Feb 14, 2008
It is most interesting to me how believers can so cling to error when presented with truth. Even so as to manipulate scripture to fit that line of thought. What is it that is so appalling or why so vehemently deny truth in light of it being obvious? Is it that the struggle is truely not flesh and blood but must first be fought in the heavenlies?
Also I have been reading the whole of II Timothy after you brought to light that verse. What I am wondering surrounds the “having a form of godliness but denying its power.” We were once talking about the absence of the fear of God in His Body, and how it perhaps its deeper root is a lack of the knowledge of God. It seems one can not encounter God and not have the fear of the Lord instilled. But what I am wondering is that have we failed to know God as God in some of the biggest statements of revelation. Namely the cross. When you drive through WV about every 15-20 miles there are three wooden crosses on the side of the road on a hill, there are crosses adorning necks, t-shirts, buildings etc. But though doctrinally there is an understanding per se has its power been denied expirientiallu? Have we failed to realize all that surrounds and is revealed in the crucified God? Have we rather made a Jesus in our own image to fit our own thought and not known as we ought the Christ of the New Testament? For if we do not know Him as we ought then how can we be identified with His purpose for the Church, Israel, the Nations and the entire cosmos?
I dont know, I just wonder what is the root of error.
The root problem is, of course, the knowledge of God. It is a matter of revelation, as you said ‘encounter’. It is the want of being radically apprehended. But why not? I see that many have utterly thrown themselves without conscious reserve upon the Lord for resurrection and life. Still, they often come up without final resolution, and for long years pass through a process that seems impossible to hurry, and even some of these fail of the coveted prize (full sanctification). Why? How?
I find three reasons:
1. They seek it not by faith, but as if it were by the works of the law (natural will and resolve). This point is as meaningless as it is to many that read it in the scripture unless we understand what Paul is investing in that word ‘faith’.
2. The sanctifying work of God is a hidden process, especially from the believer who is its object. Heresies are ordained, as all other things that are divinely intended to test and sift us to the core within and without. God is a God that hides Himself in many ways. The glorious nature of Christ is also very deep and hidden, though in another sense wonderfully manifest. This is why Paul refrains from judging himself, in this sense only, since on another occasion he greatly enjoins self-judgment.
3. There is the issue of sovereign choice and design, and though in one sense, this does not work independently of our necessary willing, running, and doing , it is completely apart from any ‘human’ willing, running, and doing in another sense. This is because it is God that works in us to will and to do of His good pleasure, at least as to anything that really counts, since “nothing counts but a new creation” (Gal 6:15). And this is by sovereign will and design, as in the case of Isaiah, Paul, and post-tribulational Israel, and also the many who have been so powerfully claimed and sent. All were deeply emptied by divine encounter and revelation. They didn’t ‘make it happen’.
It all depends on that, and this emptying process depends entirely on the sovereign work and will of God. So, we pray and submit, but we also wait for God’s free action. We are ‘shut up’ to His sovereign initiative, which must be free and at His discretion. He will not be constrained by ought but Himself, as it is He alone that works the “all in the all”. The more clearly He is revealed to the heart, the more truly we are changed, since none can ‘see’ and remain the same.
But this can come suddenly, with great force, or by degree. The change that is progressive is no less impossible to man as the great torrent; both are equally powerful towards the accomplishment of the goal of Christ-likeness. Though one is more dramatic to the senses, it is no more a miracle of grace and mercy. Of course, there are moments of glorious breakthrough, but more often, the way of the heart is being formed in a crucible of circumstance and providence that keeps the whole process somewhat veiled, even from the child of God, and this is good. We are kept by the power of God ‘ready to be revealed at the last time’. Only when we see Him as He is will our perfection be complete, though the principle is true all along the way.
It seems to me that our one enemy is ‘confidence in the flesh’. That is the grandfather of all other sins and conditions that stop short of the glory of God. Divest a man or woman deeply of this one impossibly tenacious, intractable, and ever-resilient tendency and there will be the open heaven of assurance, and all the “yea and amen” of God will flood the soul of simple faith.
The goal is to glorify God through the ‘impossible’, namely, an ever-maturing walk towards being perfected in love through “the full assurance of faith,” only not that kind of “full assurance” that is being taught as automatic to a person’s well-intended “decision for Christ.” While a true “calling on the name of the Lord” (another loaded concept) is regenerational, a mere “decision” is not necessarily the same. This engenders what is often simply an undisturbed security based on creed and not the gracious divine quickening of the dead, such as insisted on by the Reformers. This has engendered a popular kind of security that is untested and carnal, and which will fly away in the great falling away, or in death.
It’s all about the incarnation of His life in the soul. That is what glorifies God, simply because it is utterly ‘impossible’ with man. All else, lending ourselves to Israel etc., or any other outward work, is only the opportunity for that inward formation to be manifested as a testimony to men and angels.
In quest of His righteousness in all things,
Your brother, Reggie