THE LONGEST FALL
I hate this topic.
It’s the only thing that frightens me.
It’s like walking across a narrow bridge spanning a bottomless pit and being told not to look down. Everything will be OK as long as you don’t look down.
And then your eyes are drawn downward, and you look down.
That’s what I think about when I think about this topic.
I hate the thought of turning against God, but some born-again believers do leave him, do betray him. I can’t imagine it, and yet the very angels in Heaven once turned against God and fell off that bridge.
We know from scripture that the phase of spiritual rebirth is not permanent. It’s conditional and can be forfeited. If we remain in God’s grace to our last breath on Earth, we’ll move on to the next phase, which is going Home. If we turn away from God – if we willfully and persistently and with full intent do what God warns us not to do – we will lose our grace. And if we lose our grace, there is no getting it back.
Without grace, we cannot go Home.
This possibility of losing our grace must always remain at the back of our minds. We cannot dismiss it or sugar-coat it or write it off as non-scriptural, as some who are not born again claim. But they simply do not know. We must be aware that our grace is probationary, not guaranteed. This understanding is a major motivator for us to remain on the strait and narrow.
Those who say they’re Christians but who then turn from God and continue their lives as Buddhists or atheists or Muslims or whatever were never really Christians to begin with, not in the true sense of the word. If you’re genuinely a Christian (that is, born again and with God’s Spirit living in you), leaving God means your certain and swift earthly demise, followed by eternal damnation. Think of Judas Iscariot. Think of how long he remained alive after betraying Jesus. Think of how he died.
Well, you say, Judas Iscariot wasn’t born-again because Jesus hadn’t finished his job yet. True, he wasn’t born-again, but while he was with Jesus, he had the same abilities and privileges born-again believers have. The disciples lived a prototype of spiritual rebirth, with Jesus always with them, and so God was always with them through his Spirit. In John, Jesus told the disciples that they were clean, except for Judas. Obviously he mean spiritually clean. Spiritual rebirth is a form of cleansing.
Ironically, shortly after Jesus’ pronouncement, all the disciples ran away in fear for their lives. Note that in running away they didn’t reject Jesus or God. They were motivated by fear to distance themselves, but they still loved Jesus and God. True, they didn’t at that time love them more than their own lives, but the time would come when they would. So their fear-motivated flight was entirely different from Judas’ betrayal and subsequent damnation. What Judas did was unforgivable.
We make mistakes, as born-again believers. We don’t always treat others as we’d want to be treated. We don’t always (initially) love our enemies. We sometimes delay doing something God has asked us to do. We sometimes even get mad at God, as stupid as that sounds. We make mistakes. The disciples made mistakes, too, but not enough to lose the prototypical grace they were under at the time through the presence of Jesus. They made what we would call “honest mistakes”.
Judas, on the other hand, betrayed Jesus with full intent. It was no mistake, what he did, honest or otherwise. It wasn’t a misstep; it was deliberate. I can imagine that he was warned at some point by God that he was approaching the edge of the narrow bridge and to pull back and look up, but he ignored the warning. I am certain that God warned him. It would not have been fair of God not to do that, and God is as perfect in his fairness as he is in everything else.
We, as born-again believers, are on that narrow bridge. As we walk along it, it disappears behind us, so that the only way is forward. If we try to go backward, we fall.
There is no going back to the lifeless lives we once lived before our rebirth. There is the possibility and potential to go back, but there is no wisdom in going back. The instant we reject God, we sign and seal our own death warrant, and the demons come for us like they came for Judas. The only way out of that predicament is to hastily sign an agreement with Satan as a temporary reprieve. It delays our earthly death, but ensures that we suffer the same end as Satan in the lake of fire. Those are our only options if we turn from God.
As I said at the outset, I hate this topic. I hate it because I, as a human being, still have the capacity – not necessarily the likelihood, but the capacity – to betray God. Free will is part of the human condition that cannot be overwritten. And because it can’t be overwritten, it needs to be overcome. We do that by remaining as close as we can to God and Jesus, through God’s Spirit; we do that by daily renewing our faith, daily reading scripture, daily searching our heart, daily repenting and doing whatever is required to remain “clean” and on the bridge. We dare not go backward. There is nothing behind us but pain.
We need to remain mindful that while going backward is an option for us, we must never, ever do it.
DO YOU FELLOWSHIP WITH HYPOCRITES?
Many people still go to church on Sundays because they think they need to fellowship with other Christians. Even knowing that most of the people in the church aren’t genuine believers doesn’t stop them from thinking they have to fellowship with them.
