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What about the People who never hear the Gospel? That is a common question religious teachers hear. Most of the time I believe we hear the wrong answer.
Different Levels of Faith
God’s playing field is made level by Him asking us to live at the level of faith given to us. And it is different for everyone.
Romans 12:3 CEV I realize how kind God has been to me, and so I tell each of you not to think you are better than you really are. Use good sense and measure yourself by the amount of faith that God has given you.
Yes, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. That is a given for the sweep of humanity. But we are not judged on every point – only on those we learn about. It means that the woman living in a harem somewhere in Egypt, protected and kept from the world and information is a person judged by an entirely different standard than the college student in New York City, or the farm worker in Yemen.
Not everything God ever said applies to you and your life. He made new eyeballs for the blind man, but not for the rich man. He required a statement of faith from the Syrophoenician woman but not from the centurion. Lazarus he raised from the dead, but not the rest of the dead at that time. Jesus has different strokes for different folks.
Obedience is the Standard
Obedience to the revealed will of God is the standard by which each of us is ultimately judged. How can He do this? God is not unfair. If you have little information and little faith that is what you are expected to utilize in your search for God. To whom more is given, more is expected.
Luke 12:48 TLB “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater.
Some guy on radio said that God does not put people in categories, so I, being challenged, went to the Bible.
God has a large group of categories.
|little children||virgins with oil|
|fathers||virgins without oil|
|willfully ignorant||royal priesthood|
|beloved||crucified with Christ|
|mother in Israel||reconcilers|
Why do we need to know this?
God has called us to grow. Paul said we are to move from glory to glory. (2 Corinthians 3:18) There is no static position for the Christian, or for that matter the non-Christian as well. Life is a test, and where we go after we die, and how we exist now depends entirely on the progress we make in this life towards understanding ourselves and our relationship to God.
For example, the book of 1st John speaks of little children, young men and fathers. These are three groups of warriors … those who have been called to fight the good fight against their own sinful nature and then as missionaries of the Kingdom taking on the devil and ever present evil in the world. It does not necessarily apply to you right now – although that may be your later call.
Christianity is not passive.
Christianity is proactive and risk-taking. There is no prolonged languishing in church to sit, soak and sour while the preacher does all your spiritual work for you. No wonder ministers break down. 1,500 leave the ministry every week. http://www.pastoralcareinc.com/statistics
Good mental health requires you to change as time and circumstance change. The rigid and stubborn die first.
#Christianpsychology #Christiangrowth #Godsays #Life is a test
Read more essays at https://www.WouldYouConsider.net
It’s my own fault by even reading these old theologians. Dr. R. C. Sproul Sr. says everything that happens, even our sins is the will of God. Horse pucky! We are warned not to lay a charge to God’s elect but it is OK to lay a charge on God Himself? (Romans 8:33) Pleeeze.
I am also told by these men (mostly men) that there is not one good thing in Man. What about the image of God which entered Man when the Lord breathed upon him at the creation (Genesis 2:7) turning clay into something worth saving? And while we are at it, why would God bother saving something without redemptive qualities? Another false notion. As a fellow theologian I can testify we do have a tendency to go too far.
Yes, Man is a mess, Ronald Reagan said the definition of the status quo is “the mess we are in” and for sure we are in a mess. We start out in the mess when we are born. But I have noticed we do not have any choices. I arrived here many years ago; I have no memory of asking to be born, maybe so. I started out in heaven and I am now here. This is the world I was born into with the problems inherent in me and in the world. Someday I will return to eternity. I have a pre-history and a post-history.
Tough. We deal with life as it has been handed to us. And that is our challenge and our potential glory, to find God and His Promises to us in it where we are. I am not French or Chinese, which would be fine. But I am an American and I have obligations to my country and my countrymen. I also have plans from God for how my life is to be conducted as a reflection of that “Imago Dei” and a goal.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans that I [a]have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.
Now about Adam and Eve. Were they depraved? No. They made a giant mistake but they were created bearing the glory of God. When they sinned that glory departed; they knew it experientially because they hid and made clothing for themselves since they’d lost their covering. Mankind eventually became totally depraved so God destroyed them all at the Flood, save 8. It is prophesied that Man will again become totally depraved but now, not yet, no.
Neither are we. Yes, babies are sinners. Just watch them fight with a sibling over a toy. Adamic man is there, but in their innocence they remind us that their love and their ability to accept everyone and everything without rancor is the basic goodness in man. Calling man totally depraved is calling God a liar. Yes, it happens a lot.
