the players need to know the rules in order to advance and score-- and avoid penalties.
the coaches need to know the rules so they can train the players to have great skill in advancing and scoring-- and avoiding penalties.
the referees need to know the rules so that the players can advance and score when they follow the rules. referees also penalize players, coaches, and even deal with spectators who violate the rules.
in the game of life and death, we have a book of rules.
we need to know the rules in order to advance and win, and to train others to advance and win.
we need to know the rules when we are in a position to encourage advancement and penalize wrong-doing. being peace-keepers is unsatisfactory; being truth-keepers is essential.
ultimately, we must all give account to the one who gave the rules.
anyone who has engaged in foul play, even if he arrives at the finish line, will find himself penalized; "depart from me," he will hear, "you went your own way and broke my laws."
anyone who has followed the rules, even in the face of apparent failure, will find himself a winner.
some "through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, were made strong out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. women received bac their dead by resurrection. some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. they were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated-- of whom the world was not worthy-- wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." (esv)
God takes our actions seriously. He has big plans, but He doesn’t HAVE to use us to accomplish them. He wants to offer us that joy, but we can skip out on it by choosing our own sin over His blessing. And the sad thing is, we might never know what He wanted to give us. What’s sadder is that maybe we will. --Benjamin Power