But do we, as born-again believers, really need to fellowship with unbelievers?
Or put another way, HOW can we fellowship with unbelievers?
I would rather sit alone than be with people who pretend to believe. I have sat alone for nearly 20 years. Every now and then I venture into a church building, hoping to hear the Word preached live, but I always end up leaving after only a few minutes, more bitter than ever at what has become of mainstream Christianity.
The life of a born-again believer is a solitary one. I am never alone (God and Jesus are always with me), but human companionship is not part of the job description. I interact with people of necessity (you live in the world, you have to interact with people), but it’s always at arm’s length, and I trust no-one. Unbelievers are easy tools of the devil and can turn on you in an instant.
Jesus trusted no-one – not even his disciples – and for good reason: He knew their thoughts. I don’t always know the thoughts of those around me, but I can read their faces and hear their voice intonation and note their body language, and that gives me reasonably accurate insight into what they’re thinking. I can hear what they’re saying and then read between the lines. Most people rarely say what they’re thinking, which is to everyone’s benefit. Imagine the insanity of everyday conversation if unbelievers actually said aloud everything the devil put into their mind.
Jesus directed us to go out into the world and preach the Good News. He didn’t say to preach it to the world. The world, by definition, doesn’t want to hear the Word. The world, by definition, has rejected the Word. Jesus wants us to seek out those who are hungry and thirsty for the Word, not to force-feed those who are not. Make yourself available, and those who are hungry and thirsty will come to you, even if only by cover of night.
I have not made a secret of my loathing for mainstream Christianity. I’ve written about it here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here, etc. I hated mainstream Christianity when I was an atheist, and I still hate it as a born-again believer. If it doesn’t have the whiff of pretense, it has the full-blown stench of hypocrisy. Jesus also loathed those who said they believed and yet showed by their actions that they didn’t. To be accused by Jesus of being a hypocrite is about as bad an insult as you can get.
True believers are few and far between these days. We mostly find each other via the internet. God always makes a way for his children to fellowship, though maybe not always in person. For the personal touch, we have God and Jesus with us 24/7.
There’s no need to settle for unbelievers. There’s no need to fellowship with hypocrites.
We have God and Jesus, and we have each other, even though we’ve never met in person and perhaps don’t even know that the other exists. A genuine born-again believer has a true friend in every genuine born-again believer, so that’s quite a few friends, even in this wicked age. Paul called it a cloud of witnesses: I’m out here praying for you and you’re out there praying for me, and our touchstone is God’s Holy Spirit. I can’t see you, but I can feel your prayers; I don’t know you, but I know you’re there. This is a comfort to me. Knowing that out there somewhere are others who believe as I believe is a comfort to me. This is part of my faith, and I know it’s as real as these words that I’m typing and you’re reading.
God may not bring believers together in person, but he lets them know that others like them exist, that they’re not entirely bereft of human companionship, that they needn’t settle for hypocrites.
We don’t need to go into a church building because we live in our church 24/7.
We don’t need to seek out unbelievers who say they believe because we have each other in our cloud of witnesses.
And we have God and Jesus, who are always with us through God’s Spirit.
Surely that’s enough.
IMPROVING ON PERFECTION
Paul says that when we love our enemies, we heap burning coals on their heads.
In other words, helping people get good rewards they haven’t earned ultimately has a negative effect on them, although initially it might look positive.
God’s justice is perfect, which means the way the world is – in all its alleged inequality and inequity – is God’s justice playing out in real time. People’s lives are a reflection of what they’ve earned through their thoughts and actions. If you’ve earned a crappy life, you’re going to get it. Just because you don’t like the crappy life you’ve earned doesn’t mean you haven’t earned it. If you try to escape it on your own initiative through, for instance, immigration or becoming a refugee, your crappy life will follow you. Jesus says the measure you mete is the measure you get in return. We cannot improve on God’s perfect justice; our efforts to “improve” it can only fail.
That doesn’t mean that people won’t try. Instead of dealing with the root of their problems (sin-laden soul out of alignment with God’s will), they frantically look around them to find someone or something else to blame other than themselves. The world loves pointing fingers of blame. People are generally pliable and compliant, so if you tell them, via mass media, that White people and their various traditional cultures are to blame for all the world’s problems, the majority of people will believe that lie and repeat it. That’s where we are now.
As a born-again believer stuck in a body that of necessity has to move through the world, you need to guard against getting caught up in the world’s frenzy of blame. At the same time, don’t fall into the trap of believing that you can improve on God’s justice. Yes, we’re to help those who specifically come to us for help (if God sends them to us for help, he will enable us to help them), but looking for people to help is going to backfire on you and on them.
