Feed on
Posts
Comments

Is there such a thing as practical holiness? Is there a Biblical holiness that is actually displayed in the lives of Christians? Or, is the holiness mentioned in Scriptures only theoretical? Are Christians only to be concerned with knowing the fundamental principles of holiness and not the application and implementation of these principles? Holiness is usually associated with gloominess and somberness and displayed by the use of priestly gowns and pastor collars and reserved for clerics and not the laity. Can regular Christians be holy?

If we look at the lives of modern Christians we would have to conclude that merely having the knowledge of holiness is all that is wanted or necessary to include them in the ranks of those who will inherit Heaven, but the writer of Hebrews says differently,

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Heb. 12:14

There is no doubt that very many people want to go to Heaven, but if holiness is the criterion we may have a problem. And besides, if their idea of Heaven is like their idea of Christian freedom in this world I do believe they will be most unhappy in such a holy environment.

What is “practical holiness?” Very simply put, practical holiness is obedience to the commands of Christ who is the personification of Holiness. Practical holiness is the final product or result of doing the things He commanded. But what were those things?

I am in no wise elevating myself into some special class of holy individuals who are allowed to point the finger at others because of my purity; on the contrary, I have discovered in myself the great need for holiness and the desire to help others who travel the same path to the same destination.

Here are a few things I have learned that stand out to me in the lives of most Christians, which are inconsistent with the demands of practical holiness.

The most prominent discovery has to do with love, or the lack thereof.  I must confess that I thought I fared pretty well in this department until I read and understood the Sermon on the Mount. Love, being the fulfillment of the Law, touches every aspect of life, and is the spirit and essence of practical holiness.

First of all Jesus makes the statement (Matthew 5:22 KJV) that we should not be angry with our brother without a cause. This verse is a puzzler. Have you ever been angry with someone without a cause? Of course there is always a reason for your anger, righteous or otherwise, is there not? This verse justified all of my anger, for whatever reason. What I discovered is that this verse is a corruption of the original inspired revelation from God.  The words “without a cause” are not in the original, they have been removed from other translations and consequently my justification for anger.

The inspired New Testament has removed any and all justification for anger toward another human being, yet we routinely see this display among Christians calling it righteous anger. Christian love has a restraining force that allows us to receive the fury of another without returning in like manner.

Secondly, there is this matter of suing in the courts. There is not one in a thousand Christians who would not press their rights in a court of law if they deemed it necessary to restore their dignity or win some award. Is not this the exact meaning of Jesus’ words when He commands us to “judge not that ye be not judged”?  “Do not judge and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” Luke 6:37. If we sit in judgment on someone else there is One who will sit in judgment against us. God has forgiven all, and we are required to do the same. Yet, Christians feel it is okay to serve as jurors, Judges, and lawyers, but practical holiness says otherwise.

Third, there is this thing about forgiveness. Most of us are willing to forgive minor things that do not affect us too much, or cost too much; but are you willing forgive all, regardless of the cost or seriousness of the deed, or whether or not the offender is a Christian? The forgiveness that I experience from most Christians is selective who reserve the right to not forgive under certain circumstances, like divorce, child abuse, terrorism, and abortion. The forgiveness of God, which we are to foster, is not selective, and therefore pure and holy.

Fourthly, let’s consider our love for our enemies. Does our love only go as far as our “neighbor” who we know or we can relate to on a national basis? Who is our neighbor? Is our neighbor someone who lives on the same block as we do or goes to our Church; are they fellow Americans; and do they include Muslims who wish us harm? Does the liberty we have in Christ make allowances for hatred and military violence or serial killers? Can Christians justly kill their enemies in acts of self-defense or government sanctioned operations according to the New Testament and still maintain a holy witness and testimony?

