Last week I shared how a category of sin at its core has to do with the purposeful and withfull knowledge, rejection of God and all that is His natural order. The US Constitution states rights are given by our Creator and government's job is to defend and define those rights. But some reject that, believing government gives rights and can define them. Therein lies the spiritual battle.
On a practical level
The rejection of God produces anger. Revelation 12:12 says Satan, the ultimate rejecter of God, has 'great wrath' he is spreading to the nations, and we are subsequently told in 11:18 'the nations are angry', so from here on out we will see anger being a part of society as we've never seen before.
As we now see auditorium churches being forced to decide where they fit socially, disciples will begin more and more gathering among themselves in homes - the Father had told me earlier in June "The world is about to change again" but I think we've only seen the tip of the iceberg.
Christians, sin, righteousness
As we saw last week, there is a class of sin that at its root rejects God even at the most basic level, His creation, with the result of God turning a person over to experience the opposite of nature because that's what they insist on. But then there are Christians, people who say they are born again and love God, yet embrace sin and a lifestyle included in this class of sin. Where do they stand spiritually?
There are 2 principles; First that we are to judge the fruit of a person's life, not their heart. And the second is the concept it is possible to be righteous in most areas of your life and unrighteous in another area.
To the church at Ephesus as seen in Revelation 2:1-4, the Lord commends them in verses 2-3 and then says in v4: "But I have this one charge to make against you..." He says similar things to the other churches, following the pattern of commending them and then bringing up 1 or 2 things they are lacking.
Many people think a person is 100% righteous or 100% unrighteous, but clearly that is not the case as seen above, and there would be no mention of having our wedding garments without spot or wrinkle on them*. The wedding garment is clean, but there may be a spot on it. *Ephesians 5:27
In I Corinthians 3:1-15 Paul says some believers had envy, strife, and divisions among them, revealing they were acting like mere (un-born again) people. He said that was wood, hay, and stubble that would be burned away, yet the rest would remain and they would be saved, just as having passed through fire. The gold, silver, and precious stones of spiritual reward would remain untouched by the fire of judgement.
And if anyone reading this has been a child or knows a child, you know the 'perfect child' still has flaws - yet you don't kick them out of the family. And if you work or have worked for a living you know there are employees great in some areas and lacking in others, yet they aren't fired. And remember the works of the flesh and fruit of the spirit (fruit of the born again human spirit) of Galatians 5:19-25 is written to Christians with the exhortation that if we walk in the Spirit we won't fulfill those lusts of the flesh.
And we've all been in a place where we love God and are walking with Him as best we know, yet He is dealing with us about a certain thing in our heart or life - we are righteous except in this area He is shining His searchlight on that He wants us to deal with. So settle it no person enters heaven 100% having arrived - we will stand before Christ and some things will be burned away, and some will stand - meaning we live life that way too, ever growing towards Him but not perfected.
We are to judge the fruit of a person's life, not their heart. In Jesus' famous exhortation on false believers in Matthew 7:1-23 He starts in v1 saying we aren't to judge lest we be judged. That is talking about a person's heart, for in verses 15-20 He talks about judging false believers by the fruit of their lives. He said grapes aren't gathered from thorn bushes, so know that false believers will say one thing but live another way.
He continues saying to a group of people who called Him 'Lord, Lord', who claimed to have prophesied and cast out demons in His name, "I never knew you: Depart from me you who practice lawlessness."
This isn't about believers when He said "Not all who come to me saying, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of heaven" - as He said, 'I never knew you'. Never means never - these people were never born again, and in fact He is providing a glimpse at their judgement as He sums up His teaching on false believers.
What is the solution?
IF a person is truly a believer, I John 3:2-3 says "Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God, but it doesn't yet appear what we will be, for when He appears we know we will be like Him for we will see Him as He is. Everyone who has this hope in themselves purifies themselves..."
Notice - he is talking about believers who hold close and dear the fact (#1) they are a child of God, and they are eagerly looking forward to seeing Jesus (#2) - so the result is (#3) their life is one of constant purification.
If you see believers whose lives are not constant growth while holding the hope of seeing Him in glory, then you look at the fruit of their lives - aware it isn't up to us to judge their heart - but judge the lifestyle.
What if you hear of a Christian who says they just want to be accepted for who they are and love God with the rest of us?
The kingdom works by revelation, starting with the foundation of seeing nature and knowing there is a Creator, and going from there, the highest revelation is Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, as revealed to Peter in Matthew 16:16-18. Jesus called Peter a petros, a small throwable stone, but said upon the rock, the mountain, of revelation that He is the Christ, He would build His church.
Paul's prayers of Ephesians 1:17-23, 3:14-19, and Colossians 1:9-12 were all asking the Father to give them 'the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, that the eyes of your understanding would be enlightened...', 'spiritual wisdom', and to be 'strengthened in your inner man by His Spirit' so they could know the love that is beyond knowing in the natural - it is all about receiving personal revelation.
The whole kingdom works by revelation, so for those in sin we ask the Father give them revelation and that He would draw them close.
Gather with those who hold the truths of I John 1:1-3 close to their hearts, as they are also purifying themselves as they look for His glorious appearance. Separate from those who love the world and don't hold these things close to their hearts - even if you have to meet at home, with family, or with just 1 other person on this same spiritual page. Start a family based, home based church in your home...consider it.
Somewhere I have a quote from a Roman official from around the 2nd century writing to another official about the new wave of persecution against Christians. He said something to the effect of, "It's good to see the temples full again now that we've started this new effort against Christians." Are you ready to go underground?
Next week my spiritual dream. Until then, blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org