My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger,
2 Thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth.
3 Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself, when thou art come into the hand of thy friend; go, humble thyself, and make sure thy friend.
The language here in the King James can be difficult to understand. Here is another way to say this same thing:
My son, if you have pledged yourself to a friend, then you pledge yourself to another, you are ensnared by the pledge you have made. The words of your own mouth testify against you. If you have done this, free yourself from the condemnation you bring upon yourself by approaching your friend humbly and seeking forgiveness. Pledge yourself again to your friend.
I suppose I’m not done writing about unfaithfulness within the church after-all. I enjoy the experience of receiving understanding, but I do not enjoy saying these things to people. Let’s see what we can consider here, so that we can be better Christians.
As Christians, we have pledged ourselves to Jesus Christ. His blood washes away our sins and we enter into His service. Once we are “saved” we should strive to align ourselves with the teachings of Jesus so that we live a life that is pleasing to God, one that honors Jesus, leads others to Jesus, and makes us useful for His purposes. I think most Christians understand this.
However, in what ways might we do this better? In what ways have we pledged ourselves to another, thereby taking the blood of Jesus for granted and disrespecting the covenant He made with us?
As Christians and those under the New Covenant of Jesus Christ, we receive the “sure mercies of David.” We are told that nothing can separate us from the love and mercy of God. Jesus will save every person He intends to save, and this is the grace of God towards us. Nothing we can do makes us worthy of salvation. This is the gospel.
However, salvation of a truth will have a work in us, because we are being saved from this world so that we are fitted for service in the Kingdom of Heaven—not just in the future, but presently.
Consider the “sure mercies of David.” How did David respond to the sure mercy that God gave Him? Did he abuse it? Did he do whatever he pleased because he knew that God would not forsake him? No. Many of the psalms show how brokenhearted David felt when he sinned. Many of the psalms show a deep respect for God, understanding that even though God promised sure mercy, David was not entitled to that mercy. Many of the psalms also show a great devotion to doing what is pleasing to God and a strong trust in God who would save him from his enemies.
We can learn a lot about our Christian walk from David. And of-course, being the seed of David and the Messiah, we can certainly learn a lot about our Christian walk from Jesus first and foremost. We can learn a lot about our Christian walk from the writings of the disciples and the apostles within the New Testament scripture.
In all of these examples that we are given, do we see an acceptable abuse of the mercy of God? Do we find it acceptable to take the blood of Jesus upon us, thereby entering into His covenant, and then use His blood as an excuse for doing whatever we please either by living a sinful life without regard for our pledge to Jesus or by forgetting mercy towards others?
Again, no sincere Christian would do such a thing consciously. No sincere Christian would abuse the blood of Jesus or take the New Covenant for granted.
However, I know from experience that it is possible to do so without fully realizing it.
There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that promote a very loose loyalty to Jesus. There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that make light of sin or discourage freedom from sin through the power of Jesus working in us. There teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that call sin righteous. There are teachings in this world, even within Christianity, that cause many to pursue riches, security, and popularity in this world as God’s will for our life instead of pursuit of the Kingdom of Heaven to which we have pledged our allegiance.
Any doctrine that abuses the blood of Jesus and the New Covenant we are bound to as Christians is unacceptable and hated by God.
I know how easy it is to get caught up in these teachings because they appeal to our natural desires. I also understand some of the non-malicious reasons for some of these teachings, such as the Faith-Plus-Nothing Debate. I know there is mercy and compassion for those who are ensnared by these teachings, but I also know the scriptures pose stark warnings for those who do not come away from these things—and even greater warnings for those who teach such things.
So, let us consider this deeply. What does wearing the blood of Jesus mean to us? If we have pledged ourselves to Jesus, then we should take that seriously. What does He want from us? How can we serve Him better? What things might we have to give up in order to serve Him better? Do we view the Kingdom of Heaven as that “pearl of great price” that is more valuable than anything else in our lives, as Jesus instructed? Do we intend to show up to His wedding feast without a wedding garment, as one of His parables warned of?
What about myself?
I spent most of my Christian life very thinly attached to the faith. I did not think much about my sin, and I thought it was no big deal because we were all sinners and Jesus forgave me. Yet, I judged others for their sin constantly and excused myself.
I did not concern myself with service to Jesus or leading others to Him by being a good example, by using the natural talents He gave, and by seeking more from Him. I was concerned with pursing the things I thought I was supposed to pursue in this life like fun times, self-indulgence, and security. I also began to consider that Jesus was one of many paths to God, and I adopted New Age Christianity ideas in general. I did not have any idea how lost I was.
So, I sympathize, and I know that it is by the grace of God alone that I was called away from these things and led down a path of much learning and the pursuit of Jesus and His Kingdom in “spirit and in truth” as God desires.
I also know that this transition would not have been possible without the teaching of others. I strive to do the same for some. I would love to have a positive effect, and this does not have to be some big thing. A small impact can have large consequences down the road, and we all have a part to play in furthering the Kingdom of Heaven.
So, let us consider what our Christianity means so we can pursue Jesus with all our heart. We all go astray from time to time, but we can still humble ourselves and make our pledge strong with Jesus. His mercy will not depart from those who are “called, chosen, and faithful.”
We all have room to grow, especially if we consider the issues written about recently. These apply to most of us on some level, so we need to be honest with ourselves, honest with Jesus, and seek Him for mercy that forgives and shows us a better way.