Archive for the 'Faith and Peace with God' Category

Faith and Peace with God

Sunday, August 27th, 2006

Being at peace with God is not an intellectual argument as to how best summarise the perceived benefits, both to man and to God, of salvation in a general statement on the atoning work of Christ, achieved through His death, arrived at by the studious scanning of scriptures, making sure along the way to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, to present an entire man, grounded in the best of modern Biblical scholarship, holy and just and blameless before God.

For I don’t know about you but I did not come to a knowledge of Christ in this way, rather having come to the end of my tether, desperate to find peace for my soul, I sought God with an all consuming intensity to put right all that I could put right and pursued holiness with a lust that realised my life depended on it. I must admit to a certain tardiness at the time at intellectualising the process as to how Christ’s suffering achieved in my soul the peace I so desperately desired, I seemed to have more pressing things to ponder at the time like God’s mercy, power, forgiveness and concern, His help in rescuing my soul from the pit of despair and the sorrows of a man blind to His love. As I skated on the precipice of oblivion He was a true friend and a comfort in the day of trouble.

Having thus arrived back from the dead with a reasonably obvious desire to tell my tale, and to give my thanks to the Lord, I find my theology, arrived at through the difficult school of being crucified with Christ to my sins and being made alive again to Him in His triumph over death, was inferior to others who had being working out their salvation in the battlefields of library shelves and lexicons and the hallowed halls of bible colleges throughout the land.

One could only marvel at the row upon row of ‘tombs’ that filled the library shelves. Men’s lives poured out upon the altar of erudition, as they dissected, with obscene detachment, the living word of God and left us with the mangled corpse, carefully preserved in the pickling jars of weighty volumes; such as lengthy dissertations on the ransom theory of atonement versus, their obvious favourite, the substitutionary theory. I was turn over page gripped as I followed the technical arguments over whether the derivatives of the Greek word ‘hileos’ inferred God’s wrath ultimately fell upon His only begotten Son to satisfy His indignation at the sins of mankind, and I wondered if I was on another planet.

I found myself laughing out loud as I read the theological masterpieces that steered the thought of modern Christianity. It hit me with blinding clarity as to why the church is in the state that it’s in – the laughing stock of the world, except nobody laughs now because the joke has worn so miserably thin. And I wondered how has it come to this?

The question that hits me with some impact is this “Is it actually possible for a righteous man to be found in the church?” The answer, which is obvious, is curiously also theologically answered in the negative. Of course Christians don’t see it that way, but by a cunning sleight of hand they declare themselves righteous while at the same time declare that it is impossible, on their part, to keep from sinning. This is where theology starts to sound like a comedy sketch. They declare, “God sees me righteous on account of Jesus dying in my place on the cross (the substitutionary atonement) and in gratitude I’m going to do the best that I can to obey God, but because I’m still ruled by the ‘old sinful man’ we all know that try as hard as I might, I’m not going to do it. Thankfully, however, because I’m ‘called’, God’s forgiveness is assured and He will never let me go and somehow, in the twinkling of an eye, when I die I will be transformed into a perfect man in God’s own image.” How do they know all this to be true you may well ask and the answer is simply that they believe it to be true!

Here is another question, “What is the difference between a non-believer who is really trying to be a good person and a Christian?” The answer is not much! Except the Christian thinks he is especially chosen of God to live forever while he believes the non-believer is destined for hell.

You might well ask, “Why does the Christian have such a high opinion of himself?” Which is of course a good question, but the Christian will respond, “I’m no better than you, but God, by a free sovereign choice, chose me to enjoy this good fortune and, by an inscrutable mystery of His will, decided against choosing you?” Your immediate response to this information would probably be to ask this question, “How do you know that He has chosen you?” And this is the wonderful Catch-22 nub of it all because the answer is “Because we believe it to be true” and if you are able to believe that all they tell you to be true is true then you must also be chosen, but if you think that something smells like rotten cheese then I’m sorry but your damned!

It’s all pretty heady stuff and learned men go to college to get their head pushed around until they understand exactly why it is absolutely right and important to believe Scripture in their particular way, and why this makes them righteous men and sinners all at the same time, while other men are just sinners. If it all sounds too good to be true then it just might be possible that they’ve got something terribly wrong!

It also explains why a real righteous man cannot be found in the Church!

If you want to have some fun go to a Christian group, it doesn’t matter which one, and explain in logical detail how it is impossible to be both righteous and a sinner at the same time and before too long, as long as you don’t get seduced along the way by either their infectious enthusiasm or else by one of their pretty wives in waiting, you will be shown the door as a heretic. Fortunately in this day and age such sport doesn’t end in death, because the state disallows it, but in the not too distant past such men were burnt at the stake, just ask Servetus who suffered this fate in Geneva at the hands of that “great Christian reformer” John Calvin. However if you are too loud or persistent, even today, you can end up in jail for the night!

The reason I write this is not to see our jails filled but because I am alarmed at the nonsense that is proclaimed as truth in the name of Christ by men who don’t know Him but who have set themselves up to be teachers and claim to speak with His authority but who have all contributed to make the Church the fractured divided laughing stock that it is today. If Christ returned today He wouldn’t call the Church His own, it bears no resemblance to the one He planted 2000 years ago, and there is no one in the Church who grieves and mourns over this. Jesus asked when He was on earth, “When the Son of Man returns would He find faith on earth?” It’s a question the Church has never taken seriously because it believes it has faith. But a tree is judged by its fruits and it is for this reason that I write and fear!