Conversely, when God sends us someone to help, it’s because he’s working on them. He knows that the help we give them will draw them closer to him not by easing their misery but by worsening it. I know through personal experience that the best way to bring some personality types back into alignment with God is to break them. This approach doesn’t work on everyone, but it sure works wonders on headstrong people like me.
The truth is – the world is in perfect balance at all times. God’s justice never fails and never falters. Jesus didn’t come to change the world, but to show those who were in the world the best way to get Home – through repentance and believing the Gospel. Most people reject Jesus because they’d rather blame others for their problems than blame themselves. The world supports them in blaming others. This should not be surprising, considering that the world is under the authority and direction of Satan, who himself is a master at deflecting and reassigning blame in order to frame himself as a victim. The world models this mindset.
But we are not the world. We know that there are no “innocent victims” other than Jesus. Jesus is the only person in all of history who suffered for sins he hadn’t committed. He chose to suffer, and in so choosing, paid the sin debt and opened the door for us to have a close relationship with God again. This is the greatest of all human achievements. If the rest of us suffer, it’s because we’ve brought it on ourselves one way or another.
We are to be patient in suffering not because we are some great saint clasping our hands in prayer and gazing heavenwards like a cheesy religious painting, but because we should know that our lives are God’s perfect justice in action, which means our suffering is earned. To rail against earned suffering is just stupid. I know, because I’ve done it and learned the hard way about this particular brand of stupidity. Maybe you’re smarter. Hopefully you’re smarter.
Beware of people who try to thrust their help on you. Discern whether or not the help is from God or from the devil. Help that comes from God is swift, timely, and perfect in its execution, whereas help that comes from the devil is cloaked in confusion and leaves you wondering whether or not you should accept it. If you have to mull it over, it’s not from God.
We heap burning coals on our enemies’ heads not to destroy them but to jolt them back into reality. If God specifically guides you to help someone, help them. If he guides someone to help you, accept the help. Otherwise, don’t be guilted into supporting the devil’s lies about inequality, inequity, social justice, etc. God’s justice is perfect. The world is a reflection of God’s perfect justice: It cannot be improved.
HOW NOT TO FORGIVE
You can’t get into Heaven with unforgiveness in your heart. No unrepentant soul ever makes it Home. And since we never know when our time on Earth is up, we need to live every minute of every day with a heart clean of grudges, resentment, and sin.
I was born-again when I made the choice to forgive. It wasn’t a feeling, it was a choice – a conscious decision of the will. I didn’t want to forgive the person I was advised to forgive, but I wanted the reward of making the choice to forgive. And so I forgave that person and I continue to forgive others, based on that initial model.
Mercy is forgiveness, and forgiveness is mercy. In fact, mercy is one of the most renowned and characteristic of God’s personality features. When we forgive, we model God.
But there’s a right way to forgive and a wrong to forgive, and unfortunately the wrong way to forgive is what most people end up doing.
Here is how NOT to forgive:
- You tell the person you’ve forgiven that you’ve forgiven him or her.
- You tell other people that you’ve forgiven that particular person (you name and shame them).
- You tell other people precisely what you forgave that particular person for, providing all the gory details.
- You call the offences to mind and mull over them occasionally.
- You continue to talk in detail about the offences and your forgiveness, long after you allegedly forgave.
- You hold resentment against people.
- You hold grudges against people.
- You consider this or that offence against you to be “unforgiveable”.
- You tell people what others have done to you, whether recently or in the past.
- You call to mind and mull over what others have done to you, whether recently or in the past.
This is how you successfully fail at forgiving. This is how you remain with resentment and grudges in your heart, and this is how your soul remains unrepentant and therefore unfit for Heaven.
I don’t care how much you claim to “believe” in Jesus and are washed in the blood of Jesus, you will not get into Heaven with unforgiveness in your heart, as a grudging heart indicates an unrepentant soul, and an unrepentant soul is a soul in sin.
We shouldn’t let even one hour pass without searching our heart for grudges or resentment. They can creep up seemingly out of nowhere, so we always need to be on our guard against them. Unforgiveness is a spiritual poison that taints our relationship with God and Jesus as well as with others in the Kingdom and with the world in general.
The simplest way to keep your heart and soul clean of unforgiveness is to have no expectations of anyone at any time, and therefore to be grateful for whatever comes your way. Most grudges and resentment are the result of unmet expectations, so don’t have any expectations, and you won’t have any reason to be resentful or grudging.
