Friday, March 02, 2007

# 189: These Quotations from 1st John Equal: Tough Precepts

This post, # 189, is in conjunction with post # 190, which will be published in about a week. Post # 190, with the help of this post, will attempt to vividly explain a misconception that has plagued Christianity for 2,000 years. This post is a repeat of several previous writings in this blog, except the exegesis is more significant.

The book of 1st John, with its simplicity of word construction, contains the toughest and the most misunderstood teachings of any other New Testament doctrines, even though the last part of Luke, Chapters 12 through 21 are almost equally as bold, which express profound issues concerning tough Christian love. If your Christianity is marginal—if there is such a thing—or you have a weak spiritual constitution, or are a sissy, either male or female, it might be best to skip this post. The fact of the matter, this Book of 1st John, which contains only 5 chapters and a total of 105 verses, is the most watered-down and neglected of all Bible writings, especially by the organized church.

This post is going to tell it like it is with as little personal accentuation as possible. 1st John 1:6: "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth." The key word is “darkness.” Whenever “dark” or “darkness” is used in scripture, they translate to a lack of accurate knowledge. Hosea 4:6. "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Do we have all the knowledge we need to keep from being deceived? That is the main reason for this entire blog: to give a personal Godly insight, unbiased by the influence of religious affiliation.

In this next verse the key word is "IF." It is an extremely small word but has a gigantic implication, especially in 1st John 2nd Chapter, first verse. "My dear children, I write this so that you will not sin. But IF anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense–Jesus Christ , the Righteous one." [emphasis added]. IF does not mean WHEN. There is a world of difference between the two. "If" means most likely we won’t; "when" means most likely we will. Do we truly believe we will never sin again? If we truly do believe we will never sin again, we can claim this verse in our defense. If we believe we will sin again, since we are only human, this verse may not pertain to us. Does anyone see the deadly implication by the way the word "if" is used many times in the New Testament, with the same insinuation? Let me give an excellent analogy: When people buy fire insurance for their homes, do they buy it so that WHEN they have a fire, they will be compensated? No! They buy it "IF" (just in case) they ever have a fire, so they won’t lose everything. Repeating, "if" says that the chances are slight, while "when" says we will. Religion teaches "when," while the Bible teaches "if." I apologize for spending so much time on such a small word. Where do you and I stand?

Another small word is "sin." Definition by Webster: “an offence against God, religion, or good morals.” The word “sin” Scripturally refers to an offense against God. That opens a whole can of ugly worms. The sins that are committed against God via organized religion are not very often murder, theft, robbery, adultery or other sins that are punished by law, but mostly sins of omission: the things we don’t do which the New Testament admonishes us to obey. This post is quite descriptive on the Bible’s “things-we-don’t-do” list.

1st John 2:6."Whoever claims to live in him MUST walk as Jesus did." [emphasis added]. The key word is “MUST.” Do you or I know any Christian that claims to walk as Jesus did? If you do, please introduce her/him to me, excluding the clergy; the majority of them claim to be Christ-like, while what most possess is holy bull . . . There are over half a dozen verses identical to this one in Scripture. Verses like these are a class-action indictment against all organized Christianity, presented by this blog. Let’s be honest with ourselves, or should we just delete those types of verses from our Holy Book? I won’t say any more. What continues will be tough and maybe even tougher.

This next Bible verse will get most of us where it hurts: 1st John 2:15-16. "Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—1) the cravings of sinful man, 2) the lust of the eyes, 3) and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world."

Let me elaborate. 1) The cravings of sinful man: The main reason we crave so many material things and attitudes in America is because we are attempting to fill that empty space (the soul) with material stuff, be what it may, when only spiritual things can truly satisfy it; it is like attempting to fit a square block through a round hole of the same size.

2) The lust of the eyes: I believe men are more guilty of this one, but not in every case. When women flirt, most often, they desire a close bond, to feel secure in the arms of another. When men flirt, they more likely want to get laid. Please excuse my colloquial French. Either way, it is lust. Listen to Webster’s definition of lust: “a desire to gratify the senses; bodily appetite; a sexual desire, excessive sexual desire, esp. as seeking unrestrained gratification; overmastering desire [a lust for power]; intense enthusiasm; zest.”

3) Boasting: most of our boasting is not with our mouth—although we do plenty of that—but by showing off our new motor vehicle/s, big palatial home, new clothing, our accomplishments, etc. This list is endless; boasting usually gives us a good feeling, making us feel superior in some ways, while making others, most likely, feel lousy.