Fifth, Divorce! Would Christ consider us holy if we divorce our mate? I do not believe that the New Testament makes any allowance for divorce. Christ, in His Sermon on the Mount appears to be giving permission for divorce with the words, “. . . except for fornication.” Matthew 5:32. But this verse makes no sense at all if we believe the other parts of the New Testament concerning love, mercy, and forgiveness. When Jesus’ disciples asked how many time they should forgive He answered them, “not seven times but seventy times seven times.”  We can forgive our enemies an infinite number of times but we cannot forgive our mate once? This verse has to be a corruption of the text, a justification for some immoral ruler to shed his unwanted baggage for a new wife. And, what about the man? Is the wife not allowed to divorce her husband for the same reason? I personally believe, when understood correctly, that Christ has here removed any justification what-so-ever for divorce.  It was men who, under the Law of Moses, were given justification for divorce so that they could remarry, but Christ here removes it. According to the spirit of Christ and holiness, this verse would read better this way:  

“It hath been said (i.e. by Moses), Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, besides the guilt of fornication (that the man commits because he wants a different woman), causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” Matthew 5:31-32

Could Christ really have approved of divorce when He expressly states in Malachi 2:16 that He hates divorce? Or, would He approve of divorce when it is He who states that they “are one flesh” and that man should “not put asunder” what He has established?

God’s own example of accepting back his own adulteress people after committing prostitution with another nation, and his example in the life of Hosea, who married a woman who he knew would cheat on him then purchasing her back after a promiscuous life landed her on a slave block, is proof enough that Matthew 5:32 is a corruption inserted for the justification of some man’s desire to have another woman. Hosea exhibited Godly holiness in the mercy and forgiveness he showed toward his wife.

Sixth, immodesty! Well, this needs little explanation; we need only open our eyes. Christian men and women alike are very immodest. The opposite of modesty is vanity. Vanity is openly flaunted and accepted in the Church because it is so prevalent. It is hard to imagine a time that excels the self-centeredness of Christians today. Holiness, sure, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the exposing of breasts and other flesh, or the latest article of clothing or hair fashion, a tattoo or body piercing, perfume or jewelry, or anything else that communicates how wonderful and blessed I am.

There is more, we could consider theft, coarse speech and joking, the things we allow our eyes to watch, our use of drugs and alcohol, our obsession with sex, jealousy, and lack of self-control in nearly all areas.

The lack of holiness we see in the Church is not due to ignorance but rather a lack of intention. Very few Christians have any intention of living a holy life, and there lies the problem. We can only conclude that holiness is a rare and precious commodity in the modern Church, but an absolutely necessary feature if we will see the Lord.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:” Heb. 12:14

These afterthoughts from the last article highlights the position of every Christian, but it is especially significant and important for the novice Christian because for him there is no marked separation from the world as there is for the professional Christian, the clergy. For the common Christian, there is no illusion on this subject because he is involved closely with the world through work and other interest. For the layman to imagine being separated from the world is not possible. In today’s work and social climate to be totally absorbed means being drained of vital bodily forces, and this is common. With no time for reflection, how is he to function or to live as a Christian?

Seeing that the Christian is compelled to follow a path as decreed by society he is conditioned to submit to a mechanical or false kind of unity of purpose and sympathies which stifle any real attempt to act out Biblical faith. He is part of the mass being moved along by the tides of time and chance, even against his wishes. Thus, the Christian’s sense of purity is flawed and spoiled by unconsciously acknowledging a reference point in the world. Television, radio, telephone, and Internet make isolation impossible. These technologies have corralled Christians into commonness with the world and our sins have become the collective sins of the herd and they feel pressured to participate. Corporate sins of a group or nation have the imagined results of sharing the guilt and easing the consequences. This solidarity with the mass of mankind has now made the words of the prophet ring in our ears with perfect clarity, “There is none righteous no not one,”[i] and this is because all are “shut up under sin.”[ii]

