www.herald-journal.com
Has God changed?
February 1, 2010
by Rev. Bill Hillyer, Saving Grace Lutheran Church, Delano

Map Quest and Google Maps have become indispensable to me over the last few years.

I used to depend on the street maps I could purchase at the local retailer, but with the ever-changing landscape, they needed to be updated several times each year. Now, when trying to find a home or business, I just log on to find not only the location of that new street, but I also get turn-by-turn directions to get there in the shortest time.

It is said that we now live in a post-modern, post-church world that has no need of organized religion. And as a pastor, I know this is most certainly true because even people who call themselves Christian no longer see the need to attend church and worship services. And unfortunately, many who do attend church don’t really follow though by living a Christian life outside the doors of the church building.

The good news is that just because we now live in a post-church culture, it does not mean that people are no longer searching for God and truth. The truth is that people, especially young people, are more hungry than ever to find spiritual truth in this messed up world, and they are searching everywhere for the truth.

One problem with all this is that the Bible is no longer viewed as God’s Word by many in the church. People want to pick-and-choose the portions they believe. And, they want to pick-and-choose the things that God demands of his people.

Sin is no longer called sin. What was once sinful is now called choice, or a matter of conscience. In other words, what is right for me doesn’t have to be right for you.

If one continues down this path long enough, the Bible will have no value or meaning at all. Either God’s Word is God’s Word and it means what it says – or we should throw it out and do our own thing.

Unfortunately, many well-meaning people have already done this. This type of person thinks they are following God even though they are using the wrong map.

Can you imagine trying to get around in Miami with your Minneapolis street map? No matter how hard you tried, you would be hopelessly lost. If we are going to follow Christ, then we must use and read the map he has designed for us – otherwise we will unknowingly take the wrong turn and end up hopelessly lost for all eternity.

Even though society and culture changes constantly, God does not. The Bible tells us that, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Many people want to focus solely on the grace of God (and I too, tend to lean more to His grace) and think that God will just overlook their sins. Yet, the apostle Paul made it clear that we cannot sin and think God’s grace will just cover it up: “Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer?” (Romans 6:1-2).

As believers in Christ, we seek to live holy and pleasing lives to him. We read and study the Scriptures as often as we can in order to follow him and be the people he has called us to be. And, as we study the Scriptures, we will find that obeying God’s laws is for our best and is meant to draw us closer to Him.

King David said it this way: “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

Of course, no one can live a perfect life. We all fall far short of God’s demand for holiness. But thank God, when we make a wrong turn in life, God’s road map – His Law – is right there to get us back on track. And as we confess and repent (make that u-turn to get back in the right direction), His Grace is right there restoring and renewing our lives through the forgiveness of sins and eternal life that comes through Jesus Christ!

It is such a blessing that God has not changed, and that he will never change! Maybe it’s time to pull out the map and ask for directions.