Apocalypse

The rapture of the church is coming. The Bible is very clear about that and, while it is very true that no one knows the day or the hour, there are sure signs of its approaching. Looking around us at events of the last 75 or so years, such as the rebirth of the nation of Israel, as well as more current events in the last 12 months, and there are indications that the rapture is closer than ever before. I’ve written about this previously, and if you’d like a refresher, please check out the link below:

In The Blink of An Eye

Today I am not focusing on the coming rapture itself but, rather, I want to draw a picture of what the events immediately following the rapture might look like. The Bible speaks of the horribleness of this time: “For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.” (Matthew 24:21-22) That is a grim outlook for sure, but since the Bible doesn’t give explicit details, drawing a picture of this future time requires a bit of the imagination. None-the-less, I think simple logic allows us to formulate a pretty good idea. So let’s dive in.

Zero hour: the rapture has just happened. Somewhere around 1.5 – 2 billion people, who were genuine Christ followers, just disappeared. Along with them, all children under the age of accountability are also missing. Gone in an instant. Among the missing are local and world leaders, doctors, pastors, pilots, taxi cab drivers, truck drivers, ship captains, military personnel, business leaders, police and emergency responders, and more. Since many of the people who just disappeared were actively driving trucks, cars, planes, and ships, we can be sure that in the seconds following the rapture there are massive automobile crashes, plane crashes, train wrecks, ships aimlessly adrift without their captains. Further, planes that haven’t yet crashed may be flying without a pilot in control, destined to crash when the fuel runs out. As you can imagine, these events happen all around the world, in copious numbers, almost simultaneously.

And there aren’t enough emergency responders, hospitals, doctors, nurses, etc. to handle the sudden influx of injured and dying. The chaos at this moment on a worldwide scale will be unimaginable. And not even an hour has passed since the rapture! With so many local and world leaders suddenly missing, confusion and chaos will reign to even the highest ranks of governments around the world. Countries will blame each other, they will not trust each other, and they will almost certainly go into the highest states of war readiness. Within just a few hours, certainly within 24 hours, the world will stand on the brink.

Meanwhile, theories about what really happened will swirl with a voracity never seen before. There will be those with some religious or Biblical knowledge who will possibly recognize the events as the rapture and subsequent beginning of the great tribulation, but many of them will deny it because they can’t imagine they were left behind. Governments will offer explanations in an effort to suppress the looming chaos. And as those explanations start to multiply, the world economy is already coming to a standstill as financial markets the world over crash, manufacturing all but ceases, prices skyrocket, and rationing is implemented. Massive, worldwide unemployment may be just a few days away.

In the coming days and weeks immediately following the rapture, the supply of food dwindles rapidly, and with dwindling resources among those now out of work; large scale, worldwide looting will erupt, overwhelming emergency responders already taxed to their limit. With military personnel throughout the world already on high alert, there will be few resources available to quell local tensions and tumult. Hungry people desperate for crucial supplies will begin to attack each other and many tens of thousands are likely to die in the ensuing civil unrest, that quickly reaches fever pitch, with riots and violence becoming the norm. 

As local governments around the world are increasingly unable to handle the burgeoning crisis, mob rule starts to take root in some areas, whereas martial law may be the norm in others. Brutality will be increasingly common as the struggle to assume control facilitates the rise of competing factions. It hasn’t been 3 weeks since the rapture occurred, and already the world is a completely different place. Hostile and unyielding. The weaker begin to die off, either from lack of sustenance, or having been killed trying to fight for what they need. With all Christians gone, the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is absent, so the lawlessness has reached levels never before seen on earth.

Over the next several months, the world becomes more and more merciless. Wives are raped in front of their husbands, husbands are tortured and killed in front of their wives. Governments impose ever more restrictive levels of control; consequences for disobedience become ever more dire. Corruption takes hold and new allegiances form. War has likely broken out in many parts of the world, with some nuclear weapons possibly already detonated. World power shifts occur rapidly, but with no real leadership, genocide may become commonplace. Chemical & germ warfare may very well be occurring. Suffering among people has reached inconceivable levels never seen or imagined before.

