Christian BoyLove Forum #65985
One of the advantages of going to a church that uses a lectionary - i.e. a schedule of what passages of scripture to read on each day of the year - is that you get exposed to verses that you don't remember ever reading before. This happened to me on Sunday: the reading was from Heb 13. This includes:
4 Let marriage be held in honour by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.
There's a common view that the God of the Old Testament and the one revealed in the New Testament are radically different. One of the areas where this is most apparently obvious is in the way that the Old Testament sees God acting in active judgement on lots of people. 'But that's not the way of Jesus'. Yeah - right; read Mt 24 and 25 and say that - that's all about people being judged at the end of the world. However there are even examples of judgement occurring in the church: Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5) being one of the more challenging passages, whilst the story of the death of Herod in Acts 12 also tends to come as a surprise:
20 Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon. So they came to him in a body; and after winning over Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for a reconciliation, because their country depended on the king’s country for food. 21 On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat on the platform, and delivered a public address to them. 22 The people kept shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a mortal!’ 23 And immediately, because he had not given the glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.
One of the most fundamental questions in theology is: 'Why do you believe what you believe?' The temptation is to shape our faith to what we are comfortable with, and therefore not engaging with the true God. In the perspective of eternity, the reality that we all face of looking back one day after we've died on the life we lived here, pretending to ourselves that the uncomfortable bits aren't true is going to look rather silly. If we are lucky God will forgive us our mistake, but it's a bad idea to presume on that...