There are certainly many difficulties in the life of a true Christian, the road of the pilgrim is a very real road, where the “baggage” accumulated throughout a life of sin causes the Christian many pains and stumbles. It is a mistake to believe that a confession, regardless of how sincere, will erase habits acquired throughout all those years of living a sinful lifestyle. This belief is anti-Biblical.
When we want to be clean, we shower, but there are different kinds of showers. The kind of shower required to clean ourselves will depend upon how dirty we have become. If we have been to a beach and sand has gotten into our hair, this will require an in-depth, scrupulous, elaborate, cleaning. That is, if we want all the sand to come out.
The beautiful, majestic sacrifice made by Jesus Christ at the cross in Calvary, gifts us with the forgiveness of sins, but… (and this is essential to salvation, meaning there is no other way, don’t waste your time, might as well keep your sinful lifestyle) It will require that we submit to the guidance of The Holy Spirit before we become the person that will enter into the kingdom of God.
No ticket… no laundry…
The Word says “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby;” (I Peter 2:2)
And; “are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat,” (Hebrews 5:12)
Once more; “I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.” (I Corinthians 3:2)
The reason… “For ye are yet carnal…” (V. 3) The great Apostol was speaking to a congregation which had the baptism of The Holy Spirit and many of the gifts… but they were still… babes.
A carnal Christian will only be vomited… (Revelation 3:16) For this to happen, this Christian must be in “The body of Christ” otherwise it could not be vomited. (spue)
To doubt the Word of God and decide to impose our own ideas, is one of the most troubling and critical mistakes Christians make. For God has established The Way and there is only one gospel by which mankind can obtain that which is most sublime. To doubt God’s commandments, to belittle His desire, was the original sin. This rebellion will only bring death.
To fear what is beyond our understanding is natural, but this fear must not impede our walk towards that which God desires. For there are a multitude of things we do not understand, and many of the demands on the road towards holiness are alien to us. What we must remember is that God is Good, meaning that even when we do not understand, even when it seems strange, out of the reality we know, even then, we must follow His commandments.
For how does the “new birth” happen? We must certainly don’t know, but when we begin to struggle with this new desire to do that which God has commanded, we know then, that the new birth has taken place, for otherwise, we would still ignore the call to become holy. It is the renewal of our spirit which brings on this battle.
Nonetheless, this is barely the beginning of what God wants to do with us, His intentions go far beyond the new birth. It is here that fear grows stronger, because now we must walk through faith and faith is alien to us. It is fear which keeps us from calling those things we cannot see as if we can see them. To proclaim the invisible as visible brings fear.
Our self is tried, because we have stepped out of the reality we have known for so long. Now we must speak that which our eyes cannot see, we must follow an invisible path, we must proclaim a God no one has seen, our conduct is alien to those around us, and we must accept that all of our past life is to be forgotten.
It is here that fear sets in… What am I doing? Should I become that different? Can’t I just be a little different? Can I keep some of my past life? Do I really have to change everything?
Then fear brings a different view of salvation. I can do some things, but I refuse to do others. God is Good. He won’t send anyone to hell. I can go to the temple once in a while, God understands. I don’t need to pray all the time, that absurd, no one can.
This fear will be emphatically and persistently reenforced by an enemy, who’s evil darts are constant in his desire to “derail” the truth which has been received. It is the greatest battle a Christian… encounters, and loses. This fear can only be overcome by faith in God’s promises, those which are written in The Bible, The Word of God.
We cannot come short of what salvation requires, for then, we will never receive what has been so graciously granted. It will require faith in God’s promises to change everything we have believed up to the moment when we were “illuminated”. To give up what until that moment was our most precious possession, our deepest beliefs, and that self-image we have so carefully built, must be sacrificed to The Lord.
This change commanded in The Word of God, need not be radical, (though it can be) but the Word does command that we “grow” according to the illumination given to us by The Holy Spirit. The gifts of our God have been extreme; from the written Word, to the visible Word (Jesus), to the ministrations of The Holy Spirit of God who struggles mightily to bring us the understanding of our need. Many and a multitude of un-deserved favors The Lord does for us; it’s just that we ignore these, or are unaware of them.
But no one will be able to excuse himself when judgement day comes.
Faith is found in The Word of God, The Bible. Our first foundation must start there. The Lord does not demand that we become mature in a moment, but He does expect us to… “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby;” (I Peter 2:2)
When we receive the illumination of The Lord Jesus Christ, we sometimes stagnate, believing that this is all we need to do. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior is only the beginning and if we don’t follow the road, we will remain subjugated to the desires of the flesh and its weaknesses. This is what a “carnal” Christian is.
What we have been doing up to that moment of Illumination was living our life through the senses of the body, meaning… what we thoughts was good for us, what we saw was good for us and what we felt was good for us. A life guided by these senses is no longer acceptable. Now we have a Master, our Lord Jesus Christ and now He thinks for us, He sees what is good for us, He will decide what we are to do, how we are to do and when we are to do… It was in this, that the Corinthians were failing. (This is, the spiritual life of a Christian. We don’t need guidance to go to work, or to help others, or to be responsible.)
One day I was arguing with a friend, insisting that the Sun could not melt the rocks. His answer created a new perception in me. He said placidly, “Why don’t you move the rock closer to the Sun?”
It is without any doubt the single most important understanding any Christian can receive. Because if we strive sincerely, ask, seek and knock in the name of Jesus, desiring to come closer to The All-mighty God, we will achieve that which will accomplish all of those requirements that make salvation possible.
The revelation in James 1:17 is a ginormous revelation, because God is the one who provides all good things, all we need to do is ask, seek and knock, knowing that He is faithful and powerful enough to keep His promises.
When Jesus Christ was upon this earth, He was always in prayer, keeping a constant communion with His Father. The closer we are to Him, that much safer will we be, that much Christ-like will we become. To become Christ-like should be the purpose of every Christian and only by coming close to God will this be accomplished.
As The Word states, “All good gifts come from The Father of Lights.”
What we must understand is, that He will not interfere with our decisions, it is that little grain of sand we must put into that huge pile of underserved favors. We must decide to ask, seek and knock sincerely, remaining faithful to His promises. To keep following what we think is good, what we see as good, what we feel is right, is rebellion.