Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Sometimes…

Sometimes it pays to stay with the simplicity that is Christ. What was important to Jesus? People can spend all sorts of time discussing and challenging one another’s lofty ideas, while at the same time failing to grasp and to practice what’s important to Him, biblically speaking – which is where the buck stops.

One thing that comes to mind and is so often overlooked is something that has been coming into focus a great deal of late: “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.” 1John 2:3.

1 John 2:4-6 clearly informs us, “Whoever says, ‘I know Him’ but does not keep His commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him, but whoever keeps His word, in him truly the love of God has been perfected. By this we may know that we are in Him: whoever says he abides in Him ought to walk in the same way in which He walked.”

Christianity is meant to be an “evidence based” faith, the evidence being a growth in Christ likeness – love and holiness. 1 John 4:13 – “By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.” This is where the “can do” comes from, not of ourselves, but of God the Holy Spirit Himself!

It’s not about the right church or the right pew. It’s not about the religious traditions or commandments of men. It’s not about the latest church trends. It’s not about the politics of the land. It’s not about your favorite televangelist. It’s not about your best life now. It’s not about miracles, gifts, signs and wonders! It’s not about what your priest or preacher said last week – unless he’s in agreement with what Jesus teaches about the evidence. And the evidence is everything, per Jesus!

Well then?

Here’s a key: “If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:31b,2. The only way we can be sure about that is to become intimately acquainted with Holy Scripture. Read it. Pray it. Study it. Meditate on it day and night. Talk about it. See Psalm 1 and Psalm 119 for details.

It boils down to what Jesus taught, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.” John 14:15

That we have been talked out of this by “can’t do” preachers of every expression of Christianity is a great tragedy. Why? Because Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:35. It’s how the world knows we are His own! Love like His is the fulfillment of the law! The “can’t do” preachers love to dwell on how much we love sin and how impossible it is to live as Jesus calls His disciples to live. Certainly that is true up to a point – without the Holy Spirit we cannot, for that is the natural state of fallen humanity. But with God, the Counselor and Comforter, what He asks of us is possible. So how about setting our sites on something higher, according to the way Jesus sees things?

A way must be made for this to happen. Might this be why Jesus very clearly directs His followers: “What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? So if you who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” Luke 11:11-13. We are to ask and keep on asking, or as the Amplified Classic Version states, “… how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask and continue to ask Him!”

And “Blessed are those hungering and thirsting for righteousness, for they will be filled.” Matthew 5:6. How hungry are you? How thirsty?

“If anyone says, ‘I know Him,’ but does not keep His commandments, he is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But if anyone keeps His word, the love of God has been truly perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him: Whoever claims to abide in Him must walk as Jesus walked.” 1 John 2:4-6.

It is also true that “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves,  and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:8,9.

There’s a balance here. It’s not either or. When the Holy Spirit is bestowed, this begins the process whereby we are made more and more Christlike on a continuing basis. If this is not happening, some serious, prayerful self examination is in order. So, check into the Holy Ghost Hokey Pokey Clinic and turn yourself around!

We need to abide and to grow in grace and in knowledge of the Lord. This is the way of a normal Christian life, with its ups and downs. But to think that we should abide always as “poor miserable sinners” forever, or live as we please in our sin, since grace abounds, is an eternally fatal error – not only for ourselves but possibly as well for all to whom we are a “witness.” There must, therefore, always be a continual surrendering to the Holy Spirit by way of godly sorrow for sin, confession, and repentance. And then, in receiving forgiveness, “With my lips I proclaim all the judgments of Your mouth. I rejoice in the way of Your testimonies as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts and regard Your ways.” Psalm 119:14,15.

So, KISS – Keep It Simple Saints.

And LOVE – Let Others View Emmanuel.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality

What Is Christianity?

Let’s start with what a lot of people think it is, but it’s not.