God gave us a measure of faith Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. I suppose the reformists would say, being consistent, that is evil too.
The Chinese are right – ying and yang, pictured as about half. I can’t gauge that. Maybe it is three quarters versus one quarter. But no matter. There is basic goodness in human kind. And that is what God works in us and with us. It is the ground of possibility in us.
Secular humanism would have us believe that we are born without fault and the wicked, nasty world makes us evil and produces evil societies. More horse pucky! Man is born flawed and he has, from that point, only a way up.
Look up and live! (Numbers 21:8)
It’s tempting to think of shame as a bad thing. To understand how to deal with it, let’s look at our First Pair, Adam and Eve, the prototype of human action, inaction and reaction. In Genesis 3 right after the eating of the forbidden fruit, both Adam and Eve hid themselves. Hiding is a symbol of shame as well as fear.
God says to them, “Where are you?” Not because He didn’t know where they were. But did they? Shame tells us where we are. We are the ones who need the information. All revelation, all change, all improvement starts with knowing who and where we are. The Bible specifically says they were hiding from God.
People can do the “hiding thing” very well- beards and makeup are inner symbols of shame, piles of workload, behind other people (and blaming them), behind bad leaders in government or in business, and the best hiding people do is behind a lot of money. The Bible says money is a defense. (Ecclesiastes 7:12)
That helps to explain the hiding phenomenon of atheism/agnosticism which has become so prevalent in today’s society. If you have the option of saying that God does not exist, you also have no reason to hide. But Romans 12:3 says God has already given to each person a measure of faith, a large enough measure to know at the very least that He exists. So it takes a deliberate act of the will to say God does not exist. (2 Peter 3:5) The results is a “defiled conscience” )Titus 1:15.)
But our First Pair respond by saying they are naked. The very fact that Adam and Eve knew they were naked and hid indicates that their conscience is active. Interestingly enough, they reacted on the basis of the outside, being naked, but what had happened was that they had changed on the inside. They now were no longer covered with the glory of God, sin had taken over and their eternal condition and future was in jeopardy.
The very opposite are the actions of Gay Pride Days and public displays of sexual deviance, of street prostitutes whose clothing if nothing else gives away their profession, and of criminals who flaunt their hatred of authority and kill police and other officials at will. This applies also to the Islamist extremists who rape, murder, steal and vandalize mostly in foreign countries like Germany, England, Italy, Greece, France especially, Finland and Sweden. They have in addition promised to bring it to America. The Bible says to have nothing to do with evil like this (2 Timothy 3:5) so the smart nations are closing their borders. The Bible tells us to turn them away.
Shamelessness is visual proof that these people have rejected God in their lives. Muslims are right in calling Islam a religion; it is an anti-God religion by its very beliefs and actions. The Bible warned that we would see the fruit of men’s evil minds in their persons and now it is coming to public pass on TV and every other medium.
But what if you feel shame? Rejoice, it means your conscience is still alive and in tact. Don’t do what Adam and Eve did; they both blamed something else. Adam blamed God and Eve; Eve blamed the snake. The snake didn’t blame anyone because he (it) was pretty pleased with what he had done. Evil always rejoices when it wins a point.
Fortunately evil does not win the war. God has made it clear that He will win this fight against evil both inside man and inside societies. For you personally He does it through forgiveness. Forgive everyone you know who has harmed you. Then ask God to forgive you, and go the extra mile and forgive yourself. No, no excuses. Just say I did it. Then ask God to show you in your heart that you are forgiven.
Other people may not forgive you, but never mind, you are on the right side of heaven.
Today the most often preached subjects are Grace and Faith, Grace being what God does and Faith as what Man is supposed to have and exercise. But these definitions take on many and varied forms, such as faith as work, faith as belief, faith as endurance, faith as hope.
As always let the Bible itself define faith. This definition excludes many believers who say they have faith and do not. Our faith begins with believing something someone says. When I was in China one school teacher decided to become a Christian because, as he said, I came to China on my own dime not expecting any income from the Chinese in order to serve God. In the 8 years following he has learned about God on his own and now his whole family is believers. But believing someone else is just the start. We’ll learn eventually to believe God which is better.
There is a host of ideas, principles and practices that lead us to increased levels of believing. Before I knew God I had no idea God could heal anyone, although I had been told that. Resting your faith on someone else’s experience or doctrine is a start but no finish. I’ve heard Christians say, “I know I am saved because I was baptized.” But there is no salvation in baptism. Do they really know what they are saying, or what they are believing?
