The following chapter of THE GREAT DREAM is submitted for your consideration in the fear of God, and in the sure conviction that it yet needs some amendment. THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION has been amended many times since it was first written in 1991, and is still being hopefully and fearfully reviewed.
The issues that are addressed here go to the heart and the life of every Christian believer in a way that no other chapter of THE GREAT DREAM does......... provoking a most sobering reflection on the difference between the lives we are actually living, and the lives we hoped we would be living, as Christians. Those of us who have worked on THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION have been driven back and forth between hope and despair more times than we can remember; for while writing this chapter, we are forced to give account for our own unresolved problems and unfulfilled expectations. Because we cannot help but recognize our own failures in these matters, and in the light of our own hope of progress in these matters, we beseech you to allow us to make a difference between this chapter, and every other in THE GREAT DREAM: urging you to reject, on every hand, the spirit of dismay: if upon reading this, you feel like you are being overwhelmed by the same blasphemous LIE that we are striving to refuse and repudiate.
THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION, like every other chapter in THE GREAT DREAM, is a description of The Great and Final Apostasy of Christendom. The particular error that is described here, can be found in the heart of every man and woman that has ever despaired of God's help; and may well be the root from which every incident of backsliding, every manifestation of heresy, and every act of apostasy, has grown. What you are about to read will not be new to anyone: it is not complicated, and is obvious to all. The length of this chapter and the redundancy of it's form is not warranted by the subject matter, but is required by our corporate inability to face up to the full significance of these words from the Prophet Malachi:
|Malachi.3:13||YOUR WORDS HAVE BEEN STOUT AGAINST ME, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against Thee?|
|14||Ye have said, IT IS VAIN TO SERVE GOD: and what profit is it that we have kept His ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of hosts?|
|15||And now, we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.|
THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION
|Matt.11:12||... from the days of John the Baptist until NOW, the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and THE VIOLENT TAKE IT BY FORCE.|
Our Lord Jesus Christ plainly says, that the arrival of John the Baptist signaled a CHANGE in the way to obtain spiritual authority and the benefits of participating in the government of God. In the past, the benefits of dwelling under the protection of God were obtained by yielding to the law of Moses and paying heed to the prophets. BUT, no one was ever invited to volunteer for the priesthood or the office of a prophet. The priesthood was obtained only by birthright and attrition: no "volunteers" were ever allowed (Heb.5:4, Num.16:9-11). The office of the prophet also was a matter of God's arbitrary choice and assignment (Amos 7:14-15, Jonah 1:1-3, 3:1-2). BUT NOW, the right and the power to speak and act for God are obtained by the violent.
By saying that the violent take the kingdom of heaven BY FORCE, Jesus denies that Divine authority, power, and confirmation, will EVER be awarded to those make some sort of PASSIVE CONCESSION to Christian Doctrine or the need to believe in God. Neither will a PASSIVE RESIGNATION to "fate" (even when it is called providence) ever be equated with faith in God. Those "violent" persons that Jesus is referring to, are those who believe that God...is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb.11:6). But those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION think that once they have settled for some particular version of Christianity, all that's left to do is represent and defend it, even if tragedies, failures, and losses continually prove that God is not interested in confirming it. They do not CONTINUE to diligently seek Him, because, in spite of what they are willing to "confess" about these things, they DO NOT really believe that there is ANYTHING MORE to FIND.
The "violent, that take the kingdom of heaven by force", are those who believe in the reality of spiritual things; will ACT in accord with what they SAY they believe; but are always ready to learn and change, rather then be satisfied with a religion that God does not reward openly (Matt.6:6). They will NOT be dissuaded from their pursuit of all that God has promised by ANY failure, real or imagined, to receive every blessing the Bible says we can, and should, receive.
|Luke.16:16||The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.|
Jesus also denies that anyone can enter the kingdom of God by muttering, Thou art Christ the Son of God (Luke 4:41) every now and then, as they go about their business. But as many as received Him, to them gave he power (Grk. EXOUSIA: the right, privilege, authority) to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name (John 1:12). But we all know that some people will receive Him in a way that does not finally save them: they call Him Lord, Lord; but in the end, He says to them, I NEVER knew you (Matt.7:21-23).