Christianity is not a democracy. Christianity is not a constitutional republic. Christianity is not about the US Constitution or any other government institution. Christianity is not about gun control. Christianity is not about legitimizing what is morally wrong or any other liberal agenda. Christianity is not about supporting Israel or any other foreign government or lobby. Christianity is not about supporting Donald Trump or any other political leader. Christianity is not about “fire insurance” theology.

Christianity is about the revelation of Jesus Christ, and the Kingdom of God coming about through the hearts and minds of humankind, one at a time, through the knowledge of God. Christianity is about individuals being transformed by the grace of God through the Holy Spirit, so as to be conformed to the likeness of the Son of God, not only in love but in righteousness. That’s called “holiness”, which means wholeness. This is the foremost component of what it means to be “saved”, to be salvaged, to be made whole.

Where did we ever lose track of that message?

Why have the pulpits of preachers, pastors, priests, and popes been compromised by these other things having nothing to do with the Kingdom of God?

We must wake up and understand that this world will change when we are each changed from the inside out. Let’s take back the Faith that has been hijacked and supplanted by the world system!

Whoever has ears to hear, let him hear.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

A Prayer to Begin the Countdown to the Holidays

 
Lord, please let my eyes be opened that I may see all that I have to be thankful for, and lift from me the blindness that propels me into a habit of complaining. I ask Your forgiveness for the many times I have indulged this tendency and Your all powerful help to dispel it.
I know that Your love and goodness are boundless. Your grace is perpetual and ever extending itself into my life. For this I give You thanks, as without You I am nothing and can do nothing.
Let me be filled with Your Holy Spirit, so that my heart may be pure and my eye single, and that Your kindness and generosity may radiate from me. Let me ever be mindful of and in harmony with Your will of perpetually bringing forth in me the likeness of your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior and Lord, in Whose name I pray.
Amen.
Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Jesus In The Flesh

What is of paramount importance to God? As time goes on, it becomes clearer and clearer that it is about our being in this world as He (Jesus) was in this world and in this life. True religion, worship in Spirit and in Truth, has little to do with the performance of rites and rituals, except that these communicate the foregoing to us, and need to be received as such as we participate in them.

Neither does amassing a great deal of religious / spiritual knowledge accomplish being Jesus in the flesh – the reality of being in Christ, with Christ also being in us, and manifesting His life within and through us – as we see, recognize, and acknowledge Him in every person God puts right in front of us, along our path each day every day.

Rituals, observance of days and calendars, and spiritual knowledge should enhance this experience and edify it. But the personal, prayerful attitude with which I must approach Jesus constantly is, Lord, how do You wish to work in and through me today? Who will You send my way that I ought to see and serve as You right now? If I am part of Your Holy Body, I want to get real about this! Please send Your Spirit to me so that I may have the capacity for awareness of You, and the will and the wherewithal to serve You as needed today and every day.

The Churches have been rent asunder for 2 millennia over rituals and perspectives. Anyone who thinks this is not so has not been present in Earth reality but off on some other tangent – as we think and dwell on “our tribe’s” narrative, to promote it. The question is, is it the tribal narrative we pitch, or the Living Christ? We may be guilty of being incredibly shallow thinkers, naive or “ignore-ant” of history, as well as in denial of the workings of the fallen, finite, frail, feeble human mind.

Do we not tend to quibble more over the lesser realities of form and miss the substance? Jesus hits the nail on the head here: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You pay tithes of mint, dill, and cumin, but you have disregarded the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” Matthew 23:23-25.

It’s rather amazing how He mostly has issues with the religious leaders, who were so blinded by their perspectives that they could not recognize the very Messiah they claimed to await! He’s not advocating for throwing out the rituals, but they were in severe neglect of what all of it meant! We might say they couldn’t see the forest for the trees. It begs the question, Do we?

The fact is that, if we come face to face with the simple but radical person, claims, and teachings of Jesus and the Apostles every day, with every person Christ sends our way, it would be blatantly obvious how everybody has missed it (including yours truly; Lord have mercy!), blind as we are. Conflicts and disputes are often over perspectives and rituals, but seldom over the fact of our failure to notice the outrageous, insane love called for by Jesus, whereby He says that all men will know you are my disciples! See John 13:34,35. Could it be that these things have become stumbling blocks to the manifestation of Jesus in the flesh?