If you have ever watched the movie “Left Behind”, I can tell you that it in no way captured the true horror of this period in time. It will be far more ghastly than anything I can write here or any movie can portray. Mankind simply hasn’t experienced this level of utter upheaval in all of history. It is far, far beyond what we can truly imagine or communicate. This is why, if the Lord does not cut the time short, all mankind will simply die out. And it is in the midst of this anarchy that the antichrist will rise to power. People will be so desperate for a man with a plan that they will eagerly follow this power figure who emerges with such charisma and seeming peaceful intent.

Time and space do not allow me to dig into this much deeper, but hopefully I have fired your imagination to a degree with which you can see the agonizing reality that will be the great tribulation. While God will still be saving people during the tribulation period, I can assure you, this cruel and ghastly period in history is something you do not want to experience. And you are most likely not equipped to survive it, either. And even if you think you are, you may want to consider if your wife, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers are. Because even if you do survive, you will almost certainly see many of those you know die. Quite possibly in brutal, violent, horrifying ways. As I stated, it will be a time of incomprehensible horror.

But for those who choose Christ now, it will be much different. We will not face God’s wrath. We will be raptured into perfect fellowship with our Savior. We will know peace and joy such as we cannot yet imagine here on Earth. And it is not too late for anyone to choose Christ. No one has sunk too low, or fallen too far, to be beyond the reach of the Lord Jesus Christ. Even in the great tribulation people will still be getting saved, but so much better to make that decision now. Just admit you are a sinner, accept his forgiveness, and follow him. God wants everyone to be saved and to know the truth (see 1 Timothy 2:3-4), his desire is for you!

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:13)

To learn more about becoming a Christian, or if you just have questions, please check out KnowGod.org. Do it today, before it is too late. For the hour is getting late.

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Vantage Point


Achieve, Goals, Succeed, Evaluate, Research For the Christian, I think one of the most important verses in the entire New Testament is Romans 12:2: “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” The reason for this is that we are not saved just so we can continue living, breathing, and thinking like we always have. We are saved for a purpose and with the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit our discernment and understanding grow and we experience radical change in our attitudes and our thinking. In other words, the Christian life is a life of transformation.

Paul instructs us, in his letter to the Philippians: “Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.” (Philippians 2:12,13) And again we are taught: “Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) There are plenty of Bible verses with similar messages, the bottom line of which is the call to be more than just saved, we are to be disciples, living to serve and to please God.

One of the most important transformations we undergo, as Christians, is in the area of our worldview. A worldview is the way we understand the world around us. If you have watched the evening news, read a newspaper, or surfed on-line news sources within the last few years, then you probably have heard the term and are aware that there are a few competing worldviews out there. But whether or not you have given much thought to your worldview; you can be confident in one thing: everyone has one.

Prior to becoming a Christian, my worldview would have been most closely associated with what is called “secular humanism”. Secular humanism is most easily defined as the worldview in which humans are the primary source of our values and understanding of the world. It is the worldview that is presented in public schools, certain science journals, and so on. Many new Christians may hold on to this worldview at first, but as we study God’s Word, get involved in our churches, and experience the power of the Holy Spirit, God starts to transform our thinking and we begin to understand differently. We start to be transformed.

The Christian worldview, of course, is quite different from the humanist view and that of other religions. Space in this blog doesn’t allow me to dig to deeply into all the facts and information on the Christian worldview, but at the bottom you will find some links to assist you with further study. For now, I would like to address four basic areas in which our worldview is so very vital. Again, due to space constraints, I can only present a basic overview here. There is much more information available by clicking the links at the bottom.

