Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Let us Go a Little Deeper, Shall We

"A little science estranges men from God, but much science leads them back to Him."
Louis Pasteur

At the risk of doing much violence to the term ‘science,’ I will posit it simply means knowledge, and at the most it is a system for gaining knowledge. Thus, according to Louis Pasteur, a little bit of knowledge tends to estrange men from God. However, more of it will lead a man back. Proverbs 1:7 says, "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline." The God-inspired awe of the created universe birthed what we consider modern science. Yet, just as Pasteur claimed, the small advances in knowledge which were made began to draw men from the Creator. Today, as knowledge increases, we again see the grand nature of creation, though as Paul says in Romans, many suppress this knowledge by their wickedness, even though what may be known about God is plain to them. Unfortunately, this problem is not relegated to the fields of the natural sciences, but has also infiltrated the field of theology.

As I mentioned in the previous post, we have rejected the Holy Spirit, and the revelation which He provides, in favor of our academic study of God via natural means and natural reason. In reality, we have displaced our fear of the LORD with fear of academia and science, and we have become futile in our thinking. Many today believe the Holy Spirit was only meant for the early church and He no longer has a place with us. Perhaps somehow we have evolved passed the need for the living God to reside in us.

However, the Holy Spirit is the key to a successful walk with Christ. He is the power by which we must live our lives. Jesus promised this power would be sent. Without Him, we remain mired in our futile thinking and wickedness. In rejecting the Holy Spirit, we declare the sufficiency of our flesh to bring us closer to God. For the Spirit is what puts to death the flesh in our own hearts. Sin and the sinful flesh cannot live in the presence of the glory of the Almighty God. Therefore, the presence of the Holy Spirit living in us is what brings us to full repentance and empowers us in our new walk with Christ. He is the Counselor from whom we learn the deep secrets of the Almighty. He is the mark of authority declaring to all of the principalities and powers of this world, "I am a child of the Almighty God and of his Son, Jesus Christ! You will submit to me!" It is because of his presence in us we see the miraculous; people healed, the dead risen, venomous snakes powerless against us, poison will be as water, we will speak in new languages. How little we see of this! And Jesus said these things would follow those who believe.

If these things will follow those who believe, and we do not see them, what must we conclude.

As is widely accepted throughout Christian theology, God has the characteristic of being three in one. That is to say, the Almighty God of the universe is one God manifested in three persons; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. I have always known this. I have not always believed it. You see, Satan is a scheming, twisting devil. He comes in to speak to us and gets us to think only of part of this. After all, it stretches our feeble, 3-dimensional minds to really hold onto the three in one characteristic of God anyway. So he gets us to think only of the three. Then, it is a simple step for us to attempt to find a hierarchy. So we reason God the Father to be at the top. Of course, we imagine, no son is as great as his father, so, though Jesus is near to his Father, He is still a little lower. We then also conclude the Holy Spirit is low rung on the ladder. I know I have at times subconsciously considered Him a glorified messenger angel. I would imagine most of you reading this have had similar ideas. Let me attempt to clear this up right now: ABSOLUTELY, POSITIVELY, NO HIERARCHY EXISTS IN THE PERSON OF GOD! All three are equal in stature and unified in purpose!

Basically what this means is a person cannot reject or refuse the Holy Spirit and still accept God. Jesus said the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Why did He single out the Holy Spirit? David in pleading forgiveness of God begged Him to, "take not your Holy Spirit from me." It is because the Holy Spirit is how God resides with us. If we reject Him, or minimalize Him, or despitefully use Him, we are refusing salvation itself. One cannot accept Christ and reject the Holy Spirit. Let me be clear here. I am not adding a new feature to or claiming Christ’s blood is insufficient for salvation. It would be as easy to fall to this side as it has been to claim the Holy Spirit is optional. No, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in power is evidence of salvation! Nothing happens without leaving evidence; the Holy Spirit is the evidence.

Jesus Christ is clear on the matter. In Mark he tells what will follow those who believe. He tells us in Luke this power would come from on high. He told us He must go that the Counselor may come. In Acts, his words were fulfilled and we see it is the Holy Spirit which brings these signs. When Peter went to Cornelius’ house, he was amazed when the Holy Spirit came in power even before water baptism, without the Judaic customs, and before he had even led the people in a prayer of salvation. It was proof of the salvation which fell on that house. One can sense the urgency often present among the Apostles when the Gospel is preached in a new area to see the Holy Spirit come on the people in power as evidence of their belief.

God is moving in and out amongst the people of his church to find those whose hearts are set on Him. Just as those who claimed to be Israelites were not all sons of Abraham (John 8:39), so also not everyone who claims to be Christian belong to Christ. Remember the words of God in II Chronicles 7:14, humble yourselves, do not exalt your teaching or your learning, repent and fully seek the fullness of God. This is what He desires. The time is short. His church will be made ready.

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