I’ve invited people to write “guest blog posts” for this blog. There are several reasons for this: 1) To offer different perspectives. 2) To generate even more discussion and conversation between blogs. 3) To introduce other bloggers to my readers.
(If you are interested in writing a guest blog post, please contact me at alan[at]alanknox[dot]net.)
Today’s post was written by Greg. Greg originally wrote this as a comment on my post “For the obedience of faith (Part 2).” I asked Greg if I could post it here, and he gave me permission. I’ve modified the formatting slightly, but haven’t changed Greg’s original content.
Since I was saved 40 yrs ago, and probably because of the challenging circumstances that led to my conversion, I’ve been acutely aware of the fact that the NT scriptures were written to a very different kind of people than we all are today. I personally think our relativism and educations have dulled our consciences to the gentle dove of the voice of God. This has caused me to try to think objectively and dig into the historicity of the early church et al, so that I could avoid the perils of subjectively interpreting scripture that the modern church is captive to and has been eviscerated by.
The prime directive of all scripture is obedience, which produces, and without which there can be no faith. Jesus learned obedience by the things he suffered, and we must follow Him there. Scripture also declares that faith works by love. Selah.
But we have, by systematic disobedience to the first commandment of Jesus, to love one another as He loves us, corporately changed the meaning of faith from trust and obedience to belief and statements. We now largely listen to our own rhetoric, trying to make scripture fit our experiences and worldviews, which are many, and are at variance with each others.
When I was saved at 17, from a life of crime, addiction and vile sinfulness, I went to many churches, looking for some resonance with my own new found faith, which I was being transformed daily by thru the blood, sweat and tears of obedience to God. I was too addled in my mind at the time to read the bible, and asked the Holy Spirit to lead and guide me, trusting that since He had written the scriptures, He could very well repeat them to me. He did.
Being young and tender hearted as a new convert, I found very little resonance among a dozen or so churches of all stripes, for my desire to find new avenues of loving and trusting God. In retrospect, I probably scared them. In the grand scheme of things, I just couldnt go to church, I told the Lord so and I guess He understood and led me immediately to meet a small group of youth who were very similar to me, and that was the start of a long and wonderful journey. The fundamental foundation though of our fellowship was that trusting God resulted in radical obedience, and deep love for one another.
As the decades have passed, my family and I have witnessed many, many churches and families who might have hurdled their various obstacles, some self inflicted and many sent by satan, but because of their loosey goosey subjectivity to traditions, and their less than radical obedience to the known Word of God, they failed.
Faith, true faith, changes me and us into the likeness of Jesus, as He was in the flesh. Its not often today that observers of our walk with God remark, like they did with the disciples, that we have a remarkable likeness to Jesus. If we truly want to please Father, we will call one another back to radical obedience, which is to trust Him that when He commands us to love one another as He loves us, He will unite our hearts in love, and we will begin to change us corporately into His image.
Our abandonment of the corporate-ness of Christ has left us no other course than to pursue Him individually, and if we are lucky, with a few other faithful ones who wont stab us in the back. Our divisions will not only disappear but they will be seen as poison to the love and unity that we will achieve as a result of radical obedience to the known will and Word of God. This may sound like semantics to some. So be it.
The evidence that someone truly wants what God does, is when he or she gives up anything and if needed, everything to obtain it. This was the message of John the Baptist, before Jesus came the first time. He’s coming again, for His church this time, and at some point we all need to get up off our corporate duffs, trim our lamps and prepare to enter the bridal chamber. He that has an ear to hear, let him understand.
Until our gospel is rooted in our own conversion to true trust and obedience, evidenced by His love binding us all together in everyday ways, against all odds, we will need to explain and discuss these fundamental scriptures you have written about. But we should know this, that the early church, to whom they were written, were very familiar with trust and obedience of the faith, as the foundation of their relationship with God and one another.Paul commended several for clearly demonstrating the acts of trust and obedience.
I notice that very few comment on topics such as these, and I suspect its because intuitively, we all know our faith is not up to the measure of the stature of Christ. That’s what we should be challenging one another on, without fear, judgement or reminders of past sins.