No matter how much of the Bible is quoted and appealed to if it is systematized to accommodate the strictures of the carnal mind it opposes God because “The natural mind cannot receive the things of the Spirit, indeed it is opposed to them.”
And there, in one verse, is the reason why there has been the “great falling away”. It is not a ‘falling away from salvation’, which is an impossibility because Jesus is the Author and the Finisher of our faith, no, what Paul was predicting was that many would fall from and fail to enjoy the transcendent grace that is the believers inheritance in Christ.
Sadly, the peace, joy and freedom that is theirs has been forsaken for the convenience and comfort of the religious boxes of denominationalism and the rigorous limitations and delusions of unbelieving intellects that denigrate and militate against the accomplishment of Christ. The ranks of the prophets of Baal, the warlocks of paganism, and the priests of the Vatican, have now been swelled by the fractured intellectual elite of biblical, but religious, scholarship that the believer dare not or cannot possibly exhaust.
Verdicts have been passed on the contextualizing of scripture, discernments and applications have been made on what are types and shadows, determinations have been made on what is literal and what is symbolic, and bold but very finite conclusions have been drawn.
This, in one way, is a good thing in that each pronouncement manifests something of the multifarious wisdom of God. Unfortunately each and every cause that is upheld is championed by the various and sundry schools of thought that espouse them who become more and more entrenched in defensive self-protecting dogmas which make their doctrines sound so certain and authoritative – even though only one of them (if that many?) can be correct.
Thankfully our loving Father has blazed a trail through the interminable maze of theology whereby we can walk in whatever light is furnished and discard whatever does not glorify God.
“Who are the children of God? Those who are lead by the Spirit of God.”
Let’s look at the only infallible One in action: Jesus met a woman at a well and He basically read her mail to her. She was amazed when the Lord told her she had had five husbands and that “even the one that you are now with is not your husband.”
I believe this also speaks to our carnal perceptions and our reliance on our five senses, every one of which fail us because they are hard-wired and subject to our brains. And ‘even the one we are now with’, our ‘sixth sense’, our soul, fails us too, because the soul is not some mysterious disembodied metaphysically pristine entity, it is simply the combination of spirit and flesh. It does have spirit, but at the very least, it is leavened by, that is it is, contaminated, infiltrated, and puffed up by, the carnal mind, and “a little leaven leavens the whole lump” . . .
. . . and that thing between our ears, “fearfully and wonderfully made” as it is, is a lump! Especially when compared to the wisdom of He Who created both it and the universe in which He placed it.
Jesus goes on to tell the woman at the well that a day is coming when we will “worship God in Spirit and in truth”, because without the transcendent intervention and direction, (‘seizing’) of the Spirit of God we cannot rightly realize Who He is, and who we are in Him.
So I am going to make a declaration, and you must determine if it is in Spirit and if it is true, and, yes, I make this statement in the full knowledge that I will, like all of my theological friends, give account for every word that I speak.
Here goes: He Who sits on the White Throne, He Who judges all things, He Who is the Ancient of days, is indeed awesome in His holiness and His power.
He is also full of mercy and He is the Resurrection and the Life. He cannot deny Himself, He doesn’t want to, and He won’t!
I cannot explicitly tell you exactly how we are all going to get from here to eternal bliss because scripture does not spell it out, (this can only be known in Spirit and in truth, or, as Jesus pointedly enquired after His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”). Nor can I tell you how I went from being dismissive of Jesus Christ and a mocker of those who love Him to becoming a fellow worshipper of God, (except to say that I was seized), but I look at the heart that beat on the cross and I hear the words, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”, and I love and believe in Him Who “gave His only begotten Son because He so loved the world.”
Whenever I hear anyone teach that any creature in the entire universe is going to be tortured forever, or annihilated, they sound to me like the prodigal son’s big brother.
Have they been with the Father so long and they still can’t imagine Him hitching up His robes and running out to joyfully greet His long lost son who very belatedly, perhaps at the very close of the ages, having spent every last bit of his inheritance, has finally, by the grace of God alone, come to the realization of the truth?
Before any further legalistic indignation is offered by those who wield eternal consequence in the name of God’s holiness, consider this, “Not knowing God’s righteousness they seek to establish a righteousness of their own.” Romans 10:13.
The righteousness of men is as “filthy rags”. Jesus has become our righteousness, and this righteousness, His holiness, we can only have through the gift of His faith. We can only boast in His word and His finished work alone, knowing that “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.”
Thank You Jesus, thank You Father.
Thank You so very, very much.
“You are beautiful beyond description,
too marvelous for words,
too wonderful for comprehension,
like nothing ever seen or heard.
Who can grasp Your infinite wisdom,
who can fathom the depths of Your
You are beautiful beyond description Majesty enthroned above.
And I stand, I stand, in awe of You,
I stand, I stand, in awe of You,
Holy God to Whom all praise is due,
I stand in awe of You.”
Lyrics by Mark Altrogge.
We must labor to enter His rest, and I am sincerely grateful for every nugget of truth that has been mined so assiduously by theologians, but it does not help them, or you, if you allow them to define the transcendent love of God through their limited power and scope.
All of the carnal contradictions and travesties of the perceptions of man will eventually expire, and with thanksgiving to a gracious and long-suffering God we can bury their remains with ours as we, all of us, together, forever, rest in peace, a peace that does not find it’s consummation in death, but a peace that can only be found in the Spirit of the Life that has triumphed over death.
See you around.