1) Origins

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) Human beings are a special creation of God, in his likeness, with special purpose and special relationship to our Creator. “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27) We are created beings and not the result of evolution from some primordial ooze or lower life form. It is only when we understand our true origin that we understand the special value that human life has and we comprehend that we are much more than the result of random molecular mutations. “Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!” (Genesis 1:31)

2) Purpose

So we are God’s special creation and, therefore, we must have purpose. But just what is that purpose? Simply put, our primary purpose is to glorify God.  We see this in many verses but I’ll just list a few of my favorites:

“What are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and honor. You gave them charge of everything you made, putting all things under their authority.” (Psalm 8:4-6)

“Honor the Lord for the glory of his name. Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.” (Psalm 29:2)

“So that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.” (Romans 1:5b)

“The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us the inheritance he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. He did this so we would praise and glorify him.” (Ephesians 1:14)

It is our status as God’s special creation and this purpose that highlights the inherent value in human life.

3) Morality

This is the area that is maybe the easiest to understand in concept, but often is the hardest to fully embrace in practice. The concept: that God created us and everything around us so, therefore, he establishes the rules, is clear enough. But the Bible is chock full of examples of disobedience, which should tell us something about the difficulty of obedience. Still, lack of obedience does not disqualify truth. Nor do our opinions about the rules.

In the secular worldview, society makes the rules; there is no eternity to consider and no true higher authority, so we are free to do whatever we feel is right. The rules society sets for itself are always subject to change based on the whims of the majority, or the minority if they have garnered for themselves enough power. There are no absolutes and no absolute authority.

In the Christian worldview, however, we have the Bible as our absolute authority, and we have a Living God as the ultimate judge. God made the rules and, like a loving parent, he established them in accordance with his purpose for us and to provide the best chance for our happiness. Psalm 119 speaks of living by God’s commandments; verses 1 & 2 say: “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts.”

The bottom line: Joyful are those who follow God’s instruction!

4) Destiny

Christians realize they are sinners and believe there is a God who will judge the world and, therefore, they recognize people are without hope apart from the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Romans 8:1 says: “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” The eternal destiny of the forgiven is, perhaps, the first element of a Christian worldview that a Christian grasps. And we understand the opposite is also true; those who do not have Christ are perishing. As it is written in 1 John 5:12: “Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.”

This is why Jesus gave us the great commission (ie: Matthew 28:16-20). And it is why growing in our understanding and worldview is so vital. Because “if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.” (1 Peter 3:15) Understanding the Christian worldview is important to being prepared to share our faith. And when we share our faith and live in obedience to Him; we fulfill our purpose of glorifying God. The truly good news for Christians is that we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to drive our desire to grow in our Christ-likeness and to give us discernment. And our understanding of the Christian worldview is certainly one barometer of our growth!

If you have not yet made the decision to repent and turn to Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, I appreciate that you have read this far. And since you have, why not make this the moment you claim the promise of Romans 8:1 and have all your sins forgiven. Just open your heart and talk to God, confess your wrongs, and ask his forgiveness. For… ”If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

For those of you wanting to know more about the Christian worldview, here are some resources:

Answers in Genesis

J Warner Wallace

Institute for Creation Research

The Christian Worldview

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Stealing Hope

child-1640159_960_720  The basis for the reality of the hope that Christians have is found in the Word of God, and that hope is derived from the understanding that the Bible relays a true story, with true theology that is authoritative. But the Bible is quite clear that in the last days (before the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ) there would be growing rejection of this truth (apostasy). It is made clear in Paul’s letter to the church in Thessalonica that apostasy will come first: Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For that day (the Lord’s return) will not come unless the apostasy comes first and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. (2 Thessalonians 2:3 CSB)

Perhaps the most notable verse in this regard comes from Paul’s second letter to Timothy: “You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!” (2 Timothy 3:1-5)

This is not only a prophetic verse, but a very descriptive one; Paul describes the behaviors that will result from the growing apostasy. He continues the characterization this way: “For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.”  (2 Timothy 4:3-4) So the Holy Spirit revealed in the Bible that apostasy would come and what it would look like; but what exactly, one might ask, is apostasy?

