Thursday, January 23, 2014

Our Peculiar Passage

Entry text
Ex 13:17-18 - 17 When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” 18 So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

The Exodus is a shadow of the believers’ journey to the Promised Land, Heaven.  Putting it in another way, the Exodus is parable or metaphor to our salvation journey.  It is also a kind of passage.  Do you see the initiation in there, and then the passage proper?

Whether we like it or NOT, we are in a sort of “adulthood passage”.  No father would want to see his child stops, abandons or fails eventually, in the passage.  All such passages have some “rules”; otherwise, we may as well NOT have them.  As much as the father would like to help his child, even if the father is the village chief (for example), he cannot break this rule or that rule to ensure his child make it through.  Now, the reasons for such passages are that it is good for the child, and it is good for the community.  Although such passages are sometimes handled like an initiation, it is rather, the passage starts with an initiation.

People do NOT undertake the passage without the initiation, and those who undergo the initiation, undergo it with the intent to complete the passage.  In other words, it is similar to what Jesus said concerning we have to “count the cost” before we begin:

Luke 14:27-33 –
27 And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? 29 For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, 30 saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn’t able to finish.’ 31 “Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Won’t he first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. 33 In the same way, those of you who do not give up everything you have cannot be my disciples.

Saying the Sinner’s Prayer or the act of coming into salvation is equivalent to initiation.  As in the adulthood passages, no one goes into the initiation, and stops there or regards that (initiation), as all there is to it, to the adulthood passage; there is necessarily the passage or journey to be undertaken, unless the person somehow, drops dead, immediately after initiation.

So, we can metaphorically regard the salvation as a passage.  It begins with “Entering into Salvation” (acceptance of Jesus Christ as is commonly said), and continues on with “In Salvation”; we, believers, are in salvation, and the Apostle Paul said of the “In Salvation” this way (Phil 2:12): We are to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”.

But unlike men’s common adulthood passage, our salvation passage has its peculiarity.  If we “play by the rules”, we have unlimited access to a leader, the Leader, who leads us IN the passage.  The Leader is our Lord Jesus Christ, by His Spirit (same as the Holy Spirit or Spirit of God).  The role of the Lord is to lead us through the passage, NOT He has to undergo the passage.  Unlike men’s adulthood passage, the “obstacle course” is dynamic and can be different, for different individuals.  The Leader wants to help you and can help you, but core rules, He does NOT break. 

For example, if you engage in evil, stubbornly, he is NOT with you.  He may be there (present), but He is NOT with you (He does NOT go along with you; agree with you and work with you {in your evil}).  When we say, you have to “play by the rules”, this is what we mean.  Another example of breaking the ground rules, which we must avoid, is this: You don’t hold Him as your Leader, but hold another; that can be idolatry; rebellion; even apostasy.  Sorry, there is no such thing as salvation without embracing Lordship; that is apostasy.

The Leader (the Lord, Jesus Christ) wants you to make it, but you cannot insist He do what He would NOT do!  You still have your free-will and you have to exercise it rightly, but the Leader does NOT conform to your volition; He goes by His will; He teaches us; we don’t teach Him; He does NOT learn; He is arrived; we are NOT.  It is NOT He, undergoing the passage, we are. 

As He assesses your progress, he wants to help you, encourage you, comfort you, and will lead you, if you allow Him to.  He knows how to lead you if you allow Him to.  He wants to lead in such a way that you should NOT stop, abandon, or fail eventually, the passage; and of course, the purpose of the passage is that you grow, to come to stature; but it is NOT His job to do the passage for you; as in a men’s adulthood passage, the father or the village chief cannot do the passage for the children.

There is work to be done by us; the passage does NOT end with Initiation.  First of all, we need to trust the Leader.  We need to believe if we follow His leading, we will pass the passage; it is like He has every conceivable blueprint there is, of the obstacle courses in the passage.  It is NOT “a piece of cake”, maybe you will hit a dead-end, a wall, but He knows where to punch a hole in the wall, and you can move on.  When the time runs out, you are to pass, and that means you reaching the “land of adulthood”, Heaven; and so, you have to keep moving forward. 

Second, we need to know the Leader and His ways, because we cannot bend Him to conform to our volition; instead, it is best for us, when we work with Him.  If we want to work with Him, we need to know Him and His ways.  Among His ways are (1) there is no wickedness in Himself whatsoever; and so, you got to conform to that; He is holy; (2) He has His commission, to lead as many of us, through the passage, as possible; and so, if you want to work with Him, be part of this Great Commission; and (3) He moves in love, and His love is of this kind, in keeping with His holiness and righteousness, love unto righteousness (a specific `ahab love); and so, we have to move in that way, too. 

Thirdly, we have to always return to the Leader, when we have gone off-course (strayed and sinned); this is what we say, “You got to get back right with the Lord”; otherwise, how is He to lead you again.  We got to repent; be humble, and confess we have done wrong (sinned), and ask Him to forgive us, and give us the “right hand of fellowship” again, and lead us.  That we have a leader to lead us in this passage is peculiar, but if you ignore this peculiarity or don’t want this peculiarity, chance is that you will NOT make it.  This is a peculiar passage, to make us a peculiar people, for the one and only God worthy of our devotion.  1 Pet 2:9 (KJV) – “… ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

In my view, those who teach along the line of “God got your butt onto the course, He got to get your ass to Heaven, regardless, on the ground that you merited it NOT your entry into salvation", they are seriously missing what God is trying to do.

Food for thoughts
Did all the Israelites who left Egypt after the “fanfare” (Initiation?), get into the Promised Land?  Did NOT all who left Egypt, went on the journey (Passage?)?  Did any left Egypt but did NOT go on the journey, like just remained there outside of Egypt or went back in? Was it “a piece of cake” to get to the Promised Land? Did NOT many of them, afterwards, have “regret thoughts” of embarking on the Exodus?  Were there NOT many obstacles, big and small, of varying sorts?  Can you see any deadly ones?  Was NOT the LORD with them in the journey?  Did the LORD NOT help them?  Did all make it?  Why? Do you think we can be like the adult generation who left Egypt, who failed in the deadly obstacles?  All believers should at some point, spend some time studying the Exodus.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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