Negatives and Positives

There is a popular concept that has spread rapidly throughout the church here in America, and perhaps in other nations, too, and that is that to teach on sin, righteousness, holiness, judgment, obedience, repentance, and submission to God as Lord is regarded as negativity, and it is something to be avoided. And to teach on the blessings and promises of God, without teaching on the conditions to be met for those promises to be fulfilled, is considered positivity, which is to be embraced. But is this right? Is it biblical?

Well, first of all, let me say that this is not a new concept. The prophets of the Old Testament dealt with this same attitude in their day:

“For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD; who say to the seers, ‘Do not see,’ and to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel’” (Isaiah 30:9-11 ESV).

“…I have become a laughingstock all the day; everyone mocks me. For whenever I speak, I cry out, I shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’ For the word of the Lord has become for me a reproach and derision all day long. If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name,’ there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.” (Jeremiah 20:7-9 ESV).

So, in the early hours of the morning I got to thinking about these words “negative” and “positive,” and so I looked them up in the dictionary. The first thing that jumped out at me is that if you are being tested to see if you have a sickness or a disease of some kind, a reading of “negative” is actually positive, because it means you are not sick. And a reading of “positive” is literally negative because you learn that you do have the virus or illness.

I also learned this about negative: “Marked by denial, prohibition, or refusal.” “Adverse, unfavorable.” “Lacking positive qualities, i.e. disagreeable.” “Marked by features of hostility that hinder or oppose constructive treatment or development.” “Not affirming the presence of a condition, substance, or organism suspected to be present” (MW Dict.).

Compare to the Scriptures

Now if we compare this to the Scriptures we will learn that denial of Christ as Lord and refusal to submit to him and to turn from your sins and to obey him is wrong. It is bad. It is harmful. It is against and contrary to the grace of God which delivers us out of our slavery to sin and which gives us new lives to be lived for the glory of God. And it is hostility against God, and it is an unwillingness to acknowledge and to genuinely repent of one’s sins.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-10; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

So, it isn’t the teachings on repentance, obedience, and submission to the Lord which are negative. What is negative is teaching that you can believe in Jesus (unexplained), have your sins forgiven, be guaranteed heaven when you die, but that your lifestyle does not have to change. Yet, many are teaching this as a positive and are rejecting the truth as a negative. But if you keep on in your sin, you will not have eternal life with God.

Are you following me? So, a reading of positive, by the teachings and opinions of many people today, is really a negative, for it shows that you have the disease, that you are still dead in your sins, and that you are headed for hell without hope of salvation from sin or eternal life with God. And a reading of negative is really a positive because it teaches you what is required by God for you to have true salvation and eternal life with God.

So, what I am saying here is that the majority of what is being taught today with regard to the gospel of Christ and the teachings of Scripture is being taught as something positive because it allows people to continue living in their sins while giving them the hope of heaven when they die. It doesn’t confront them in their sins or call them to repentance or tell them that they must obey the Lord, so they see that as positive and encouraging.

But is it? No! For if you lie to people and you tell them that they can merely make a profession of faith in Jesus Christ and be secured heaven for eternity while they continue in deliberate and habitual sin, you have just cursed them to spending eternity in hell. There is absolutely nothing positive about that at all. It just makes people feel good about themselves and it doesn’t offend them with the truth. But you have just destined them to hell.

But if you are actually teaching people the truth of the gospel, although you may be falsely accused of being “negative,” what you are telling them has the only chance of leading them to genuine salvation from sin and true hope of eternity with God. And so it is positive and it is encouraging, in reality. It is just that most people don’t see it that way for they have been brainwashed to see the truth as negative and the lies as positive.

So, please, I would encourage you here to read the Scriptures in their full context and to not rely on the teachings of other humans to tell you what is truth or what is positive and negative. I would recommend you reading from Matthew all the way through the book of Revelation word for word, and phrase by phrase, letting the Holy Spirit speak truth to your hearts. For many lies are being spread as though they are truth, and the real truth of the gospel is being cast aside as negative and as something to be avoided.

Have Thine Own Way, Lord

Words by Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
Music by George C. Stebbins, 1907

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me!

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