Posted: 12/09/2009 at 1:46pm
Note: This article is even longer than usual. Please, If you don't have time to read it all now, come back later when you have time to digest it. I sincerely believe it will be worth the time to consider what is said here. - Ron
So, You Really Believe the Bible?
By Ron McGatlin
Is our standard set too low? Is God raising our standard?
Understanding demands a standard. If there is no standard by which to measure, how can there be understanding? If there is no point of reference from which to measure, how can there be meaning? To measure the meaning of existence, there must be cognitive understanding based upon reference to a standard. If our point of reference is off-center, our understanding of meaning will be skewed. If our point of reference is mobile or flexible, our understanding of meaning will be unstable. Accurate measurements of understanding of existence must begin from the reference point of unmovable, solid-rock, absolute center.
Do you believe the Bible is the standard for your life?
Most Christians would probably emphatically say that they believe the Bible and believe it to be the standard for their lives (2 Tim 3:16). If questioned further they would also probably admit that they do not know all that the Bible says. Most would admit to knowing a very small amount of what the Bible says in comparison to all that is written in it.
Another large percentage of people would say they cannot understand what the Bible means when they read it and need someone to teach them (Heb 5:12) (1 John 2:27). Through the centuries this scenario has spawned many church systems seeking to meet the need of the people to understand and align with the Bible as their life standard.
The past development of religious church systems and systematic theology
Theologians invested vast effort into studying the Bible in much detail. They wrote many books and articles to communicate the knowledge they had derived from their exhaustive study of the Bible to priests and pastors. The priests and pastors were more tuned to the people and their current needs. Therefore, they taught what the dedicated theologians had refined for them to the people who were waiting for someone to teach them.
Thus the people’s standard for life became what the priests and pastors taught them. This opened the door for a vast amount of potential disorder and perversion in the church systems. For the most part the people no longer related personally with God. They did not commune personally with Father God through Christ Jesus by the indwelling Holy Spirit. It was rare for them to hear God by the Spirit and common to look to the “clergy” for the word of God to be taught (John 10:27). To a greater degree than we probably would like to admit, the headship of Christ Jesus in His Body was usurped as church systems’ leaders became the primary directive influence upon the Body(Col 1:18). The Christian religion replaced the true “ekklesia” (called out assembly of God’s people).
The Holy Spirit of God was greatly restrained within the church systems (1 Th 5:19). There was a return to the tree of knowledge and a leaving from the tree of life. Jesus had restored access to the tree of life through His cross, resurrection, ascension, and return at Pentecost in the Spirit to indwell and empower His people. However, religious forms and rituals soon replaced the reality of intimate spiritual relationship with God in the Spirit (2 Tim 3:5). The reality of experiencing and knowing God, communing with Him, and hearing Him by the Spirit was mostly replaced with religious form and a distant hope for the return of what was really already available in the Spirit.
In this estranged condition of the people from the Holy Spirit, teachings were developed to match the condition of the church systems (Mark 7:9). The practical reality of the glory of the kingdom and most of the promises of God to His people were seen as futuristic and dependent upon some further action by God. Mostly, the hope of the people was to get to heaven after death or per chance be a part of the generation alive when God would come back and restore His kingdom rule to His people. There was little or no light of the at-hand kingdom of God now available on earth.
Different theologians came up with many different views on most every major area of Bible knowledge. Those of like-mind banded together and developed systems of theology based on their views of Bible interpretation. These systems became denominations, and schools were developed to teach their theological views to those who would teach the people in the pews. People in each of these streams believed their lives were based upon the standard of the Holy Bible. Subsequently, everyone who held views different from theirs was, in their opinion, not adhering to the true standard of the Bible. The church was divided into many thousands of different denominations and groups and, as a result, became mostly powerless to significantly affect the world condition.
The focus had mostly become building their branch of the church by gathering more people and more assets. Theological differences among the various leaders filtered down to the people in the pews and caused strife between people of different doctrinal persuasions. Families have been divided and wars fought among tribes and nations over religious doctrines. Division and strife eroded the strength of the church and blocked the infusion of the true kingdom of God revelation by the Spirit of God.