Once a man has been informed that there is such a thing as a Kingdom of God, he is to press (or, push) his way into it. Anyone who was born a Jew was automatically under the Mosaic Covenant, and there was nothing for them to press into; but only something to YIELD TO. This is not so for Christians, for that which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit (John 3:6). No one is automatically a Christian just because they were born into a Christian family or a Christian nation, and every man and woman is OUTSIDE the kingdom of God UNTIL he or she presseth into it. Jesus also said, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in (some other way), and shall not be able (Luke 13:24). But those who have embraced THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION think they are already "in"; whether they have done any striving to enter in at the strait gate or not! But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? (James 2:20)
The Law only required that you concede to set of religious doctrines and rules for behavior; for the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God (Heb.7:19). By saying that the law and the prophets were until John, Jesus has announced the end of this covenant. The new announcement was, and is, "Repent ye, and BELIEVE the Gospel" (Mark 1:15). If for you, Christianity has been reduced to a set of obligations to meet, while asserting and defending a set of doctrines that have no real effect on your life: you have, my Friend, settled for THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION.
The "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION is that "version" of Christianity, so common today, that tells every man to look for less than the fulfillment of ALL that God has promised; to be satisfied with being less than a "hero of righteousness", JUST LIKE THE HEROS OF THE BIBLE: to accept all the common miseries and heartbreaks of mankind as inescapable; NO MATTER HOW FAITHFUL YOU ARE TO GOD. The "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION is that faithless conclusion that confronts us after our failures: a conclusion that contradicts God's promises (2 Cor.1:20), impugns God's faithfulness: and in which RESIGNATION to sickness, tragedy, and unrequited faith must be relabeled as the "virtue" of perseverance. The willingness to represent and defend particular doctrines, even when God NEVER confirms the word with signs following (Mark 16:20), and, the willingness to endure rejection, slander, and persecution for these same fruitless doctrines, is described as "faithfulness". The lively hope for victory OVER the evils of this life goes quietly to sleep, and is then replaced by a search for a victory UNDER the evils of life. No longer do we expect to be rescued from ALL sickness, sorrow, and tragedy; so we close our eyes, and hope we can roll with the punches. No longer do we think that we can "become more righteous" by striving against sin (Heb.2:14), so we console ourselves with the hope of God's forgiveness, even while our besetting sins (Heb.12:1) continue to take their toll on our lives. No longer do we hope to be JUST LIKE the great men and women of the Bible, so we content ourselves with the thought that even low-achievers can go to heaven. The "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION finally becomes an excuse for living a lukewarm (Rev.3:16) and backslidden life: for beneath this willingness to accept tragedies, failures, and losses that are only supposed to happen to the wicked, lingers the idea that your striving to live a dedicated and holy life does not impress God; and that no matter what you do, there is no sure escape from the many evils that commonly plague the human race.
|BUT, the Bible says:|
|Psalm.91:8||ONLY WITH THINE EYES shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.|
|9||Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation;|
|10||THERE SHALL NO EVIL BEFALL THEE, NEITHER SHALL ANY PLAGUE COME NIGH THY DWELLING.|
And since we are told that we Christians have a better covenant and better promises (Heb.6:8), we ought not to EXPECT LESS than is promised to those who made the Lord their refuge in ancient times.
But now, we are living in a day in which people believe that "composing a theology" somehow answers to the wonderful things that Our Lord Jesus Christ has offered us, and to the WARNINGS He issued to those who would not DO as He said; AND HE SAID...
|Matt.7:26||... everyone that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:|
|27||And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: AND GREAT WAS THE FALL OF IT.|
But, OH! Watch out! The self-appointed "defenders" of the grace of God are screaming, "But no one is saved by works!". They want to remind me, and you, that, this is the work of God, that ye BELIEVE on Him Whom He hath sent (John 6:28). They are so desperate to defend their "theological conclusions", that they are willing to make Christ contradict Himself; and OF COURSE, they can only remember the scriptures that appear to free them from any need to obey or receive anything. But Jesus said, ...Why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
Everyone today knows that the word "gospel" means "GOOD NEWS": but it is precisely what is now commonly called "the good news" that IS this doctrine of apostasy. The "good news", they say, is that EVERYTHING IS ALREADY DONE AND ACCOMPLISHED; and therefore: YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING!!!! The "good news", they say, is that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WILL EVER BE REQUIRED OF YOU, because salvation is a "free gift". Furthermore, they warn that if anyone thinks that any particular change, sacrifice, or act of obedience, is necessary for THEIR OWN salvation; they are trying to be saved by "works"; and they are therefore doubly condemned. This idea: that God has totally forgiven, accepted, and affirmed everyone who will only SAY that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, and that He died for our sins, is an ABSOLUTE CONTRADICTION to what Jesus Himself had to say about these things.