Even though, the Christian conscience finds the situation disagreeable. The professional Christian will be affected less so, but the layman cannot escape it although he will try through common rituals. This he will do in two ways. He may try to dissociate the spiritual from the material situation. He will deny that the material has any real meaning to him since he is born again and that it has no eternal value or consequences, and is neutral at best. Having separated out the material they can now turn their attention to spiritual problems. The spiritual and the material have been compartmentalized in his mind and actions. These people will argue that the interior life is really all that matters and that being the salt and the light is just a matter of positive affirmation. Isn’t this what Jesus called hypocrisy; giving up the attempt to live out one’s religion in the presence of the world? Is it really possible to divide our lives into spiritual and material, one perfect and the other material and unimportant, where we can behave as other people? Do you think this may be one reason why the Church has so little influence in the world today?

Secondly, which is the most common way of escape, is to moralize or Christianize the world’s institutions. “How wonderful it would be if the institutions were all Christian then they would be dependable,” they say. Luther, Zwingli, and Calvin all thought that this was the answer and even though they failed to produce the desired results, that thinking still persists to this day. These people have this mindset that everything can be Christianized then those things will become good. This world belongs to Satan, you can dress him in white and he is still the Devil. It is this effort that Christian patriots, social justice advocates, Christian psychologists, and others try to do and refuse to look at the results, nothing but failure after failure. Applying Christian remedies and virtues, putting a Christian spin or justification on the world only leaves you with hypocrisy and failure. What is really taking place is that Christians are trying to make the world tolerable to live in, as if it is their home. Just like they try to present Soldiers and criminal lawyers as Christian so also social disorders are supposedly held in check by the application of the label “good works.” The condition of the world is just too shocking to the Christian conscience so they feel the need to do something to change it. In reality, men are trying to build a bridge between heaven and earth, between the kingdom of Heaven and the kingdom of this world and now the Christian is always on this bridge of good ethics, good works, and a good conscience. “All for one and one for all” is disgraceful gossip trying to bridge two kingdoms.

By the application of the love word, in all of its varied forms, when confronted with the profound problems of the world the Christian is implicated in a conspiracy to try and appease and satisfy God without involving the cross. The strategies of modern Christianity to forgo the cross and the death it symbolizes, death to the world and death to self, is primarily the end-time product and fruit of fourth-century Constantinian and Catholic, and sixteenth-century Protestant theology to take the reins of the Church away from the Holy Spirit and place them in the hands of mere men.

More thoughts to follow; how did this happen?


[i] Roman 3:10-12

[ii] Galatians 3:22

It is clear that the Christian is in the world and that in the world he must remain like a uniformed soldier that is “on-duty” in a hostile land. When his job is done it will be God’s calling that will bring him home and not his own doing. Similarly, Christians are to return to, and live, in close communities, separated from the world, after going into the world to conduct their missions. Thus, the Christian is “in the world but not of it.”  The Christian’s thought, his life, and his heart are not controlled by the world nor does he depend on the world, because he belongs to another kingdom and Master, and his communication/communion with that kingdom should not be broken in spite of the fact that the world attempts to do just that.

This communion implies two things. First, is that behind his confrontation with the material world is a spiritual reality. Therefore, the “weapons of his warfare are not carnal but spiritual” because “we do not war against flesh and blood.” Secondly, this communion/communication assures him that he is not of this world and that he is free from the death that awaits the world. Having been liberated from this death he is free to engage the spiritual enemy with weapons of love and truth. His mission is to break the chains of death and darkness that hold the world, with God’s secret weapons (Eph. 6:10-20).

Now, the question becomes, what are the responsibilities of the Christian in the life of the world? The traditional answers are all just formulas that lead nowhere, like, “live a Christian life,” or “you must witness and evangelize,” or “understand the will of God for your life.” All of these and others are good of course, as long as it is truly understood and not just religious talk.

What is the Christian’s calling and what actions are required?