Jesus calls for “evidence based Christianity”. The walk needs to match the talk, as has often been said – a reality that is so potent that it can proclaim without a word that we know Jesus The Christ, that we belong to Him, that we are actually in Him and He in us. The Holy Spirit must bring conviction of this very real need! Scripture is full of this word of admonition, revealing the fullness of Christ. “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John 1:16. What is also revealed is our failure to live out from what we have been given and what we claim to be!

1 Corinthians 13 should be prayed, pondered, and practiced daily and continually by all of us who claim the Name of Jesus Christ, because it is out here on the rugged terrain of this life desert that we are tested, trained, tried, and hopefully made true to Him in what He asks of us. And it is not simply about the behaviors of Love, as we can see, but about the attitude, the interiority, from which they arise.

If all I had of the Bible was a little paper containing this word of Love, inward heart spiritual digestion of it would be enough to sustain me here in my own desert. Or even the contents of the admonition of Jesus Christ: “Love one another as I have loved you. Love your enemies. Do good to those who are spiteful to you. By this difference will it be known that you are My disciples.” The “diet” of the desert is simple. Manna for the Israelites. Locusts and wild honey for John. Bread form the ravens of Elijah.

Only self serving kings need daily sumptuous feasts and lavish banquets. God has written the former “diet” on our hearts. Men have given us the latter feasts through the ages. We are without excuse. Libraries full of books are feasts; they are fine. However, we should be warned, “The words of the wise are like goads, and the anthologies of the masters are like firmly embedded nails driven by a single Shepherd. But beyond these, my son, be warned: There is no end to the making of many books, and much study wearies the body. When all has been heard, the conclusion of the matter is this: Fear God and keep His commandments, because this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:11-13. (Can I get some amens?)

Discussing complex metaphysical palaver is always a fascinating pursuit. But we do well to not hold in a critical eye those we may pridefully regard as “simplistic” or “reductionistic”, when perhaps Jesus regards them as His “little ones.” “Knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” 1 Corinthians 8:1. Perhaps those we so criticize seek to build on the foundation of the simplicity that is in Christ, our God Who is love! Let us never rule out that possibility. Perhaps they came to an end to sorting through all the available “bricks” and simply laid the foundation?

So if all the big headed, self impressing mental / theological gymnastics keep us away from the reality of Christ love, what good are they? Just how many books – regardless of how ancient (or recent and trendy) they may be – does anyone need? They pile up like a wall of futile defense – against the enemy within ourselves – our blind refusal to love as Christ loves.

With this complexity one can easily deny that Jesus has come in the flesh, which is one’s own body-temple, as well as those to whom He sends us every day.

“By this you will know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming, and is already in the world at this time.” 1 John 4:2,3.

To confess Jesus in the flesh carries more than one level of meaning:

1. Jesus as He manifested through the Blessed Theotokos, lived as a man, died, was resurrected and now ascended into heaven – the historical Person – is the first recognition of His coming in the flesh.

2. The Spirit of Christ in the believer: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is perfected in us. By this we know that we remain in Him, and He in us: He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” 1 John 4:12-14.

3. We acknowledge Jesus in “the other”, according to His own words. ”When did we see You sick or in prison and visit You?’ And the King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’” Matthew 25:39,40.

This is how we “confess / witness” as Jesus coming in the flesh in conclusion. We have the revelation of Jesus Christ – we believe – in the historical Savior, eye-witnessed by the Apostles, revealed by the Scripture. We are to acknowledge how the Spirit of Christ wishes to reveal Himself in us, and then through us to all with whom Jesus chooses to identify Himself. There are no exceptions! Enemies included.

