Pondering Truth In Christ
People are crying out loud for God in troubled parts of the world, or when their personal life is swirling the drain. Funny how when hard times come we cry out for Him, but pay Him no mind at all when things are going well. Fickle, fallen mankind.
God is our Creator; He is not an “it”. God, by the way, is spelled with a capital G to honor Him. He is not small g god, or "a" god. You are created in His divine image and likeness, even though you do not know this, because you have been indoctrinated all your life with the lie that you “evolved” from apes.
Just because you do not know Him, does not mean He does not exist. "The wicked, in the haughtiness of his countenance, does not seek Him. All his thoughts are, 'There is no God.'" Psalm 10:4.
He has a claim on Your life - because He created you for His own loving purposes, but when our ancestors anciently rebelled against Him, having been coerced, they got all snarled up with the evil one (who hates Him and you, and has deceived you), and this world was handed over to the evil one, who is often called the “god" of this world.
But he is not God, or even a god. He is a fallen angel masquerading as an angel of light and goodness.
God came as Jesus Christ to ransom you from that traitor by dying in human form on a cross and paying the blood ransom that was on your head, to set you free from the powers of darkness and death, which is what you have been in servitude to, but don’t even know it.
So God has a claim on you also by way of His redeeming you in Jesus Christ. You belong to Him. He has provided a way out of subjugation to sin, death, and the devil. He intends to restore you as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.
Stop running. There is nothing to fear of Him. Your own fallen, rebellious self has made a mess of your life in complicity with the evil one because you have been deceived. We're not made to go it alone, let alone be the "captains of our soul.” That’s just not how it works.
If this touched your heart, then please surrender your entire being (body, soul, and spirit) and life, without holding back, to Him before it's too late. His Holy Spirit is calling to you.
“Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts…’” Hebrews 3:7,8.
He yearns to set you free from the chains that bind you, lift from you the darkness that blinds you. He can open your inner hearing so that may perceive His voice (through His word) and follow Him under the power of His Holy Spirit.
"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But he who practices the truth comes to the Light, so that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God.” John 3:16-21.
This is the simple truth of how things work. There is also utter forgiveness for all past sins, for the one who will believe and receive the free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus. His desire is to unburden you of the spiritual darkness that has thus far kept you in bondage and struggling.
His Holy Spirit is calling to you, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28,29.
“And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Acts 2:21.
You have God’s word on it!
Within numerous institutional churches there is little expectation to be transformed into the likeness of God. The reason for this may be that it is due to a continuous emphasis on unworthiness before God, and a juridical pronouncement of being forgiven, but never with the expectation that the scriptural goal is completion or maturity or “perfection” (holiness) - the complete experience of deliverance from the fallen state, and the manifestation of the sons of God.
Paul's prayers in Ephesians 1&3 are magnificent in that he dismantles the basic “doctrinaire rocket boosters” if you will, so that moving beyond the basics of “being saved”, we are provided with a strong vision of ourselves as “church” - the embodied fullness of Christ Who fills all in all on earth! The jump needs to be made from legal status justification into the experience of ever-increasing manifestation of the sons of God (always of course in Christ Jesus). Salvation goes beyond fire insurance, so to speak. It means having been delivered from the dominion of darkness into the reign of God, manifesting the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
St. John says that of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace (see John 1:16). Ought this not to begin to arise in our awareness that this overlong childhood and adolescence of Christendom needs to be left behind, to put away childish things to become a man? For the times upon us require the mature who will go into spiritual conflict, not with weapons of a world or fleshly nature, but mighty through God to the dismantlement of the strongholds of evil! This is not the place for those who are not ready.
The current lack of depth in the house of the Lord results from an "encouraged low expectation” from the lofty clergy (experts) to the lowly laity (recipients of the particular denominational perspective). Sadly, as in culture, so in the church is the lowest common denominator ever repeated. It is like spiritual foot binding - being expected to walk in baby shoes into adulthood! It seems we are almost never exhorted to maturity, or maturity simply is defined as participation in programs and activities within a congregation. But where is the real development of the inner being into the likeness of Jesus Christ?