First of all, we need to realize that Christians must not act like people of the world. The individual Christian has been given a part to play that cannot be fulfilled by any one of the world or any other Christian. We are not asked to familiarize ourselves or take part in all the different movements which men have started: political, social, economic, military, either for our knowledge or entertainment and to choose those which seem – good – and then support them. He is not asked to side with or to bless any particular human initiative nor to support any decisions of men. Secondly, the Christian has been given a mission of which the natural man can have no idea; yet, in reality, his mission demands a decision concerning the actions taken by men in the world. The Christian’s mission has the power to determine an outcome for the world, and his work must be unmistakable and characterized by decision and firmness in both his words and the unique quality of his visible life. What does this mean?

The Christian as a Sign

What this means according to God’s word is that the Christian is salt, light, and sheep in the midst of wolves.

Salt

You are “the salt of the earth.” God took the Israelites and made them His own through a covenant of salt.  Leviticus 2:13 “You are to season each of your grain offerings with salt; you must not omit from your grain offering the salt of the covenant with your God. You are to present salt with each of your offerings.” Salt is the sign of the two-sided agreement between a man and God. Thus, in the sight of men and in the reality of the world, the Christian is to be a visible sign of this agreement, he is the salt that is to be added to every sacrifice in Christ. But, here is the essential thing, it must be a real sign, it must signify something, which means that his life and his words should manifest this agreement in the eyes of men. If this doesn’t happen then the earth will experience deprivation and loss of hope; it will wander aimlessly and will lack any real knowledge of itself or its future, and the salt will become worthless and cast out.

When Christians, like the Israelites, were born their cord was not cut, they were not washed with water, rubbed with salt, or wrapped in clothes, Ezekiel 16:3,4. The context here is that we were all still living attached to our parents, the Hittites and the Amorites, in full-faced idolatry, and in agreement with the world.  We were still tied by an umbilical cord to our mother.  In other words, our behavior hadn’t changed!  Israel was still acting like her parents and likewise, us Gentile Christians.  And if their umbilical cords were not cut, they would die even though they were outside the womb.

Romans 12:1-2, which I believe is the Covenant of Salt in action.  As we offer our bodies as living sacrifices (salt was added) you are dying to self and living for God.  How is this seen?  Trusting God’s Word (the basis of a covenant) and conforming our lives on a daily basis; “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

Light

You are “the light of the world” and “the light shineth in the darkness and the darkness apprehendeth it not.” Christians are this light. What does light do? First of all, it displaces darkness; it is that which differentiates life from death; it is that which gives definition to goodness – and that is why in the following text reference is made to “good works.” Apart from this light how would we even know what good works are or in what context to understand goodness in the world; the world defines goodness much differently.

In another strain, how can we understand the history of the world apart from knowing the direction it should have taken; the path must be illuminated by light and its history given meaning. If we look at the progression of history we find no logic or confidence in its supposed actions or improvements through its instruments of politics and economics. To get an understanding of the past we must supply knowledge from the outside, through the Spirit, through the Church. This is why being the “light of the world” the Christian plays a part in the very life of the world, by its restrained interactions with the world. In addition to being “salt,” an element of preservation, he must go even further, he must reveal to the world TRUTH, the truth about its condition; he must be a witness to salvation, of the escape provided through the sacrifice of Jesus. However strange it may sound to the captive, who is captivated with, and bewitched by this world, the Christian must be the light of the world, a city on a hill that can’t be hidden.

Sheep

Of course, what this means is that the Christian will be like “sheep in the midst of wolves.” The ultimate sign to the world is the Christian’s ability to lay down his life, to ratify and validate his message with his own blood, when necessary. Following the Lamb is the sign of the reality of God’s action in the world. It was the Lamb who took away the sins of the world, and Christians are the sign of that promise and reality. Every Christian receives a share in the work of Christ; we are the constantly renewed sign of the Lamb; we are also sheep.

History has made plain that there is no salvation apart from the offering of blood and the world can not discover life apart from the Christian witness of the sign of the Lamb, and to think otherwise is mere fantasy. Everyone in the world wants to be wolves, no one wants to play the part of the sheep. Unless the Christian plays his part there will be no life for the world; Christ in the Christian is the only hope of glory. Christians are the living witness, the sign, that points to what our Master and Lord has done and He says “Follow Me.”

