Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other” (Matt. 6:24). This statement being true, it is incumbent upon us all to make a choice. Just prior to the nation of Israel entering into the promise land, God told them through Moses, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live” (Deut. 30:19). After taking the land and just before his death, Joshua told them, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). We have to decide whether we will be on the Lord’s side or some other side. In reality, there are only two sides from which to choose. Shortly after the above statement, Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:13-14). One way leads to eternal life and all other ways lead to eternal destruction, which means that all other ways are the ways of Satan. Thus, one is either on the Lord’s side or Satan’s side and there are no other options. To put it in the words of Jesus, “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matt. 12:30).
While Moses was still on the mount receiving the law of God, the people below had turned from being on the Lord’s side and had turned to a golden calf that Aaron had fashioned for them. When Moses returned and saw the apostasy of the people, he “stood in the gate of the camp, and said, Who is on the Lord’s side? let him come unto me” (Exodus 32:26). The sons of Levi gathered with him, having chosen to be on the Lord’s side. They were then commanded to take their swords and slay their own people. It well may not be a popular side on which to be and it may not be a comfortable side upon which to be, but the Lord’s side is the right side. Some years later, after the dividing of the nation of Israel into Israel and Judah, Jehu was chosen by God to be the king of Israel and that he was to slay the evil king Ahab and his family, including his evil wife Jezebel (II Kings 9:5-10). When Jehu went to Jezreel where Jezebel was, “…he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs. And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down” (II Kings 9:32-33). Jehu’s side was the Lord’s side, and these eunuchs chose the Lord’s side. As both the Levites and those two or three eunuchs, we must choose the Lord’s side.
But, what does being on the Lord’s side require of us? As noted already, it may not be a popular or comfortable position to take, but what does it mean to be “with him” rather than “against him”? It certainly has nothing to do with being in the same geographical location. There were two thieves crucified with Christ, one on each side of Him. Both were with him geographically, but one of those was with Him and one was against Him.
In being with the Lord, one must have faith that He is the Son of God with power. Jesus said, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). But, that faith in Christ must be accompanied with obedience to Him, since as He said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). He is not one’s “Lord” if that person refuses to be obedient to Him. Jesus said, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
In being with the Lord, one must have the same aim as did the Lord. One could sum up the aim of Jesus when on earth as falling into two categories, to do the will of God and to save souls. Jesus told His apostles, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34). As in the garden of Gethsemane, He was known to say, “…not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Though a part of doing the will of the Father, Jesus stated, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
When we combine the above, we see that if we will truly be “with the Lord”, we will have to set aside our likes and dislikes and submit to the will of God. We will have to be obedient to the gospel of Christ if He is to be our Lord. Dedication, servitude and sacrifice to “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords” (I Tim. 6:15) will be required of us. Our whole life will then be a life of service to Him. This service will include learning the gospel, obeying the gospel and then teaching others that “power of God unto salvation” (Rom. 1:16). Choose the Lord’s side!
Robert Oliver is pastor of The Church of Christ and a long-time columnist for The Sampson Independent. Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org.