From the Pastor’s heart                                   What’s wrong with Mary?

The angel stood in front of Mary and said; “You will be with child”. This was impossible because she had known no man and she was a virgin. How was this to be? What would be the reaction of society? Mary became pregnant just as the angel had said and also because she had agreed that it would be so, even as she knew God had spoken through the angel. The one who she was betrothed too was a just man. He had come to know of her pregnancy but was not about to expose her. He had no idea as to how she had become pregnant but because of his great grace, he was going to do everything he could to save her the trouble of facing society. He was going to put her away quietly in another place. He was visited in a dream and told not to do that, so he didn’t.

 

In today’s society, promiscuity and freedom of having children out of marriage is not considered as wrong. Almost nothing is considered wrong in society, except when its own standards are not met. The debate about morals is one of complexity. What if one level of society has a certain standard of morals which the other levels do not have? Who is right about morals and decency? Apparently, the answer is, whoever is stronger in voicing their opinion. No longer is gay marriage an issue in many so called developed nations. It is accepted and even promoted through a minority who have some how swayed the majority in government to legalise it. Other countries are having serious debates about gay marriages. Yet the same governments would frown on a legal age limit before one can have sex. That moral has not stopped the proliferation (explosion) of juvenile sex. The pendulum always swings the way the loudest voice speaks.

 

If morals are judges of a society’s worth and what constitutes to value in human living, then, we have no human or spiritual standard by which to judge these things because the Bible is not considered as a standard. Religion, Culture, and the loudest voices among other considerations in society decide morals. Not many people actually want to know what God thinks about the matter. The many religions in force also confuse the issue immensely by their input, hence, a moral standard that is applicable to all is not possible. This leaves society in great disarray, with many problems following the individual’s choice of morals in life. Yet, we find that when it comes to enforcing moral discipline, difficulty faces even the best of standards in place. Prisons are full of people from all levels of society who have committed some act of crime that defies human morals as set by society. Even in prison, there is a set of morals that one must abide by or face the consequences.

 

As I look at the dilemma that faced Mary, her problem was even greater than most because she could not really explain how she as a virgin could become pregnant and worse still, claim that God Himself had impregnated her with a child. Yet, we have millions believing in this story of how it all happened to Mary. What is wrong with Mary? What is wrong is, what we do not understand as the truth of God’s interactions with humans for the purpose of making Himself known to mankind. To think outside the box of human understanding, requires us to go past our own consciences and come to a place of understanding that defies any logic of human understanding. It requires us to accept an account of this incident by faith to determine whether it is true. The moment we do that, we seem to encounter this same scenario that Mary went through. The same impregnation of Jesus takes place in us and we are questioned too. What is wrong with you?

 

The new birth of a spiritual child in the sense of spiritual awakening is like a child be born into this world. The only difference is, the person that is having a spiritual awakening is someone from this world being born again into another world as a child. So, if we reverse the birth of Jesus, we see God being born into this world in the form of Jesus to save the world and help us to be re-born into His world through Jesus. What is wrong with that? For those who were born again in this manner, it would seem that nothing is wrong at all. In fact, it would appear that it was the best thing that could have happened to them. Not only are they assured of a life after death that does not carry any more pain and suffering, but actually embraces a new set of morals that decline worldly standards of morals as being acceptable anymore. This makes Christians consistently different. The Bible only teaches one set of morals for each Christian society. There is only one voice and His voice is the strongest. His name is Jesus.

 

The Pharisees bring a woman taken in adultery to Jesus. To them, she had broken moral standards and hence punishable by death through stoning. They brought her to Jesus to see what He would say as He was doing so many miracles and was purporting to be the Messiah of the new moral standard for all of mankind. Jesus tells them to cast the first stone if they have no sin in them. Nobody does and neither does He. He subsequently forgives her and tells her to sin no more. Was He changing the moral standard or was He doing something else? I believe, He was saying; morals are not the standard of judgement about a person but forgiveness for breaking moral code was. Mercy and grace operating against moral standards was unique because a sinner by right was to die. Jesus was not advocating breaking moral standards set by God. On the contrary, He was giving everyone an opportunity to walk in righteousness based on His righteousness before God because no human could be perfect. In other words, people were considered by Him as fallible, able to make mistakes and break every code under the sun that is set by God or man. In order to overcome this weakness, Jesus spoke of forgiveness and restoration to righteousness not morals. As soon as righteousness becomes the new moral standard, we realise that attributed righteousness automatically leads a person to conviction of sin to right themselves by repentance and forgiveness. If they persist in unrighteousness, they will even break the code of forgiveness because they persist in sin. Sin based on human moral standards brings death to the individual by virtue of what God has decreed. Furthermore it confuses the issue of who is acceptable in society.

 

I believe that moral code is a difficult concept because it alienates and divides. Righteousness on the other hand has only one outcome before God. You are either righteous before Him or not. I am for a God who forgives us without judging us and who extends grace as a long arm of patience till all come into the fulfilment of righteousness. That does not mean everyone will. Many will fall short of the requirements of righteousness because it is based on His will. Suppose the woman taken in adultery went straight back to her adultery even after being forgiven, she could die in her sin and lose out on salvation. However, if she repented again, she could be forgiven by God depending on her heart condition of righteousness before Him. Mat 18:21Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Mat 18:22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. This seems to be an awful number of times to forgive someone who consistently sins. The practicality of it is astounding. Yet, Jesus forgives us for the many sins we commit and it seems to me that they are more then seventy times seven. How many sins does Jesus forgive us of in a lifetime? I do not think He keeps count. At the end of the day, it is about righteousness Act 10:35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The emphasis is on working righteousness.

We began with a very controversial subject of Virgin birth and its effects on morals as considered by society. I think God was trying to get our attention to His righteousness and not ours. He could have walked into humanity or come in some other spectacular way. Yet, He came with the intention of breaking human reasoning to bring in His own reasoning. He was not bothered about whether it would be accepted. All He said was; anyone who did not accept His Son as their Lord and God would not make it to heaven.

 

Once we accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then we are expected to walk in the righteousness of God and not the morals of man. The righteousness of God then is a standard that the Holy Spirit convicts us of and we are subject to that righteousness. Forgiveness follows repentance and repentance follows the realisation of sin. Sin becomes evident when we recognise it through the revelation of God’s word and Spirit. Otherwise sin remains hidden and man goes about setting his own moral standards. When we realise that God’s standards are completely different, we can make ourselves to walk in righteousness which then become acts of righteousness on our part. God does not say we get into heaven purely based on His righteousness but on subsequent acts of righteousness that we appropriate through Jesus by the recognition of what is acceptable to Him through His Spirit.

This changes everything in this world because of His standards. When the devil sends a flood of evil to break society down, God raises a standard that is Jesus (His word). How else are we to judge one another and cause ourselves to walk in righteousness? There is nothing wrong with Mary or you if you believe?

 

Lots of love                             

Pastor Noble