Unforgiveness will keep you out of Heaven.
Don’t let that happen to you.
So how do you forgive?
- DON’T tell the person you’ve forgiven that you’ve forgiven him or her. Keep it between you and God.
- DON’T tell other people that you’ve forgiven that particular person (DON’T name and shame them). Keep it between you and God.
- DON’T tell other people precisely what you forgave that particular person for, and DON’T provide all the gory details.
- DON’T call the offences to mind and mull over them occasionally. Cast them behind you as if they don’t exist.
- DON’T continue to talk in detail about the offences and your forgiveness, long after you allegedly forgave. Cast them behind you as if they don’t exist.
- DON’T hold resentment against people.
- DON’T hold grudges against people.
- DON’T consider this or that offence against you to be “unforgiveable”. Nothing should be unforgiveable to you.
- DON’T tell people what others have done to you, whether recently or in the past.
- DON’T call to mind and mull over what others have done to you, whether recently or in the past.
But learn from the offences, the way you learned not to touch a hot stove element after you burned yourself on one. Forgiving doesn’t mean putting yourself back into the situation to be offended again. Learn from the offences. Let the unforgiveness go, but don’t put yourself back into the situation to be burned again.
Forgive like this, and your soul will always be ready for Home.
Jesus is by far my one and only hero, but I don’t hero-worship him: He’s my brother. Yes, he’s also my Lord and Messiah and teacher, but our closest relationship is of brother and sister.
We are both God’s children. He was born a son of God, whereas I was adopted into the family through spiritual rebirth. Still, when we stand before God, he makes no distinction between those who were born his children and those who later became his children. He loves us all the same. He sees us as different in the ways that we are different, but he still loves us all the same.
This is a great comfort to me.
I love Jesus, but not with a cloying, sickly, sycophantic kind of love. It would be out of place and inappropriate. Jesus doesn’t want to be hero-worshiped; he doesn’t want us to pretend-marry him, like nuns do; he wants us to learn from him, the way younger siblings learn from older ones, and at the same time he’s offering to be the best friend we’ll ever have. I know, because he’s been my brother and best friend for over 23 years. He’s all the other things that scripture says of him, but I know him simply as my brother and my best friend.
And like a brother, he doesn’t hold back when it comes to setting me straight when I go wrong. We don’t stand on ceremony. He’ll spiritually tussle me to the ground if he has to, to stop me from doing or saying something I shouldn’t.
I don’t think there are any words for the kind and depth of love I have for Jesus. It’s not a love that I’ve felt for anyone else in my life. It’s unique and suited only to Jesus, mainly because he’s not only the only brother I have, but also the only Messiah.
Like John, I could spend all day – all my life – talking about Jesus and what he’s accomplished, what he’s done and is doing by the grace of God. John is right in saying that everything Jesus has done would fill so many books, the entire world wouldn’t be able to contain them, were everything written down. Our understanding of Jesus’ involvement in our day-to-day lives barely scratches the surface. I guess there’s a reason for God limiting our understanding. Maybe it would freak us out (we’re generally pretty easily freaked) if we knew how omnipresent Jesus is in our lives, the same way as God is omnipresent. Jesus promised us that both he and God would come live with us, so that we could have the same relationship with God that he had while on Earth.
He’s kept his promise, and it’s a beautiful thing.
I love my big brother. I’m proud of him and I dote on him (the way little sisters do) and I bug the you-know-what out of him occasionally (the way little sisters do), but I’m so happy that he’s my brother and best friend and Messiah. Even before I was born again, I thought Jesus was the coolest guy who ever lived. Nothing fazed him, not even being falsely accused and crucified. I liked how he stood up for people who were being kicked down. I admired his courage and his ability to cut through the crap. He didn’t take anything from anyone, and he was always bang-on in his assessment of situations and people. This is how I saw him when I was an atheist, and I still see him like this. I still admire all these characteristics that make Jesus Jesus and now do my best to emulate them.
I never saw him as meek and mild. I never saw him as a pushover or a hypocrite, but I sure as heck knew a lot of Christians (know a lot of Christians) who are pushovers and hypocrites, who are meek and mild. They do Jesus a disservice being like that while claiming to be his followers. Most Christians these days are more like Judas Iscariot than Jesus, more like the early followers who walked away when the going got too tough.
