Blinded to the Truth- Part II

Scripture: Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (St. John 14:6)

Scripture Context: St. John 14

In a biblical context the verity and/or historicity of the scriptures is not predicated or defined by one’s perceptions, beliefs, or understanding. In other words the Word of God is what it is. Be it the existence of God to the return of Jesus Christ. It is not a matter of debate but an acceptance of an unseen reality that has unfolded and will continue to unfold.

I am confident many will ask what is truth and how do you know truth when you see it. That question is neither unique nor deep as Pilate asked the same. Many not all Westerners are absolute thinkers and surprisingly one would think the concept of truth to be concrete and absolute; however, factor in America’s multiculturalism (early settlers to ongoing immigration) and there are multiple philosophies, worldviews, belief systems and such the like interpreting truth as subjective and relative. So let us define the word truth.

The Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus

Truth- (n.) Quality or state of being true; what is true. Veracity, truthfulness, verity, correctness, accuracy, authenticity, fact. Reality, truism, rule, law, principle or gospel.

Biblical Definition (Greek)

Truth (Aletheia) The unveiled reality lying at the basis of and agreeing with an appearance; the manifested, or the veritable essence of matter. The reality pertaining to an appearance.

There is a difference between the two definitions. The Oxford explanation focuses on things that are circumstantial and visibly evident. The biblical meaning concentrates on the realness of reality and the very essence of it made visible. When Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life” he wasn’t saying he is a symbol of truth but the very spirit of it. In other words, Jesus is the unseen reality come in the flesh (1) and to accept him is to receive truth. This is the result of redemption Christians are afforded in Christ Jesus.

When God tells the prophet Malachi “I am the Lord I change not” (Malachi 3:6) that means his word is immutable. What God says will not change and it is not subject to changing world views, fleeting impressions, and short lived successes.

Rest assured when the truth of God’s word comes into question, it is never our responsibility as Christians to provide signs, wonders, and scriptural amendments. That is a form of temptation to test God and prove him evil. Our job is to direct the skeptical to the scriptures and the burden of proof will always rest upon the Lord.

Reference
1. I Timothy 3:16

Blinded to the Truth- Part I

Scripture Text: St. John 8: 32
Scripture Context: St. John 8

“And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.”

There was a lady who was caught right in the middle of adultery and according to the law, the self-righteous rulers said the woman should be stoned. Eh, hem. Correction. (In my Harry Potter’s Hermione voice) Well, according to Leviticus 20:10 it specifically states “…the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” Therefore, it is not just the woman but both parties should be put to death!

Of course Jesus being the masterful prophet knew this was a trap to accuse of him being an outright liar so he squashed all that nonsense and told them “he that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.” (1) BAM!

Fast forward a few verses and Jesus makes two points: 1) he is the true light and 2) truth is liberating because it is important to have both light and truth to avoid spiritual darkness. Notably, the religious leaders knew of the law albeit they did not know the law because if they did, they could have easily discerned Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (2) and God sent him into the world not to condemn sinners but to save them. (3)

Now, let’s ponder this for a moment. How come the Pharisees who took so much time to study the law misinterpret it? Because studying scriptures and embracing the truth are not one and the same. When one approaches the word of God with an ulterior agenda it skews God’s word and blinds people to the truth resulting in bondage.

Maybe you are not a Pharisee looking to make a name for yourself or dupe people into believing you are the real deal but Christian beware! There are sayings that sound spiritual but they are nothing but misquotes and blatant lies. Let’s take a look at two examples.

What God has for me is for me.

Truth: If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land. (4)

There is no vault in heaven loaded with gifts for the people of God because our inheritance is spiritual not natural. This is not to say God does not provide us material wealth (and I use wealth as a subjective term) because he does. Suffice to say God’s blessings are conditional and predicated upon our obedience and good stewardship.

I am waiting on God to do XYZ.

Truth: Ye Men of (City, State, Zip code, Country) why stand ye gazing up into heaven? (5)

This is often used to disguise the lack of faith to move forward in God’s revealed will. The scriptures that refer to waiting upon the Lord are about reliance upon God and encouragement not timing. When you know what to do, any time is a good time to put the plans in motion. We chronicle events according to times and seasons be it convenient or not but remember all that is within the Father’s rule will be activated once the Holy Ghost has come to empower you to do his will. (6)

Stay tuned for Part II next week!

