A motorist removed a barricade and road closure sign from a road shut by a landslide before driving “directly” into a large hole in the roadway, Tillamook County [in Oregon] sheriff’s officials said in a news release.
“This has been an ongoing problem, with people removing the barriers and driving on the closed portion of the road,” Deputy Ben Berger said in the release. “Obviously it is extremely dangerous.” [emphasis added]
The above, while seemingly incomprehensible, truly happened as reported by the Sacramento Bee on January, 21st, 2024.
As I read the account, a thought kept entering my mind: how alike to the human heart this story hits. We, and I place myself in this category, constantly remove (or attempt to remove) the barricades God places in our path for our own good.
The human condition reflects “an ongoing problem.” God pleads with us: “don’t go that way.” He even obstructs our way with a warning: “down that road lies pain and eventual death.” We, thinking we know better than God in what is best for us, remove the barricade and immediately fall into holes (sin).
In this article, I share some of the warnings God gives us for our own good and the good of others. May we listen to Him and therefore avoid unnecessary holes.
The First Warning
The first warning appears in Genesis 2:17.
…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
In the account of Adam and Eve, God creates the world (and them) good. Not interested in creating meat robots, God provides our first parents with choice. Here, the choice seems innocuous: don’t eat that fruit. However, a far more profound reality plays out than just unlawful fruit consumption. In truth, the choice God gives Adam and Eve is His will or their will; Him or them. Tempted, they removed God’s barricade and fell into a hole.
Moreover, we next see God providing not one, but ten warnings.
- I am the Lord your God: You shall not have strange Gods before me.
- You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
- Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
- Honor your father and mother.
- You shall not kill.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
- You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
For the record, the Protestant list varies slight. For the reasons why, and to see that list, click here.
Here, God places definitive lines in the sand. Worship God alone, and not in vain. Treat others with dignity: honor parents, do not kill, commit adultery, lie, steal, or covet. Jesus summed up the ten warnings into two:
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
If we fail to heed these warnings, we again choose ourselves over God. Furthermore, we harm ourselves and others. We, like the driver of the car in Oregon, take others into the hole with us.
St. Paul Warning
Those within the Church ought not reflect the values of the world. St. Paul, in 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 warns of the dire consequences for those who fall into sin.
Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
However, many in our current culture seek to redefine or remove some of the barricades set by St. Paul. Our materialist culture celebrates greed and a lifestyle focused on partying and sexual immorality (body counts). Governments misuse the hard-earned money of their citizens through incompetence and aggressive taxation. Public “intellectual” elites seek to redefine human sexuality and “authoritatively” remove God’s barricades, thereby escorting as many people as possible into the hole of sin and exclusion from the kingdom of God.
Warning about False Teachers
Sadly, some, even within the Church, buy into the removal of God’s barricades. The Scriptures refers to these individuals as “false teachers” and adds a “woe” to them who seek to lead others astray, especially children.
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. (Luke 17:1-2)
Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. (Acts 20:28-30) [emphasis added]
How many in our current world “call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness”? How many in our Church support intrinsic evils, like abortion and euthanasia, or put those in power that continually support such evils, all in the name of “freedom of choice?”
Moreover, those who advise or instruct others, especially the young, to participate in intrinsic evil also qualify as false teachers. These false teachers go before those they instruct to remove barricades meant for protection. With a wink, they declare the treacherously hazardous road safe for travel. Woe, indeed, unto them…
From Warnings to Hope…
So, what if we fall into the hole, whether tricked or not? What if we, like the drivers above, thinking we know better than God, remove His protections? Does God leave us in the hole? No. Thank God, no.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
Therefore, if we fall into sin, we only need confess it. Now, this confession involves more than just a “my bad, God.” A true confession involves the act of confession, sorrow for sin, a firm purpose of amendment (go and sin no more), and absolution. Unfortunately, many do not learn and again fall into familiar holes, yet God still offers a way out and a fresh start.
To conclude, allow me to reiterate that the holes we fall into, we fall into unnecessarily. Since the beginning, God placed barricades before us as a warning that “danger lies ahead.” We, in our “wisdom,” think we know better than the all-knowing Creator, or we convince ourselves God does not exist; therefore, His barricades likewise do not exist.
May we heed His warnings, and when we fall in the hole, accept His assistance to get out of it.
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