All of the above are no-nos. Don’t label me as some type of kill-joy. I am just quoting scripture, and trying to remind us all that even though we don’t often think of these restrictions, they are still staring us in the face by way of the New Testament. I will bet most church people seldom heard a sermon on these subjects. And if they did, I am certain the church attendance might be much less the following week. American "Christians" just don’t want to hear those kinds of verbal restrictions, even if they come from the Bible.

1st John 2:18 " . . . and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come." Just who are antichrists? Let me jump ahead for an answer. 2nd John 1:7: " . . . Any such person is a deceiver and the antichrist." Therefore, what John is saying is that deceivers are the antichrists. Are your church leaders deceiving you by not telling you the whole story according to Scripture? If I was going to hell, I wouldn’t mind going there if I was an ungodly person, but to go there because of another’s deception is real spine-tingling treachery. Then the question comes up, are we ourselves deceivers? That is why I am extremely cautious so as not to misguide anyone. Then, deceptive church activities beg the question: Why would a preacher even desire to deceive anyone? Ah! Their pay (money). No people in church, no money in pocket. Good motive to go easy (silence on the hard stuff). Of course, there may be some who are unaware of the consequence in ignoring these critical teachings.

Personally, I desire no financial compensation whatsoever; therefore, I can, with a clear conscience, tell it like it is. I can guarantee you will not find many who will tell or desire to listen when straight Bible talk is on the agenda. That is why I never expect this blog to win a popularity contest. While on this subject, I can’t figure out for the life of me how preachers justify in their own minds keeping silent on hundreds of New Testament verses that are vividly brought out in Scripture and clearly documented in this blog. If anyone has an answer, please leave me a comment, either positive or negative.

Here comes that very small but all-important "IF" word again. There are several large denominations that, when confronted with this "if" word, just wish it would disappear. They are the eternal-security crowd (once saved, always saved). Listen to what the apostle John says about that subject: 1st John 2:24. "See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. IF it does, you will remain in the Son and in the Father." Someday I will make a long list of Bible verses where that word "IF" is used in the same context; for certain, it is used at least several dozen times. This erroneous belief is one of the antichrist’s/evil one’s most prolific deceptions. If you belong to one of those religious groups, read the New Testament from cover to cover and you will be surprised how many times you will find the "IF" word. If anyone truly believes Scripture and loves our Lord, those "ifs" should have a chilling effect.

This next paragraph will be a shocker to most readers. There are at least seven verses which virtually sing the same song concerning the best way we can learn about the dos and don’ts in the Christian life. Let’s start with 1st John 2:27 ". . . and you do not need anyone to TEACH you. But as his anointing TEACHES you about all things . . ." To give this verse teeth, I will quote the other six similar verses. John 6:45. "It is written by the Prophets: They will all be TAUGHT by God." 1st Corinthians 2:13. ". . . not in words TAUGHT by human wisdom but in words TAUGHT by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words." Luke 12:12. ". . . for the Holy Spirit will TEACH you at that time what you should say." 1st Thessalonians 4:9. ". . . for you yourselves have been TAUGHT by God to love each other. John 16:13. "But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will GUIDE you into all truth." John 14:26. "But when the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will TEACH you all things . . ." [Upper-case emphasis added to all verses].

I truly believe a majority of churchgoers, even educated and intelligent people, do not believe they can understand Bible/spiritual truths on their own, or they don’t have or make the time, and therefore need learned people (clerics) to guide/teach them every Sunday. A common rebuttal: “I don’t go to church to learn but mainly for the fellowship.” Sure, a few hand shakes and several lengthy hellos. Is that fellowship?

Several thousand years ago, learning the truth from a preacher may have been the main way to know exactly what was expected of Christians; that was when the printing press was not yet invented; at that time Scripture was duplicated by hand—a long, expensive job. For that reason, they were not readily available to the common people. But now there is no excuse. The Bible contains all we need to know about belief in Jesus Christ and what the Godly life consists of; it includes the emphatic teaching of obedience to Christ’s commands, but only as evidence to God and man/woman the genuineness and reality of our belief. Disobedience displays no evidence, and consequently no relationship–no ifs, ands, or buts. These are not my words; they can be found in many places in the New Testament. If you own a Bible concordance, look up the words “obey,” “disobey,” “obedience” and “disobedience.” Most will be startled.

