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Leveling Up (Spiritual Sowing Pt. 1)

Sometimes I feel I have written about “flesh vs. spirit” too much, but I want to share what is on my heart, and I still don’t think I understand or have expressed clearly the nature and importance of this issue.  All of us, to some extent, still have “darkness” that needs to be removed in our minds and hearts in order to walk in the Kingdom of God more fully.

I want to look at a passage in Galatians, which I think summarizes the main emphasis Paul taught pretty well:

Galatians 5:13-26 WEB (R):  “For you, brothers, were called for freedom. Only don’t use your freedom for gain to the flesh, but through love be servants to one another (true love creates no “gain” for the self-preserving flesh).  For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, be careful that you don’t consume one another (“biting and devouring” are the opposite of edification/building up, and are not the way of love).  But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh (such as biting and devouring others, including brothers and sisters). For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, that you may not do the things that you desire (mixture of natures causes impotence and prevents fruit-bearing). But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (only flesh is under law, but in Christ we have “leveled up” to a new way of being, that of Life in the Spirit.  That’s all that matters now). Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, strife, jealousies, outbursts of anger, rivalries, divisions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these; of which I forewarn you, even as I also forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the Kingdom of God (in listing these “works of the flesh” Paul isn’t merely listing things we “shouldn’t do,” but things we WILL do if led by the flesh.  Practicing these things doesn’t condemn us to “hell,” but they are a sign we are abiding in the flesh, outside of the Kingdom of God.  If you truly love and want to honor the Father and Son, then living contrary to their way/nature is as bad as the typical understanding of “hell”).  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law (the law only applies to flesh –  to expose its weakness and sinfulness.  The spirit exists on a higher plane, above law). Those who belong to Christ have crucified the flesh with its passions and lusts (it’s not that we “need to” crucify the flesh.  “In Christ, it’s been done already.”  -That simple statement is the death of religion and law.  If we would/could truly understand and embrace it, then so much time and energy wasted on religion could be saved, along with inexpressible amounts of needless guilt, fear, psychosis, confusion, on and on.  We could then be free to “seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness,” rather than propping up the institutions of men and our own image/reputation.  In fact, because the flesh has been “crucified,” we are “obligated” in a sense to walk in the spirit, as Paul says next). If we live by the Spirit, let’s also walk by the Spirit. Let’s not become conceited, provoking one another, and envying one another.”  

There is a lot to this passage.  Notice at the very end, Paul says that if we live by the Spirit we should walk by the spirit, and immediately says we should not “provoke” or “envy” each-other, things he just mentioned as “works of the flesh.”  If/since we have been baptized with Christ into newness of life, as Paul discusses in Romans 6, then we have spiritual Life within, a nature of servanthood, love and forgiveness; a nature which desires Truth and the honor of God.  Not only that, but a nature which despises the hypocrisy of religion, despises the corruption of the powerful and the oppression of the weak, and embraces hardship to walk a contrary path when necessary.  A nature which is in no way self-serving.  

The issue then becomes recognizing that Life and letting it become our driving force, which is much of what Paul meant by “walking by the Spirit.”  Simply “having the spirit” isn’t enough, we must let it reign in our hearts and lives, replacing the darkness and fear that we have clung to.  What good is potential or access if the valued thing is never taken out or expressed?  It’s actually better not to have access to something great than to have access and fail to use it.  Again, condemnation has no place, and isn’t helpful.  The flesh has been condemned already, that’s the point, and is largely why Christ died as he did.  The point is to really embrace that fact.  We can’t live honestly until we get past the “obligations” of religion, which then become our “god,” receiving our devotion.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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The Love Economy (Love Perfected pt. 2)

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But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:34-40 ESV)

“By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.” “If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  (1 John 3:10, 4:20-21 ESV)

