Who Decides?



We are fortunate to live in a country with the freedom to make choices, but everyone knows there is a standard of penalties imposed by the government when people choose to do bad things. There will always be people who do more bad things than others, and also some who do more good things. Sometimes the line is very clear, but sometimes people do things that don’t always result in penalties from the government, or there are questionable ethical behaviors that may be acceptable to some people and not to others (greed, selfishness, deception, envy, jealousy, immorality, etc...). Then what?!... Where is the line drawn... Who sets the standard? This leaves opportunity for people to create their own standards of what is good or bad... what is ethical or not ethical. That’s where God comes in. God weighs all the good and bad from everyone and says no one is perfect. It’s explained in the bible (Romans 3:10-12, 23). [verses included below from the New International Version...]


Considering the evidence, why put our confidence in anything or anyone else? It may be hard to believe the bible is actually God’s word since it’s a compilation of different texts from different authors over hundreds of years in ancient times, but that’s also a reason why it can be believed - since so many writers over time didn’t realize their individual pieces would fit together into the compilation we have today. In addition, witnesses of events (Luke 1:1-2, 1 John 4:14, 2 Peter 1:16) and references to actual kings and geographical locations can be cross-checked with other historical documents (such as the Roman empire & ruins of Ephesus in modern day Turkey). There may be disputes about accuracy and translation, but aside from some minor differences in versions, the key point is always the same: ~ God wants humans to know He’s in charge! ~


Being perfect is pretty much impossible, but God already knows that so he set up a method for people to know him personally through Jesus Christ (1Timothy 2:5-6). In other words... the God who created us, even while knowing people would reject him, decided to demonstrate His love for us first... providing a way for us to know him by sending Jesus (Romans 5:6-8). In turn, God wants us to compare ourselves only to Jesus instead of other people because no one else meets God’s standard of perfection (1Peter 2:22, 2Corinthians 5:21). And because Jesus was human, he knows how difficult our struggles can be (Hebrews 4:15). Only when comparing ourselves to Jesus can we recognize that all our efforts to be good still fall short of God’s standards.


God created everyone to know him personally, but he also gave people free will and many will choose to be their own god and decide their own fate. Unfortunately, being ones own god doesn’t end well. Everyone, whether they believe in God or not, will eventually have to answer for everything they have ever done, both good and bad (Ecclesiastes 12:14, 2 Corinthians 5:10).


Why did Jesus come?... because no one is perfect! We will never be perfect while living on this earth, but before we were born God loved us and sent Jesus to take the place for our judgment (Romans 3:24-25). How can we not live with a sense of gratitude for that gift! We will still have to answer for everything we have ever done, but to put it in relatable terms, Jesus is our attorney when we stand in judgment before God (Romans 8:16). Anyone who accepts being represented by Jesus will be able to be in the presence of a Holy God.


With all the crime in the world and all the things that people do to each other, it’s easy to recognize that evil still exists and will continue to obstruct people from the righteousness of God (Galatians 5:7, 13-17). There are also hypocrites who claim to know God but their actions show differently (Titus 1:16). Sometimes it’s impossible to imagine that everyone, both bad and good, can be forgiven... but it’s not our place to judge (Matthew 7:1-2).

~Not religion~

Many people practice ‘religion’ as a system of rewards, or an attempt to alleviate guilt, but the distortion of different religions based on procedures and the performance of deeds was created by man - not by God, and it is not what God intended (2Peter 3:16). Knowing the God who created us is not a ‘religion’. Knowing God is having a personal relationship with Him and is only possible because He understands us and gives grace and mercy to anyone who asks. Anyone can ask at any time, wherever they are (Psalm 145:18, 2Peter3:9). It’s as simple as saying: “God, forgive me for how I’ve rejected you in the past and lived for myself. Thank you for sending Jesus who died for me. Help me to know you better and live for you in the future”


Being good and doing good things will never make us perfect enough for God, but doing good things is (should be) a response of gratefulness for the sacrifice Jesus made for us. Someday God will fix it all, but in the meantime Jesus is the example to follow (2Corinthians 5:15, Romans 12).


The writer of this doesn’t claim to have all the answers, but the presence of God is real and has been felt many times in many situations by many people throughout history. The presence of God can be felt by anyone who wants to communicate with Him. However, feelings come and go... we don’t always feel the same all the time when living life day to day, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there or doesn’t care. Finding others who believe and teach from the bible about God and Jesus (such as in a church) is important to help grow and maintain focus. We all need encouragement at times, but it always comes down to our willingness to ask God for understanding of what He wants us to see instead of relying on ourselves. (Jeremiah 29:13, Proverbs 3:5-6)


(Reference Verses - New International Version unless indicated otherwise)


Romans 3:10 As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; 11 there is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.” 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God...”


Luke 1:1-2 “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.”


1 John 4:14 “And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.”


2 Peter 1:16 “For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”


1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”


Romans 5:6 “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”


1 Peter 2:22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.”


2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made him who had no sin to be a sin offering for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.”


Ecclesiastes 12:14 “For God will bring every deed into judgment, including every hidden thing, whether it is good or evil.”


2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”


Romans 3:24 “...and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood - to be received by faith.”


Romans 8:16 “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”


Galatians 5:7 “You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth?” 13 “You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. 14 For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.”


Titus 1:16 “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”


Matthew 7: 1 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. 2 For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”


2 Peter 3:16 “...which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do other scriptures, to their own destruction.”


Psalm 145:18 “The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.”

2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise... Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but [wanting] everyone to come to repentance.”


2 Corinthians 5:15 (New Living Translation) “He [Jesus] died for everyone so that those who receive His new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.”


Romans 12 (The whole chapter is a model for living... here’s a few highlights)

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.


Jeremiah 29:13 “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

Proverbs 3: 5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.”