I follow no-one but Jesus. Why would I? Why would anyone, given the choice? Who is more worthy to follow than Jesus? The world throws option after option at us, trying to get us if not to switch our loyalty, then at least to spread it around a bit, to apportion a bit to Jesus and also some to this or that deeply flawed star or superhero. Romantic love is one such contrivance to get us to divide our loyalty, as is the near idol-worship of some parents for their children. Even some born-again believers get caught up in these diversions, which is one of the reasons why Jesus had his disciples leave their families when they became his followers.
There is no room for division of loyalty in God’s Kingdom. Your focus is on God and God only; your love is to God and God only, and to Jesus, as his Messiah. God and Jesus are your family, if you’re born-again. They should have all your love, just as their love should satisfy all your need for love. There is no need to look beyond God and Jesus for love. Why would you seek out imperfect and conditional feelings when you have perfect and unconditional love straight from the source?
Jesus is first and foremost my brother, who also happens to be my best friend and Messiah. He teaches me God’s Way so I’ll make it home to Heaven. This was his purpose in coming to Earth – to redeem the lost and fallen, and then to guide them home. He’s still redeeming and guiding, but from his seat of glory at the right hand of God.
I have no idea what I’ll say to Jesus if and when I make it Home. I guess “thank you for everything” would be a good start. For the time being, I’m just glad that he’s with me in Spirit while I’m still here. I can’t imagine going even one second without God and Jesus: they are every breath I breathe. They keep me honest. They keep me focused. They tickle a smile out of me even when I’m cranky. I love them so much that there are no words to describe the love. There are only tears, which God then gently wipes away.
We born-agains are blessed beyond measure to share in the very great gift that Jesus’ sacrifice enabled us to have – the gift of his and God’s presence while we’re yet here on Earth. I love my brother and I love my Father, and if I know nothing beyond my love for them, I know enough.
SPIRITUAL WAKE-UP SLAP
Daily reminder that the state of Christianity today is similar to the state of Judaism during Jesus’ ministry years. In other words, Christianity has reached the end of its run. That doesn’t mean that everything Jesus established is disappearing – far from it. In fact, the opposite is occurring – everything that Jesus DIDN’T establish is disappearing into the spiritual sinkhole it deserves, whereas Jesus’ accomplishments will remain eternally.
Also a daily reminder that you need to be born-again to see the Kingdom. I know many of you reading this are not born-again and that you struggle with many of the things I write here. That’s fine; struggle away: this blog isn’t meant for you. If you know you’re not born-again but you still consider yourself a Christian, then you’re part of the problem. You’re part of the problem that has watered down God’s Word to the point of inanity, as without spiritual rebirth, Christianity makes no sense and is D.O.A.
You have a choice: You can continue to be part of the problem, or you can get down on your face and tell God you want to be born-again because Jesus said you need to be. It’s your choice. I’m not going hold your hand and tell you everything will be fine; if you hold out your hand to me, I’ll grab it and use it to slap you in the face, hard, so you’ll know to get serious about what needs to be done.
Consider it a spiritual wake-up slap.
I’m frankly sick and tired of dilettantes playing at being Christian. So is God. So is Jesus. You’re either a Christian or you’re not. You’re either born-again or you’re not. If you’re not born-again, you’re not a Christian. You’re a fake Christian.
And fake Christians aren’t welcome here.
Another daily reminder that to be a follower of Jesus means to live your life as Jesus lived his, because that’s what it means to be a follower. If you’ve been dragging your heels living the life of the world while daydreaming of working in the Kingdom, do yourself a favour and slap yourself hard. Maybe slap yourself a few times hard, whatever it takes to wake yourself up. How much time do you think you have left on Earth? Do you think you forever to make up your mind about who you want to serve? Do you know your life can be cut off in an instant? And if it is, and you’re still daydreaming rather than doing, where exactly do you think you’ll end up for all eternity? Do you think Paradise is so cheaply won that all it takes are good intentions to get in?
Remember the two sons – the one who said he’d do his father’s will, and then didn’t, and the son who said he wouldn’t do it, but eventually did it? If you’re still living the life of the world, you’re the son who said he would do his father’s will, but in reality didn’t. And that’s not a tag anyone wants to be wearing come Judgement Day.
Consider this your spiritual wake-up slap.
HOW TO SURVIVE A SPIRITUALLY TOXIC ENVIRONMENT
In Canada, “pride” is not a month, but a whole season (from June to September). This has been officially declared and enshrined by the Canadian government. So that means nearly everywhere you go in the few passably pleasant months in this otherwise God-forsaken (weather-wise) frozen wasteland, you’re likely to stumble across a pride parade or other pride-related activities.
The city I’m staying in now is gearing up for its pride festivities. That’s what they’re called, “festivities”. That, and “celebration”.
