There are many times in my life that I have heard this phrase, "non-compliance." While working with the school district in the Health Room, this term referred to students who did not have the appropriate amount/type of immunizations. They were not able to attend public school until they received the proper shots. After showing documentation of being in compliance, they were able to enroll. On another occasion, I recall that one was told he was in non-compliance when he did not have the appropriate paper work filled out to continue working at his job. Being in non-compliance presents us with many consequences. Doctors have told their patients if they did not follow-up with the appointments that were needful to receive their medication that they would dismiss them for non-compliance. Police officers and court officials will let you know quite readily if you are in non-compliance. I think we all get the picture. Most of us don't want to be in non-compliance!
Of course we all know that there are those who are rebellious and will deliberately set out to be non-compliant. They will refuse to pay their taxes, disobey the laws of the land; fight with rules and regulations regardless of who sets the standard.
What concerns me most of all are the multitudes of people who are law-abiding citizens, those who always pay their bills, are just really good people; those who would never give a second thought to being rebellious or "non-compliant" in any way, shape or form. Why am I worried for them? Because many of them are completely ignorant of the fact that God has a standard for mankind and that we can be in non-compliance with Him! He is governing the universe and has a set of "rules" (His Holy Word), that He has given, and yes, failure to comply with it will result in consequences. These consequences will be far more serious than loss of a home, a job, inability to attend school or functions, or even incarceration. Failure to comply with the Ruler of the Universe will result in eternal damnation of the soul. This is serious business and not to be ignored, neglected or set on the back burner for further consideration! (See Proverbs 14:12; Jeremiah 10:23; Mark 16:15-16). It it is our prayer that these would give serious consideration to God's Word and study to learn what they must do to inherit life eternal.
There are also those who are Christians, who have put on their Lord in baptism and are members of the body of Christ who are in non-compliance. We pray fervently for these also. They have tasted of the gift of salvation and cast it aside (Hebrews 6:4). How sad it will be for them in the day of judgment (Hebrews 9:27; 10:26-27). Many a family has gone through the heartbreak of having a loved one in non-compliance with the Word of God. Prayers are offered up continually on their behalf. It saddens not only their loved ones and brethren, but also our Heavenly Father, who so desperately wants them to come home. He stands waiting with open arms for them, pleading for them to repent and return to the fold (See Luke 15:10-32).
And last but not least, there are those who attend faithfully, every time the doors to the church building are open. They are the dependable ones, the ones who carry on the work of the Lord as He has commanded. But............there are some among them who are in non-compliance. "How can that be," you might say? "They are doing all they can. They are faithful in attendance, they help others, they give. How much more could be asked of them?" Just as in the book of Revelation, when John, through the Spirit addressed the seven churches of Asia, he found some who kept their robes white and pure mingled with some who did not. God knew who they were. We may not always know the private sins of others, but God sees and knows. Those sins of covetousness, anger, pride, impatience, lust, greed, malice, gossip, backbiting, hatred.........the list goes on. Many of us are guilty of these. This only touches the hem of the garment. Are we modest in our dress or do we try to be "edgy" in our attire, attempting to be "stylish"? Are we reverent in our worship to God, or do we come into the auditorium with a cup of coffee/bottle of pop, prop our feet up on the pews, take our shoes off, pull out our phones, text during services, play with the baby on the pew in front of us, pass notes back and forth, giggle at others, look to the clock in the back to see if we're going to get out in time to go to a ball game...........and again, the list goes on. The easiest way to answer this is, "If Jesus were sitting right beside me on this pew, how would I be acting?" He is with us in our services in spirit so we might want to be thinking a bit more seriously about our behavior. Oh - and by the way, if you were attending the funeral service of your parent, grandparent, best friend, how would you be acting? How would you be dressed? When my mother died, I did not attend her funeral in a pair of slashed up blue jeans and a tank top! I had more respect for her than that. The first day of the week is a memorial to our Lord who was willing to die for us that we might have a home in heaven! It is much more serious than even the loss of our dearest family member. We need to remember this. After all He gave for us, is it too much to expect respect in the worship service? I sincerely hope not. I am not trying to be contrary or degrading, but would just like for us to think a moment about the somberness of the death of the One who loved us so much He was willing to shed His innocent blood for the guilty (John 3:16; Romans 5:8). As we contemplate going to worship services this next Lord's day, let us all keep in mind that we need to be "in compliance" with the God of heaven and His Holy Word. When we do this, our worship will be acceptable to Him, ascending as a sweet savor to the heavens and we will be able to say, "It is well with my soul."
Nancy is the wife of Bill Goring, gospel preacher for the Chipman Road church of Christ. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren and has taught Bible class for over 40 years, published several books including: Behavior Becoming Holiness: Studies in Titus Chapter 2 and Overcoming our Self-Imposed Prisons.