I recently noticed that when Jesus was asked what the greatest commandment in the law was, he answered with TWO commandments, both of which center on love.  The greatest commandment in the law is essentially to love God fully and with all of your being.  That would seem to pretty much take the cake, but Jesus says there is a second commandment that is “like” this greatest one, which is to “love your neighbor as yourself.”  The word “like” here is the same word that Jesus uses when telling parables, such as when he says the Kingdom of heaven is like a field, like a seed, etc.  In saying this second commandment is “like” the first and greatest, Jesus is not merely saying it is similar, but that the second somehow explains or completes it, showing us what it is like in a more full, tangible and concrete way.  This means that loving God fully cannot be separated from loving your neighbor as yourself, and that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is, in a way, loving God.

Scripture (and the writings of other holy men) says in many ways and places that the mark of a true believer and disciple is love for others.  Here is a small sample:

  • 1 Timothy 1:5 WEB (R)):  “…but the goal of this command is love, out of a pure heart and a good conscience and unfeigned faith…”

  • 1 Peter 1:22-23 ESV:  “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God…”

  • Ephesians 5:1-2 ESV: “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”

  • John 13:34-35 WEB (R): “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

  • 1 John 4:7-12 MLV:  “Beloved, we should love one another; because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and knows God. He who does not love, does not know God; because God is love. In this, the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent his only begotten Son into the world that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atonement on behalf of our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God is abiding in us and his love is perfected in us.”

1 John 4:7-12 is, to me, especially incredible and shocking.  John says that God and love cannot be separated – where one is, the other is, and where one is missing, the other is missing.  Just as Jesus said that loving one’s neighbor as oneself is an extension and completion of loving God, John, speaking by the same spirit, wrote that when/if we love one-another, God is present and active within us and His love is fully matured in us.  Notice this: God’s presence and love in us will be permanently hindered and immature unless and until we love one another as ourselves!

Lately, I have learned a bit more about how the world’s financial system is very much founded on debt and greed.  Because of this, it is a mathematical certainty that without huge changes, this system will become so bloated it will collapse.  I don’t know how or when this will take place, but that’s not really the point.  What I was reminded of is that while believers are in the world, we are not of the world.  Even while we use the money of the world, we can and should operate according to a different economic system, one founded on love instead of fearful greed/selfishness.  I’m not saying it’s wrong or evil to spend money on things for yourself, I’m saying that the “economy” of those who are “rooted and grounded in love”1 will be based on giving and sharing at the expense of self-gain, instead of the other way around. If we truly operate in such an economy of love, caring for others as and above ourselves, we will have nothing less than the presence and love of God as our foundation and life, and it won’t too much matter what happens if the worlds economy collapses.

Again I say, there is no condemnation for where you or I are today.  None.  It doesn’t matter what you’ve been doing or not doing. God is not holding any of that against you, of that I’m confident.  Feel free to invite the God of love in, ask and seek His Spirit to help move your awareness and mind away from the OLD, PASSED AND TAKEN AWAY (the Bible’s words, not mine) system of law, which feeds a reward/punishment mentality, trapping you in a deceptive, endless roller-coaster of various forms of self-centeredness in the name of God.  May you be enlightened with spiritual understanding to comprehend and be permeated with the Father’s goodness, mercy and love.  Then realize that these same things are within you as His child!  Give as you have been given!

To anyone reading this I say this: right now, you are justified, redeemed, and reconciled to God!  I’m sorry that Christians have brought the law against you and made you feel exactly the opposite – guilty, damned, and at odds with God.  I also understand that it may seem impossible for you to be justified and reconciled with God, given the way you’ve been living.  But I’m telling you, God doesn’t look at things like we do, based on outward appearances.  He sees mankind according to the “one for all” death and resurrection of Christ, not according to their flesh.  He is not counting sins against anyone.  Yes, flesh has to go, and it will.  Some will begin to walk in the spirit in this life.  Others will cling to the flesh and cause others to do the same, and will be purged by painful fire.  But know this: what God is doing, through His son (which includes you and I as members, with Christ as the head), is bringing all of creation into alignment with what has been accomplished.  In other words, the Kingdom of God is coming to earth.  If we love instead of criticize, and forgive instead of retaliate, and speak Truth instead of doctrine, this will be a sign to the world that our message is true and divine, and the power and presence of God will accompany us.

