"Uniting Christian & Jewish Clergy from Around the World"
Every day we are faced with choices. Some of them have major impact on our lives and our families and some have little or no impact except to determine our dress, what we eat, etc. There is a choice that is truly a life changing choice. Bob Dylan stated it openly in saying, “You may serve the Devil or you may serve the Lord, but you have to serve somebody.”
This sums up the choice that has been around since the Creation where Eve and Adam both decided that they needed to serve Satan. The result was the loss of Paradise and the idyllic life that came with following their Creator. We know little about their life after Eden, only the beginning of their family. Paul writes of their legacy in Romans, “Since by Adam sin entered into the world and through Adam all men/women are in sin. This sin is disobedience to God and places humankind in a bondage to the Devil.
Many try to excuse this by saying that they are a good person or God would never condemn anyone to the fires of Hell or it only matters if you are sincere in your faith or even the outright denial of the existence of God. We hear that there are only shades of grey and that that which seems good may be bad that what may seem bad may be good. In offering these excuses the choice has already been made and the life path determined. In society and culture it points to the degradation and decline of life as we would desire.
There is, however, another choice made available through the grace and love of God. Joshua puts the choice directly to the people when he said, “Choose you this day whom you shall serve! As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” This is the choice that leads to life, new life that leads to service to God. For the best exposition of this consequence of following God I would refer you to Romans 8. For it is in Christ, the second Adam, that God has moved to restore righteousness in His Creation.
Indeed the choice of committing oneself to Christ serves two purposes. First and foremost it is the outcome of repentance and faith. It is really a process of dying to the world of Satan and being raised to new life in Christ. Having gained this new citizenship in God’s New World, the believer begins a process of cleansing and strength building in order to be able to maintain the choice of faith.
Secondly it leads to a point where the believer can experience the power and fullness of God in life. At this point even though tempted it is possible to live above the power of sin. Thus the believer who fully surrenders to God is able to keep the supreme commandment of “Loving God, loving humankind, and loving oneself”. In this new life, serving God becomes a joy and the suffering that might be encountered is met with the Risen Christ who strengthens, helps and uplifts.
So the choice that is before all of humankind is clear: Serve God or Serve the Devil. To serve God is more than a ritual, a penance or a church membership. It is a life, indeed, new life in Christ that we might live with the presence of God within our hearts as our bodies become a Temple of the Holy Spirit.