|Mark.9:43||And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: for it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched.|
The grace of God that saves us, does NOT allow us to enter into life whether we have cut off the offending hand or not: but IS that revelation of truth that makes us WILLING and ABLE to cut off WHATEVER appears to stand between us and salvation. Take note of what Jesus says here: one may enter into life, MAIMED. That is, one may be converted, and enter into ETERNAL life (be saved) while being crippled or maimed. This cannot be a reference to going to heaven in the end: for there are no maimed people in heaven, and, no one who is included in the resurrection of the just (Luke 14:14) will be resurrected into a maimed body. Jesus is contrasting being SAVED at the cost of losing a hand during this life, with having two hands to go into hell. These words of Jesus, and many more like them, CONTRADICT the notion that one may enter into life by merely making concessions to "creeds" and "doctrines".
Again, when Jesus told The Rich Young Ruler, If thou wilt be perfect (complete), go and sell that thou hast, and give it to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow Me (Matt.19:21).....HE WAS NOT LYING TO THIS MAN. Would you dare to suggest, that if this man had obeyed Jesus, and done EXACTLY what Jesus told him to do, that the Lord would have then condemned him for trying to be saved by works? Now what we are talking about here, is.....
There have always been people who despaired of God's help; but only since the Reformation has there been an "official doctrine" that promotes resignation in the Saints. In their zeal to discredit the idea that one could "earn his way into heaven" through participation in ceremonies, fastings, and the purchase of indulgences; the Reformers ended up, in fact, implying that God has NO regard for persistent efforts and heroic obedience. Those who were looking for a reason to justify their faithless fears and their lack of service JUST LOVED THIS IDEA, and SO, it became popular to warn those who went to extremes to keep His ordinance, and walk mournfully before the Lord of Hosts (Mal.3:14) that they were in danger of being rejected by God for self-righteousness!
The sovereignty of God in all matters of conversion and sanctification was presented in such a way that EVERYTHING becomes "God's fault": insomuch that every personal failure and habitual sin could be ascribed to a lack of God's grace. How many times have we heard it said,
"But for the grace of God, there goeth I",
as an explanation for why we are not as corrupted or enslaved by sin, sickness, and tragedy as some other man? God was held RESPONSIBLE for compelling men to repent and do better: THEREFORE, it was hopefully presumed that God would suspend or mitigate the consequences of any sin that we habitually commit. And then, if such a man finds himself suffering the consequences of his sin, he cannot escape the natural conclusion that God is letting him or making him suffer for failing a test that "grace" didn't equip him to pass (1 Cor.10:13). But, such a conclusion makes God out to be a cruel and treacherous tyrant who demands more of us than He enables us to do, AND THEN PUNISHES US FOR FAILING TO DO IT!: and to admit to THIS destroys every pretence of piety. The need to maintain at least a facade of religion requires that he SAY "nice things" about God, and conceal his bitter and resentful surmisings, even if they remain firmly entrenched in his heart as unavoidable conclusions. If a man is afraid to accuse God openly; unable to stop accusing God in his heart; and UNWILLING to face the fact that this is so, he has no choice but to hope that his willingness to "flatter the bully" will earn him some clemency now, and a trip to heaven later. In order to make this "leap" from blasphemy to flattery, those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION just "go blank", and account their problems as just "their fair share" of the common misery of mankind; which NO ONE, they assert, can or will escape. Neither will he acknowledge that his stubborn resistance to correction in any other matter, though not obviously connected to his current problem, may so grieve the Holy Spirit, that he cannot escape from "this", until he has repented from "that". The Apostle says, A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump (Gal.5:9), but those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION believe that a "little" leaven can only create a "little" problem.
In the end, this is the man that flatters God with his mouth while he resents and accuses Him in his heart; and the main doctrine of his faith is a definition for "grace" that excuses him from the obligation to learn, change, or repent of, ANYTHING. But NO! He cannot even be faithful to that: for while he refuses to be "bullied" by words from me or any other man, he is always willing to "repent" of anything once it becomes clear that further stubbornness will be swiftly rewarded with the wrath of men; or result in sickness; or result in definite material losses.
