If you are going the way of your culture, you’re probably headed the wrong way.

This morning I was struck by a reading from Galatians.  God had previously revealed to Peter and Paul that Christ came to offer salvation to all people, Jews and Gentiles.  Not all of the old Jewish guard understood this yet, but Peter and Paul did.  In those days, God’s righteous (clean) Jews were not to associate with the unrighteous (unclean) Gentiles.   To eat with a Gentile was to associate with them and would make you unclean.  That was often the accusation against Jesus – that He would eat with sinners.  Peter had been eating with (read befriending) Gentiles.

In Galatians chapter 2, James had sent some “righteous” Jews to see Peter and Paul. When those Jews arrived Peter quit eating with (associating with) the Gentile believers.  When Peter acted like he did not know the Gentiles, other previously friendly Jews turned on the Gentiles as well, including Barnabas.  Peter, Barnabas, and others were too concerned about what their peers thought.  Paul calls Peter out in front of everyone.  It is both heartbreaking and comforting that it was Peter who bowed to peer pressure.  If it can happen to Peter, it can happen to anyone.  But even if we are able to stand, we must be sure we’re standing on God’s Word and not against God’s Word.

countercultureIt always has been, currently is, and always will be a challenge to follow and obey Jesus.  God’s Word has always gone against every society in various ways.  Culture, society, and/or the world is rarely ever headed toward Jesus.  If you are going the way of your culture, you’re probably headed the wrong way.  The difficulty, even for people who are trying to follow and obey is when we depart from Scripture and proclaim/follow a different Gospel (see Titus 1:9; Galatians 1:8) .  The people proclaiming the different Gospel believe they are doing right in standing against opposition.  But people are blinded that they are teaching/following a different Gospel.  Am I?  It’s the importance of reading the Bible for yourself, especially the New Testament.  Otherwise, how will you know what to believe?  If you don’t read the Bible, it is impossible to know if you are following Jesus or following Satan.

Today we need people who dare to say, “Wait a minute here. Where do you find this in the Bible?”  That will keep you from going with the flow.  The flow is almost always flowing away from Jesus.

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2 Responses to If you are going the way of your culture, you’re probably headed the wrong way.

  1. Jamie Carter says:

    I don’t know … I think it comes down to a matter of interpretation. One might say: “Let’s follow the Word as literally as humanly possible.” Another might say: “I believe the Word set us on a course correction, we’re going to follow the principles even if they don’t look exactly as the Bible commands.”
    Culture isn’t always automatically wrong. Sometimes Christianity is in it’s attempt to be different from culture. In recent decades, culture has made great strides in an effort to be more equal. The church has managed to become less equal. I think in an effort to be counter-cultural, the church has made itself increasingly irrelevant.

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