Last time, I left alot of things up in the air rather inconclusively; but it was for a reason. Now I can explain why the Church is the way it is now. Why are there so many frauds, so many fakes? Why are there so many hypocrites and liars? Why was Jesus’ spiritual army on the World seemingly be attested to some of the worst attrocities in history? Ironically, it wasn’t him- to put the long story in short.
What does Jesus have to say about the religious leaders of his time, The Pharisees? I think he paints an inconically beautiful picture of religious people are like; the ones who try and reach God out of their own strength:
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee God’s coming wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. 9 Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. (a)
Jesus, who has ironically been the patriarch to most man-made religion, hated it. When the religious leaders of the time came to watch the moves of God in their man-made righteousness, Jesus opens his mouth and says “You brood of snakes!” He might as well have been calling them the armies within the leagues of Satan; they would have known Genesis back to front. They would have known that it was a snake, a serpent, who tempted Eve in the first place.
So, in recap to last time, we could basically deduce that we who are from God will have life wellin deep within us- through the Spirit of God within us. We also deduced that the flesh, are very bodies, are so corrupt that we have to fight against our natural instincts and urges daily to follow the will God has for us. What does this have to say about ones who don’t have the Spirit of God within them; but strive to be part of the Godhead in one twisted way or another?
Let’s look deeper into what The Bible has to say on the subject. Peter states that:
3 Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. 4They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.”
5 They deliberately forget that God made the heavens by the word of his command, and he brought the earth out from the water and surrounded it with water. 6 Then he used the water to destroy the ancient world with a mighty flood. 7 And by the same word, the present heavens and earth have been stored up for fire. They are being kept for the day of judgment, when ungodly people will be destroyed. (b)
It’s interesting to note that Peter’s words are just as damning as Jesus’ words; except for this time he is mentioning scoffers and unbelievers. The interesting thing to note here is that if you put the statements together, it is almost as if they suffer from the same thing; they suffer from being dead to sin and following their earthly desires in all that they do.
It’s either for God or against God; there is no middle ground. What I’m trying to say is that this sin pandemic, this corrupted and incorruptible perturbation of flesh, kills. Maybe not literally, but spiritually. We are dead without God. Because of our sin, all that we do is meaningless; it all comes from the same evil well of desires. If the root cause isn’t addressed and adjusted, then there will be no salvation.
The regenerate spirit of a man (the belief that the Holy Spirit pretty much begins to revitalize us into what God calls us to be once we become Christ believing) is the opposite of the flesh that he is living in. Not necessarily because flesh is evil- remember that God himself became flesh for us. No, only because the flesh itself is corrupt; it has sin embedded into this very knowledge and programming. It is within our very nature to sin, and there is nothing we can do about that out of our own skin.
And, my friends, this is why both Jesus’ and Peter’s words were equally damning; the corrupt is the equal opposite to what is holy; they are on two opposite sides of the coin. Although there is a paradox in that God currently provides us holiness within an earthly body; as a gold treasure hidden within a dirty jar of clay, that isn’t the problem here. The problem here is without God, anyone can be in leagues with Satan; who caused sin in the first place to come ino the World.
Don’t get me wrong, I won’t be using analogies of The Matrix any time soon- it is so last decade! But, now that I think of it, it fits perfectly; the ones still stuck within the program are prone to fall at a whim to it, like an agent overtaking a man still plugged in to the system.
Why am I compounding my point time and time again? Because I want to show you that there is no grey; grey is an illusion. There are currently many shades of black and white; in some places more than other. Now back to the Church; what does Paul say on the subject?
Living as Children of Light
17 With the Lord’s authority I say this: Live no longer as the Gentiles do, for they are hopelessly confused. 18 Their minds are full of darkness; they wander far from the life God gives because they have closed their minds and hardened their hearts against him. 19They have no sense of shame. They live for lustful pleasure and eagerly practice every kind of impurity.
20 But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. 21 Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, 22 throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. 23 Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. 24Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
28 If you are a thief, quit stealing. Instead, use your hands for good hard work, and then give generously to others in need. 29Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.
