God's way or Destruction

John 5:
1 Afterwards Jesus returned to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish religious holidays.
2 Inside the city, near the Sheep Gate, was Bethesda Pool, with five covered platforms or porches surrounding it.
3 Crowds of sick folks - lame, blind, or with paralyzed limbs - lay on the platforms (waiting for a certain movement of the water,
4 for an angel of the Lord came from time to time and disturbed the water, and the first person to step down into it afterwards was healed).
5 One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years.
6 When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, "Would you like to get well?"
7 "I can’t," the sick man said, "for I have no one to help me into the pool at the movement of the water. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me."
8 Jesus told him, "Stand up, roll up your sleeping mat and go on home!"
9 Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking! . .
14 . . Afterwards Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; don’t sin as you did before, or something even worse may happen to you."

We have considered the seemingly strange question Jesus asked: "Would you like to get well?"
Yesterday we looked into the response of the man to that question.
Today there's something even more startling:
14 . . Afterwards Jesus found him in the Temple and told him, "Now you are well; don’t sin as you did before, or something even worse may happen to you."

One way some will read this verse, is that God visited a severe judgement upon this man because he went off the right course in life. God is therefore seen as a harsh judge.
However, there is another way of viewing this statement of Jesus: that is to realise that everything we do as we live, has certain consequences.
God had given His people rules for living which were meant to keep them safe in body and mind, in a world where not many medications were available. Many of these were life-style rules. This man had evidently stepped outside these life-style rules which God had set down, and as a consequence, he had become crippled.

When God sets out rules, human beings can view them in one of two ways:
either we can see rules as prison walls which God put up to cramp our style and keep us from enjoying life;
or we can see His rules as boundaries of protection for us, which will enable us to live a life which will be a blessing in the earth.

In other words, depending on our life-style choices, we can either create more problems for those around us, or become part of the solution and thus a blessing to those around us.
This man had viewed God's rules as prison walls, and had decided to try enjoying his life outside of God's boundaries, and he had discovered the awful consequences of that.
The attitude of the Lord Jesus was to show him great mercy, and so Jesus forgave him and healed him.
Then came the warning!

Have you done anything for which you have suffered the consequences?
Then you need to know that God's time for judgement is still in the future and you can still appeal to the Lord Jesus to forgive you and heal you.
But then comes the warning: if you don't change your lifestyle and set your life seriously in God's direction, you may fall into something worse, and suffer even worse consequences than before.
The truth is this:
there are really only two choices: God's way or destruction.
What will you choose?

Lord Jesus, I come today to ask Your forgiveness for leaving Your path in life, and putting myself on the path of destruction.
I have failed really badly and I am ashamed before you and also before those who love me.
My desire and decision is to turn my life in the direction of Your commandments for living.
Lord Jesus, I open my life to You and ask that You forgive me of my sins and heal me of these consequences because I want to bring You great glory with my life from this point on.
This request is not just insincere words, but the true determination of my heart.
I ask these things putting my faith firmly in Jesus Christ the Lord,

See you tomorrow, God willing,
for another meditation on God's Word!
Be blessed as you pursue Him today!


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