Abraham was the Father of the Faithful so his faith becomes the standard. In Hebrews we read faith defined:
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
2 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
3 Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
So our first evidence of faith is belief that God (not evolution) produced the universe we live in. It is not an optional idea; it is the first evidence of faith.
Perhaps if you have had trouble believing God’s promises you have been struggling to reject notions of a naturally produced universe? However that might happen no one can define. A self-creating universe is nonsense-thinking which cannot be proven or replicated. And believing is work, hard work.
AMP John 6:29 Jesus answered, “This is the work of God: that you believe [adhere to, trust in, rely on, and have faith] in the One whom He has sent.”
When we say faith without works is dead, this is what we are talking about. Faith is the hard work of believing in God’s words, and those of Jesus, and of course additionally believing his prophets.
To believe is an active verb, it’s origin being the concept to “live by” or real life action. Belief is not passive. It does not say, “If God wants this to happen, He’ll do it.” Of course He will, but that is not faith. That is just a valid opinion.
Somewhere I heard that it is not Saint Peter who guards the pearly gates to heaven, but Abraham, the father of the faithful, That makes sense. God told Abraham is would be the Father of faithful billions. And Abraham, who had no one to tell him about God, believed. His faith was so much greater than ours. He becomes the standard for belief.
Now you say, I don’t have any faith. Not so. Every man is given a measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) It is not very large but it is enough faith for you to develop and grow. Select one thing to believe from His word, and then pursue it. It may take some time; you are to believe the word not the immediate appearance of the word. Too many people give up on God because there is delay. I think of a friend who was promised a Christian husband. He showed up when she was 35, and she had nearly given up.
Poor Isaiah prophesied about the Messiah and then waited 600 years to see Him arrive. In the meantime Isaiah was treated very badly, condemned and persecuted. The truth for some may be on the other side of the grave. But Isaiah is the most often quoted Old Testament book.
When Daniel was in the den of starving lions he did not look at the problem but looked up to God. Faith is for now, and we believe now, but the end of faith, its realization may be long in the future.
The Bible contains the meanings of words, colors included telling us to compare spiritual with spiritual, not spiritual with the natural interpretation.
1 Corinthians 2:13 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches,comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
The colors are in order, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and finally violet, or purple. They form naturally in the sky. It is a picture of the path to the Kingdom of God which is the Christian goal. God’s kingdom we pray:
Matthew 6:10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
To enter the Kingdom you begin with red, which stands for the blood sacrifice, Jesus. No one comes into the presence of the Father without having recognized the blood covenant and its purposes.
Next is orange which is for deliverance from evil forces including demons and curses. A good bit of ignorance surrounds this in today’s churches leaving them to fight against evil without proper information and the results are sad.
After one has dealt with the devil you come to yellow which stands for holiness. Silver symbolizes redemption, and gold is holiness. It may seem superfluous to say this, but one can hardly expect to make any progress in the life of the Kingdom without having a genuine holiness. There is a form of Godliness which has no power. Pity.
2 Timothy 3:4-6 (KJV) 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
After yellow comes green meaning information, and growth. Many national companies use green for health, harvest, and information. Before you can have faith in God, which comes next, you need the Bible which contains the information you need.
Blue symbolizes faith. Without faith it is impossible to go on. Yes, everyone has a measure of faith which is provided to him/her but beyond this faith must be exercised at every single level if one wishes to progress in holy things.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
I’ve heard Bible teachers and members of congregations say “I do not believe” this or that in the Bible and guess what? They don’t really, so move on. So there is not much reason to sit under their teaching. (Don’t confuse activity with progress. The devil can keep you busy for many years.)
After blue comes indigo. Some people call this lavender, or even shocking pink. It stands for spiritual warfare. Being a warrior for God comes after you have been through the previous processes, otherwise the devil tears your tail off. Spiritual Warfare brings a victory and after that comes the crown.
All ancient kings wore purple since purple dye was wildly expensive and only they could afford it. It comes from the crushing of a tiny little sea “worm” which produced the color. So now perhaps we can understand when the Palmist said, I am a worm and no man.
Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people.
Jesus was crushed for us all and now wears purple in heaven as King.
You will rule and reign with Christ here on earth if this process is yours. At this point the rainbow is a finished product. Your life has reached its goal.