And then, since God was held singly responsible for "inspiring" us to do good works, any attempt to obey the teachings and commands of Jesus Christ that did not "come easy" could be conveniently labeled as an attempt at "self-justification". The perfect righteousness of Christ was presented as the ONLY righteousness that has ANY significance whatsoever in God's sight, and they would say, "Nothing can be added to it, nor taken from it". And since it felt safe and looked humble to assert that no one could ever be as righteous as Christ during this life, every VOLUNTARY effort to achieve practical righteousness through heroic obedience was judged as futile, if not presumptuous. And, as I stated earlier, any attempt to "become more righteous" by persistent efforts or heroic obedience was denounced: and those who did such things were ACCUSED OF DENYING THE SUFFICIENCY OF GOD'S PROVISION IN CHRIST. These pious sounding notions that claim to honor God by making the righteousness of Christ into the repudiation of every attempt to walk as He walked(1 John 2:6), became "the song of the crowd": and anyone who dared question these notions was clamorously denounced by the defenders of doubt and sloth, and accused of teaching a "salvation by works".
BUT.... at the same time that everyone was required to admit that ALL their works gained no "credit" in the sight of God, their teachers were also requiring them to do a certain amount of those same "works"; by saying things like this:
"Church attendance won't save you, BUT YOU BETTER GO TO CHURCH, OR ELSE!"
"You can't buy your way into heaven, BUT YOU BETTER HAND OVER SOME OF THAT MONEY TO GOD, OR ELSE!"
"Resisting temptation won't make you righteous, BUT YOU BETTER QUIT THOSE SINS, OR ELSE!"
The fraud of those who teach The Protestant Error is clearly revealed by the fact that they REALIZE how their own religious kingdoms are endangered by these concepts, and therefore they find it necessary to connive and threaten other people into religious service. Anyone who dares to use their doctrine of "free grace" as an excuse for refusing to contribute and participate, they regard with suspicious envy. They cannot bear the thought that anyone else could be pleasing to God that hasn't paid the same dues that they feel are required of themselves. Thus, they have in fact, denounced their own doctrine of "free grace": they have simply lowered the requirement to their own level of performance, and then condemned everyone who does not live up to their own lowered standards. The force that drives the masses of Protestantism today is the fear of man (Prov.29:25); for the only standards they feel compelled to live up to are personified by the majority. Everyone is expected to "go to church", but no one is expected to forsake ALL that he hath (Luke 14:33); and anyone who suggests that we MUST do so, is condemned as a "legalist"! What a SELF DEFEATING and servile religion they have created! They have described for us a God Who isn't impressed if we forsake all, but threatens to punish us if we won't forsake a little! They have described for us a God Who has "forgiven and forgotten" all of our sins, but allows us to suffer in and because of some of them anyway! They have described for us a God that tempts us with promises of comfort, miracles, and glory, and then demands that we be satisfied without them. Don't waste your energy trying to tell me it isn't so: you and I, and every other Christian we know, has spent plenty of time groaning in the darkness of this "theological dungeon".
In the end, the popular acceptance of The Protestant Error allowed those who resented any inconvenient requirement placed upon them by religion to feel justified in refusing to render any costly obedience to The Word of God: they also took delight in contemptuously dismissing anyone whose example of courage and devotion was a conspicuous contrast to their own indolence. This fatalistic and gloomy outlook stifled zeal, faith, and courage among the Christians who embraced it, and even brought ridicule on those who would dare to go to extremes in their faith. Thus, St. Francis, who gave away his family fortune and walked naked and barefoot into the forest to avoid the error of the Rich Young Ruler (Matt.19:16-22), was no longer regarded as a man to be emulated; but instead, such actions were labeled as the vain strivings of unenlightened men who didn't understand what it means to be saved by grace, through faith (Eph.2:8-9). The very fact that some men displayed a desperation to be found in conformity to the teachings of Jesus, was made out to be the very proof that they had refused God's mercy and forgiveness, and were trying to "save themselves" by works.
So now, we are living in the conclusion of 500
years of striving
about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers (2
There is no way to make a "doctrine" which will mediate between
God's sovereignty and man's responsibility: for the Bible does not
us with a synthesis of these things. Those who present themselves as
for either side of that ever popular "grace vs. responsibility"
argument, must always ignore the scriptures that plainly contradict the
well known conclusions that are inevitably asserted by either side. Those
who wish to appeal to some sort of cause/effect argument to justify their
sins or their lack of service, are told that God knows all about their
complaint: but that they will be found accountable and held responsible
for these things anyway.
(Rom.9:19-23, Matt.25:24-30, Luke 12:47-48, Gal.6:7)
|2Tim.2:19||Nevertheless, the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His. And, let everyone that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.|
YES! The Bible declares that there is eternal security for those who have been converted: BUT! there isn't much security for those who presume they no longer have any iniquity to depart from. He that saith, I know Him, and KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, is a LIAR, and the truth is NOT in him (1 John 2:4). And now, in these last days, the Protestant Error has finally become.....
