Linda Church of Christ

Did You Read the Fine Print?

By Travis Main

    The American congress passes many bills. These bills are often hundreds or thousands of pages long. Imagine how long it takes them to read through each word to make certain they are not committing Americans to something that will be harmful to the country. Unfortunately, when imagination meets reality there is a sharp cliff. Consider the Health Care Reform Bill which the 111th congress passed. Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House at the time, stated: “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”. Evidently, a whole lot of congressmen took this to mean them as well, for few read the approx. 2,000 page bill. Later, as mature, responsible citizens read the bill which had become law, they were appalled. Aspects of commitment required by Americans which were not previously known were uncovered. How did they discover these requirements of the new law? They read the “ fine print ”.

    Esau is a well known man of the Bible. He was the son of Isaac and had a twin brother Jacob. Esau was the firstborn of Isaac and therefore he had the “birthright”. The birthright entitled him to be the primary heir to the inheritance of the household of Isaac. It entitled him to a blessing to be given by his father later in life. It had great meaning because it established him as the physical and spiritual leader of the family when his father passed on. As a young man, Esau sold his birthright to his brother Jacob for a bowl of food. “Esau despised his birthright” (Genesis 25:34). He didn’t regard the significance or importance of it. He didn’t care about it. Essentially, he didn’t read the “ fine print ”. For this disdainful act, Esau is remembered in scripture.

    At a later period of history recorded by the Bible (Judges 11), there was a man by the name of Jephthah who was a great warrior. He made a vow to the Lord stating that if God would enable him success over the Ammonites, he would offer up a sacrifice to God. That sounds just dandy, until you read the fine print. He further stated his sacrifice would be the first thing that came out of the door of his home to meet him after the battle. When Jephthah returned home successful from battle, his only child came out to meet him. Jephthah was completely distressed. Why? Did he not read the “ fine print ”? Did he not really consider what he had agreed to do? The truth is no, though he did live up to his vow.

    The “ fine print ” is something a great number of people did not consider as they purchased online games from GameStation. Gamestation as part of an “April Fool’s Day” promotion in 2010 added an “immortal soul clause” to its End User Legal Agreement (EULA). Essentially, by purchasing the game and agreeing to the EULA the purchaser gave Gamestation the right to their soul. The company estimated some 88% of the people did not read the agreement. Those that actually read the “ fine print ” and rejected the agreement received a financial prize (…opinionPrint).

    Consider how many people enter agreements like this where they do not earnestly consider the consequences. Folks do it all the time in regard to electronic media. They are so used to seeing such agreements that they don’t read them anymore, they throw them away, or just click yes to them. The truth is man does the same thing with many of his actions. He operates as if there will be no repercussions to what he says or does. Man often approaches God in the same manner. They see His Will and commandments as a EULA which cannot or will not be enforced.

    In the Biblical passage Luke 14:25-33, Jesus is recorded telling the people following him to consider the cost, the “ fine print ”. He explains to them that there is a strong commitment needed. It is a commitment that rises above family, friends, and even a person’s own life. Essentially, when a person commits to Christ, they give their life up to him. Their actions must conform to what he desires, no longer what they desire. There is no commitment greater. Not even a commitment to an employer, spouse, or government is greater. Consequently, consider the words of the Apostle Peter:

    1 Peter 4:3-5 – “For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.”

    Peter was reaffirming to the Christians their commitment to Christ. He pointed out they were living according to the “ fine print ” of salvation (Matthew 7:24-25), but there were folks of the world (Gentiles) who did not understand why the Christians would enter into such an agreement. Folks of the world often wonder why Christians will not engage in the “blessings” of worldly pleasure. The truth is, the people of the world were/are not paying attention to the portion of the agreement which all men are given opportunity to understand (Matthew 7:26-27, 2 Peter 3:9). The Christians believe this “ fine print ” and live accordingly.

    For a further look at the “ fine print ” of commitment given by God, all men are encouraged to pick up their Bibles and read from beginning to end. However, as a beginning to understanding the fundamental changes in an individual’s life that God requires, the reader is encouraged to read the book of I Peter, found in the New Testament portion of the Bible. By reading the “ fine print ” and adhering to what is required of all men, there will be no surprises, no astounding shocks, but rather an understanding of the impact adherence or non-adherence to God’s law will bring.

    Hebrews 5:9 – “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

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