Debate is more acceptable than a big stick. The Bible does encourage us to reason. However, there has to be a reason for a debate (Isaiah 1:18). At the age of nine, the Nazis indoctrinated me and showed me how to debate on their behalf. Before that the Poles tried the same. The debate ended when war came. These sweet Poles began to throw stones at me and accused me of doing things I did not do and the Germans called me Polak. Listen to our politicians and news people. They debate to have a debate. They remind me of Nero fiddling while Rome was burning or Eve debating with a serpent while they were losing Paradise. What do we do when we face our own demise?
Jesus asked this question, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” (Matthew 6:27). Twice I faced death, at twelve and twenty-one, both times I cried out “I am lost.” After the second time, I realized that life was not subject to debate. I cannot decide how long I shall live; but I must decide how I live so I no longer need to cry out that I am lost. There is an eternity that awakened in me when I was dying that no longer lets me gamble with my soul (Matthew 10:28). That is why I chose to be a minister of the gospel and not some other worthy occupation. I promised to remind people to prepare for eternity. Even in the here and now we make our bed to sleep in. I must be careful whose debate I follow and end up in the wrong world (Luke 16:23).
Some rationales, they snare at another life in the hereafter, or at an evil power that can disrupt our life. Goethe argued that Faust could sell his soul to the devil. Jesus said that the devil does have offspring that do not make it into God’s world and we can identify them by their actions (John 8:42-47). King Ahab sold himself to the devil (I Kings 21:20). The Book of Revelation insists that the devil is behind the upheaval in the world. We turn on the news and find ourselves in the midst of revolutions and violence. People call themselves patriots and exploit those whom they serve. Abortionists kill at random and believe they are rendering a valuable service to humanity. Criminals are treated like victims and victims like criminals. Christians are suspected of criminal activities in order to befriend those that wish us dead (Revelation 12:10). The evidence is overwhelming that Satan, also called the ancient serpent, the dragon or the devil, has manipulated our minds to suit his purpose (Revelation 12:9; Ephesians 6:12). He knows that his time is short and his fury is everywhere (Revelation 12:12). There is no common ground for debate between godly people and evildoers (II Corinthians 6:15).
The wonderful news is that God wants to reason with us on our terms. Our problem is that we do not like our terms. We do not like being regarded as disobedient and rebellious sinners that need a bath. We keep on justifying our choices and keep on devastating ourselves (Isa.1: 18-23). God even send us a lawyer to debate in our behalf (I Jn.2: 1). Satan quickly debated with Jesus that he had other options than Calvary (Mt.16: 23). He offered Jesus the world (Lk.4: 5-6). He wanted Jesus to jump off the Temple so that the angels would carry him back to heaven (Lk.4: 9-11). Jesus had invaded the devil’s domain and removed death from being an obstacle on the way back to God (I.Cor.15: 55-56). We live in a fallen world and we are falling with it. But God gave us a chance in Christ to halt our own demise (Jn.3: 16-18). And no debate can alter or assist us in the choice we have to make. The same reasoning is required to salvage, not save – we are past that stage, this nation. God’s promise still is on the Book, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (II Chr.7: 14). Unfortunately, the validity of the promise is attached to identifying with Christ (Mt.10: 32-33). That places this nation in the cold.