Bless you all, thank you for reading.  More to come.

 

  1. Ephesians 3:17

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Knit Together in Love

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“For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden.”
(Colossians 2:1-3 WEB (R))

“Now concerning things sacrificed to idols: We know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. But if anyone thinks that he knows anything, he doesn’t yet know as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, the same is known by him.”                 “…Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will eat no meat forevermore, that I don’t cause my brother to stumble.”
(1 Corinthians 8:1-3,13 WEB (R))

Let’s be real for a minute.  Do you or I sense our hearts being “knit together” with others IN LOVE?  In other words, are we coming to a consensus of agreement regarding our genuine oneness and unity with one-another in Christ, and does this cause us to care for each-other as ourselves and esteem each-other higher than ourselves?  In love, are we bearing with patience and kindness the ways of ignorant and fearful men, despite the pain and hardship that this brings our way?  If not, we’re not following the way of Christ, it’s as simple as that.  In the end, what matters isn’t knowing the Bible, moral behavior or refraining from “sin,” but loving one-another as ourselves.1  What matters, according to Paul, is “faith working through love.“2  This means the essential thing is being able to see through the eyes of the Spirit rather than our (often religious) mind and understanding, and in so doing, relating to men based on the finished work of the cross which was the death of every man, whether they know it or not.  If we really see this, we will be able to walk in love and kindness and towards even the cruelest person.

These things come by divine revelation, to anyone who genuinely seeks.  However, one has to be willing to give up what he or she has known and worked for, totally and finally, in order to be taught by the spirit, because the Spirit will ALWAYS differ from anything that was devised by man.  It’s true there are people gifted or called to teach, but those who are following the Spirit will ultimately point you to the one true teacher within you – the anointing of God’s spirit.3  A few months ago, a friend of mine referred to me as a “theologian.”  While I suppose in a way that is correct, I have no desire (actually I have a desire AGAINST) being labeled such by any institution or person.  In truth, I am just one member of the corporate, worldwide body of Christ.

This blog, which I’ve updated regularly since 2012, is primarily aimed at teaching and explaining the ways of God and correcting the numerous falsehoods within Christianity.  I cannot help but continue to point out the irony I see and the frustration I feel at the fact that the religion which uses Christ’s name has often served to hinder the very things Jesus Christ promoted and labored for.  For example, so much of Christianity promotes morality and self-righteousness, instead of love, resulting in criticism and self-righteousness instead of mercy and truth.  It promotes the hierarchies, institutions, traditions and doctrines of men instead of the manifestation of sonship and the establishment of the Father’s Kingdom on earth!

I have no intentions of ceasing to create new posts, and have a few in the works right now.  However, I think you will notice in the future a greater emphasis on love, as this is where the Spirit is leading me. Especially since reading about and listening to the story and teachings of “Peace Pilgrim” a few months ago, I am sensing a real and lasting change in my heart toward the realization of my unity with mankind, and toward demonstrating love for all men in more practical ways.  I am noticing this same trend among other believers as well.  Even after 15 years as a true believer, I am still often surprised by how the way of the Father differs from mine.  Anything devised in the mind or heart of man, no matter how well-intentioned, will always, at its core, be self-serving and based on fear.  Anything devised by the Spirit will be based on love and the edification of others.

Right now, I invite and challenge anyone reading this to ask and seek the Father that His vision of things and the love of His spirit might take over your heart.  I invite you to stand firm on the truth that God is good and that our very life and being are in Him – therefore, we can rest assured that His ways are worth losing ours for!  As sons of God, we don’t lack anything and we don’t need to hold on to things when others need them more than we do.  I hope we all will see that sharing, giving, and laying down our lives for others will not result in “death” as our flesh thinks, but will actually produce life! 