I asked God how he can look down on this nation-wide, summer-long free-for-all of sin and depravity and not lose it, and he told me that he doesn’t dwell on it. He sees it, but he doesn’t dwell on it. He delegates others to monitor and record everything in minute detail for his justice’s sake (no sin goes unpunished), but he himself stands back. If people choose sin, they get the rewards of sin; if sin is what they want, sin is what they’ll get. He won’t stand in their way.
Judgement Day will come soon enough.
I sometimes struggle to apply this example in my own life. It’s probably one of the most difficult things we can do as believers – to live in the world while keeping the world at arm’s distance. Jesus had the grace to look past the sins of people who were not his targeted demographic, unless they specifically came to him for help, and there can be no doubt that anyone who worships at the pride altar is not our targeted demographic. They have another father than ours, and so we should just let them be. Paul touched on this in his teaching on how God has “given them over” to their sin instead of trying to correct them. At some point, you let them go.
You just let them go.
Jesus, by the power of God’s Holy Spirit, could see into the heart of everyone he met. Yet even with that profound depth of insight, he focused his ire mainly on the religious hypocrites, not on the seemingly endless parade of sinners he came across during his travels. Still, standing back while letting sin reign seems counter-intuitive to a Christian. How can we, as believers, live in such a spiritually toxic environment?
I guess the short answer to that question is that we escape to the Kingdom. Physically, we move through the world, but our soul remains firmly in the Kingdom. The establishment of God’s Kingdom on Earth is one of the major accomplishments of Jesus, heralding his victory over sin. As born-again believers, we have full access to God’s Kingdom during our time on Earth. I find that whenever the world gets to be too much, I fully cloister myself in the Kingdom for a few minutes or hours or days or weeks, however long it takes me to regain my spiritual equilibrium. I just shut the world out entirely for as long as necessary. Jesus used to go up a mountain alone for the same purpose. There’s no way you can live in a place that’s under the authority of Satan and not need a respite from the insanity. Because that’s what the world is – demon-driven insanity overlaid with the thinnest veneer of civility.
In the end, I take comfort in knowing that while pride may last for a season, God’s Kingdom lasts forever.
THE LIE OF CHRISTIAN WARS
“For with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again.”
Jesus was a big fan of pointing out that we get back what we put out; that what goes around, comes around: that we get what we deserve. Christians, on the other hand, are not such big fans of this concept. They prefer to see their suffering as “God’s will”, God’s “mysterious” will that they somehow just have to endure and that somehow has meaning, though at the time the meaning may be beyond them. I blame their pastors, in part, for keeping them ignorant of the basic spiritual premise of what goes around, comes around. But ultimately, it’s up to each individual Christian to know what Jesus taught us. You can blame your pastor for your initial ignorance, but when your ignorance becomes an enduring state, the blame falls squarely on you.
Even as recently as a few decades ago, whole Christian nations would march off to war, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Christians don’t kill. There has never been one genuine Christian in all of history who has taken up a weapon to kill, and if that one genuine Christian did kill, the murder would have been followed in quick succession by wholehearted and sincere repentance, with the promise never to murder again. And yet, throughout the past 2000 years, nations and peoples and individuals who call themselves Christian have marched off to war, weapons in hand and willingly aiming them at whoever their commanders tell them to aim them at. For a time, the weapons are aimed at this nation, and for a time, at that nation, and for a time, at another nation with the combined support of the first and second nations, as they are now no longer enemies.
And all the so-called Christians fighting for the so-called Christian nations see no contradiction between their mass slaughter and Jesus’ teachings, between their mass slaughter and suffering the rewards of it.
It’s easier to pinpoint depravity as a reason for the decline of a civilization. But the truth is that murder at the behest of the state is probably the main reason for the precipitous overall declines of former Christian nations. Your country doesn’t magically become better because people kill others in its defense. There is no improvement whatsoever when that happens. On the contrary, death is the reward of death – those who live by the sword, die by the sword. You do not sow bad and reap good from it. If you kill or actively support killing, you get the due rewards of death.
Every pastor who has led his flock in prayer for the “success” of a nation’s troops or military mission has no right to call himself a pastor. He is instead a demon-channeler who is channeling the commands of Satan straight from the source. The world glorifies war and those who fight them because the world is under the authority of Satan, but Christians are not supposed to be under the authority of Satan; that’s why Jesus died and rose again, to show he had gained victory over the world and the world’s authority. We know from the Commandment that there is no excuse – NOT ONE – for murdering. There are zero excuses or exceptions to take one’s own or another’s life. Self-defence is not an excuse. Defence of loved ones is not an excuse. Being ordered by the state to do so is not an excuse. There are zero excuses at any time, and yet nearly the entire 2000-year history of Christianity is sodden with murder committed as alleged Christians fight for allegedly Christian nations or even, at times, against other alleged Christian nations.