Dictionary.com describes it this way: a total desertion of, or departure from, one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc. This is a good general definition; but specific to Christianity, I think we can do a little better. There are basic core beliefs that define the true Christian faith, you can find a bit more detail on these in our statement of faith, but for our purposes here I will focus on just three of them:

  • All people are sinners and need God’s forgiveness.
  • Jesus Christ is Lord and the only way to forgiveness, and thus salvation, is through him. There is no other way. This means all other religions are false.
  • The Bible is the very Word of God and is inerrant in the original manuscripts and, as such, is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct.

Apostasy in the Christian sense, then, is abandonment of these cores beliefs. The next question that needs to be addressed is do we have growing apostasy in the present time that might signify the last days are coming? I think the answer is decidedly yes. Why do I believe that? Well, I see a real trend in society today that, in the words of Jan Markell, “emphasizes experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, spirituality over religion, images over words, and feelings over truth.” There is growing intolerance towards those who declare absolutes or who purport there is but one way to salvation. At least here in America, acceptance of the Christian message is on the decline.

This is quite visible even in some our churches. There are churches that do not teach from the Bible; others deny that hell is a real place where some people will spend eternity. There are churches ordaining people who are not Biblically qualified to be pastors and even some seminaries that have professors who do not even believe the Gospel. Bible translations are being brought forth with gender neutral language (instead of relying on accurate translation). And there are churches that refuse to acknowledge the Genesis creation account and subsequent fall of man.

A recent article in the Christian Post states that Americans are increasingly departing from core truths of the Christian worldview. The survey reports that a majority of Americans now believe that being a good person is sufficient to get them to heaven and that having some kind of faith is more important than the particular faith with which you align. A majority also responded that the Bible is not the authoritative Word of God. So in this survey alone, we see departure from the three core beliefs I identified above. Sadly, a sizable number of respondents in this survey identified themselves as evangelical Christians.

Apostasy, simply put, is rebellion against God. And it is a very real and dangerous threat that, as we see, is growing in today’s world at a very fast pace. Referring again to my short list above, please know that any teaching that advances a works-based message proposing that we can achieve salvation by our own good works, or a church that over-emphasizes social justice, is apostasy. Likewise, any teaching that all roads lead to heaven, or all religions are pathways to God, or that there is salvation in anyone other than Jesus, is most certainly apostate. Finally, anyone who dilutes the Word of God, denies all or a portion of Scripture, who gives equal weight to texts other than the Bible, or takes Scripture out of context is guilty of apostasy. There is no sugar coating it.

There are many, many other topics where apostasy may be evident, and many other aspects to understanding apostasy, space simply does not allow me to go into great detail here. If you do desire to learn more, this piece by Matt Slick at the Christian Apologetics & Research Ministry (CARM) is a great starting point: Apostasy in the Christian Church.

My purpose in writing this is to help people begin to recognize apostasy. And to encourage you to know that if you are grounded in the truth, then apostasy cannot take away the hope that you have (even though the world may seem to be crumbling before your very eyes). Quite the opposite, this growing apostasy is not a sign that things are falling apart, it is a sign that things are falling in place. Remember that those verses above are prophetic, and today we are seeing those prophecies fulfilled. So, then, these are signs of the times and they are signaling that the coming of our Lord is getting closer (though we cannot know exactly when).

Of most importance is assuring the integrity of our own personal faith such that we don’t succumb to those who would steal our hope with their apostate teaching. We can protect ourselves through regular and careful study of the Bible. The Bible says that “all Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16). We also do well to seek out a strong, Bible-believing church that has sound eschatology; which is the part of theology concerned with death, judgment, the final destiny of the soul, and the final events in history.

