Don't Cross That Line
When Moses was up on Mount Sinai, taking longer than some expected or wanted, some of the Israelites came to his brother Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods that shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him” (Exod. 32:1). This, of course, angered God, to the point He was ready to destroy them and raise up another nation from the seed of Moses (Exod. 32:7-10). When Moses finally descended, he stood at the entrance to the camp and said to them, “Whoever is on the Lord’s side—come to me!” (Exod. 32:25. 26). At that moment. Moses figuratively “drew a line on the sand” to distinguish those with God and those who were not. Unfortunately, it was a line the Israelites would cross time after time, until God tired of their unfaithfulness and allowed them to go into captivity again as punishment.
That “line” is just one of a few that men may cross and put their souls in jeopardy, and the results or consequences of crossing these “lines” often reach much further than we expect or even want. Let us consider just a few of those “lines” today, when and how they are crossed, and the consequences of crossing that line.
Faithfulness (Marriage). Studies have shown that a high number of cases of marital infidelity occur with those considered ‘close friends’ (53.5%), and also found that many occur with an individual who may be a coworker, neighbor, or ‘long-term acquaintance’ (29.4%; UC-Boulder Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, 2018). One author and ‘marriage expert’ noted that the top places where infidelity begins are: the workplace, the gym, through social media, within social circles, while volunteering, and in a church. As is often the case, the illicit relationship begins with a friendship, and then the ‘friendship’ slowly turned into a closer and closer relationship until it turned into something much more than friendship.
Sadly, this is a ‘line’ that is crossed far too often, and not just by people in the world [as the above list of most common starting points revealed]. But this is an old, old problem. The wise writer warned his son long ago, “Drink water from your own cistern, and running water from your own well…For why should you, my son, be enraptured by an immoral woman, and be embraced in the arms of a seductress?” (Prov. 5:15-20). He would later add further warnings about avoiding the lure of the one he called “the evil woman,” and the danger of “the flattering tongue of a seductress,” noting, “Whoever commits adultery with a woman lacks understanding; he who does so destroys his own soul” (Prov. 6:24-35). And that is just the final consequence; he does not note all the trouble and sorrow that will be the result of marital unfaithfulness, for they are abundant! Brothers and sisters, don’t cross that line!
Faithfulness (Spiritual). As noted in the figurative ‘line in the sand’ drawn by Moses at Sinai, we are either with God, or we are not. Jesus, in fact, stated very plainly, “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matt. 12:30). Though men may deny these as the only choices, we do not have the liberty of deciding that, since Christ will be our Judge, in the end.
But, oh, does man try hard to straddle the fence or, in this case, the ‘line’ of faithfulness to God. Man too often tries to pretend he can serve God and follow the ways of the world, and the end result is often that he is only miserable, and God is never pleased. Jesus also said plainly, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24; ESV). Man often tries to convince himself [and others] that he is faithful to God, even as he demonstrates a love for money and material possessions, but even the most worldly individual would recognize that is not the case. When such happens, no one is fooled except the one who is deceiving himself.
And for those who are professing believers, let us not think we are above crossing the line of faithfulness to God and becoming unfaithful; the warnings are numerous throughout Scripture against falling for the lure of worldly things, so it is clear that ‘line’ can be [and often is] crossed. When the writer of the book of Hebrews pointed the early Jewish Christians back to the example of the unfaithful Israelites, he warned, “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience” (Heb. 4:11). That “same example of disobedience” described the Israelites, whom he had said earlier “could not enter in because of unbelief” (Heb. 3:19). You see, even the people of God — believers — can be guilty of unbelief. Does it need to be said that such a state would render us, too, unfit to enter into our promised rest?
Christians may think, or even argue, that God is too loving to allow one of His children to fall away, or to even get so far away from Him, that they cannot be called ‘saved,’ but the apostle Peter was clear when he said that for those who ‘cross the line’ and go back into the world, “the latter end is worse for them than the beginning,” and, “it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them” (2 Pet. 2:20, 21). Crossing the ‘line’ of faithfulness to God will put us in a place we definitely do not want to be. How we can be “worse” than the enemies of God (cf. Rom. 5:10) I do not want to find out! Brothers and sisters, don’t cross that line!
Life. This ‘line’ is a little different, in that all of us will one day ‘cross over’ to the other side of this earthly life (cf. Heb. 9:27). The warning I would offer, though, is to not cross over from life into death without first having obeyed the Lord. I say this for two reasons:
First, once we have crossed from life into death, there will be no ‘second chance’ and no ‘crossing over’ from one place to another. This was made clear in the story of the rich man and Lazarus when, while in torments, the rich man asked, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame,” but was told by Abraham, “there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us” (Luke 16:24-26). In death, there is no ‘crossing over.’
Second, you do not want to cross from life to death without having obeyed Jesus Christ, for the final and eternal result will be condemnation and punishment. Paul noted that when Christ comes, He will come, “in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day” (2 Thess. 1:8-10). If you cross from this life into death without having obeyed the gospel of Jesus Christ, you can know without a doubt that heaven will not be your final and eternal home.
Friends, don’t cross that line, from this life into eternity, without having obeyed the Lord! While there is still time, obey the Lord and serve Him for the rest of your time here on earth. — Steven Harper