My Armor 16: Are You More Kooky Than Christian?

My Armor 16: Are You More Kooky Than Christian? March 6, 2014

What does the Bible say about the number 666?

Revelation 13:16-18 (TLB)

He required everyone—great and small, rich and poor, slave and free—to be tattooed with a certain mark on the right hand or on the forehead. And no one could get a job or even buy in any store without the permit of that mark, which was either the name of the Creature or the code number of his name.  Here is a puzzle that calls for careful thought to solve it. Let those who are able, interpret this code: the numerical values of the letters in his name add to 666!

According to these verses, unless someone is mandating that you tattoo “666” on your forehead or right hand, these numbers have no real-world relevance to our lives today.

So why do so many Christians worry so much about the number 666?

This leads to another behavior too many Christians fall into today:  Legalism.

Legalism is basically raising the bar higher than even God does.  For instance, nowhere in the Bible does it say that you shouldn’t drink alcohol.  However, it does say that you shouldn’t get drunk.  So, if a Christian holds that Jesus followers should never drink at all, that’s legalism.

They are interpreting the Bible in a way that the Bible doesn’t want to be interpreted.

Now, the Bible does clearly address drunkenness:

1 Peter 4:1-5

Since Christ suffered and underwent pain, you must have the same attitude he did; you must be ready to suffer, too. For remember, when your body suffers, sin loses its power, and you won’t be spending the rest of your life chasing after evil desires but will be anxious to do the will of God.  You have had enough in the past of the evil things the godless enjoy—sex sin, lust, getting drunk, wild parties, drinking bouts, and the worship of idols, and other terrible sins.

Of course, your former friends will be very surprised when you don’t eagerly join them anymore in the wicked things they do, and they will laugh at you in contempt and scorn.  But just remember that they must face the Judge of all, living and dead; they will be punished for the way they have lived.

Now, if you have these things in your past, remember that Jesus is concerned about your next decision, not the decisions you’ve previously made.  So now is the time to live differently.

For more clarity on where the Bible sets the bar for us, we can read Galatians 5:16-24:

I advise you to obey only the Holy Spirit’s instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won’t always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.  For we naturally love to do evil things that are just the opposite from the things that the Holy Spirit tells us to do; and the good things we want to do when the Spirit has his way with us are just the opposite of our natural desires. These two forces within us are constantly fighting each other to win control over us, and our wishes are never free from their pressures.  When you are guided by the Holy Spirit, you need no longer force yourself to obey Jewish laws.

But when you follow your own wrong inclinations, your lives will produce these evil results: impure thoughts, eagerness for lustful pleasure, idolatry, spiritism (that is, encouraging the activity of demons), hatred and fighting, jealousy and anger, constant effort to get the best for yourself, complaints and criticisms, the feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your own little group—and there will be wrong doctrine, envy, murder, drunkenness, wild parties, and all that sort of thing. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

But when the Holy Spirit controls our lives he will produce this kind of fruit in us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,  gentleness and self-control; and here there is no conflict with Jewish laws.

Those who belong to Christ have nailed their natural evil desires to his cross and crucified them there.

This is incredibly ground-breaking Christian thought.  Especially for those of us who can look in the mirror and not see any of the evil-natured behaviors like those listed in 1 Peter 4.

The truth is, these “mirror verses” in Galatians compel us to take a good look at our own lives and ask ourselves, “Where do I fall in terms of this Biblical definition of good and evil?”

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