Starting Points#3. “Choosing sides.”

Starting Points#3. “Choosing sides.”

I once heard a radio discussion about “Jesus and tolerance,” and was unsurprised at the direction of the conversation. The first guest presented Jesus as a “good man who accepted anyone, no matter what their beliefs.” The second guest, emboldened by this first, eagerly added, “I believe Christians misrepresent Jesus when they claim that he is the only way to heaven.”

Now, the New Zealand public radio network is as secular as any other that I have heard elsewhere, so what came next DID surprise me. The radio host, probably prompted by a text from a listener, proceeded to quote Jesus’ statement: “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters” (Mt.12:30). Silence ensued.

When Jesus invites us to “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me” (Mt.11:29), he thus excludes all other yokes and all other teachers. We are either “for him,” or “against him.” There is no neutral stance.

Jesus not only claims to be the exclusive embodiment of truth (Jn.14:6), but he also claims to be the exclusive owner of all who seek to be members of his body—the church (Jn.8:31; Col.1:18).

This can take some adjusting. We are trained to see our faith as being separate from all other affairs of life. Societal forces, be they family, work, school, club, or social media, allow us to believe as we see fit, so long as we keep it to ourselves.

It is by unshackling our souls from all that is not Biblical and binding ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder with Jesus that puts us in the exclusive domain of faith, hope, and love—Praise God!

James sums up the consequences of trying to be both “for and against” Jesus at the same time:

“You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore. whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (Jm.4:4).

So, from the start, when choosing sides, choose Jesus!

John Staiger

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