Reading the right instructions

Valentin Celan (guest columnist)

Last November consumers called for a boycott of Amazon.com for selling an e-book entitled The Pedophile's Guide to Love and Pleasure. Although currently it can no longer be found, as Amazon may have given in to public outcry, at first they defended their stance by saying: "Amazon believes it is censorship not to sell certain books simply because we or others believe their message is objectionable. Amazon does not support or promote hatred or criminal acts, however, we do support the right of every individual to make their own purchasing decisions." Should businesses and individuals feel okay about doing anything, as long as they have the "right" to do so? What does the Bible say?

While pedophilia is not specifically named in the Bible, two scriptures (Ephesians 5:3 NIV, Matthew 18:1–10 NIV), clearly show God's stance on the matter. In fact the Bible has much to say on the overall topic of sexual purity and impropriety, but that's not what I want to focus on here.

I know this may sound strange, especially to democratic and freedom-loving Westerners, but did you know that a genuine Christian willingly gives up his "right to choose for himself," and "freedom to do what he wants," when he repents and is baptized? That's because he has come to understand his true nature, abhor it, and is willing to unconditionally surrender and seek God's will in all things. That's not to say this struggle and victory is accomplished right after baptism, in fact, it's a lifelong process.

God has given us free will, yet He wants us to voluntarily and consistently put His will as a higher priority than our own. Even Jesus Christ was submissive to the will of God the Father. Should we not, as followers of Christ, do the same? Make a Bible study on the topic of "my will, my rights and my responsibilities as a Christian." To help you get started with a glimpse of how these things tie together, here are just a few relevant references: Jeremiah 17:9–10, Romans 6, 7 and 8; Romans 12:2; James 4:6-8; Luke 22:42; John 15:10 and Hebrews 5:7–9.

So, why are we being bombarded with increasingly objectionable things from every angle—whether from books or movies, school or work? This is what happens in a society where we have too much emphasis on "rights," but not on wrongs: when we are taught "moral relativism" rather than morality, when "political correctness" trumps correctness and when we pride ourselves on the "freedom to make our own choices" rather than the liberty of avoiding sin's consequences.

Quite frankly, behind all of this deception is the current ruler of this world, Satan the devil and his fellow demons (1 John 5:19; Revelation 12:9). Although, from the first man—Adam—onwards we have overall rejected God's will and authority to seek our own ways, thankfully an all-loving God has not completely cut Himself off from mankind, because He's given us His instruction manual, the Bible, clearly defining right and wrong and "the Way" that will never change (John 14:16; Hebrews 13:8).

Also, Christ has established on this earth His church, a little flock, which will prevail all the way up to Christ's second coming (Luke 12:32; Matthew 16:18). God's law is a reflection of His character of love that shows us how to be more god-like, ultimately, literally in the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50–54). It sets a safety rail that helps us avoid suffering and enjoy happiness (Proverbs 29:18).

When we start thinking of God's law as an obstruction to our "rights" and start rationalizing and justifying our bad choices as our "freedoms," we're only hurting ourselves and those around us. God tells us in Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25: "There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death." Like a parent, when God says something twice in a row, He really wants us to pay attention!

While I'll probably still continue to shop at Amazon.com for now, I surely won't be buying books like: I am the Market: How to Smuggle Cocaine by the Ton, in Five Easy Lessons. One day, as kings and priests in the Kingdom of God, ruling on this earth (Revelation 5:10), we will have more than the opportunity to boycott or "vote with our dollars"; we will have the power to stop people and businesses from selling "how to tolerate or practice evil" instruction manuals.

God speed that day!

To learn more about this wonderful world tomorrow please request our free booklet The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? and to learn more about giving up your right to choose your will ahead of God's, please request our free booklet: Christian Baptism: Its Real Meaning.