Do you have any idea how much of a hoot this is for the devil, to have so many Christians so blinded and so willingly doing his bidding?
There is no excuse for any of this. Ignorance doesn’t cut it anymore. You support troops or you support killing in any way, you are not a Christian.
Based on that assessment, has there ever truly been a Christian nation?
No, of course not. There is no such thing as a Christian nation. There are countries that have more or fewer Christians living in them, but a worldly nation by definition cannot be Christian. There have never been Christian nations or Christian wars or “holy wars” – even the crusades were Satan-inspired and demon-fuelled. We have been deceived for 2000 years into thinking God looks the other way when it’s wartime, that we can kill with impunity and with his blessing.
But we were wrong.
Christians don’t kill.
No genuine follower of Jesus at any time in history has ever picked up a weapon with the intention of killing. It has never happened. Not once. People who call themselves Christian have engaged in all manner of nefarious activities, but genuine Christians have not. “By their fruits shall ye know them…. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” Jesus could not have made it any clearer than that. He could not have made it any clearer than “those who live by the sword, die by the sword”.
He could not have made it any clearer than “Thou shalt not kill.”
Whatever wars our respective nations are now involved in, you dare not support them or you are no follower of Jesus. You might be a state-sanctioned and -approved Christian, but you won’t be a Christian in God’s eyes.
The measure we mete out is the measure we get in return.
There is never a time when war or the support of war is genuinely Christian.
CHRISTIANITY FROM SCRATCH
When Jesus started his ministry, he had to start from scratch. What was left of Judaism at that time was essentially a lost cause. Recall that his ministry wasn’t a call to build a whole new religion; it was a call to witness the fulfillment of prophecy. It was a call to right all that was wrong with Judaism, to put faith back on the strait and narrow, so that Jesus’ followers could proceed along the right path, not along any number of wrong ones.
Christianity today is much like Judaism was 2000 years ago. It has essentially become a lost cause. Even as people claim to believe, they unapologetically live the life of the world (getting married, having kids, having a career, making investments, owning a home, etc., etc.) and still consider themselves to be “good Christians”. Many don’t even know the Commandments, let alone follow them. Most are easily deceived by their pastors into believing lies. God lets them believe lies because that’s what they want: They’re spiritually fat and lazy; they’ve become blind and deaf and dumb, and even as they claim to love with the love of the Lord, their words ring hollow. I have seen their dead eyes up close. They don’t follow Jesus; they follow tradition, just like the adherents of Judaism 2000 years ago, when Jesus came to tell them that following tradition wasn’t enough.
They rejected him for telling them that, and then they killed him.
There are 2 billion self-professed Christians in the world today. This, despite Jesus teaching us that the Way is narrow and few are on it. You would think that if the Way were narrow and few are on it, there would be far fewer Christians than 2 billion. I mean, if you take Jesus at his word (which we should). I mean, if you believe the Gospel (which I hope you do).
I would wager that nearly all of those 2 billion self-professed Christians believe they have a guaranteed place waiting for them in Heaven, because that’s what they’ve been taught by their pastors. The children of Israel were taught the same thing and believed with the same certainty that they had a place waiting for them. But when Jesus did them the profound courtesy of letting them know they were being misled by their assumption and it would take far more than just their genetics to get them into Heaven, instead of being grateful for the correction, they argued with him. Then they killed him.
I despise what mainstream Christianity has become. It is everything that Jesus hates – presumptuous, vacuous, ritualistic, hypocritical, and tired. I’ve been spending some time in an empty chapel over the past few weeks. It’s empty not because it isn’t stuffed with all manner of dusty iconography and moldering books that lay out in tedious detail how every hour of every day needs to proceed if God is to be worshiped properly, but it’s empty of believers, except for me. I’m the only human in the chapel, no matter what time I go. I’m not complaining about being the only human there (I like the peace and quiet), I’m just pointing out how sad it is that the chapel sits empty most of the time.
Jesus warned us that this day would come, that there would be a falling away. None of this is a surprise to him: Christianity has become what Judaism had become just before it was obliterated. There is no genuine worship left in the modern incarnation of Christianity. There are hollow words mumbled by a misled and distracted people; there is manic feel-goodism propped up by empty gestures of do-goodism and a frantic clutching at signs and symbols, as if wanting to believe something badly enough could somehow overcome a stubborn refusal to repent and believe the Gospel.