And if you have not yet placed your faith in Jesus Christ, please know that the Bible is absolutely true. The evidence supporting it is overwhelming; so close your ears to those who teach otherwise and accept the free gift of salvation today. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

For further understanding of eschatology and the growing apostasy, I recommend these resources:

Educating Our World

Olive Tree Ministries

Lamb & Lion Ministries

Here at Reign Drops, we’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Saints & Soldiers

undefined Two of my favorite fictional novels are This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti and The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. In the former, Peretti weaves together a very realistic storyline with a backdrop of the supernatural to form a cohesive plot that reveals the existence of the spiritual realms and the spiritual warfare occurring behind the scenes. It is an exciting page turner that I encourage you to read if you haven’t already.

Likewise, Lewis draws for us a behind the scenes picture of the ways the devil tries to manipulate events in our realm to his advantage. The Screwtape Letters is, essentially, a collection of 31 letters written by Screwtape, a devil, to his evil and rather incompetent minion, Wormwood. The book is both humorous and eye-opening. As I read it I started visualizing how some of the letters could be reflective of my own circumstances at the time.

Both of these literary works are fictional, yet they reflect a certain aspect of reality we all too often ignore….that there truly is a spiritual battle happening in real life. Behind the scenes, one could say, because we do not see this battle occurring with our eyes; but intrinsically, I think most of us at least suspect it is occurring. And if our suspicions aren’t enough to convince us, then the Bible certainly should; Paul tells the church in Ephesus about it: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)

This is not the only reference in the Bible to the battle that occurs in the spiritual realm. In the book of Colossians, Paul mentions how Jesus’ resurrection disarmed and publicly shamed the spiritual rulers and authorities: “In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross.” (Colossians 2:15) And Peter tells us to “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Clearly, there is more to life than what we see with our eyes. I honestly think even those who don’t believe in Jesus sense the spiritual realm, too, and some of them even try to tap into it through such evil practices as séances, Ouija boards, psychic readings, consultations with mediums, etc. While occult practices are nothing new, we see them condemned in the Old Testament (ie: Leviticus 19:31), there has been a rise in their practice in recent years. For example, those practicing Wicca have increased dramatically in the last 30 years. I would propose to you that this fact also supports the reality of the spiritual warfare that is occurring in the heavenly realms.

My perception is that the tumultuousness we see this year is a direct reflection of the battle occurring in the spiritual realm. Satan is mounting an offensive and we see the direct results in our current events such as the Covid 19 pandemic, the rioting and looting that occurred after the tragic incident in Minneapolis, the extreme political division that has found its way into our family relationships, our friendships, and even our churches. All of this points to the reality of Ephesians 6:12.

So what are we to do? Paul had the answer for the Ephesians and this answer is the same for us today: “Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Ephesians 6:13-18)

The battle is very real, though we do not see it directly. But victory is assured for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Do you belong to Christ? If not, why not make today the day of your salvation? God desires that you be saved and he longs for you to ask him. It is easy, start by getting alone. Take some time to truly reflect on your life and your need for God. You probably sense the spiritual battle already so you know this is real. After you have reflected and you feel it in your heart, say a prayer something like this: “Dear Lord, I know I have sinned and I know you are real. Please forgive me. Thank you for Jesus and help me make him Lord of my life that I might start living as a child of God. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

If you said that prayer today, the next step is to find a strong, Bible-based church you can attend regularly. Contact us and we’d be happy to help. Just drop us an email at: ReignDropsBlog@gmail.com

To learn more about a relationship with Jesus, please visit: KnowGod.org

For a bit more depth on God’s armor, read our blog: Battle Ready

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Honor Among Thieves

Honor Among Thieves  Leon had carefully prepared for his day. He had several stops planned on his route and wanted to be sure he had the proper look. He chose his new Wrangler jeans, his favorite Carhartt shirt, and his well-worn Red Wing boots. He topped off the look with his black USA flag baseball cap. He couldn’t completely avoid being seen by people today, but he didn’t want to stand out or be particularly memorable. Just an ordinary guy going about his ordinary business. He’d walked through this neighborhood a few times before, so he wouldn’t be an entirely new face, and he counted on that familiarity and his “every man” look to provide a sort of hidden-in-plain-sight kind of cover.