Why are our “eyes of faith” - our God intended vision - so dim? Paul prayed that this would not continue. Might we pray, “Lord, please lift this dimness from our eyes that we may behold You as You are, ourselves as who we are in You, and where we are in You, seated at the right hand of our Heavenly Father - high above all principalities, powers, might, and every name that is named in the heavens and earth.” Those bestowed with this understanding need to pray it into manifestation within themselves and on behalf of the rest.
Oh that we would grasp the fullness of the Gospel truth of our, shall we say, “co-ness" as co-heirs in Christ!!! Let this full blown truth be the word of our testimony, whereby we overcome the evil foe and all his lies and works in this life! For the knowledge of our new reality in Christ and the affirmation, confession, declaration, and proclamation of it is to be in agreement with what God says about us in Christ. This is the victory that also overcomes the world. And with this word of our testimony we also proclaim to the regions within our inner being, setting forth the truth that sets us free from the shackles of self and sin! Amen, for so it is in Christ!
God, per Scripture, has set us “there” - Above - while we were yet sinners and in the “here” and now, so in essence it is to be perceived that this is not a matter of ascending to but a coming forth from. It is the reality wherein we live, move, and have our being - from whence we address life, the outer world, others, and circumstances.
The comprehension and apprehension of this must be preceded by the vision of faith, without which we are indeed in unruliness that leads to perishing (See Proverbs 29:18). This is what the Body of Christ still needs - the heavenly vision of what real redemption in Christ is all about.
Paul continually prayed for it. He admonished us in Philippians 4:9 that the things we have learned, received, heard, and seen in him are what we are to do; then the God of peace may be with us.
His prayers - specifically in Ephesians 1 & 3 - ought therefore to be prayed again and again in the 21st Century. Fervently. Without ceasing. I believe that this is a key to the answers needed for a languishing church today. Current crises threatening from within the Body of Christ, as well as outside of Her, will not be solved by committees and the ways of corporatism, since the church is not a democracy, but is the kingdom of God. Could it be that challenges will find resolve on our knees before the Almighty asking for the Vision of Christ in us, and ourselves in Christ Who is our wisdom? Could we dare advocate for prayer meetings instead of voters’ meetings?
Let it be so. Amen.
Dear Fellow Pilgrim on the Crossroad,
In this 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the Western Church, this writer has been pondering more deeply about the practicality and usefulness of meditating on some of the metaphors of Christendom. They come from Scripture and are very good little bullet point pegs upon which we can hang our thoughtful contemplations. We ought to always approach these with Holy Scriptures open and a prayer to the Holy Spirit to shed His light on our contemplations, of course.
Take for example the "robe of righteousness”. We should understand that this does not mean that this robe is like a white linen table cloth draped over a garbage can to hide the filth within. Instead it means the absolute necessity of putting off the old man of sin and darkness (and all his byproducts) and the complete replacing of this First Adam with the Second Adam, Christ Jesus Himself! It is nothing short of a spiritual regime change implied in putting on this robe!
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, inwardly, we literally put off the old rags of sin and self effort, in order to put on the new robe of righteousness!!! We are being made new by the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus Himself.
A metaphor is a word picture, a meme of sorts, containing the seed of powerful metaphysical truth, connecting unseen spiritual reality with the seen dimension of our senses, reason, and comprehension (as well as the “scene” of everyday life!) in other words. To meditate on (“meditatio") the metaphor (or Scripture passage, parable, and so forth) is the fertilizer that makes that seed of truth - comprehended & apprehended by faith - to sprout and to mature in the ground of being in the inner man. That is how we live by faith. (See Psalm 1)
We cannot “live by faith” without a “vision” of what our redemption in Christ Jesus implies. Proverbs 29:18,19 - “Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response.”) Faith is the vision received and perceived inwardly in the heart and mind. It is placed within us by the Holy Spirit. Then to trust in, to rely on, and surrender to - without compromise under duress from the Adversary (tentatio) - what we perceive, in the power of the Holy Spirit, is how we “change robes”.