Dear, sweet, radical Savior Lord Jesus! Teach us Your ways, which surely are not our ways, for we are finite, and You are infinite. You make possible supernaturally what is impossible naturally! Please set us on fire with Your Holy Spirit so that we will continue in Your Word and truly be Your disciples, and then we will know the truth, and the truth will set us free (from John 8:31,32), free to be all that You intend for us, as Your dwelling place from which You manifest Your love to the world. Then keep us aglow in Your Spirit’s holy fire. Thank You for Your magnificent power and Your never failing promises, whereby we become partakers of Your divine nature. Amen.

   

Posted in Christianity, Uncategorized

Surrendered To Divine Intention

It never ceases to fill me with awe and wonder whenever contemplating the following passage, summarizing why the Church exists. She is the Bride extraordinaire to her Bridegroom, one with Him as a spiritual warrior fighting powers unseen and bringing captives to freedom at the deepest and most profound levels, in Her Bridegroom’s Name.

“…God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. (Ephesians 3: 9,10,14-19 KJV)

Art For Cross Purposes 22.png

Several aims of the Apostle’s prayer stand out dynamically as something worth pondering, something really worth entering into through the work and life of the elect, by way of prayer as the central focus and purpose of our being.

The question is, does our aim as the church align with what is revealed here? Do we pray this prayer with the Apostle, or are we approaching God, in a manner of speaking, looking for beads and trinkets instead of the heavenly spiritual pearls and diamonds of priceless worth?

The first order of business is intention, not of self interest, but surrendered to Divine Will and Purpose. Paul isn’t talking about simply making a better life for ourselves. He is revealing that the the elect are called to a very supernatural purpose – that the multi faceted Wisdom of God is to be revealed by the elect – not just to Earth dwelling human beings, but to the principalities and powers in heavenly places!

(The reader may want to meditate on Romans 8, to access even more insight into “the fellowship of the mystery”, as Paul refers to it in Ephesians 3:9. This fellowship is the “Ecclesia”, the ones Jesus prayed for, those called out of worldly religions and systems, per John 17:6, to a specific and supernatural purpose.)

The second thought addressed is the idea of being strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man. There’s much to be done, and it begins with “an inside job” – the work of the Spirit in and through us. Being surrendered to the work of the Cross of our Lord Jesus – His redemptive work – so as to be set free from the entanglements of evil, beginning within ourselves – is what this is about. This takes place in time and space, here and now. It is in the innermost being where the process of salvation begins and continues. We’re liberated at the most foundational level, cleansed, healed, restored and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

The third point is that Christ’s Spirit must make His abode in us. This is so easily taken for granted. I’m baptized, so I’m a Christian… I belong to such and such a church or group, so I’m a Christian… I answered an altar call… I speak in tongues… Such ideas are “blessed assumptions”. Assuming does not make it so. Redemption is given freely through Christ, yes. But salvation is a process worked out by surrender to God’s will and work through the power of the Holy Spirit, with fear and trembling.

The fourth issue is this. Prayer in alignment with the Mind of Christ embraces a spiritual and supernatural vision unlike anything we can imagine. Prayer means continual asking, seeking, and knocking so we – being rooted and grounded in Christ Love – may comprehend the breadth, length, height, and depth of His Love (in all dimensions and directions!) surpassing all knowledge! Why? To be filled up to all the fullness of God – a far greater Reality than most of us ever thought possible!

Something happened a very long time ago. Angels staged a coup in Heaven. Humanity became complicit and was drawn out of its blessed and perfect estate, falling into a cosmic trap. A plan of redemption was conceived by the Godhead and carried out by none other than the Fullness of the Godhead in bodily form – Jesus the Messiah.

He now calls forth His elect to live a life that serves notice to all principalities and powers hostile to our Supernal Father Creator and His children. Those fallen rebels are to be evicted from the Creation which they hijacked, and is to be restored to those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, Christ Jesus.

The question is, who has actually heard and understood the call – the call to come out from among the world’s systems, false religions, philosophies, and paradigms and to stand apart in His Name on behalf of His Kingdom which is not of this world? This mission is not for the faint of heart, but in Christ it is also not “mission impossible”, for with God all things are possible. In Christ, let us be about the Father’s business.