There is nothing harder on the flesh than love, but there’s also nothing more divine. The world actually needs less religion, not more.  It needs less sin-awareness, less self-focus of doom and gloom.  It needs to see the love of God displayed in real ways, and to be pointed to the spirit within.  It needs to have fear replaced by love and death by life, and sons of God are the ones to bring this to fruition.  So be it.

 

  1. John 13:34, Matthew 22:39.

  2. Galatians 5:6

  3. 1 John 2:27

 
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Posted by on June 19, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

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Let Love Be

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“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.  In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.   No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”  (1 John 4:7-12 NKJV)

“Let love be without hypocrisy.” (Romans 12:9 ASV)

 

Lately I’ve been reminded that spiritual maturity has a lot more to do with love than it does correct behavior or doctrine. It would be very hard for anyone to emphasize the importance and value of love any stronger than John did in the passage above.  I think the main reason love is so crucial is simply that it is an aspect of the very nature of God and is an essential element of the Kingdom of God.  In several places, scripture says love needs to be without hypocrisy.  I’d like to look at what that means and why it’s so important.

Jesus often referred to the religious leaders of his day as “hypocrites.”  The word hypocrite comes from the idea of someone assuming a role, like an actor in a play. The essence of hypocrisy is acting in a way which differs from how one truly is inwardly.  Jesus told the religious leaders of the Jews that their hypocrisy was like a painted tomb – nice on the outside, but corrupt and repulsive inside.  Hypocrisy often manifests as presenting oneself in a favorable way, but doing so from a selfish motive instead of naturally from the heart.  Religion often makes hypocrites of people by using fear, excitement, or some other “carrot” to motivate people to do or not do certain things, while their heart and desires remain unchanged.  Many of these changes don’t last, because once the emotion or other motive loses it’s power or appeal, the true inward state of the person begins to be expressed again.

Hypocrisy is so dangerous because it accompanies pride and prevents love.  Genuine love actually cannot be hypocritical, because genuine love only comes as a naturally-produced fruit of the spirit of God within.  This is why John wrote that “everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”  Pride and hypocrisy feed off each-other because pride is essentially the stubborn adherence to ways and ideas which originate with man rather than the spirit of God.  Pride will prevent one from recognizing and coming out of a hypocritical, religious state. Have you ever seen the sad sight of a religious person who acts like a robot who is reciting a script or being controlled by a program in their brain?  Their actions and words are obviously artificial, and most who recognize this are put off by it, and too often put off by the God that is misrepresented.

Paul wrote that the entire fulfillment of the law is simply to love others as yourself.1  So if you want to be a law-follower, just do that and you’re set.  The “catch” is that love is often much more costly, difficult and painful than merely following rules.  In fact, I believe when Jesus said we should love our neighbor as ourselves, treat others as we would be treated, and repay evil with blessing, he knew full well that to truly do so is humanly impossible.  He knew that such love can only come by receiving and submitting to the Spirit of God as one’s controlling source of life.  If this is true, then there’s no love and thus no real value in hypocritical “love” which originates in the selfish human soul and is acted out.  Scripture says plainly that many believers are going to be shocked and mourn terribly when, despite doing many good and impressive works, even in Jesus’ name, they will be rejected and cast away because Jesus never knew them.2  I believe this will be, at least partly, because these works were hypocritical instead of being produced freely and in love from the life of Christ, the Spirit of God within.