In spite of the disorder, the church systems were used of God. Evangelical and missional efforts were massive and spread the Bible and the salvation message to much of the world. Especially the large denominations have carried out many benevolent works. They fed, clothed, and provided shelter for the poor and homeless, built hospitals for the sick, served as a source of social and family encouragement and many other valuable works of blessing and comfort. After the restoration of the baptism of the Holy Spirit to the church, spiritual gifts and power were spread through some church systems eventually crossing some of the system boundaries around the world. In some nations the church had a positive influence on society through education and government in past centuries. However, this has been greatly marginalized in recent decades.
God is restoring light by His Spirit.
Most, if not all, of the multitudes of doctrinally spawned denominations and groups have a measure or portion of the true light of God. They have a portion of light revealed by God’s Spirit from the Bible. However, they within themselves do not have all the whole light of God. Theological study based on intellectual discernment of the Bible without the revelation of the Spirit has produced mixtures of man-made error added in with the different portions of light revealed from God to the various groups.
Christian leaders of different streams continue today to desperately defend the authority of the Bible as the absolute standard for life and practice. The great problem is that they continue to defend it as interpreted through the imperfect lenses of traditional church systems theology.
Therefore, attempts to defeat wild and erroneous concepts created by strange spirits and the imaginations of men by counseling them to return to the Bible as the standard for life and practice are flawed and may only take people back into imperfect and immature church systems. Also attempts to correct error from an imperfect traditional theology may serve to squelch fresh revelation of truth (Luke 6:39). Something different must be employed – something more pure and more holy – something more solid-rock and absolute center. YES, our standard is set too low and God is raising our standard.
GOD HAS A PLAN
God has sent and is sending His SON. Christ Jesus is the true standard.
Gal 4:4-7: But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
Christ Jesus, the Messiah, is the absolute solid-rock standard for life and practice.
It is He of whom the volume of the book speaks (Heb 10:7). Christ Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). It is He who is above all things and for whom and through whom all things were created and continue to exist. Christ Jesus the Messiah is the solid-rock, absolute Word from God (John 1:14). He is the standard and the lens by which and through which all life must be ordered from heaven. He is the kingdom that must be lifted up that will draw all men.
Col 1:15-19: He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.
Christ Jesus the KING and LORD is the SPIRIT who indwells the sons of God, to bring them to full maturity – to the measure of the fullness of stature of Christ (Eph 4:13).
2 Cor 3:17: Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
In this beginning season of major reformation, God is sending forth His Son in many mature sons who have crucified the flesh and in whom God has created pure hearts to bring forth the fulfilled standard and full reality of Christ into all of His people.
Eph 4:11-15: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowing of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head; Christ.
All who seek to follow Christ Jesus are sons, but NOT all are mature (Gal 4:1).
Not all have crucified the flesh, and not all have utterly put off the old man and the old Adamic nature to be alive only in the life and nature of Christ Jesus by the SPIRIT of God (Gal 5:24-25) (Col 3:9) (Rom 6:6). Historically and currently there may have been very few mature sons of God, and they may have mostly lived in obscure humility or died early as martyrs.
God desires many mature sons (Heb 2:10) (Rom 8:14-19). He now has many sons in process of maturing to live in the full stature of Christ. The message of Christ in His people is the same gospel of the kingdom message Jesus preached in His incarnate Body.
God is lifting up the standard of Christ. Christ in you is the hope of the glory of God on earth as it is in heaven (Col 1:27).
All of this is clearly taught in the Bible, the written word. God is currently opening spiritual eyes for many to really see these truths for the first time. Nothing God has ever done or will ever do is in conflict with the written word. The same Spirit who wrote it dwells in His people. Neither will any true prophetic spoken word from God conflict with the written word of God. However, what God is doing in this season is greatly in conflict with many of the varied interpretations of the Bible and the subsequent incomplete or erroneous traditional doctrines devised by men of the passing church systems.
God’s people will greatly prosper by laying their traditional beliefs before God and asking the Holy Spirit of Christ and the Father to fill their lives and reveal the standard of Christ and His kingdom afresh as they read the Bible again with the religious veils removed. Mature sons live in the Spirit and walk in the Spirit
Breaking through from religion into relational reality with God and greater revelation of His kingdom from the Bible can be affected by following Christ in those who are coming through. Materials such as “Kingdom Growth Guides,” “Overcoming Life on A Small Planet,” “The Seventh Millennium” and others written by maturing sons are available for free download.
Edited by Ron McGatlin on 12/10/2009 at 6:20pm