But someone did notice him today. As he walked up the driveway of 149 West Street and around the corner into the backyard, he caught the eye of old lady Brownswick. She lived across the street and she knew her neighbors were visiting Israel on vacation. Their dream vacation – walking where Jesus walked – and their excitement drove them to make sure everyone in the neighborhood knew; but especially Mrs. Brownswick. Because they knew she would keep good watch on their home during their absence. And that she did. So when she saw Leon slip around to the backyard, she immediately called the police.

And as Leon came back out of the house at 149 West Street, he walked almost directly into the arms of waiting police officers, who promptly placed him under arrest. In the normal course of the process, police searched Leon and found several of the ordinary items an adult male might carry, but one item in particular caught the arresting officer’s attention. It was a small piece of paper, folded neatly in Leon’s wallet. The officer unfolded the paper and found, much to his surprise, Leon’s personal code of conduct, a list of five rules he operated by:

  • Never steal from a single mom
  • Never kill anyone
  • Don’t hurt small animals; stay away from large ones
  • Don’t make a mess of people’s homes
  • Don’t feel guilty, insurance companies will pay for what you take

“Oh, here we have an honorable thief,” thought the officer, as he chuckled and starting showing the paper to the other officers on scene. They all had a good laugh and they mocked Leon without mercy as they placed him in the back of the patrol car. Those rules had served Leon quite well over the last three years, ever since he left his job as a jewelry store employee and started his criminal career. He knew how to spot high quality jewelry and stealing it made him far more money than selling it retail, at least until today. And thanks to those rules, he never had to feel guilty about any of it. At least, that’s what he thought at the moment, but that would soon change when he stood before the judge at his sentencing.

In case you’re wondering, Leon is a purely fictional character, made up to illustrate a point – that we are all kind of like Leon to some extent. For do we not all have our own “personal code of conduct” that guides our daily lives? And just as Leon tried to differentiate himself from other, less considerate and more violent criminals, do we not also compare ourselves to others who we feel are worse people than ourselves? Who among us has not thought himself or herself to be “mostly good” or “better than” another human being?

But the truth is, way deep down inside, we each know we have done wrong. So when we compare ourselves to others to feel better, are we not truly just pursuing honor among thieves?

The Bible tells us that “everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23) And even though we may not have specifically read God’s law, we demonstrate that it is written in our hearts when our own conscience and thoughts either accuse us or tell us we are doing right (see Romans 2:14-15). None of us would ever claim to another person that we are perfect, so we are being disingenuous if we claim, even to ourselves, that we are without sin. Therefore, we often resort to creating for ourselves a sort of curve upon which we hope God will grade us. “We may not be perfect, but at least we never….(insert name of some specifically horrible sin here).”

But even though our personal sins may be on what we perceive to be the minor end of the scale, a thief only has to steal one little thing to be labeled a thief. A liar only has to tell one small lie to be labeled a liar. And, indeed, the Bible tells us “the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws.” (James 2:10) So we know God doesn’t grade on a scale. He is a perfect, righteous, and loving judge and, as such, he must punish sin where ever it is found just like a just judge must impose a penalty even for a minor crime such as speeding. And if we claim we have no sin, or our sin is not as bad as someone else’s, we are only fooling ourselves, and it only shows that the truth is not in us. (see 1 John 1:8).

But the same holy and just God who must punish sin wherever it is found, loved us so much he paid the penalty on our behalf so that we do not have to suffer the eternal consequence. “For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) All we need to do to assure we avail ourselves of this love is to repent and believe. “In fact, it (The Bible) says, the message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart. And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” (Romans 10:8-11)

So don’t be like Leon and count on a favorable comparison of yourself to others; rather, trust in God’s Word and the ultimate love he has shown by paying our sentence for us. Make today the day you accept the free gift of salvation through Christ our Lord!

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.