References

  1. John 8:7
  2. John 14:6
  3. John 3:17
  4. Isaiah 1:19
  5. Acts 1:11
  6. Acts 1:7-8

The Sustaining Power of God

Scriptural Context: I Kings 17: 1-16

Scriptural Focus: I Kings 17:4, 9

“I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.” “I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.”

A drought is coming and King Ahab better beware because his sins have found him out and he stands guilty as charged for worshipping Baal instead of the true God Jehovah. As such Elijah the Tishbite warned the inhabitants of the land that “there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word.”(1) Oi vey! When leadership runs amuck the citizens will suffer.

Now this is where it gets complicated. Many Christians believe they have secured some sort of “get out of suffering card” with God excusing them from the repercussions of other people’s poor decisions. Unfortunately this is not the case because God’s favor does not exempt his children from suffering, rather he uses the collateral damage to bring about his good pleasure. No Christian should say “the reason why this didn’t happen to me because I am God’s child” because “we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now.” (2) In other words, everybody on planet earth gets there share of tribulation, sinner and saint alike. There is no special prayer, Christian spray or shield that repels hardship. However, God orchestrates the suffering for his children to be profitable and useful, in alignment with providential care and salvation purposes resulting in the glory that might be revealed in our lives.

So how does this connect with Brother Elijah’s situation? Out of a tumultuous condition God commands or ordains two resources for Elijah’s sustainability: the ravens and the widow woman. I know Ewwww! We all know that ravens do not brush their teeth and for heaven’s sake why would God use an (gasp!) unbeliever to feed the holy man of God? The point is not what or who God uses but that Elijah recognizes God as his Ultimate Source of provision.

“…I have never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging bread” (3) is clear in Elijah’s situation and not one time did Elijah go without the necessities. The ravens like obedient waiters served him bread and flesh morning and evening while he drank from the brook and the widow woman’s resources never ran out. Now that my friend is the sustaining power of God!

References

  1. I Kings 17:1
  2. Romans 8:23
  3. Psalm 37:25

Christian Entitlement

In the book of Ephesians, Paul the Apostle elaborates on the mystery of the church and by preordination God’s intention to engraft both Jews and Gentiles. The one word he uses to identify the church’s association with Israel is commonwealth. At first glance, it reads more like shared wealth or socialism but that is not the intended meaning. According to the Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus commonwealth is “an independent state or community, especially a democratic republic” with history giving us a peak into its origin. There were certain states previously associated with the British Empire, but the English broke off from being under the British yoke to become independent states. Likewise, those of us who were under Satan’s power separated from the grace of God were made citizens of the commonwealth of Israel by God extending his grace through faith. Upon our acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, we broke off from the rule of Satan and became a state independent from the power of Satan with our charter, creed, and moral compass as the Holy Bible.

Therefore, commonwealth is not entitlement. This analogy communicates the formation of the church and its independence as a separate entity governed by the laws of God as citizens of the Most High God. In a natural economy we are employed, work, earn a paycheck, and utilize those funds for our needs and natural provisions. In a spiritual economy, the need is salvation and our provision is Jesus Christ. When it comes to the necessities of life, the priority for a child of God must first be to “seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness” and then “all these things will be added.” (St. Matthew 6:33) The added things come by God’s providence. There is no magic formula. Invoking scripture does not activate the blessings of the Lord. It is our obedience to the Word of God that releases the blessing. Also, let us keep in mind that there are individuals who will have more or less depending upon their level of ability. All will not have the same of everything.

God will not forsake his children as it is his good pleasure to give us the kingdom. This does not imply vacillating from one extremity to the next of extreme poverty or inordinate wealth, but as stewards we with great care watch over God’s property because the “earth is the Lord’s the fullness thereof, the world and they that dwell within.” (Psalm 24:1) An entitlement is a just claim or right to something and if we are undeserving of God’s salvation, how much more his gifts?