The main thing I want to stress is that love cannot be hypocritically acted out or “forced.”  A much better way is to ask and trust the Father to make you aware, more and more and more, of His presence within you, a new creation not of yourself, which is the same life that was in Christ.  As you become more aware of and learn to live from and submit your own will/soul to that new creation within, praising God and communing with Him inwardly in a way deeper than words and receiving His unconditional love toward you, you’ll sense a love within you that appears without effort.  This love will be of a quality you can’t achieve yourself and won’t be a manufactured effort, but divine fruit.  You’ll actually be willing, even desire to suffer in order for another to benefit, even if they don’t deserve it.  You and I can love this way only because our Father loved us first, while we were astray.  His love is shown in that He has given us His Son as an atonement for sin and His spirit as a new life within.3  We now have the privilege of declaring and participating in the amazing love that the Father has shown.  Amen!

 

  1. Galatians 5:14
  2. Matthew 7:21-23, 1 Corinthians 3:12-15
  3. 1 John 4:19, Romans 5:8-11, Romans 7:6, Galatians 2:20, 3:4
 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Kingdom Warnings in Hebrews

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I think in some ways, Hebrews is the most unusual and “mysterious” book in the New Testament (along with Revelation), and it is one of my favorites. As I was reading it recently, three explicit warnings given in the first few chapters stood out to me, and as I thought about and looked into them further, I found some really cool stuff.  I was also reminded that while it might be more pleasant to focus only on the promises and the positives, if we believe those, we should equally believe the warnings that came from the same source.   (All scripture quotations from the WEB ® translation).

(Hebrews 2:1): “Therefore we ought to pay greater attention to the things that were heard, lest perhaps we drift away.”

(Hebrews 3:12-13): “Beware, brothers, lest perhaps there be in any one of you an evil heart of unbelief, in falling away from the living God; but exhort one another day by day, so long as it is called “today;” lest any one of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

(Hebrews 4:1-2): “Let us fear therefore, lest perhaps anyone of you should seem to have come short of a promise of entering into his rest. For indeed we have had good news preached to us, even as they also did, but the word they heard didn’t profit them, because it wasn’t mixed with faith by those who heard.”

Condensing and summarizing these warnings helps clarify them:

  • (2:1) Our Call: Pay closer attention to God’s word; first and foremost as given through Christ himself, but also as given through His apostles and prophets.  What is Being Avoided: Drifting away from God’s heart and Kingdom, into religious deception or spiritual apathy.

  •  (3:12-13) Our call: Be aware that an evil heart of unbelief (spiritual blindness) can take root, exhort each-other.  What is being avoided: An evil heart of unbelief (a spiritually blind, deceived heart), falling away from the living God (walking in old religion instead of fresh revelation), being hardened by the deceitfulness of sin (having a heart and mind which is callous and impenetrable to the truth, being covered by layers of convincing deception).

  • (4:1-2) Our call: To fear, to ensure faith (gift of true spiritual perception) is “mixed” with what we hear from God.  What is being avoided: Coming short of and failing to enter God’s promised rest.

I don’t have a lot more to say on this…it’s sobering. I think the church of Christ, by and large and almost from the outset, has failed to heed these warnings, and has suffered the consequences listed above, resulting in irrelevance, disconnect from God, and hindering the coming of the Kingdom of God on earth. It would go a long way if believers would get over themselves and their selfish focus on “sin,” heaven, and hell, which are not what the gospel is really about.  Instead, let’s seek to have a Kingdom mentality like Jesus did (his first words in scripture are “repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand”), the apostles did (Paul preached the kingdom until the end)1, and the Father does. 

Isn’t it interesting that neither the admonitions or warnings in these verses have to do with behaviors or actions?  This is because behavior isn’t the issue.  Jesus’ life and death was for the sake of the Kingdom of God, for the will and heart of God. Nothing more or less. With that goal in mind, our path and calling are clarified. As Jesus said, we are to seek first the Kingdom of God (His will done on earth as it is in heaven) and His righteousness (the things He desires in the current season and moment).  Our good or bad behavior factors in to the equation as a very minor point, if at all.