This is why it is essential that Christians not be wolves. Christians should not dominate or judge, or kill those to whom they have been sent to rescue; we are to signify in our life and in our death a reality which can only be conveyed through service and suffering; it is the mysterious secret weapon of a reality that lays hidden to the world, but becomes visible through certain signs that are communicated to hearts that have been made ready to receive that precious seed.

I love writing poetry and exploring the depths of my emotions and their meaning. For instance, I used to think that a person is a solo object floating in the midst of abstract indefiniteness yet has a mysterious link to all other things. Is that even possible, to be an individual and still be part of the whole, and yet a free spirit but sad when alone?

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent,” said John Donne. “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in Mankind; And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee,” says the master of metaphysical poets. 

Then he says in another place, “Be thine own palace, or the world’s thy jail.” Is not this the predicament of man that we all of a kind have freedom in our hands and chains on our ankles? We tread a fine line between intellect and mental illness; between killing and healing, between blessing and cursing, and loving the sinner yet hating the sin. What is this craziness we have gotten ourselves into? “All we like sheep have gone astray,” and in our ignorance, we know no other way, and the mouth speaks what it wants to say, while 150,000 men die every single day. “We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only.” 

We are not solo objects in the midst of many but rather an important thread in a complex tapestry weaved together into a beautiful garment. All the threads becoming one in a Divinely orchestrated concert of perfectly tuned harmonics, everyone for all the others, performing in love for the One who loved perfectly, living together in the gladness of heart FOREVER. No, this is not solo, this is unity and completeness. This is the depth of all our emotions and what we were created for; this is the meaning of life and fulfillment, it is what we have been longing for. 

‘No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

MEDITATION XVII
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne

The most unpleasant, and I must say stupid situation, I have ever found myself in is to have ownership of the most powerful weapon ever, without much caring about it or concern for its use. I can not say I was ignorant of this weapon because it was everywhere portrayed, illustrated, and exemplified by eyewitness accounts, inspiring stories, and personal examples of men, One of which claimed to be God.

Albert Einstein is widely credited with saying,

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

The weapon that I speak of is the proclamation and exemplification of LOVE. Jesus and His Apostles defined LOVE with their actions and examples, making it crystal clear by removing the obscurity of poetic and patriotic romanticism from the definition and transforming love into much more than just a word or symbol. The insanity of which I speak is mind-numbing. We look down on and detest those who have justified the death of large numbers of innocent people, yet, heap praise and honor on patriotic Christian soldiers who purposely train to do the very things that Jesus held in contempt. The exact opposite of the world’s method is the method of Jesus which is the method of love, mercy, and forgiveness for all enemies personal or national. The greatest weapon of the universe is scorned and despised by the Church; shouldn’t this be classified as madness and insanity?

There was a time in my life when I thought I wanted to get rich so I studied the commodities market and learned how to buy and sell commodities. I became very rich and my confidence and abilities were beyond question. I studied the masters of the trade and applied their knowledge to my own life and talked confidently with others and even gave advise. But, there was one little problem, all my success was only on paper; no real money was ever invested; my success was only in my mind. My problem was I was not willing to risk anything. My savings were secure in the bank, where I buried it. Like the guy who buried his money, which was given to him by his lord and master, I left my money in the bank where it was safe. In the early days of Luther and Zwingli, they both shared the vision of the Anabaptist who believed that the Church should be separated from the government and that their total loyalty should be to Christ alone. At first, it all went well, until Luther and Zwingli realized that their own vision of how a reformation should take place never materialized. At that point, they joined ranks with the state and accomplished their reformation through the use of force, as did Calvin a little later. Their reformation was on paper only, where they looked successful, but when it came time to go all-in, as the Anabaptist did, the risk was too great and the choice to trust their Master failed, so they buried their money in a hole for safekeeping; that hole was their alliance with the state. Their Reformation was on paper only.

