Sunday, May 18, 2014

They know the truth, but they don't attempt to live it

Romans 1:29-32 - 29 They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31 they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

The crux of the matter is perhaps some people are NOT accepting there is indeed a creator, omnipotent and holy God.  When one is NOT accepting there is that God, then quite obviously, the focus is then shifted to ourselves, men.  But when that happens, this creeps in – “each to his own” (if possible). 

When men look at other men or themselves, soon enough they realise there are so much inadequacy with men.  And so, submission to another or even to the authority is often something we do NOT want to accept.  “Why must I?” is almost always asked.  Often, without God in the picture, it all comes down to these:

1. If I cannot fight it and win, I will submit; otherwise, why submit?;

2. If I can get away with it, I will NOT submit; and

3. If I believe life is just scores of years, at best, why NOT live and let live.

Righteousness often, then gets defined with the above in mind, although as Christians or believers, we know of righteousness as righteousness of God.  Instead of looking at the angle of what God considers as right or wrong, men come up with their own versions of righteousness.  If I cannot fight you and win, then what you say counts-lo; I will do as you say!  In such a case, one’s righteousness is the righteousness of the men in control over him.  For example, if the men in control, and so, is his authority, say, “if you kill someone, you just need to pay a fine of $10K”, he takes that as righteousness, and he would go kill someone, and then pays up the fine, and walks away.

Then, many subscribe to “if I can get away with it”, then it is NOT wrong-lo.  And so, such a person’s righteousness is like shifting sand or shadow; depends-lo!

The live and let live people, in the extreme, don’t give a damn about righteousness; do whatever you want to do, only that you don’t impact me, negatively, please; myopic, for sooner or later, they will be impacted by the actions of others.  Perhaps, they accepted this, “If die, die-lo!”

But is it really possible for someone to kill another, and then pays up the miniscule fine, and walks away as if he has just killed a chicken?  I don’t think so, at least NOT at the first time he did it.  The same can be said of the person cheating in an examination but is NOT caught.  Also, for the person who just does whatever his carnal flesh tells him.

It was NOT meant to be, but Man had partaken of the Fruit of the knowledge of good and evil, and so, is with sense of good and evil, even though he is “ill-equipped” to handle it. Knowledge of good and evil, in and of itself is NOT, not good; it was just that Man was then inadequate to handle it (and so, God told Man NOT to eat from the Tree).  It, the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, nonetheless did something to Man.  Man’s “eyes” were open (Adam's and Eve's eyes, from the Fall, were opened, to shame). 

In a sense, Satan or the ancient serpent gave Man (opened up Man to) that knowledge of good and evil, but because he (Satan) has also, at the same time, worked an agency in us all, down the lineage of Man, and this agency, I call Iniquity, it (the agency) often voices to us, “It is alright NOT to be good all the time”.  If you and I listen to it, it ensnares us; and over time, our conscience becomes seared, and “black and white” gets all mixed up, so to speak.  We then find it difficult to stick to good; and when we do evil often enough, we become “comfortable” in it, but the knowledge of good and evil still stares at us; only that many of us, look the other way, to avoid the rising up of internal turmoil.  Adam and Eve had nakedness (shame from it) staring at them (after they fell), and what they did to “look the other way” was to cover it up! 

[As a side, this is something to think about:

Adam and Eve used leaves to cover up; most temporal indeed, soon enough, they would have to face that which gave rise to internal turmoil.  God then provided a less temporal covering; He made animal skin as covering.  This veiling that we see it recorded in Genesis was foreshadowing the veiling of what was holy from the unholy or what is righteous from the unrighteous.  Man was holy and righteous until he fell;  Man got increasingly worse, although at the beginning after the Fall, Man was still “NOT that bad”, so much so that Scripture still recorded God coming to Man, and helped Man, even with the birth of the first sons of Man (Cain and Abel, and Seth).  The leaves or animal skin was a veil, and it foreshadowed the veil God also put, subsequently between Him (holiness) and the fallen people (unholy).  This veil was represented by the veil in the temple, separating the Holy of Holy (where God was) from the rest of the outer area of the Temple; and Jesus’ works on the cross, was what removed that veil.

