In writing my last few blog posts, I have been prompted to sound the warning bells of the precipice the world faces as a result of pride, selfishness, and moral relativism that permeates the state of man. Because of the free will choices of those who reject God, any chance of the world's reconciliation with the Father seem remote, at best. Those who stand in positions of authority and power [whether placed there by God or their own evil schemes] have wasted the grace given by our Creator to make the world a better place for all.
I do not want to be misinterpreted ... all is not lost; reconciliation is most certainly possible on a personal and individual level, when one seeks to spiritually connect with God. And it is to that person that I wish to offer hope and assurance in the midst of what might look like a condemned world. I want to affirm how God sees you, and just how valuable you are to Him. And this cannot be confirmed by any philosophical theory, or ritual laws of religion, or denominational code of conduct. As old-fashioned as it might seem, the most accurate way to know how God perceives you today, in this off-the-rails 21st Century, is to read the Bible. BUT ... I want you to read it from what may be a different and unfamiliar perspective.
Can you receive the idea that God orchestrated what was written in Scripture for your sake? That He wanted His particular thoughts written down in a way that would instruct and benefit you personally? That may sound trivial but it is really quite profound when you consider that most of us think of Scripture as a recording of the entirety of God's knowledge; the sum total of all He is about. [However, it is my opinion, that God is SO big, that the Bible barely scratches the surface of His nature and character]. So what if the purpose of Scripture is to reveal to you what God thinks of you, and how He wants to love you; help you; rescue you and set you free; heal you and make you whole; to show you how to get out of the mess in which you find yourself? What if He wants to "re-create" you into the unique being He designed you to be in the first place?
Any teaching from Scripture, whether it be religious "activity", or religious theology, that does not have those goals in mind, is going to be counter-productive to God's purpose for making the Bible available to us. And sadly, the Holy Book has been used far too often to show us how far we have fallen short from the image of Christ. But the Messiah did not come to make us feel small and insufficient. His goal was to destroy the power of the devil, to forgive our sins, and to point the way to restoring His Kingdom on earth! So God instructed the writers of His Word to strengthen your faith in who He is, and in who you are -- how to accomplish those providential goals for your benefit. That's how much He loves you!
I love this quote by Asher Intrater, a Messianic leader in Israel, whom I have come to greatly admire for his wisdom and his connection to God's heart... "God cares about you. He does not care about church pews other than to give people a place to sit. He does not care about economic theory other than how it affects your receiving of His provisions. He does not care about denominational organizations other than the well-being of the people in them." God's focused on caring about us! And any use of Scripture to edify us about God [and our relationship with Him] should have that theme as its foundation.
The Word is not written to be restrictive, as some would say, but so that you might receive the life force of God [Holy Spirit] and prosper in His ways. The commandments of the Law of Moses were not instructed by God in order to make you follow a strict code of conduct, but to bless you when you choose to obey them. The proverbs of Solomon were recorded to instruct you so that you might avoid your own foolish and self-destructive ways. Every verse of Scripture was ordained by God for you! It was written to you, for you -- to show you that He loves you, is concerned about you, and to guide you as you maneuver through these evil times that are out of our control.
Don't let anyone use Scripture to condemn you! True, it is written to show you the difference between right and wrong; between walking in righteousness or sin. But God instructed His Word to be written to you to convict you of how He cares about you and wants to protect you from temptation -- not to condemn you. The latter is the devil's role. He is a liar and a deceiver; an accuser and a condemner. His primary purpose is to cause you to sin. First, he tempts you, and then he condemns you as a prosecuting attorney in the Courts of Heaven. God's desire, in His Word, is to edify you of how Satan works his deception, even as He gives you the knowledge of how to avoid it. I want you to hear me clearly: there is a difference between conviction of sin and condemnation. The Holy Spirit brings conviction of sin so that God's goodness and grace can lead you to repentance, and you can stop sinning.
Remember this: any Christian religious doctrine that condemns you is misrepresenting God's heart for you. God will never condemn you as long as you choose to obey and trust in Him. Jesus does not condemn you, as stated in Romans 8:1 ... Therefore there is now no condemnation [no guilty verdict, no punishment] for those who are in Christ Jesus [who believe in Him as personal Lord and Savior]. The only way you receive condemnation from God is to rebel against Him, and by leaving the guidance of His grace and love. Condemnation is not, nor has ever been, His intention towards you!
Don't let anyone tell you otherwise! Religious condemnation is not from God. Again, from the wisdom of Asher Intrater: "Religion is the ministry of condemnation. Redemption is the ministry of God's grace". I'm sorry if that offends, but Jesus came to represent God's intentions for you, not to bring Religion to the earth. He came to bring God's personal perspective of how He regards you, and to invite you to walk in the Light of His love and grace.
If you choose to walk out of His Light, then you have entered Satan's darkness, and that's on you -- it's not God's fault you chose to leave His Light. If you choose to leave His presence, then the only other option is to be in the darkness. There is no light other than that which is in God. Period! Scripture reveals to us that mankind is defiled because of what happened in the Garden; mankind has defiled and condemned themselves. But Scripture also reveals that we aren't locked into that state of condemnation. Godly preaching and teaching convicts us of our sin, and then edifies us as to the truth of receiving grace through faith in the death and resurrection of Yeshua. Any attempt to justify ourselves through our own self-righteousness is humanism. The answer to man's condemnation is to ask for forgiveness and believe in the power of God's grace to redeem us.
So, in these detestable times we find ourselves, let us not lose God's perspective on who we are. We, who believe and have faith in Jesus's saving grace, are recognized and beloved as long, lost children who have returned to our spiritual home. God sees us, as He looks upon our Savior. Though we might find ourselves in the time when the world has condemned itself in the eyes of God, you must not fear that God has abandoned you. Because He cares about you, and loves you, He has an assignment for you, on His behalf. There is no need for fear nor hesitancy. He will send the Holy Spirit with wisdom, understanding, might, counsel and knowledge of His heavenly strategies. You will receive dreams and visions of how you are to remain in the Light. And because you have the Fear of the Lord [both the reverence and awe of the Lord, and the recognition of what He says about His intense hatred of sin], you will be a mighty spiritual force to be reckoned with in the spiritual battles that have come upon the earth.
Bottom line: let Scripture reveal who God is; His extraordinary love for you; His ways to walk in His Light; and how He can use you to reveal His glory on the earth. Yes, Evil pervades the earth, but you do not belong to the darkness. The truth is that the darkness fears you and your knowledge of the power and authority you possess in the Kingdom of God. Let the Light of God in you shine bright as a testimony of His Goodness and Might!
I want to acknowledge the inspiration I have received of the whole truth of my God through teaching and edification from Mr. Intrater. He truly has a heart to see all believers in Yeshua be all they can be in YHWH. That is my desire for you, as well.
1 John 5:13 These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God [which represents all that Jesus Christ is and does], so that you will know [with settled and absolute knowledge] that you [already] have eternal life.