Sin/bad behavior is an issue which has already been dealt with, and what God sees as sin in the new covenant is different from what natural man, who remains under the law, sees as sin. If we truly love God and desire to do His will, what we must be sure to avoid are things that will hinder the Kingdom. These are the things that Hebrews warns of and are spiritual, inward states like an “evil heart” that is impenetrable to new truth, religious deception and dogma, doctrine without revelation, false faith, flippancy towards God’s message through His prophets and apostles, self-confidence, etc. Bad behavior won’t hinder the Kingdom nearly like these things will (if at all).

I hope this served as an exhortation for you and I am thankful for others who exhort or otherwise fulfill their role in the body of Christ faithfully. Let’s think on these things brothers and sisters, they are extremely important if we care about God’s Kingdom. Amen.

1. Acts 28:31

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Truth and Evil

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“For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed (reprimanded). But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”1

The verse above contains more than I can try to explain here, so I want to focus on one aspect of it which really hit me recently, regarding the contrast being highlighted.  It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that Christianity, the religion that has regrettably formed around Christ and his teachings, is rooted in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, instead of the Tree of Life. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is.

Because so many of us were raised in this pseudo-spiritual environment which is rooted in the wrong tree, our understanding of God and His will has been distorted to see everything naturally. Outward behavior becomes a primary focus, and spiritual concepts such as good and evil are understood as actions that we perform. But notice that John compares those who do evil with those who “do the truth.” Think about that – do the truth!  The spiritual opposite of evil isn’t goodness, it’s truth. Evil fears being exposed as flawed by the light, but truth welcomes the light because truth comes from the Father and the light will only reveal more of Him.

Let me mention this: Jesus didn’t come to earth and die so we can go to heaven someday, or so that we can avoid torment in hell. That’s a shallow and extremely selfish understanding. Jesus came to open the way to the Tree of Life in the earth again, to restore spiritual vision and freedom to God’s people,2 paving the way for the Kingdom of God to be manifested on earth as it is in heaven. We’re involved in this process and God does love us, but salvation is toward a bigger end than us, our personal happiness or eternal security.  What really important is the will and Kingdom of God, and our hindrance or cooperation with its establishment.  

Jesus’ teachings and parables (both before and after his death and resurrection!) were almost entirely about the Kingdom of God! Acts tells us Paul preached the Kingdom of God right up till his death. We MUST begin to have a spiritual, Kingdom perspective if we are to ever begin to understand the scriptures and the Father’s heart. From a Kingdom perspective, good and evil become defined very differently. Good is what comes from in the Tree of Life and the heart of God (which are the source of Truth), furthering the Kingdom of God (His rule and reign) on earth.  Evil is what comes from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil and the mind and heart of man, hindering the will of God being done on earth.

Here’s a harsh statement that I only say because it’s true: much of what religious men, including Christians, see and do as good, God sees as evil.  I cannot put a blanket statement on each and every thing, nor am I the judge of anyone.  But I know that in God’s sight (which is very different than man’s), religion, including Christianity, is evil.  Again, not evil as we understand it in the sense of “bad,” but evil in the very real sense of being founded in the mind and will of man, the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and therefore a distraction and hindrance to God’s kingdom.  Men presume to know what God desires and what His Kingdom should look like and then go about doing that, but God sees and labels the result “evil.”  Those who practice this religious evil avoid the “light” of God’s spirit and Jesus’ teachings because it will expose (literally: “reprimand”) their work.  Regardless of how good it appears in our own eyes, everything done from the mind of man, the Tree of Knowledge, is evil in God’s sight because it is a distraction from and hindrance to the Kingdom of God.

We aren’t the King. What we like, what makes sense to us, the way we think things should be, doesn’t really matter at all. We have to deny ourselves – our religious selves! if we’re truly going to be disciples of Jesus and walk as sons of God.  Let’s welcome and seek out the light of God’s spirit within, to expose what is evil and let us repent.  Let’s honor our Father and seek to have all our works be “done in God,” not our religious selves.  As always, I include myself in these things.  Amen.