So now, those who are unwilling to do without God's special help, have imagined for themselves a way to "get that help", without having to cut off their hand, foot, or anything else! Having swallowed down The Protestant Error: that heroic efforts and costly sacrifices (as ACTS OF OBEDIENCE to The Word of God in The Bible) are vain, or even perfidious; they have left themselves only ONE THING that they yet MUST, CAN, and are willing, to do: this thing that they are willing to "do" is: have "faith".
By "faith", they mean to take the promises literally and at face value, but NOT just because "the Bible says so". They see the promises as "Divine affirmations" of what the theology of necessity always concludes: That IF there is a God, He must be both all- powerful and good; therefore He must be both ready and able to fulfill their own description of "good" ALL THE TIME. They consider the promises of healing, deliverance, and prosperity, to be declarations of the UNQUALIFIED will of God; and that, the only reason that anyone is not healed, prospered, and rescued, is because they do not persist in demanding these "good" things with unshakable confidence. "Faith", then becomes a "power within us" that we can USE to "grab hold" of the promises; which are in some way suspended above us: just waiting for us to "grab hold" of them. The exercise unto Godliness (1 Tim.4:7), then, becomes for them an exercise in self-hypnosis and brain-washing: as they try to convince themselves and each other to "have more faith". This view ignores the fact that most of the promises have qualifiers either immediately attached to them (1 Peter 3:10), or implied by the context in which they are given (Matt.7:11). This view also ignores the Biblical testimony that some of our problems are actually chastisements (Heb.12:8, Col.3:5-6), or judgements for trivializing sacred things (1 Cor.11:28-32). The very fact that many who embrace The Charismatic Error seem to "get what they ask for", tempts even the most serious believers to abandon the sober pursuit of holiness (Heb.12:14) and sound doctrine (1 Tim.4:16) in order to get on the "gravy train". Such a perspective is VERY ATTRACTIVE to men, for they can then "have faith" for the promises, but admit to no sin for failing to have the same "faith" for the commands. It certainly takes a lot of faith to obey, Give to EVERY man that asketh of thee (Luke 6:30). For them, faith is essentially a privilege, or an opportunity for blessing; not an absolutely unchanging and unmitigated requirement: when in fact, True Faith is the practical fulfillment of the 1st Commandment (Deut.6:5); and the failure to have it portends the severest of consequences (Heb.10:38-39). They count it no sin if they fail to receive the promises, so they count it no sin if they have "insufficient faith" to obey the commands.
The Charismatic Error has the same effect as the Protestant Error: since the only thing that really matters for them is a form of presumptuous demand that they call "faith", there is nothing to gain by making heroic efforts and costly sacrifices. They are always waiting around for "the spirit" to "inspire" them before they do anything costly or risky (and of course, what they mean by this, is that any act of obedience to The Word of The Bible that doesn't come easy must be "uninspired"). The Charismatic view accounts any scripture to be a "dead letter" unless they "feel inspired" by it; and of course, they are always "inspired" by the promises of health, wealth, and worldly success. The only other scriptures they cherish are those which appear to free them from any obligation to the rest of the Bible. By way of example, consider how 1 Corinthians 14:34-37 is disregarded with contemptuous impunity by the Charismatic Churches.
It is also noticeable that the central focus of the Charismatic doctrine of "faith", is HOW TO GET THINGS. Those who embrace The Charismatic Error focus on everything that appears to be "positive" and "affirmatory" in the Bible, but they have little or no comprehension of anything that appears to challenge their quest for health, wealth, and popularity. The tenacity with which they will cling to every syllable and signification of "All things are possible to him that believeth", is utterly missing when they hear, "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not ALL that he hath, he CANNOT be My disciple" (Luke 14:33). The Charismatics are USING RELIGION as a means to gain the whole world (Mark 8:36): and YES, INDEED, dear Reader: it does look like God IS letting them get away with it! By no means do they ever see themselves as sheep for the slaughter (Rom.8:36); and they cannot conceive of how faithfulness to God could cause the one who has such faith to be regarded as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things (1 Cor.4:13). They have turned God's promises into a presumption of God's automatic approval on all their worldly ambitions, and they take from those promises the right to demand all the things that are highly esteemed among men (Luke 16:15). They are, without a doubt, described in Rev.3:14-18, and they personify, in many respects, The Great and Final Apostasy of Christendom.
|Matt.10:39||He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.|
But this statement, and many others like it; that came from the same mouth that said, "All things are possible to him that believeth"; has little or no significance for those who embrace The Charismatic Error.