The veil has been removed indeed; a “through Christ Jesus” way has been opened whereby we can come before His Holiness, and whereby we can, NOT look the other way or hide, but can live out the truths and ways of God, the righteousness of God.  The victory has indeed been won, yet the “through Christ Jesus” way is “we enforcing that victory of Christ Jesus”; that we, men, believers, fighting “violently” (Matt 11:12), the resistance still being put up by the dark principality of Satan who still roams the earth where we, mortal men, are, presently.  And so, as a gospel message, men can only begin [our] victorious life, by coming into salvation offered by Christ Jesus, the Son of God.]

That is what most people do, they look the other way or refuse to confront the unrighteousness that they are in, or that they are outside of truth. Truth sets us free, said Scripture, yet often truth can have a way of making one uncomfortable first (like godly sorrow), before the person acknowledges the unrighteousness in question, and wants to do something about it.

Ps Prentis, my long-distance pastor friend, in his blog entry (“They know the truth”), covered much reasons/excuses of people NOT walking in truth.  Perhaps, needing to be stressed is the issue of one needing to develop self-control, and perseverance (in righteousness).  This is still so, that we need to develop self-control, and perseverance (in righteousness), after we have become a Christian or believer.  To know the truth is one thing, to walk in the truth is another.  Although, Scripture said that truth sets you free, it really is truth lived out that set you free (the Hebrews understood it that way – got to live it out).  To murder is wrong; that is a truth, and you can know the truth, but if you still kill anyway, the truth has NOT set you free; in fact, it condemns you. 

How is the truth of ‘murder is wrong’ sets one free?  When lived (truth of ‘murder is wrong’ lived), the person just won’t be double-minded about it anymore (already decided, die, die won’t kill); he does NOT expense energy on it anymore, or let turmoil to rise in him, concerning it; he is free, in that sense, isn’t it NOT!  On the other hand, another who is NOT living the truth (of murder is wrong), he is NOT free, for the Iniquity agency voice of “It is alright NOT to be good all the time”, still hits him often, “disturbing” (one who is no longer double-minded, is NOT “disturbed”/moved by such); and it is often, for he is still double-minded about the matter.  Resolve or self-control and perseverance are therefore very important in the life of a Christian or believer; and Gal 5 gives us that self-control is one of the fruit of the Spirit to be developed by the believer.

Self-control means there is a battle going on; the self or the flesh (or fallen flesh or carnal flesh; the Iniquity agency is in the flesh) desires something, something which is self-gratifying; and the control is to put a lid on self’s desire, so to speak – have it denied or have a control of it.  Jesus in Luke 9:23 said that we are to deny ourSELVES, and take up daily, our cross and follow Him.

For a matter of righteousness or unrighteousness or truth or untruth, there is a fight or “violence” until won!  Matt 5:29 painted the picture – “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

If your right eye is won over, gouge it out and throw it away!  It is when self-control is had (has won), that you are free; you are free to look at anything, but will automatically turn from that which would contaminate your soul.  The Apostle Paul said this in 1 Cor 10:23, “…. I have the right to do anything"--but not everything is constructive {edifying}.”

What is behind these words of Jesus: Matt 11:12, "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force."?  It is first of all NOT suggesting we take up arms and fight other men.  Well, on a personal level, we are to win over every area of unrighteousness that still shames us; remember, we cannot just cover it up or look the other way.  And on a corporate level, the Church must fight against unrighteousness within herself, in order that she can be the unblemished Bride.  Is it NOT true; on a personal level, there are areas we know what the truths of God are, yet we have NOT won the fight (some NOT even fight it); we know the truth but we are still NOT free, yet.  Fight the self-control fight, we must.  The same goes for the corporate Church.  Don’t give up, persevere.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions

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