Friday, September 2, 2016

Growing up

Historically, from early Christian times till now, we read the stories of Christians who are put to various tests of a blasphemous nature to break their resolve. Those that withstood them are usually killed and become martyrs. As a young Christian I wholly approved of and adulated this kind of ‘witness,’ especially because it is ancient, even going back to the apostles themselves (maybe).

Now, as an older (and rather over-tested) Christian, though never made to trample a cross or offer incense to Caesar—what would be the modern equivalent of the latter? Perhaps, treating the President as if he were God?—I hold to a different view, which is either more mature, or maybe just pragmatic.

I believe that the Divine Nature (God) is above blasphemy just as He is above envy. As for jealousy, yes, you can say, following the Bible itself, that God is a jealous God, but still, He is not an unreasonable One. He wants our full attention, our full obedience to His commandments, but He knows us, He knows He can’t get it, and so He accepts such love as we in our weakness can muster. He waits for us.

The Bible says, ‘precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His saints’ (Psalm 116:15), and so people have put two and two together, and decided that they will die (like the ancient Hebrews) rather than do anything to dishonor their God. Far be it from me to judge them, but for me there is a different imperative.

You see, God cannot be dishonored, and He knows our hearts. If my soul hangs in the balance between life and death depending on whether or not I will commit a blasphemous act, or even renounce verbally my faith, then to do anything that will cause my death is almost a kind of suicide.

Can the ‘death of His saints’ that the Bible speaks of refer to death in another sense, such as death to sin, death to self? I don't pretend that that was the original meaning of the text, but the text grows as we grow. The Bible then becomes not so much a book of literal laws and commandments, but a gauge of human progress.

Progress toward what, or whom? Towards God, of course, who lets the laws be our caretakers during our racial infancy, but who really wants the true law, that of indefectible love, written on our hearts. That concept is found in the same Bible too, and literally
(cf. Jeremiah 31:33).

I think that we as a race are at a critical moment. I think that the Church is at a critical moment.

The Church needs to understand that its mission is much larger than it once thought. Its mission is to incorporate the entire race into the Body of Christ, because that is where the race must go, where it has been evolving to, since it became a conscious, reasoning entity. To accomplish its mission, the Church must grow up in the sort of way I am alluding to, whereby it knows that there is no such thing as ‘blasphemy’ just as there are no such things as ‘gods’
(cf. 1 Corinthians 8:4).

The Church has been christianizing the universe. Now, the universe expects christification.

The human race needs to understand that religion must be left behind in its evolution, but that leaves no other destiny or objective than to become the Bride of Christ. Neither theists nor atheists will find much comfort in this idea, once they understand that the dichotomy between them loses all meaning when confronted with an ultimate reality neither recognized.

Far from losing ‘God’ in the abandonment of the static structures we know as ‘religion,’ we will find ourselves not merely believing, confessing, or worshiping, but actually being wed to the real God of whom all our religions had only images. Finally, we shall, as a race, be able to honestly follow the first of the Ten commandments, ‘I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before me,’ which will unleash us to fulfill the other nine as we enter with Him the Bridal Chamber.

‘The time is near’ (Revelation 1:3), which has been repeated generation after generation in anticipation, at long last will be pronounced with finality. The critical moment—κρίσις (KREE-sees), ‘judgment’—of the race’s stepping up, or falling down, ‘to be, or not to be,’ has arrived, as Christ Himself proclaims, ‘The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’ (Mark 1:15)

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