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Arriving At Love

1 Corinthians 13:5 NASB. (Love)… “does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered.”

Dare we say at the outset that love is not reactive but instead proactive, regenerative, and creative? And divinely so! Yet how do we arrive at love, so as to love as Jesus loved?

Love is not just a feeling of affection on a human level – where I love my spouse or I love my dog. It is also not the sense of “falling in love” with someone, or even falling in love with an ideology or religion. So let’s stop right here for a moment to realize how easily we can be fooled by a feeling of euphoria, even about abstract thought. For some this is quite attractive.

Yet how many people are convinced that this “high” is “proof” that the Holy Spirit is active, who are drawn into a religion (be it “Christian” or otherwise), simply because they are drawn to what they hold as an ideal, fueled by seeing their current religious situation as not what they’d want it to be? Beware of such moments, for the devil lurks at every window of opportunity to lead us astray into falsehoods which demolish the clear and simple gospel of devotion to Christ, and especially Christ’s devotion to us! (This does not include of course the possibility of leaving an apostate congregation or denomination.)

The practice of Jesus’ kind of love is what Scripture calls us to as the ultimate. This requires a prayer life including opening oneself up to the searchlight of the Holy Spirit – the very presence of the Great Physician Himself – Who speaks the Word of forgiveness. With this He delivers us little by little from what lurks within – uncharted darkness that largely characterizes our interior being. As this goes on, Love that is in Christ alone shines forth in ever increasing magnitude as this darkness is dispelled. Out with the bad; in with the Good, so to speak.

We may not even realize that such darkness is lurking within us, holding us in some aspect spiritually captive! When we see it for what it is, and how it so mercilessly keeps us in the dark, there is nothing for it but – by the power of the Holy Spirit – to surrender ourself to the Lord’s provision for our salvation and the restoration of His likeness in us. In so doing let us hear Him impart to us, and receive, the priceless proclamation and command, “Thy sins are forgiven thee. Arise; go and sin no more!”

This “treatment” of receiving forgiveness may have to be sought multiple times throughout life in various applications to the “sin within” (original sin), which to say the least is an understatement. So it behooves us to pray according to Psalm 19:12 (NLT), “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”

All of these lurking interior conditions prohibit the manifestation of Christ Love in and through us. God alone by His own infinite love must remove them. Our part (relating as sin sick patient to the Great Physician) is to admit to this and to receive His “treatment” – by grace through faith – which has already been created for us in Christ Jesus: forgiveness, renewal, and restoration. This is the goal of Confession and Absolution.

We return then to the eye opening request in Psalm 19, this time including verse 13 (Amplified Version): “Who can discern his lapses and errors? Clear me from hidden [and unconscious] faults. Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not rule over me; then I shall be blameless, And I shall be acquitted of transgression.” (Highlighted emphasis mine.)

On a personal note – in offering up the essence of this prayer to God – I have begun to perceive where I am impatient (far too much of the time), unkind (a lot more than I want to be), and jealous (due to thinking that much of life has passed me by but has been granted to someone else), or feeling wronged in a myriad of ways which may not even be true or real. Bragging and arrogance may also cloak themselves beneath a facade of colorful pretenses and images of ourself we’d like the world to see. We all wear to some degree or another this thin veneer that is so very easily scratched! Yet if this facade is to be put off and the humility of Christ put on, then being a “put on” must be put off. How so?

This reality can happen, as our sanctification must be a continuation flowing out of our justification: “by grace through faith lest anyone should boast”. Per Ephesians 2:8.

Religious rites and rituals – whether on the one hand extreme with complex liturgies, or the other hand extreme in the direction of the most simplistic praise choruses followed by sermons – are never to become substitutes for our “metaphysical” reality in Christ Jesus. They ought to point to that which already is in Him! Let’s repeat that: Religious rites and rituals are never to become substitutes for our “metaphysical” reality in Christ Jesus. They must point to that which already is in Him! If this is not understood, then we wind up as the ancient Jews, mistaking rituals and procedures as substitutes for relationship with the living God.

