Several years ago I heard a preacher ask a very thought-provoking question that I have never been able to forget. The question went something like this:
During the Civil War in the United States, the North was motivated, in part, by the fact that slavery was evil and not in keeping with the way that God would want us to treat other people. The North reasoned that slavery was against God’s wishes, and they were carrying out God’s will. God, therefore, supported the efforts of the North.
The South was motivated, in part, by the fact that the Bible is full of examples of God’s people living in slavery, and the New Testament is full of examples of Christians both being and owning slaves. The South reasoned that slavery was in keeping with God’s wishes, and they were carrying out God’s will. God, therefore, supported the efforts of the South.
Whose side was God on?
I’ve never forgotten that question, mostly because of the discussion that arose afterward. Many Christians in this Bible class had no idea how to answer the question, mostly because of the way the question is worded. Let me reword the question for you: Did God’s will conform to the ideals of the North, or the ideals of the South?
Obviously when we ask the question this way, the answer is that God’s will doesn’t conform to anyone’s ideals! God doesn’t choose sides! God is God. God is unchanging! God is truth, his word is truth, and his word is eternal!
James 1:16-18 – New International Version (NIV)
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. 18 He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created.
This idea of God choosing sides came around again in Bible class tonight while discussing Saul and David both believing they were acting on God’s will (see 1 Samuel 23-26). Someone brought up the idea that if the United States goes to war with another country, there may be Christians fighting on both sides of the conflict. Who’s side is God on?
This idea of God choosing sides has also been circulating in the media recently with regards to Tim Tebow. Many are believing that God has decided to become a Bronco’s fan because of Tim Tebow, and in turn he allows them to win. I don’t know Tim Tebow personally, but I greatly respect his ability to live his faith in Christ while using his talents to honor God in a way that other people take notice.
The point is God doesn’t choose sides. People have the choice of being on God’s side or not, but the fact remains: God does not choose sides. God is not choosing to be on Tim Tebow’s side. Each one of us chooses what side to be on. Either we are on God’s side, or we are not. Each of us has been given the opportunity to understand God’s Word (1 Timothy 2:1-7), everything has been revealed so we have everything we need to know (Romans 16:25-27), and to have the ability to choose whether we will be on God’s side or not (Joshua 24:15).
Tim Tebow has made his choice. I have made mine. And believe it or not, you have already made your choice. Either you have chosen to follow Christ, or you have chosen not to. There’s no in-between. The good news is that if you don’t like your choice, you can change your mind! God gives us that freedom!
So, whose side are you going to be on?