Saturday, August 14, 2010

Life out of death

When Jesus was crucified, in a sense His disciples also died. Of course in a real sense we all are crucified with Him if we are His, but here I mean that they died in the sense that all their hopes were dashed, all their ideas about what the Messiah was to be for them were dashed. They were plunged into confusion, fear and doubt, doubt of their own ability to judge these things at least, a kind of death, a death to self.

In a sense this is how the cross is to work on all of us, daily killing us to conform us to Christ, and we must submit to it as Christ submitted to the cross of Calvary if we are to benefit from its work. In fact we are to "take it up" willingly. God sends situations to all His own that will kill us, kill the flesh, if we submit willingly and don't fight them. Disappointments, tragedies, insults, enemies. And what is the purpose? That we may live with Him in the Spirit. The flesh profits nothing, it must die that the spirit may live.

The prerequisite for resurrection from the dead is death.

And after resurrection comes the ascension and after the ascension comes Pentecost.

I've been thinking about Pentecost a lot lately. How we need it, how desperately we need that complete immersion in the fire of God. These days so much theology stops short of it. Those who embrace it are likely to go off in wrong directions these days, but the doctrinally correct get stuck far short of it.

The times they are a-galloping to the grand finale

Another thing that is a punch to the stomach is something I keep discovering more and more these days: how many people call themselves Christians who don't have even the most minimal qualifications. You get used to being among people who bandy about Christian terminology and offer up prayers and you assume that therefore they are Christians only to find out that it's all a deception. They are deceived and they are deceiving others. But you don't find this out unless you have occasion to get into the particulars of Christian belief, which doesn't necessarily happen if for instance you are all frequenting a political blog.

So I discovered that someone who seems to be a Christian in such a context turns out not to believe in the Deity of Christ, for reasons that are very similar to those of the Jehovah's Witnesses. He rationalizes "And the Word was God" to mean something other than what it obviously says, just as the JWs do, yet says he isn't a JW and considers himself a Christian.

Anyone who points out that this is heresy by the light of historic Christianity is upbraided for being "judgmental" and for lacking "love," as if the Christian virtues were on the side of the heretic.

This kind of thinking is often encountered in frankly anti-Christian contexts, but now I'm encountering it where Christianity is supposedly embraced.

I suppose this is going to be happening more and more now if it really is the case that we are heading into the last of the Last Days, which of course I've thought for some time now. I thought the signs were adding up a few years ago, but how much more rapidly and insidiously they are accumulating now, and I don't like the feeling in the pit of my stomach. Christ will triumph but it's going to hurt all the same.

Are we soon to see the unveiling of the final Antichrist? We certainly have an antichrist in the American Presidency, but is another to emerge, or will this one become fully possessed by the devil and rise to the position? A perfunctory kiss on the cheek of American Christians while he sells us out to the enemy, and off we go.


Addendum: Another contributor to that discussion objected to being characterized as an unbeliever although he thought the first verses of the gospel of John were from the Old Testament, saying:
This is the best demonstration I can think of for staying away from the Old Testament. It won’t cure you from sinning, but it will surely cure you of reading. For years, I felt passages like this one simply demonstrated what morons people were back 1,000 years B.C., for I felt that if God wanted us to understand, he could have found a better writer.
You'd think a person who would so denigrate and reject the Old Testament -- although in this case it was actually one of the best-known passages in the New Testament which he didn't even recognize but dismissed as moronic -- would readily agree that he isn't a Christian, so imagine my surprise when I was denounced for suggesting such a thing. Apparently for some people you can be a "Christian" by simply claiming to be one without the slightest evidence to support the claim, without even the most rudimentary knowledge of the Bible for instance, not to mention the most rudimentary respect for it.

And the person who suggests otherwise is denounced as "unloving" -- meaning in context unChristian. Just another perversion of truth reflective of the times we live in.