“For it is we who are the circumcision, we who serve God by his Spirit, who boast in Christ Jesus, and who put no confidence in the flesh— But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.
What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.”Philippians 3:3, 7-9 NIV
There is no genuine faith in God without the narrow path (birthing into a new life) of repentance from our flesh and walking through the narrow door of a new straight way of life in the spirit.
The central drive for true repentance is that we are convinced and convicted by God’s perspective of our old sinful nature. We know and clearly feel His absolute abhorrence of the sinfulness of our sinful nature. We acknowledge that our default way of life, or un-sanctified soul, is locked up in a lowly even base realm of existence. And our indulgence in the wisdom from below is a total denial and fundamental rejection of God’s truth (reality) and love (enlightened and transformed divine affections that are undefiled by a false love that is often humanistic and self-serving). It is from our total agreement with the truth that “there is no goodness in me”, that we will be able to increasingly taste God’s goodness in His word and His love and eventually flourish in a land flowing with “milk and honey”. We become a people of His wisdom (ways) and His love (nature).
Why did God design that those He covenanted with in the faith, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, Peter, Paul, etc…, would have to totally rewire their relationships in life through their personal agreement and decision? Because His culture and the members of His household have to be holy or set apart from the common ways of man which are often propagated in the guise of man’s own righteousness and goodness. He needs them to not merely embrace the revelation of His vision for His people, but to long for it and pursue it, even at the cost of everything else, to be a type or messenger for it. Then they could be the apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, shepherds of His vision for His chosen people.
“Be holy, for God is holy.” This statement should not be mainly applied to anyone individually, but to God’s people collectively first and foremost, with each of us complying to this set-aparted-ness as a member of His people and a citizen of His Kingdom. The key for proper understanding of this scripture is to first know what we are set apart for. Is it for personal piety or to become part of a holy nation and a royal priesthood? If the latter, what then that entails for our education and practice of God’s holiness?
Without God’s cultural endowment, we, at best, can only be a “voice crying in the wilderness”. But what if God called us to be fruitful trees in His garden? How and when will we start to grow therein?
Let us learn from the fathers of our faith. How did God accomplish it with them? Did He do it without their individual enlightenment, agreement and engagement? Or was it the opposite? His partnership with us concerning His culture or plan is always based on our willingness. He sees and works on our heart to ensure that we have full assurance that this is His will and our rich reward by faith. And that we have no excuse if we choose to walk in darkness or deception which allows this vision and calling to be veiled, obscured, replaced or even abandoned.
“Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry and your way will lead to your destruction, for his wrath can flare up in a moment.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.”Psalms 2:10-12 NIV
God has all the compassion and grace to forgive and deal with our personal sins and He is very slow to anger and full of mercy in that regard; but He is not so much merciful and patient, rather is deeply grieved and strongly offended, when we embrace the lies of the Devil or the Antichrist to deny or replace His vision and His culture of making us His holy people.
While praying with Brother John a couple days ago, I saw an inner vision. I saw Jesus Himself closed the door to some interesting characters like in Luke 10. I sensed the intensity of His displeasure and disgust against these making a great commotion before the door that He just closed. They were arguing with Him, claiming that they have loved and served Him, but in truth they never really wanted to know Him, who He Really is-His counsel, His ways, His desires and His purposes.
With this flash of vision, I suddenly gained a better understanding and appreciation of His heart filled up with intense feelings of dejection for and rejection of such a “foolish” flock. In the past, He had extended every help and applied unbelievable patience towards them, but they had chosen to reject Him and grieve Him and live in their “merry” way.
To them, He is neither teacher nor Lord. He is only an idol or an object of disrespectful, possessive and abusive love. It reminds me strongly of the metaphor in the Bible of spiritual “prostitution” or “harlotry” .
What is Babylon? Indeed, it is not merely a city we have to flee from; it is often a city in which we have allowed our own desires and strengths to build it up. It is not outside of us, it is within us! In a sense, it can’t be cast out, it has to be torn down in order that we might have a new city built up in us.
With His Grace, in the past God has, a few times, offered us a clear overview of the Christianity in history; or rather of His people from the beginning. We are aware, through His eyes, that they were often wretched, poor and defeated. It seems they were, most of the time, in rags and ill-equipped in the battle when facing a shrewd and well-enforced enemy. In our time, this weary, shabby and ignorant army of believers are head strong in fighting in their old and doomed ways.
It is the few, when tired of this kind of hopeless and useless endeavors, who choose to walk away from such a war and seek to go to the Rock of ages for sustenance and refuge. They are able to find the crevice in the Rock and the garden within. But the River opened up there is also released to become a scourge to those who have built their villages or cities down in the valley.
“Without vision (divine discipline or order), God’s people perish. “