What the Protestants and the Charismatics have done, is tear The Word of God in half: placing the promises on one page, and the commands on another.
If you believe that obedience to the commands does not necessarily secure an adequate and satisfactory fulfillment of the promises, you cannot trust in the promises to protect you when obedience to the commands will put you at risk. If you believe that "faith" is essentially a privilege: an opportunity to receive "extra goodies"; then the failure to obey the commands becomes no greater sin than the failure to receive the promises. Jesus said, The scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35); but those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION have broken it: into commands that can be ignored with impunity; promises that can either be ignored, or demanded presumptuously; and "grace doctrines" that justify their failure to either receive the promises OR obey the commands.
The rest of the Bible, they use only for the composition of esoteric doctrines that have no actual purpose, except to afford an excuse for contentions and divisions. Whenever they are confronted by someone they wish to discredit and reject, they will bring up these TRIVIAL CREEDAL DISTINCTIONS one after another until you finally disagree: and as soon as you do, they have you "pegged" as someone they can safely ignore. They make a man an offender for a word, ... lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought (Isaiah 29:21).
|Matt.6:33||But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.|
By this statement, and many others like it, Our Lord asserts that we have only ONE responsibility, and ONE obligation to meet. That obligation is, to seek FIRST the kingdom of God; and the kingdom of God is not some "place in the sky". The kingdom of God is the REIGN, or RULERSHIP of God over our lives.
|Romans.12:2||And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God.|
The very fact that Jesus taught us to pray, Thy will be done (Matt.6:10), implies that except we will to do His will (John 7:17); we shall never know His will. If we SAY that we will to do His will, but we CAN'T "right now" because we don't know what it is; we have denied that they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled (Matt.5:6). If we SAY that we will to do His will, but do not exert ourselves to learn and do His will, we are become just like the Pharisees: for they SAY, and do not (Matt.23:23).
But those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION presume that the perfect will of God for us is an infinite requirement that we shall ALWAYS come short of: so even if a man makes heroic efforts and costly sacrifices, the perfect will of God remains infinitely ahead of him; so that he is no closer to it than before he did these things. Those who embrace THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION refuse to believe that the perfect will of God for them can be achieved in one area of their life at a time, by one act at a time. Neither will they acknowledge that the perfect will of God could be a "small step" towards a great change: as if God never accommodates His perfect will to our fears and limitations. For them, the perfect will of God is ALWAYS a perpetually infinite requirement. They determine that the perfect will of God is unachievable during this life, that they may excuse themselves from trying at all. By this reasoning, they make the Lord out to be an "hard man" (Matt.25:24), that requires more of us than He enables us to do. BUT, they must find a way to assure themselves that they are in no danger: even if they NEVER get around to doing the perfect will of God; and SO, they turn every inconvenient requirement that is made of them into a TESTIMONY OF THEIR HELPLESSNESS: whose ONLY purpose is prove to them that they cannot be saved by "works". They excuse themselves from doing the perfect will of God in any one particular thing, by making the perfect will of God out to be a MILLION things; and "Who", they say, "Can do a million things?" But THIS, is precisely the BIG LIE that they have embraced in order to excuse themselves from doing a small part of any one particular thing! Our Lord Jesus, Who said, I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10), has reduced ALL of our responsibilities and obligations to but ONE thing that is needful.
|Luke.10:38||Now it came to pass, that as they went, that He entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received Him into her house.|
|39||And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard His word.|
|40||But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to Him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.|
|41||And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou are careful (full of care) and troubled (worried) about many (a million) things:|
|42||BUT ONE THING IS NEEDFUL: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER.|
But Oh! What outrage and slander is sure to come against those who will dare to ACT as if but one thing is needful: when the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God appears to ignore the normal responsibilities and obligations that our neighbors, our friends, and our family expect us to fulfill!
AND NOW, dear Friend, I have led you to the edge of the cliff; and you will either commit yourself to seeking FIRST the kingdom of God, in the faith that if you truly do so, all these other things that you need shall be added unto you; OR, you will make excuses, and argue for exceptions: and in so doing, you shall draw back unto perdition (Heb.10:39).
|Mal.3:16||Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord and thought upon His name.|
|17||And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.|
|18||Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God, and him that serveth Him not.|
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See part 2 of Chapter 13: THE "GOSPEL" OF RESIGNATION
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