The Bible is not like a bag of trail mix. You can't take from it what you like and leave the rest.
I recently saw a post on Facebook that was an image of the Bible with the caption, “This is not a bag of trail mix. You can’t just pick out the pieces you like and ignore the rest.”
The photo has over 160K likes and almost 200K shares, so it may even qualify as an “internet meme”, which Wikipedia defines as, “an activity, concept, catchphrase or piece of media which spreads, often as mimicry, from person to person via the Internet.”
So, is that phrase true? If so, what are the consequences of picking and choosing from the scriptures how you and I will live our lives?
Let’s first review some concepts to lay the groundwork for establishing the validity or not of this “internet meme”.
Feel free to search these out, but I will just briefly mention them to make clear a biblical concept.
So, we can find a cut and dry, clear definition of sin, which is to transgress (disobey, break) biblical law.
So, now we find another clear explanation that to sin or transgress God’s law, is to EARN death.
It is appointed (at least) once for man to die (Hebrews 9:27 Hebrews 9:27And as it is appointed to men once to die, but after this the judgment:
American King James Version×) because every man and woman has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×).
So, we’ve established, then that sin, to transgress God’s law, results in earned death for everybody.
ENTER THE TRAIL MIX MINDSET! So many Christians, today, will boldly defend that they are devoted to God. They may not rest and participate in community worship on the seventh day, but they declare they are spiritually at rest every day. Nine out of ten commandments should get me an A, even an A+ since I have determined I keep the Sabbath in my heart.
Some keep the 10 commandments but they patently ignore the standards God established about what goes into our bodies, when God declared, also patently, what “we may eat” and “not eat”.
Someone might say, “I don’t think that matters anymore. After all, it’s just about eating and not how we treat one another.”
Or, they will take the words of Jesus out of context to declare “all foods clean”. If you will recall, we have in times past learned that God never defined “unclean animals” as food for anybody, so when the Gospel pronounces “all foods clean” we can be certain the conversation remains limited to what God defined as food in the first place, dishes and hands properly washed or not.
Let’s turn to a couple of scriptures to test the trail mix Internet meme.
Matthew 5: 17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 19 Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.
So, with this, Jesus Himself clearly states in no uncertain terms that to disregard ANY of the law is to exclude oneself from the kingdom of heaven.
James 2: 8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
Here, too, we have clear, practical proof that to break any one aspect of God’s royal law is to sin against, or break, the whole law.
From these two passages, we can know for certain that the trail mix Internet meme is TRUE. A person cannot choose which of God’s commands or laws to obey and conclude they are okay with God while they disregard certain aspects of God’s will. If the whole law is like a bag of trail mix, all parts of that mix make up that law. So, just as eating only certain pieces of the trail mix make you a person who does not eat all of what is defined as the trail mix, obeying only certain laws while disregarding others is to not obey the whole law.
What, again, is the payment for the transgression of God’s law?... Death.
Okay, now that we have it established to disobey in the least of God’s law is to disobey in all of God’s law, therefore incurring the penalty of death, what are YOU and I to do????
After all, if we are honest with ourselves, who of us has kept all of God’s law? NONE of us!!! What does that mean, then? Well, on its face… DEATH!!!
Can you accept that death is the only solution for sin? That death must be acknowledged and accepted because it is only beyond that death that you and I will have a life? IF YOU CAN ACCEPT THAT, then you are in a very good position to experience resurrection.
Romans 6: 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life.
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Though it may not be a sin to be finicky with your trail mix, never be finicky with God’s law. Don’t add to it. Don’t take away. Trust God in all things and strive the rest of your life to obey.
That said, even with the desire to, none of us keeps the law perfectly, but we WILL HAVE eternal life beyond the grave by acknowledging our weakness, repenting, and accepting death to self so as to live a new life in Christ, striving daily to EAT EVERYTHING IN THE BAG.