30 And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own,guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. (c)
The thing Paul is drilling in here is following God’s will which happens to be good, true and perfect. What Paul is getting at is although we are still in our old flesh, filled with lust, envy, pride, arrogance as well as other sins, we need to start following God in all we do; in which God provides us the power to do so. Through Jesus, the Lord perfectly understands where we are at- although are very essence, our very souls, have been washed clean of any sin, our very bodies are still the same as they were before. We still live within our corruptible flesh, and we need to act to kill it (not in a literal sense, but in a way that our lives mirror the ways in which Christ lived his).
This all comes back down to this sin pandemic- sin kills. Without God, we are full of sin. With God, we have been set free from which held us back before- we have no need to follow the desires which powerlessly controlled us before. Now, saying that, we still live in our current bodies; the corrupted flesh, so although we are forgiven and free, we still have to flee from our Earthly desires as well as standing firm against Satan and his temptations. If we leave a door open, all hell breaks loose literally. If we close everything which shouldn’t be open in the first place, we shall get a taste of Heaven on Earth right here right now; what Jesus used to call The Kingdom of Heaven when he was alive here on Earth:
Parable of the Wheat and Weeds
24 Here is another story Jesus told: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a farmer who planted good seed in his field. 25 But that night as the workers slept, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat, then slipped away. 26When the crop began to grow and produce grain, the weeds also grew.
27“The farmer’s workers went to him and said, ‘Sir, the field where you planted that good seed is full of weeds! Where did they come from?’
28“‘An enemy has done this!’ the farmer exclaimed.
“‘Should we pull out the weeds?’ they asked.
29 “‘No,’ he replied, ‘you’ll uproot the wheat if you do. 30Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds, tie them into bundles, and burn them, and to put the wheat in the barn.’”
Parable of the Mustard Seed
31 Here is another illustration Jesus used: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. 32 It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” (d)
In a previous article, I talked about the false being in the midst of the good; Jesus shows us the Kingdom of Heaven here on Earth is the same. Although the Church may grow and floursih, there will be birds nesting within its branches; weeds among the wheat. So, how do we tell the difference between the truth and the falsehood; the mockery and fakery to God compare to what is true and righteous? Well, it is simple really. A true Christian, even with everythin out to get him (or her), will be made perfect in Spirit; becoming more and more Christlike in character day by day. The fake ones will gradually get more corrupt and get it wrong consistently; we have seen this happen before. The problem was at the time that these people- the wolf in the sheep’s clothing- masquerades as one of us; a Christian (which literally means ‘little Christ’ or ‘Christ follower’- it originated as a dig at Christ believers; it ironically became their identity).
2 Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Living Stones for God’s House
4You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
5 And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests. Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem, chosen for great honor, and anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.”
7Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.” (e)
Peter puts it bluntly here; as new creations, we need to crave the pure spiritual milk which comes from God to grow and develop, or we go nowhere. He paints us an encouraging picture of what is to come; one of love and purity, a picture of being part of God’s holy temple as priests. “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced”.
But, on the flipside;
“He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them. (f)
It is interesting to note that God’s desire for people who work against him until the end are clear; he makes them stumble, he makes them fall. Because of their insolence to think that they could save themselves, in whatever way that manifests outwardly, they entirely end up falling over God’s cornerstone- Jesus Christ. As we can see from all the verses we have read, there is a rather clear dividing line between God and man; between fallen and saved. One breeds into life in every essence and form, the other breeds into death in every essence and form.
9 But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests,a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10 “Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.”
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world. (g)
This is exactly why Peter is warning us as Christians to live holy lives; it is unnatural for us to do otherwise. Although our bodies in which we live in are still corrupt, we ourselves- the people we are- are not. We need to avoid the temptations which built death and destruction within our hearts before God decided to intervene and save us. This all seems so paradoxical, but through grace it is our duty to follow and glorify God in all that we do as newborn followers of Grace; of Jesus Christ.
a- Matthew 3: 7-9, b- 2 Peter 3: 2-7, c- Ephesians 4: 17-32, d- Matthew 13: 24- 32, e- 1 Peter 2: 2-7, f- 1 Peter 2: 8, g- 1 Peter 2: 9-17
- What is the Church? Part 3: The Fellowship of the Believers (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- Sinful Works of the Flesh (truthinscripture.com)
- Why Can’t You Do Miracles? (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)
- Eating the Lord’s Body (onwardswearychristian.wordpress.com)
- Living By The Spirit Of God Is The Only Way To Live In Jesus (pastorpaulvbsblog.blogspot.com)