Today, the lessons of Luther have not been learned. Luther, Zwingli, Calvin along with the Catholic Church opted to follow the world, and destroy those who choose to follow Jesus and use the ultimate weapon of love against their enemies. The Church today has decided to follow the world and to align itself with the world to propagate the message of Christ. The commercial Church has grown and appears to be successful but like the Reformers they have buried their money in a hole for safe keeping. The risk of life-and-limb is too great so they have opted to trust the state with its military to progress the message of Love, Mercy, and Forgiveness, but it will fail because they are not willing to risk total trust and faith in the Master. They are only Christians on paper.

It is only through the risk of trust and going all-in that success is realized. It is only by taking what has been given to us and laying it all on the line that future profits will be realized. It is only through the real definition of love that true reformation will take place. It is only through giving all that we will receive everything. It is only through death that we can promise life, and it is only by following Jesus and picking up our own cross that we can be called Christians.

The insanity of the commercial Church is that it thinks it can use the methods of the world to overcome evil when Jesus said plainly that evil is only overcome with good. The seed of the real Church is still the blood of the saints, who freely give their lives for their enemies; and worldly Christians think we are insane when really it is our secret weapon. The commercial Church and the world have been doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. Maybe Einstein was right!

Nearing the end

of a long threescore and ten,

With all its chances, changes,

losses, sorrows, and dangers,

My parents’ deaths and brother too,

the nonconformity of my life through,

The many tearing passions of my mind,

the war of ’68 and ‘9,

As some old spent warrior,

down a long, hot, lonely corridor,

Reckoned after some contested appeal,

rewarded by a word haply revealed,

Tonight at twilight limping,

as yet the Commander’s roll-call attending,

Here, with immediate but broken voice,

I am vigilant, and have made my choice,

Reporting still, honoring yet,

the Divine Officer I once met.

Old and blind but in love with light, he’d reach for the hands of friends to guide him back to bygone landscapes, once the subject of his photographs.

Often he’d reimagine how hard it was to interpret it just right, and now felt sad but free of such weights.

Then, it was a last fleeting cloud on a lake he’d let carry him into darkness. Breaking sounds of autumn’s crunch he’d leave a pond to compose, rustling the stream of reflected images. The panicked flight of frightened grouse; he’d allow the dry leaves and grasses to recapture them in golden yield; his freedom.

Even in the crimson awakening of an evening, he’d wedge himself, coiling into a ball without twilight ever lessening him. The man would swim in the fog and its very question was a longed-for answer.

Further, than any poet, his thirsty shadows licked up the ground. All this revisited in the waning days of a ninth decade by the pond, and an inlet pictured by its love affair with the sky.

When the watchman of the moonlight came to wash his darkening window, a heavy mist now presented disappearing worlds through closing shutters, often his hand would reach for larger apertures on his old camera, and the creator’s intent became the subject of his complaint.

But the ancient brush of the Divine artist was dipped in a cloudy sea, and the lighthouse he’d eagerly ascended exposed to him sceneries of celestial luminance. The blind photographer now having completed his assignment receded into the landscape, understanding, and now traced the vast horizon of unchained glory that he could once only imagine.

Signs of Life

The cross is conspicuously and inescapably

Opposed to everything I think and see,

And I’m to trust and be willing;

When in His mercy there’s killing?

The cross was repugnant and incongruity

I could not accept this, this blood-love seizing me.

That mystery possessed me, though resisting unbending,

God’s goodness toward some, and to others life ending.

Then my own soul lay wounded, God’s casualty,

In thought and in body, still determined to flee.

A free wind in the world, against truth blowing,

Like a bird in a window, I could escape unknowing.

His Book’s words spoke soundly, but His justice uneased,

His price for acquittal no man could appease.

So His Son paid it all, with no sense of loss

He laid it all on the ground and then climbed on a cross.