  1. John 3:20-21 WEB ®

  2. Luke 4:18

 
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Posted by on January 29, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Repentance Addresses Ignorance

The Bible uses many “spiritual” words such as repentance, salvation, holiness, faith, love, righteousness, glory, etc…  These words are English translations of Greek words, first written almost 2,000 years ago, and are simply descriptions or terms for various spiritual realities.  I am convinced that over the almost 2,000 years since the books of the Bible were written, layers of tradition, natural understanding, and human manipulation have accumulated around the meaning and understanding of all these descriptive words.  I greatly desire to strip this man-made accumulation away, giving me at least the potential to see the reality of the spiritual thing these words describe, and I know others feel the same.

I think repentance is the most appropriate term to look at first. According to Jesus and the first apostles, repentance is a prerequisite for one who desires to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and walk after the Spirit. Repentance was the first exhortation Jesus gave, was the central theme of John the Baptist’s message, and it was emphasized by Paul and the other apostles after Christ as well.

Christianity’s non-spiritual understanding and their ultimately fear-based relationship to God have led to an underlying motive of hell-avoidance and behavior-modification.  Therefore “repent” has come to be understood, roughly, as: “an improvement in behavior accompanied by a fervent conviction and sorrow over one’s “sins.”” Admittedly, there are scriptures that can be used to support this definition, but there are others that prove repentance is not so simple.  It’s all too common for scriptures to be cherry-picked and misunderstood to support things that are simply not true.  I fear being one of those who is so foolish as to think I can’t be blind to reality while confident in my own understanding.

To understand what someone says, it’s best to use the same language.  This is one reason it’s helpful to look at the Greek which the scriptures were written in.  I have found one scripture to be particularly insightful in understanding repentance.  In Acts 17:30 (NAS77), Paul wrote this:  “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance (Greek: agnoia), God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent (Greek: metanoia)...”   The underlying Greek word for “repent” and “ignorance” share a common root – noia, which means the mind,comprehension, understanding, and perception. The only difference between the word repent (metanoia) and ignorance (agnoia) are their prefixes.  The prefix “meta” means “again, or afterward,” so to repent means to “reconsider” or “think again.”  The prefix “ag” means “without, absence of,” so ignorance means “without understanding.”  So here’s what Paul actually meant: “Therefore having overlooked the times when men were without spiritual perception and understanding (agnoia – ignorance), God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should reconsider and change their old ways of understanding and perception of God and His ways (metanoia – repent).  

Notice: repentance doesn’t address sinful behavior, or a future in hell.  The atoning sacrifice of Jesus took care of both of these things.  What repentance addresses is IGNORANCE.  Repentance is really for believers, not unbelievers. It’s both funny and sad, but the most spiritually ignorant, those who most need repentance, are those who are confident in their religious doctrines and self-righteousness.  Isn’t that amazing?  

Pride prevents repentance, and humility prepares the way for it.  Repentance is the ongoing process of allowing the Holy Spirit, the spirit of truth, to become one’s faculty of perception and understanding of spiritual things, instead of the natural mind we are all born with.  To repent is to begin to wait for and follow spiritual revelation rather than forming and standing on doctrines and ideas formed and established in the mind and heart of man.  The times of “ignorance” Paul wrote about were the times when men only knew God from afar, as fearful servants who only receive commands.  Repentance opens up the reality of the New Covenant, where through Christ we are adopted as beloved children, growing up privy to their Father’s heart and inheritors of His possessions.

This is a very brief overview, and there are many other scriptures I could examine, like those below. Look into these things for yourself, or even better, sincerely and simply ask God to give you grace to repent yourself, being ready to follow where the spirit leads. It’s likely to be astounding and challenging territory.

  •  2 Timothy 2:25-26:  “…with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil…”
  • Hebrews 6:1: “Therefore leaving the elementary teaching about the Christ, let us press on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God…”
 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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