Many years ago, before I was ever a minister I was a Marine. In the Marine Corps, I had a lot of different jobs and collateral duties. However, my occupational specialty was supply and logistics administration. A large part of my work was downloading and analyzing supply and fiscal reports to verify that all requisitions were properly processed. I also was responsible for the inventory management of my command. At times, I had to manage over fifteen thousand line items totaling up to three hundred and sixty million dollars. This was a very difficult task to do, however, I was eventually introduced to programming.
When I learned how to understand and write code, I was able to create databases that imported all the supply and fiscal reports. I got so good at one point that I was able to run multiple queries simultaneously and they were embedded into my coding. I was able to do the work of multiple Marines by the click of a button. However, the reason why this is important is because of my fundamental understanding of logical argument/statements. In programming, this is called an “if statement.” The “if statement” is a conditional statement that, if provided true, performs a function or properly displays the information. When properly understood and utilized, these “if statements” lay the foundation for all structural programming.
Like programming, the entire Bible is filled with “if statements” or as some people like to call them, conditional statements. These conditional statements are the focus of today’s message. So to begin, I would like to share some very important “if statements” found in God’s Word, then I will explain the significance of understanding these conditional statements, and conclude by giving you all some ways to on track with God’s Word and His promises.
In the natural progression of this message, I would like to share with you some “conditional Scriptures.” I would like for you to first read and truly focus on what was written. Afterward, I will share with you exactly why I chose these specific Scriptures and their significance to your daily spiritual walk.
“Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him.”
“You are My friends if you do what I command you.”
“for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”
“for if God did not spare the natural branches, He will not spare you, either. 22 Behold then the kindness and severity of God; to those who fell, severity, but to you, God’s kindness, if you continue in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”
1 Corinthians 15:2
“by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.”
1 John 1:7-9
“but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Now that you have read the Scriptures that I shared with you, I will fill you into the reason why I choose them and why you need to understand not only them but all contingencies in the Bible. Firstly, these Scriptures are important because, in their original Greek, they identify whether something is or is not conditional. The “If’s” in these Scriptures are made up of a clear Greek sentence construction or formulations. What this means is that the Greek word for “if” in the Scriptures I shared with you are translated from the Greek word “ean” which means since or therefore. But if the sentence starts with “de” at the beginning, which these sentences do, the author is telling his audience “if.” The sentence structure of these Scriptures provides Christians with a clear and direct “if statement.” There is no loss in translation or any other ways to interpret these Scriptures but the literal way that they were translated into English.
This is important to know because there is no wiggle room allowed to justify why we are not meeting the conditions to these Scriptures to enjoy the blessings that come from them. Looking at this from an analytical view, the condition of the biblical author’s statement (de) is true, then the “if” (ean) condition must be met. So when the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to say something like “we are Jesus’ friends if obey His commands or teaching,” then we can clearly understand that if we do not obey Jesus’ commands then we are not His friend. There is no wiggle room nor is their a gray area. We either obey what Jesus teaches us or we don’t. We either are His disciples and live a disciplined life or we don’t. We either walk and operate in the Spirit or we walk and operate in the flesh (worldly desires).
There are two main reasons why I shared the particular Scriptures that I introduced at the beginning of my message. First was to identify their Greek sentence structures (to identify their concrete if statements), and because they are all part of our foundational Christian living. Much of our theological understandings not only come from them, but they also highlight the two most important things that Jesus was trying to make clear for each one of us today! Jesus identified them in the Gospel of Mark. It is written, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these,” (Mark 12:30-31, NIV).
Everything in the Bible can be summed up in these two commands that Jesus highlighted, reinforcing their significance. He tells us that we must God with everything we have. We must love everything that glorifies Him and respects the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ. We must dedicate all of our time, effort, and strength to growing closer to Him every single day. In doing this, we are keeping first this command. Secondly, we are called to love and treat others with the same love and dignity we would want in return from others. This, along with all the other Scriptures that I have shared with you today highlights the foundation of our faith and the practicality of living it out. There is no wiggle room or gray area in loving God and loving His creation.
All of these “if statements” can only be fulfilled in our daily devotional life if we simply focus on God and not this world or ourselves. When I see so many Christians justifying the way they segregate themselves from others or treat unbelievers in a manner that will never glorify God my heartaches because His heartaches. The reason why we love God first is that we are showing Him reverence for everything He has created and the sacrifice of His Son. The reason why we love others as we would love ourselves is that it shows that we are living out His love for humanity as ambassadors to His kingdom. It is not difficult to understand. If you were to boil down the entire Bible, Mark 12:30-31 would be the foundation, and the “if statements” I shared with you, in the beginning, would be the beginning building blocks upon which HIs kingdom stands.
Now, why is this important to you? Our provisions and our blessings are directly contingent on our actions! Love, faith, grace, forgiveness, and the very act of worship are all actions. Christ dying on the cross is also an action. Our faith is founded and developed on actions. If we fail to meet the criteria for the blessings that God has in store for us, we are only robbing ourselves from a life full of joy. We must actively grow closer to Christ by dying to yourself and living in Him. The way we love others regardless of their race, ethnicity, color, age, or gender is contingent on our blessings as well.
Like programming, a statement or promise cannot come to reality unless we actively met every condition that God has identified in His Word to receive it. God’s plan is simple. No different than running simple queries in a database. If you do not meet His criteria, your life will be at a standstill, simply stagnant until you correct the deficiency in your life keeping you from successfully running the operation! So please take my word close to your heart and mind, remember that our salvation, blessings, and provisions directly correlate with them. Reflect on this truth and help God’s design run smoothly. Amen.