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There are Only Two Sides and You Have to Choose One - You Can't Straddle Both

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

The Lord Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount:

“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. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt 6:24).

Related to this is something the Apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor 7:22-23:

“For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.”

Further related to this is the 6th chapter of Romans, a contrast of only two sides. For instance v. 16:

“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?”

The saved are the servants of righteousness, a contrast with the unsaved, as the verse that follows details:

“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.” (v. 17).

Out of these passages, among many more like it, we get some basic, simple truths that reflect the whole nature of a person and then consequently the life they live.

Everything in this life has to do with this. Every person has only one master or lord, just one, and he is a slave to one or the other. He cannot love them both and any attempts—due to a deceived unregenerate nature—exhibits hypocrisy. John warns:

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 Jn 2:15).

This means he is unsaved, unredeemed, lost and in their sins, since the “love of the Father” is present in all saved people at all times (see Jn 5:38-42; Heb 12:5-8; Pr 3:11-12). If the master is Christ, then He is owner, based on the reality that he bought the person (1 Cor 6:19-20). The slave (“doulos”) obeys His master, whichever one it is.

Obedience will occur one way or the other. This obedience to the master is yielding to the particular master, whichever one the individual serves. A person chooses his master or lord. If he chooses Jesus as his Lord, from a repentant heart, this is faith. He believes in Jesus. The belief is a belief in reward or goodness (Rom 2:4; Heb 11:6). If someone doesn’t think he will be better off, he will not choose that master. For Jesus, it is a matter of repentant faith, based on evidence (Heb 11:1-3). God’s Word is true, so someone can trust what it says about his present and future. He turns from the other direction and things he loves there (I.e., sin, self, stuff, people), what would be idols, to Jesus Christ.

Satan and the world system interacts with someone’s carnal mind to persuade him to embrace or continue to embrace a different master than Jesus Christ. The world offers someone things that seem like a lot to a person, feigning competition with God. Of the sort we see Satan tempting Jesus with in Matt 4:8-10. Paul calls it dung, whether it be possessions, positions, passions, or popularity (Phil 3:8). The truth is, the trade is actually nothing for everything, which is why Jesus said:

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give an exchange for his soul?” (Mk 8:36-37).

A person ends up losing everything the world offers. It is short term only and it’s a facade. And even then it doesn’t satisfy, which is why Solomon said it was all vanity. It is about volume and fleshly desires. More and more. Enough is never enough. Just like “Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of man are never satisfied.” (Pr 27:20). The choice is stark and plain however. You go one way or the other. There is no middle ground. There is no straddling a fence. There is no one foot on the left and one on the right. You aren’t straddling the narrow and broad path. You can’t. That is reality.

A different picture is very frequently depicted than reality. The false portrayal, that the god of this world and his world system present, is that both sides can be straddled. You really don’t have to choose. Many, if not most, churches participate. People want the world, because of the short term benefits it offers, because of the fleshy desires and lusts and pride of life (1 Jn 2:16), and because they don’t want what Jesus might offer in and for the short term, so churches turn the world into a church, so they’ll want the church. The problem, of course, is that it isn’t exactly the church anymore, a pillar and ground of the truth, but it is a way of straddling the two masters.

In the end, there is still one Master. It is Jesus. It’s all true all the way to the end, that Jesus is Master. Those who reject Him, in many cases evident by their unrepentant worldly lives — though they give lip service to Christianity (what Jesus said, “hypocrites … This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” Mk 7:6)—do not actually get to keep the other way. The world doesn’t actually have anything to offer because it’s just short term. It’s vanity that will all vanish away. John again, forewarns:

“And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.” (1 Jn 2:17).

Solomon in all his wisdom warns of the vanity:

“Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.” (Pr 23:4-5).

The path of Building Bigger Barns (Lk 12:15-21), regardless of emotional or popular fanfare, is eternal, unquenchable torment in the lake of fire.

“That which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Lk 16:15).

This is a master that doesn’t satisfy and cannot save.

“But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Lk 12:20).

The problem with blending the two Masters is that it confuses the world and the church about the One, True Master.

It’s true that no man can serve two Masters.

The people fooled aren’t serving Jesus, though they think they are. They are even being told they are with explanations that they are and how they are. But it’s not true. They have been deceived (Rom 16:18; 2 Pet 2:1-3). The people that make their way through to the kingdom relinquish themselves to Jesus Christ. They choose Him as Goodness. Jesus is the Master, but they are saved because they believe He is. That is Who He is and they are acknowledging it and acquiescing to Him. They gain everything. Those who don’t, lose everything.

To read further about there being only two sides, see another report: There are Only Two Classes or Categories in God’s Word, Not Three

Most importantly, do read here if you are on the wrong path, having chosen the wrong master: Eternal Salvation. Jesus is Mighty to save!

“Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Is 59:1-2)

“Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” (Is 55:6-7)


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