This paragraph is a diversion from the ongoing topic, but I use it just to make my point. Seems all we hear about nowadays is that many Americans have lifestyles that are detrimental to their health, especially with our overweight and obesity problem. And the only reason for the problem is that those overweight people DISOBEY one universal law. When they consume more calories than their body needs, they are stored in the form of fat, period. That is not saying that some can’t eat twice as much as others and still remain thin because they metabolize food faster. Others may have been genetically disposed to being fat, or a few may have glandular difficulties. Nevertheless, the basic law still applies in all conditions: Eat only what one actually needs and not an ounce more, even to compensate for whatever inner genetic circumstances one is blessed or cursed with. To put it in simpler words: no so-called legitimate excuse is valid. One person is able to eat several pounds of fatty food and gain no weight; he/she is not overeating. Another person may gain weight when only eating several ounces of fatty food; that person is overeating. Albeit, various lifestyles can have either good or bad effects on weight gain. Break any universal law, whether physical or spiritual, and the price, one way or another, will always be negative. Actually, most human maladies can be blamed on disobedience to laws governing our human nature. Our modern technology has done its share in exacerbating the problem, and we, unwittingly, have become slaves to technology.

Back to the subject on hand . . . What we seldom, if ever, hear about is what the consequences are when we disobey God’s laws. Why? Because no one wants to hear them. They may not be as apparent as the result of physical disobedience, as the above paragraph shows, but there is a price to pay. And we can clearly see it by looking at the condition of our moral decline and how we are sliding downhill faster than a freight train going downhill without brakes. Are you and I disobedient to what God commands? I am sure the majority would say no. Are we traveling on the narrow road that only a few will find, or are we on the road which is wide, to make room for the multitudes traveling on it? This is a critical time to examine ourselves. It is never too late, but the longer we wait, the harder it will be to change.

And who desires change? Change is one of the most difficult thingamajigs to accomplish, regardless of whetherif it is a physical or spiritual change. Most of us will remain stuck in the situation we are in if we like it or not. These unpopular words will get a few where it hurts. I say, cool it; don’t get your nose bent out of joint. Just toss this truth to the wayside. But there may be a few who will heed the warnings. That is my most earnest hope and desire, though I may never know about it. I don’t need to know; God knows, and that is all that counts. My job is to impress the importance of making God’s Pearls of Wisdom crystal- clear. No seminary taught it to me. No preacher taught it to me. I was taught by God’s Holy Spirit via His Holy Book. And if He can teach a numbskull like me, he can teach anyone. But a person must have a desperate need, coupled with a constant effort—regardless of the cost—to fulfill that need. That seems like a high price. Not so; look at the end result: becoming a personal ambassador, here on earth, for the creator of the universe. Is there a higher or nobler calling? No matter how high anyone aspires in the Christian life, God’s ceiling is limitless. I ask, just what is holding us back? Ah, I know: complacency and laziness!

Concerning myself, here is a verse I have thought about for years. In Luke 19:40, Jesus is speaking: "‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they [Christ’s disciples] keep quiet, the stones will cry out.’" What exactly was Jesus implying by using the word “stones”? He may have been referring to Himself, to Peter, or to others that will come later. Jesus was the chief cornerstone, and Simon, son of John, whose name was changed by Jesus to Cephas, translated ais Peter, meaning stone. Stones usually are depicted as something or someone that is looked upon as worthless. Could I, by some chance, also be one of those worthless numbskull stones who is crying out in this extremely controversial blog? Only time will tell. Please excuse me for getting carried away.

1st John 3:6. "No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him." This is tough language. Let me continue. 1st John 3:9: "No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God." 1st John 3:10. "This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; neither is anyone who does not love his brother." 1st John 3:8. “He who does what is sinful is of the devil . . . ." Could it be any clearer? There isn’t much a person can say to elaborate on these verses. This is the question I ask: Why isn’t this extremely daunting theology preached from the pulpit? Only one answer: If it was firmly preached and reinforced, the pews would be empty in a short while. With these verses in view, it is impossible to make any excuses or alibis for sin. Of course, the most frequent excuse I hear is that we are only human, and WHEN we do sin, we will be forgiven. Repeating, there are those familiar words again: "WHEN we sin," which is used by religion, and “IF we sin,” which is used by Holy Scripture.

1st John 3:17. "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?" This verse seems to imply that Christians must be generous in a personal way to those in need. Is there such a thing as a Christian without God’s love? The apostle John is not talking about giving to one’s church. He is talking about getting personally involved—one-on-one—with those in need. Of course, we must save for that needed vacation first, and all the other amenities we deserve after working hard all year. And besides that, with the skyrocketing gas prices, who has money to give away? That needy person/s will have to wait for someone else to help him/her. We don’t say that, but that is the way life is in the majority of the American Christian community. Shame on us all. And after reading this post, can we still call ourselves Christians? Organized religion has to say yes. Otherwise, you know what. As anyone can plainly see, according to the New Testament, this is a deplorable condition the church is in, and it is getting worse every day—even if we try not to think about it and pretend we never clicked onto "Religion’s Crime Against God."

1 comment:

Ketara said...

Good words.