Speaking on Behalf of God (Jeremiah 23:17)

“They keep saying to those who despise Me,
‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace”’;
And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart,
They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’”

Jeremiah 23:17

God is in this verse speaking to Jeremiah about false prophets. These prophets were, in essence, telling the people of Israel that everything was going to be just fine, regardless of how the people lived or what the people did. There are still messengers like this today.

Some time ago, Rob Bell wrote a book entitled Love Wins in which he posited that everyone goes to Heaven; that God’s love eventually overcomes even our free will, in some fashion. To be completely candid, these impressions of the book are gleaned from an interview with the author done by my local NPR station when the book was first published. I have not read the book and the interview was off-putting enough that I have no intention of reading it. Bell is one example of a prophet telling people that everything is going to be fine, no matter how they live or what choices they make.

That is not the truth.

The truth, harsh as it might sound, is that my choices matter and that discipline is a reality for the child of God and that Love only wins if I let Him. I must choose to surrender and submit to God. I must decide on obedience. I must work out my salvation with fear and trembling. There is a part that I must play in my own salvation. To absolve me of that; to downplay the importance and consequence of my choices is not only a disservice to me, it is hellish. The motives of the person so absolving me are immaterial. If I despise the LORD; if I [walk] in the stubbornness of [my] own heart then I invite discipline at best or court destruction at worst.

Since I am a believer and since others know this, I must speak the truth in love. I am not permitted to speak supposition where others’ eternity is concerned. If I want to speculate on some aspect of fiction or debate the rules that govern a fantasy realm, I am perfectly fine to do so. If I want to speak of God’s Law and God’s grace, then only God’s Word will suffice. Nothing more. Nothing less. I must call sin utterly sinful — my own and that of others. I must not encourage anyone to [walk] in the stubbornness of his own heart, but rather to walk in the light of God’s Truth.

Let me today, and every day, speak God’s Truth in love.


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