Thursday, January 19, 2012

Worldliness


Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. [Romans 12:1-3 NIV]

It has been widely taught that the passage above is talking about resisting former bad habits, which is as it should be, but it has been personally revealed unto me by our Heavenly Father that it is also referring to thinking of what is generally considered to be spiritual matters in the eyes of this world as we naturally do.  For it is also written: We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”—the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.  The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us.  This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.  The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.  The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ. [1 Corinthians 2:6-16 NIV]

Alas, cannot that other part to worldliness be heard from many a pulpit far and wide?  For far too many have been led to believe that the Bible is a book of instruction that only those who have devoted their life in the study of it can be pleasing unto our Heavenly Father.

Again, this is not to say that our Heavenly Father’s Holy Bible is of no significance.  For it does indeed contain the sum-total of His Holy Scriptures, which were given to serve as written confirmation of what He wants to personally reveal to each individual, in accordance to what He wants to accomplish in and through them.

Oh, but that last part is generally ignored.  For on the rare occasion when something is said about the role of our Heavenly Father’s Holy Spirit in the day-to-day life of a believer, it is almost always just in support of what is contained in the Bible, which is the way of this world—not our Heavenly Father’s.

Yes, others have all sorts of things to say about what His Holy Spirit has personally revealed unto them—things that often smell (so to speak) much more like smoke than a sweet-smelling offering, and this is why it is so important to become as familiar with our Heavenly Father’s Holy Scriptures as He will allow and enable you to be.  For the devil and his demons are masters at making even the most wicked of things sound righteous and true.

Nonetheless, woe be it unto all who place His Holy Scriptures ahead of Him.  For they are cheating both themselves and our Heavenly Father out of the very close and personal relationship that He so very much desires to truly have with us while we are still a part of this world.  In fact, that is the only reason why He created it, and have things go as they have. 

“If you love me, keep my commands.  And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.  I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.  Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.  On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.  Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”  Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, “But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?”  Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.  Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.  “All this I have spoken while still with you.  But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. [John 14:15-26 NIV]

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2 comments:

Rational νεόφυτος said...

In a way, with pentacostalism, there's something of a flavor of Rome: that Scripture isn't enough, but that you need something else (in the case of pentacostals, it's some sort of Holy Spirit revelatio; likewise, with Catholics, its the writ of the Magisterium.) In both situations, I think there is a danger to put the authority of that supposed spirit revelation (or papal decree) before the authority of God's word alone. This was Luther's beef, as it was with the reformers. Sola Scriptura.

Just suppose: what if the well-meaning pentacostal is listening to what he believes is revelation of God's spirit, but is, in fact, being deceived by demonic influence? I've known of some local pentacostals (one of whom is a known wife-beater) who's spiritual guidance I would find highly suspect. How do you really know about that source of revelation, and is it worth risking putting above that of the Bible?

Jerry E Beuterbaugh said...

From above: Yes, others have all sorts of things to say about what His Holy Spirit has personally revealed unto them—things that often smell (so to speak) much more like smoke than a sweet-smelling offering, and this is why it is so important to become as familiar with our Heavenly Father’s Holy Scriptures as He will allow and enable you to be. For the devil and his demons are masters at making even the most wicked of things sound righteous and true.

Why is that so hard for you to get, my dear RN? Moreover, why do you keep going back to the dangers of listening to someone else when what I have been given to say is about listening to our Heavenly Father's Holy Spirit, with His Holy Scriptures being there to serve as written confirmation of what He wants us to know and understand? Now, this is not to say that He does not speak through others, but even in those cases, they will only be echoing what He has already been telling the listener(s).

Come on now, can you really be so arrogant to think that you are not in need of His guidance, or is there a particular reason why you want to keep Him at a distance? Come to think of it, wasn't it Satan's temptation in the Garden of Eden that Adam and Eve could become like God if they ate of the forbidden fruit, which is to suggest that they would no longer be in need of His assistance after they became as wise as Him?