That’s all Jesus asks of us, that we repent and LIVE AS IF WE BELIEVE THE GOSPEL. That’s all he’s ever asked of us.
If you believe the Gospel, you live your life as if you do. If you believe the Gospel and live your life as if you do, your life looks nothing like the lives of those who embrace the world. It looks completely different. It looks different the way that the lives of Jesus and the disciples looked completely different from the lives of the people around them.
This is a call for you to take stock of your life. God holds born-again believers to the highest of standards. There is no excuse for you to be living a life that is indistinguishable from those living the life of the world. If you genuinely believe the Gospel, your life reflects that. Your life looks like Jesus’ life or the disciples’ lives or Paul’s life. It doesn’t look like Judas Iscariot’s life or the lives of the people Jesus whipped out of the temple.
It doesn’t look like the lives of the alleged 2 billion Christians.
If you genuinely believe the Gospel, then your entire focus is either on preparing to preach and teach the Word, or actually preaching and teaching it. There is no other option.
You either believe the Gospel and your life reflects that, or you say you believe the Gospel, and your life reflects the world.
I have been born-again for 23 years, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of genuine born-again Christians I’ve met in all that time. Jesus had to start his ministry from scratch because Judaism was full of phonies, just like Christianity today is full of phonies. I will be cheering the ultimate demise of Christianity, just as Jesus cheered the demise of Judaism. There is no place in God’s Kingdom on Earth or in Heaven for people who say they love God and live as if they don’t.
Hypocrites are not welcome here, either.
If you’re not genuinely born-again, this blog is not for you.
WHEN TIME IS UP
The angels who visited Lot in Sodom just before that city’s destruction were not on a revival tour. They weren’t preaching repentance in advance of the fire and brimstone; they weren’t warning that if the Sodomites continued their evil ways, time would be up for them soon. The angels weren’t wagging their fingers and thumping Bibles.
They didn’t engage with the locals at all, other than to strike them blind when they came too close to Lot. The time for engaging was over. God let the Sodomites carry on their merry way, as they were at that point beyond repentance.
It’s worth noting that once the point beyond repentance is reached, destruction comes soon after.
Western cities are now nearly a mirror image of Sodom just before its destruction. I include mainstream Christianity in that description. God has withdrawn his preaching forces and is letting the cities wallow in their filth. Anyone still preaching in the mainstream churches is not God’s prophet. Oh, there are still preachers aplenty, puffed up with pride and adorned with rainbows, but God hasn’t sent them. There is no God in any of the churches that go by his name, any more than God was in the temple during Jesus’ ministry years or in the few decades afterwards before the temple’s (and Judaism’s) final annihilation.
Just before God delivers his judgement, he withdraws his preaching forces. Sometimes this lasts for a few days and sometimes for a few decades. Scripture talks about the half-hour of silence in Heaven. During the silence, the Word is not spoken and mercy is withdrawn. The angels talk among themselves, just as those in the Kingdom talk among themselves, but they leave off talking to outsiders. The Word doesn’t belong outside themselves anymore. This signals that the time for mercy and conversion is over.
When God called Noah to build the ark, he didn’t also tell him to warn the locals about the coming destruction. It was too late for that: Their time was up. They had made their choice, siding against God, just as Noah had already made his choice, siding with God. God didn’t have Noah rush around begging and pleading with the locals as the first raindrops fell. No. The time for begging and pleading was over. God kept Noah busy with the animals and the final details on the ark. The sinners who had chosen sin were given over to the sin they so sorely demanded.
The chaff is separated from the wheat at harvest time, and there’s nothing that any of us can do to change that.
I have long made my peace with those I know who have sided against God. I don’t preach to them; I don’t try to intervene. I just let them be and frankly avoid them. Whatever common touchstones we once had are all but gone. They have their world of sin, and I have my world of God, and I will not budge one inch to appease them.
I have cried for them, but I cry no more. If they were looking for Truth – if they were rejecting the world – then I would do everything I could to guide them towards God. But they love the world. They embrace the lies and demand more lies, safe and effective lies.
If God has given them up, then I have to, too. I let them go like so many helium balloons, buffeted and pushed along by the winds. They are no longer my concern, any more than the Sodomites were Lot’s concern or anyone outside his family was Noah’s concern.
At some point, you just let them go, like Jesus let Judas Iscariot go.
You respect their free will, and you let them go.