Once the Holy Spirit reveals the Gospel truth to our inner perception, then we "see" it and can say “I believe”. Thus "the righteous shall live by his faith." We live by what He shows us is real, as already existent in our Lord Jesus Christ!
Per Hebrews 10:38,39 - “But My righteous one will live by faith and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him. But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”
And that is the Living Word sent forth that will not return without accomplishing that for which the Father sent it... See Isaiah 55:11.
I am convinced that this three fold approach was used and recommended by Martin Luther as the means of making worthy, insightful, Holy Spirit filled “theologians” (“oratio, meditatio, tentatio"). That idea - in my humble opinion - broadly ought to not only apply to clergy, but to every God lover within the entire priesthood of believers, intent upon donning that Robe of Righteousness!
Only A Messenger At The Crossroad
(PS: Clarification - I am neither the author of article at the link below nor affiliated with him. Added for your perusal and further insight. Thank you.)
For many more insights about Luther’s three-fold approach, please access the link below:
Oratio, Meditatio, Tentatio
What Makes A Theologian?
Link from Concordia Theological Quarterly 66/3 (2002): 255-67
John W Kleinig
All this concern about being “judged” – what might be behind some of it?
Sometimes one has to wonder if the conscience of people (worrying about others “judging” them) isn’t already convicting them that they’re going the wrong way in life. Hearing it from the inside but ignoring it results in a conscience that’s been anesthetized by being ignored. But then when the wake up call comes from the outside, it’s regarded as judgment. Of course in our relativistic society, anyone who brings attention to the idea that there is still right or wrong is regarded as a hater or as judgmental, or not with the times – when the fact is that what’s going on is like this:
If someone is walking in a very dark place where you’ve been before, and you’re familiar with the dangerous terrain, you warn them that they’re about to step off a clip that’s a few steps away. This direction is offered with deep concern (love), but they accuse you of “judging”. This is where we’re at with things in America, in fact all over the world. It’s as if the entire society is just one big rebellious adolescent.
It may feel good to walk in the dark for awhile, but the fall from the cliff will not be very pleasant. Some may learn from taking a tumble. Some never learn at all.
“A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:5-7
Independence Day: If memory serves me correctly, it celebrates the freedom from British tyranny for the United States, won during the Revolutionary War at the beginnings of our country, back when the Founding Fathers came up with the Constitution, Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence and so forth to help run things right. Worthy matters to fight for in those days.
I refuse to celebrate what it's become: the defense of the interests of the military industrial complex, the corporate globalists, and international banksters, and those who stand for the very same tyrannical things the Founding Fathers warned us about - for which our young men and women now - sadly - give their lives as sacrifices. No longer the "defense of our freedoms", the meme everybody blindly believes. Whose freedoms?
Have we exchanged the Bill of Rights for a cleverly packaged bill of goods?
Rest in peace, USA. I pray there's a genuine godly, Holy Spirit driven spiritual revival and resurrection in your future. But until you repent of murdering the unborn and the innocent, and passing laws that legitimize every ungodly thing, there is little hope of that. You will swirl the drain while drinking the Kool Aid, washing down the blue pill, eating hot dogs, and watching fireworks while blindly singing "God Bless America" - as the fireworks morph into the flames of hell.
Pardon me while I rant and rain on the parade.
Where are the old fashioned hellfire and brimstone preachers who tell the truth? They've been replaced by mincing little latte sippers preaching hyper grace in show biz churches that feature entertainment passed off as worship. Let judgment begin in the house of God, which has once more become a den of thieves who love to tickle ears and glorify the belly! Where are the Jeremiahs and the John the Baptists who cry out against the wickedness in the land and call the church to repentance - the church which is supposed to be the salt of the earth and light of the world, leading and showing the way?
"Making America great again" is going to take more than the efforts of one man. It is going to take a divine intervention at this point.
Scriptures For Contemplation:
"Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." Proverbs 14:34.
"Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him." Psalm 2.
"Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help." Psalm 146:3.