This is not how He intended it, even though the Lord Himself carefully prescribed every detail of ritual for those days, from the layout of temple and tabernacle, to procedures of sacrifice and worship. Why then did He go to all that trouble? It was not so that people would fall in love with religion and rituals, mistaking the forms for reality, but so that when they saw and heard the message of the Messiah and the Gospel enacted in the rituals, they would perceive it and fall in love with Him!

For it was His proclamation of old – through sacrifice, ritual, word, and song – that God was revealing His saving, transforming love through Jesus Christ. God, Who is Spirit and Creator, revealed His Way of Love for us, physical and human, received  by grace through faith. He was revealing through these forms the Way to transcend our fallenness and defilement through the remission of sins by the application of forgiveness so that we can love as Jesus loves.

This is, always has been, and ever shall be so, only through the blood of the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world. Redemption and salvation are by Jesus Christ alone, Who has ransomed us from sin, death, and the authority of the evil one! He has made us once more His own, “that we might be His own and live under Him in His kingdom, and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. This is most certainly true.” (From The 2nd Article, Luther’s Small Catechism.)

Let us never fall prey to getting lost in ritual! It is story. It is communication of the drama of salvation – enacted, spoken, and sung. But it is not an end in itself, no matter how simple, or contrastingly ornate or beautiful (with potential toward burdensome works). Let us relate to it as it is – visible, auditory,  and participatory “word” – a tool revealing Christ, pointing to Christ, in all His splendor and authority, in Whose already finished redemption is the extension of the forgiveness that brings about the remission of our sins.

I’ve often prayed about what forgiveness really means, wanting to know and to understand this working of the Lord. It has taken many years of asking, seeking, and knocking. It seems a simple thing to many people, but not for me. What has been revealed is but a fraction of what is to come!

How so? The proclamation of the forgiveness of sins is the medicine that brings about the remission of sins – the inherent, congenital, terminal condition which is upon fallen humankind. This means everyone! This proclamation is God’s grace directed to all who are fallen under this condition, abiding in death and darkness. Forgiveness is announced, for example, in liturgy, upon confession of our sinfulness. How receptive are we to what we are hearing? Do we receive it and participate in it in life?

The Spirit, through the truth proclaimed, must “overshadow” every human soul contained in man who is physical being. (Just as Christ was physically produced in Mary through the Spirit, so He is to be spiritually reproduced in us!) Forgiveness is the “axe” of the power of the Word of God being laid to the “root” of the sinful condition within man, for it cannot exist in the same space as the Light of God. Simultaneously, with each blow of the axe, a soul is set free from sin, self (ego/pride), and Satan’s power. The Holy Spirit, every time forgiveness is pronounced and received, makes His inroads – destroying the old regime and supplanting and replacing it with the Kingdom of Heaven.

We are God’s “inheritance” in and under the Lordship of Christ Jesus, precious to Him beyond imagining! This is what forgiveness restores to us – the right to become the sons of God! What a marvel! With this “declaration” comes transformation – to be made Christlike through the Blood of the Lamb! We could even say “sublimation” – not in the Freudian sense – but by the spiritual sense of Holy Spirit’s work of elevating us through purification, converting something inferior (due to the Fall) into something of highest worth to our Heavenly Father.

This is not theology only, but the reality into which we are called to participate in Christ Jesus. Are we, or are we not, new creations in Him? That is the question. We become new creations as we are born again of water and the Spirit. But as all newborns, we must grow in grace and knowledge of God through Christ.

It is the action of the Unseen Almighty’s love that never gives up on mankind or individual human beings. Purification means that through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of heaven (and the kingdom of heaven enters us!) Darkness must be supplanted by the Light of Christ within us. Yet it is never by the hand of man – who is the recipient of this work. Seeing our shortcomings and where they will take us, there’s nothing for it but to surrender fully to the all consuming Love of Christ under the direction of the Holy Spirit and receive forgiveness.