The end of the story is glorious indeed,

God’s justice is severe and yet now we’re set free.

I am yet in this world and will rejoice at passing,

To be lost in Christ’s love for life everlasting.

Adapted from a pamphlet by Followers of the Way

TREASON, n. tree’zn.

Treason is the highest crime of a civil nature of which a man can be guilty. Black’s Law Dictionary defines “treason” as ”attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which one owes allegiance, either by making war against the state or by materially supporting its enemies.”

A traitor is perhaps one of the worst things a person can be called. To sell out your own people, your own country, is perhaps the most despicable thing a man can do. What causes a person to sell out those who deserve his allegiance? Financial gain? Hatred? Bitterness? Deception? Ignorance?

What would you think if your president sent one of your fellow countrymen as an ambassador to a foreign land? His job would be to represent and secure America’s interests in this foreign land. While our ambassador was living in this foreign land, he became very comfortable. He began pursuing a better and better life among the natives of this foreign land. He started becoming so comfortable in this strange land that he became slowly more interested in the affairs and security of this foreign power than the nation that sent him, the nation where he was born, the nation of his father and mother. What would you think if it became apparent that our ambassador was contradicting the president’s commands and the will of the nation? Would you consider this man a traitor? What if he began to work and live in opposition to his leader? Should he be tried and convicted as a traitor?

The Apostle Paul says: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). The Greek word that we translate “church” is ekklesia. It means “the called out ones.” When Jesus was teaching and preaching many people understood rightly that He was coming to institute a new and unrivaled kingdom, the Kingdom of God. Many did not understand that His Kingdom would be an entirely different kind of Kingdom than the earthly ones to which they were accustomed.

Back in the first century A.D., Christians understood that the expression “Jesus is Lord” was in competition with the common political expression “Caesar is Lord.” Tolerance was allowed in the Roman Empire for almost any religion, so long as homage was paid to Caesar as Lord. When the Christians said “Jesus is Lord” they were stating that their King was Jesus. Through their baptism in Jesus they had died to their old lives and loyalties and risen into a new kingdom. They understood perfectly that they could only hold one allegiance, only one loyalty; they could no longer say, “Caesar is Lord.” Many Christians were killed for this reason, as the empire sought to destroy this competing nation in their midst.

So what does this mean for a Christian living in America? I encourage you to read Jesus’ own words and commands for His Kingdom and His disciples. He said that His people would love their enemies. He said that the greatest in His kingdom would be the least. He showed us that greed and pride had no place in His Kingdom. He said there could be no drunkenness, liars, or idolaters in His Kingdom. He taught that there would be no adulterers in His Kingdom; and that “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery” (Luke 16:18). Compare this to what you know of the United States; with her wars and abortions; her rampant divorce rate, and perverse immorality; her greed and her oppression and ask if the two are anything alike. In America, the strong, the greedy, the dishonest, and the rich are the leaders and rulers of the land, on either side of the political spectrum. In Jesus’ Kingdom, the weak and the poor, the humble and the honest are the leaders.

The question must be asked of you, friend: To whom is your exclusive and sole allegiance? When Jesus commands, “Love your enemy”, and “do not resist the evil person” (Matthew 5:39-44) and America rejoices over the death of her enemies or calls on you to kill or support the killing of her enemies, whom will you follow? When Jesus commands purity of the eye, what do you allow your eyes to look at in a culture that flaunts immodesty and lustful entertainment? When Jesus commands his people to love the poor and care for them, and America promotes the “American dream”, whom will you follow? When the Holy Spirit and the Church say Jesus is Lord and the American flag is raised and the fireworks explode, where is your allegiance, and who is the traitor? Are you an ambassador of King Jesus or have you sold out to American patriotism?

