Est. May 2008

14 April, 2013

Playing The B-side

Back in the day, record companies would release ‘singles’ on 45 rpm records (for my younger readers, those are the smaller vinyl disks with the big hole in the middle of them).  The single was a popular tune you heard on the radio – sometimes incessantly.

That was the ‘A-side’.

On the other side of the record was usually another song by the same musician or band.  Unless you owned the single, you likely never heard the other side because the radio stations almost never played them and, often, those songs never even made it onto the album.

That was called the ‘B-side’.

If you pay attention these days to the many professional clergy and laymen (and women) who interpret and expound on the Bible, and if you own and have read your Bible, you can quickly note a similarity to the concepts of ‘A-side’ and ‘B-side’.  These modern Bible-thumpers (to borrow Bill O’Reilly’s latest self-imposed albatross) incessantly play the A-side of the Bible and almost never play anything at all from the B-side.

So what’s the A-side of the Bible?  Just listen to some popular preachers and you can figure it out: Jesus loves you, God loves you, God is a God of Love, Jesus is love, Jesus loves everybody regardless what they do, there is no such thing as hell (Rob Bell), God wouldn’t punish anyone, God loves sinners, what would Jesus do regarding a myriad of things…I think you get the picture.  It’s what I’ve called the ‘Care-Bear Jesus’ – a Jesus so loving and caring and innocuous that He’d never call out anybody for their sins.

Of course this is popular, since it requires little or no effort on the part of the ‘Christian’ to actually be a Christian.  Oh, if they do good works and care for the downtrodden and don’t say bad things about homosexuals and stuff, well, they’re just doing what Jesus would have done.  They don’t have to give up anything, because, don’t you know, Jesus died for your sins, so your sins are forgiven and all’s well with the world.

These folks need to play the B-side.

The B-side is the side where God’s justice is found, and the Bible is loaded with references to God’s justice.  You see, God hates sin, and just because Jesus died for your sins doesn’t mean you stay sparkling clean from the time you accept Him as your Lord and Savior – we all need regular cleaning from our sins (John 13:9-10; 1 John 1:8-10).  If we continue to sin, we show that our Christianity is a lie (1 John 2:3-6).  And we ought to know exactly what God considers to be sin, because sin is explained in the Bible.

But that explanation is on the B-side, and since that side doesn’t get played, we don’t hear it and learn it and take it to heart, and we can’t sing along like we can with the A-side of the 45.

It’s a hollow thing to only play the A-side of the Bible, because so much of the A-side is based on what’s on the B-side.  Jesus loves us; okay, so what?  Lots of people love me, why is Jesus’ love so much better?  Well, it’s because before He died on the cross, we weren’t all that lovable, what with being saturated and foul-smelling from sin. 

And why should God want to bless us?  After all, if we’ve been freed from and cleansed of our sin, why would He not bless us?  Because unless we consider where we came from – the fever-swamp of sin – and how we got out of it – through belief in Jesus as our Lord and Savior – there’s no reason to think God shouldn’t bless us.

And if there’s no hell (as Rob Bell and others would like us to believe), even if we don’t obey God, it’s not like we’re going to suffer for it, right?  Well, there is a hell, Jesus talked about it a lot, and if you profess to believe in Jesus you’re going to listen to and believe what He told you.

God does love sinners, but He loves them on His terms, and His terms include not sinning (John 8:1-11, especially verse 11).  Of course, the B-side tells us we can’t help but sin (Romans 3:9-18), but when we do, we have an Advocate before God to speak on our behalf (1 John 2:1-2).

In the case of the 45-rpm record of the Bible, the B-side, while not more important than the A-side, has to be heard and played on equal terms with the A-side, or you get only half the message.

And when it comes to eternity, getting the whole message is critical.

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