What anciently rooted itself in the race of humanity through deception is such an insidious thing that it cannot be approached in the power of humanistic self effort. We are no match for the adversary. This sin condition is of such an altogether “alien” Luciferian construct and magnitude of being, that it is only by way of forgiveness through the Blood of Jesus Christ that there is sufficient power against it! Let us never underestimate the value of forgiveness!

We see this exemplified in the Old Testament accounts of Israel coming against the giants who ruled the Promised Land. There was no natural strength against them to be found in the efforts or weaponry of Israel on it own. Overtaking and conquering them could only be accomplished at the Word of the Lord. When Israel was faithful to the Word of the Lord, the occupational forces were routed. It was the only way.

What a blow to self effort is this realization! This has to be the revelation of Paul to the Church: it is not, it never was, nor shall it ever be by our own might or power; but this “regime change” within us must be strictly by the power of the Holy Spirit through the proclamation of the Word of forgiveness in Christ Jesus. This is how we not only receive forgiveness, but are transformed and the likeness of God in us is restored (That likeness is love!). Where Peter was given the revelation of the identity and therefore the authority of Jesus Christ, Paul was given the Word of revelation on how His kingdom is to be built upon the foundation, the Rock! And unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain that build it. (Per Psalm 127:1)

It is so easy for human ego to become enamored of offering God religious works, and this easily morphs into religious pride which always stands like a mountain in the way of the all-sufficiency provided by God in Christ. When that mountain exalts itself, it stands in the way of Christ’s love and likeness being formed in us. When man thinks he has a better “religious” way, ironically all that he does is to shake his fist in God’s face as he sings, “I do it my way.”

May we ever be wary, diligent, and vigilant about the deception of religious forms replacing the reality of the substance that belongs to Christ alone and our relationship to Him built on that. Certainly religious forms can be beautiful and intriguing drama presenting the salvation story, but if they supplant it as reality – and this happens often and easily since idolatry lurks in the hearts of men – let us ever speak to that mountain and say, “Be thou cast down and leveled never to rise again. Stand down and take your place!”

So be it according to Your word, O Lord God, by the power of Your Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ all powerful, all sufficient name. Amen.

PS: One would think that the prophetic unfoldments circa 70 A.D. should have been sufficient evidence of the message to the churches about God’s dealing with such devices. Yet man continues to substitute ritual for the reality of relationship with Him, in the face of the cry from the cross, “It is finished!” Let us surrender ourselves to God for forgiveness and repentance of having substituted any other way that supplants His Way through Christ Jesus! Amen.

Respectfully submitted, Soli Deo Gloria!

 

Originally published:

http://www.at-the-crossroad.com/430065897/5771759/posting/arriving-at-love

Posted in Christianity, Spirituality, Uncategorized

A Realization

Something I’ve realized: Sometimes people expect us to relate to a mutual acquaintance as they relate to them, or judge them. Please understand this: I’m not obligated to you to hold the same grudges or judgment against said acquaintance as someone else does. I have only one Master to whose directive I’m bound, Who commands me to relate to that person just as He does, with a steady and consistent outflow of unconditional love, as well as forgiveness to the tune of “70 X 7”. That’s all I need to know. And I’m certainly not very good at it on my own! But it is His standard. So I need a mind that’s conformed to Christ’s, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to even begin to grow into that. Therefore what I do not need is the excess baggage of someone else’s former difficulties with said mutual acquaintance, trying to get me to take sides against them. I’m trying to get into the mode of relating to that soul as Christ does, and that is not always an easy thing to do, something a human may not be able to generate without divine help. But lately I’m becoming aware of the deep flaws in my own thinking on this matter… (Don’t worry. There will be no mutual luncheons to which warring parties are invited in near future. ) But what a joyous world it would be if all let bygones be bygones and we put on the Mind of Christ in all matters. We live in perilous times where sincere bonds may need to be forged to survive, where we cannot afford to indulge the chipping away at what God builds (Christ love) within by the fatal flaw of un-forgiveness.