Monday, June 12, 2006

Take Heed

Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall
(1 Corinthians 10:12)

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, the Apostle Paul warns of this twisted thinking, retelling the story of how the Israelites displeased God in chapter 10. In their self-confidence, masking as confidence in God, they presumed upon the Lord; murmuring about lack, tempting about His power, and mixing idolatry with supposed godliness. Paul makes it clear that the Corinthians had been doing this and that they (and we today) are to keep a diligent heart toward the Lord. Standing against such self-confident presumption he wrote the verse you see above.

Sincere, serious, God-fearing Christians with any amount of spiritual discernment can obviously tell that there are many false “apostles” and “prophets” in the world today. However, there are multitudes of immature or new believers that are being taken captive by the schemes of supposed servants of God. These “servants”, while occasionally outright children of darkness, more often than not are just deceived themselves, only presuming to lead into the light of God’s truth, while actually being led by their own passion for glamour.

Under a false sense of humility and dependence, they entice carnal Christians with comforting words about “restoration” and “revival” rather than convicting with character words like “repentance” and “reformation”. People get caught up in seeking “a move of the Spirit” while not taking heed to their own lives, foregoing an abundant life of obedience for the “spiritual red-line” of emotional release.

This is not a new phenomena; it has been going on for centuries, but is cloaked with an ever-increasing sophistication. Truly, we need more spiritual discernment in the pulpit as well as within the laity today. Within these following missives, a history of some of the excesses and heresies of the past will be detailed, and statements that point to the truth will be given so that we may be trained to see the warning sign – “the presumption of faith” – with regards to gifts and heretical movements. Biblical examples of what to do and what not to do will also be provided as further evidence that this presumption can (and does) happen.

J.M. Stifler said it well when he remarked, “There are two ways of despising God, one is to ignore His power, the other is to presume upon it.” Perhaps many who are reading this believe certain spiritual gifts, such as tongues, continue today as in the early church. Others may not, but both sides wonder how they can know when people, especially themselves, are actually being Spirit-led, as opposed to being emotionally-led. What they see today is “going too far”, they might conclude.

These following days will deal with the notion that we can be deceived. We will also discuss why signs and wonders are not necessarily to be sought after, and will show how others have been taken captive. We will introduce some clear-cut instruction on avoiding the “pit” falls, and talk about the antithesis of the presumption of faith – the obedience of faith: Christ’s emphasis on discernment of God’s will by continual communion and ever-mindful humility.


Anonymous said... you're "getting into it", Even So.

What is a "carnal" Christian? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Jerry Bouey said...

What is a "carnal" Christian? Isn't that an oxymoron?

Depends on how you are using the word "Christian." If you mean "Christlike", then there is no such thing as a carnal Christlike person. However, if you use the term the way many Christians do to indicate a true believer in Christ (through faith alone in His finished work on Calvary), then yes, you can have a carnal Christian (ie. believer).

Even So... said...

I agree with Jerry, and I would define it in this context as...
Immature believers who are living more by the dictates of their old man than by the new man.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the explanations......I don't think I would like to be thought of as a carnal Christian. And what of those who "choose" to stay immature their whole entire life?....I guess I struggle with such terminology because it seems as though so many of us Christians want to have just enough Christianity to get us into heaven. I don't want to belabor this point but I run into so many people that have the attitude of "we all sin" anytime the subject is brought's almost like an excuse, so I struggle with this "carnal" Christian thing.

Thanks ya'll!

Jerry Bouey said...

What do we base our salvation on? Our walk or our faith in Christ? True salvation comes by repenting of our sins and putting our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Then the Lord makes us a new creature in Christ and we are born again - we are no longer the same, our lives are transformed. However even a true Christian can backslide and do wrong - yea, even for a period of time.

The Bible teaches eternal security - let's not lose sight of that. Just because someone walks unruly - that doesn't change Scripture. If someone never shows good fruit (at all) then that is an evidence that they are not saved - but that is over the course of their whole life, not just one point in it. 1 John 2:19 teaches that if someone rejects the truth and turns from it completely (my paraphrase), then they were never truly saved - so let's not mix false professions with backsliding.

A false professor may look good for a time, but eventually the truth of what they are will reveal itself (if not down here, then at the Great White Throne judgment - the tares will abide until the end); and a true believer may fall for a time, but they will get back up by putting their eyes back on the Lord or they will be chastised, possibly even by death.

1 John 3 is a great passage to show this: those who do unrighteous (ongoing, present tense - who keep doing unrighteousness) were never saved, and those who do righteousness (present tense, ongoing - keep doing righteousness) are saved. What is the overall picture (not just a glimpse at one point in their life)?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Jerry -

Guess I'm just really "hung up" on this - I just "feel" :) like I'm around too many "sloppy grace" kind of attitudes. I want to be around those who encourage me to enter into the Holy Place/Holy of Holies...

Again,thanks for the explanation.

Even So... said...

Yes, I agree, too much sloppy grace, which is no grace at all but licentiousness. Grace is a teacher (Titus 2:12), and many, says Christ (Matthew 7:22-23) will think they are "gettin in" when they won't. They profess to know Him, but their works deny that profession (Titus 1:16).

You aren't just saved from something (God's wrath), but to something (the person of Christ). We come "just as I am" but Christ does not leave us in that condition (Ephesians 2:10).


Jerry Bouey said...

We come "just as I am" but Christ does not leave us in that condition (Ephesians 2:10).

Yes, exactly. One thing that many overlook is the fact that God chastises His children - if someone is truly saved and is walking in sin, God won't leave them in that condition. If they have no chastisement, they are not saved.

It seems too often we take an extreme one way or the other: either accept all who make some profession of faith (without critiquing their profession and seeing if it does in fact line up with God's Word), then think they must have lost their salvation when they later apostasize or walk into grievous sins - or take the other extreme and think that no true Christian could ever backslide or walk into grievous sin (which also doesn't line up with Scripture).

If a child of God won't repent of some sin in their life that God has brought to their attention, then He will deal with them in their sin.

First He speaks (through His Word, through the conviction of the Holy Spirit, through preaching, and through the witness of others and through circumstances), then He spanks (this would be light chastisement, such as a temporary sickness or trial to get their attention), then He scourges (this would be heavy chastimsent that is often permanent and scarring, such as loving a loved one, losing a limb, a heavy financial or material loss, etc.), and lastly if all this chastisement is not heeded, the Lord takes His final step, He separates (by death, this is referred to in 1 John as the sin unto death, and seen in Acts 5 and 1 Corinthians 11).

Even So... said...

Jerry, that is great, I am going to use this, brother, and soon.