith to make us righteous.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. (Romans 3:21-22)
So whether you’re sitting in your favorite pew, performing an act of kindness for the less fortunate, or giving of your excess to help a struggling ministry, realize that the goal is not to earn points with God. He’s already given you all the points there are. The goal is to express your gratitude, to give thanks to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Because even though you can never hope to live up to His standards and earn your own righteousness, He’s given you all of His (2 Cor. 5:21), and you will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
He didn’t do this because you’re better than others, or because you’ve earned it. He did it because He loves you, and gave you the faith to believe that when He went to the cross, He went for you. Remember His goal was to teach us what love is all about. Let’s show Him we’ve learned the lesson. Selah 03-17-12