Were They Right?

Were They Right?
 
When I was a teenager my youth leaders used to share a principle called, “The Slippery Slope”.  There were two main aspects found in the principle.  The first was that since sin was so destructive, we should not be involved in activities that had the propensity to lead to sin.  So, do not go to movies and fill your mind with ideas about how to sin (and do not support the companies that made worse movies than the ones you were going to), do not dance, do not drink, and do not ever be in the back seat of a car with a member of the opposite sex.  It was never taught that these things would make you righteous, that was legalism, but it was taught that if you give in to these they would lead you down a slippery slope to sin. The other aspect of this principle was that the church was twenty years behind the world.  What the world promoted as OK now would be OK with the church in twenty years.  The world would go on to deeper and more evil sins and the church would follow in twenty years.  The Bible was not the ultimate standard of morality.  Not being like the world was the real standard.
 
Even as young people we argued against the Slippery Slope principle because it was not biblical.  We  argued that the Bible was from God and therefore wise enough to say what a sin was and what a sin wasn’t.  Since the Bible does not argue against movies, then it is fine for a believer to go to movies. Usually the line drawn was at R rated movies.  The Bible did speak of nothing evil before our eyes.  The Bible does not forbid the drinking of alcohol but it forbids getting drunk.  We argued that being Christlike was not simply about following rules but about our hearts.  We could be godly and get a beer.  Christianity was defined by who we are more than by what we do not do.  Life is about grace and being set free.
 
As I grow older, though, I am beginning to think that maybe my youth leaders were more right than I give them credit for.  While I still have to be true to the Word of God and admit that movies and a beer are not sins, I also must recognize that we are not talking about that kind of behavior among Christians anymore.  How many of us have not said recently, “It was a good movie except it had a lot of language or a little bit of nudity?”  How many of us are way past having an occasional beer and have found ourselves on the wrong side of tipsy?  Maybe we have even driven home when we know that we shouldn’t have.  Have we taken the world’s view of sex and just cleaned it up a little bit?  We do not sleep around, we only sleep with the one we will eventually marry.  We don’t “go all the way” but we go farther than what we know the Bible teaches.
 
I believe it might be time for us to reconsider what the Bible means when it says that we are to “be holy”.  What does it mean when God tells us to be pure?  How are we to live lives that are worthy of the calling that we have received?  To be honest, I do not remember my youth leaders using the words holiness or purity too often.  Often the Slippery Slope principle was more about not making the same mistakes they made.  That is not a big enough standard to live by.  We all are going to make mistakes and desire to live life to the fullest.  We must get back to understanding a biblical definition for living life to it’s fullest.  We must repaint the picture of what it means to live in pure joy and fullness as we grab for that which is eternal. We must regain the truth that our freedom and liberty, that was bought by Christ, was not so that we could walk as close to the old flesh as possible, but was given to us to be able to fully serve and worship his beauty.  We are free from the bondage of sin and therefore we can now richly live in holiness.  
 
Picture it this way, we die and go to heaven.  We sit down with Jesus.  We thank him, over and over again for his great love and sacrifice.  We speak of what we were and what he has made us now.  We speak of our deliverance from eternal destruction.  We can’t believe we are in heaven now.  He then asks us how we used that freedom he bought for us.  We explain to him how freeing it was to go to a movie and have a beer without guilt.  We speak nothing of our freedom to pursue him.  We speak nothing of the freedom from the grasp of this world so that we could serve him throughout the world.  We speak nothing of the insights into his word and how it loosened our grip on that which was temporary.  We simply share the freedom from guilt we felt when we drank a beer or went dancing.  Not sure those freedoms are equal to the price he paid for us to be able to live our life to the fullest.  Maybe it is time we have a discussion about holiness and what we are really called to in this life of Christ?

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