If you claim that “Jesus is Lord” I challenge you to consider your ways and your King. But do not be a traitor; give your full and undivided allegiance to your King. “Come out from among them and be separate says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you, and you shall be My sons and daughters says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18). If Jesus is not your Lord, may I first apologize for what has been done by professing Christians in our land to force their ways and views on others? To be sure, Jesus did not instruct His people to ever use force or coercion in any way, at the end of a sword or a ballot box. His is a revolution, but it is a revolution of peace, and of life, and love, and truth. Secondly, please consider the teachings of the real Jesus and His Kingdom. Judge Him not on what you presume Him to be, or by how He has been mis-characterized by an unfaithful people; but rather, as He is, and as He declared Himself to be, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, the Healer, the risen Son of God, and the One who will return to Judge the living and the dead.

Adapted from a book (Christian Non-Resistance) by Adin Ballou

This is a reflection on the doctrine of non-resistance with respect to the underlying standard from which it proceeds, then on to the justification from which it originates, and then to the sub-principle of duty in which we understand the application.

The Standard

What is the standard from which non-resistance has emerged? It is the standard on which all creation is based. It rests on the perfect love of God, the absolute, sovereign, all-knowing, righteousness, which sets God apart from all other things, and which, instilled into the fleshly feelings and thoughts of human emotion, produces goodness that exceeds understanding or appreciation. Of this standard of love we read that,

Love does no wrong to a neighbor. Love, therefore, is the fulfillment of the law.”

John expressed it this way,

“And we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and the one who remains in love remains in God, and God remains in him.”

This love is not mere fleshly affection, or emotional lust, but a pure, supernatural, painstaking principle. It is a divine energizing, which intuitively and instinctively stimulates the doing of good, i.e. love, to others, whether they be good or evil. In its nature it is unselfish, and does not consider the worthiness of others. Regardless of what others do I will do the right thing; I will love; I will bless; I will “Overcome evil with good.” Therefore, this standard of love is not determined by the worthiness of others, but finds within the standard itself sufficient motivation for obeying and doing nothing but good to all men.

Jesus, in whom flowed the full force of this mysterious love, grasping this great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” brought it forth from the Law of Moses, all damp and dirty with human misunderstanding, and lit an eternal fire. The truth was hidden within it and men could not clearly identify it much less appreciate its brilliance and quality. He illustrated, with His life, that the “neighbor” intended was any human being, a stranger, an enemy, or bitter foe – anyone needing help, – the cruelest criminal, or wretch of our race. Therefore, knowing that the whole world justifies “An eye for an eye,” hatred toward our enemies, and death to killers, Christ reversed the ancient decrees, abolished the law of revenge, and preached the responsibility of boundless restraint, mercy, and kindness.

The Justification

Worldly religion, ignorant philosophy and psychology, and vindictive selfishness have simultaneously declared, “There is a point beyond which self-control ceases to be a virtue and must be released.” Christ unmasked this heartless delusion with a single sentence, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” and taught acceptance and everlasting obedience to the law of love.

“I say unto you, do not take life for life, eye for eye, and tooth for tooth. Do not hit back the one who hits you. Give to him who ask, and do not ignore the one who wants to borrower from you. Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that you may be the children of your Father in Heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love, and greet, and do good to them that love you, what are you better than unbelievers?”

This is the true light shining from the heart of the Father, and reflected into this dark world from the face of Jesus Christ. What value are the excessive expressions of non-Christian poets, or the muddy complexities of the world’s philosophers, or the fantasies of psychology, or the sublime prayers of sincere but unforgiving religionists, compared with the divine purity of truth as it is extracted from the Divine source? DIVINE LOVE – is the principle from which Christian non-resistance occurs and continues on.

The Sub-Standard

What is the sub-standard that constitutes non-resistance’s immediate moral basis? What is the essential value of overcoming evil with good? The wisdom of this world has relied on the deterrent of injury, fear, and greater-evil to resist evil. It has trusted in this during all of history. It has educated the human race to believe that their welfare and security depends primarily on their ability to inflict a greater injury on offenders. Hence, it has been their continuous goal to possess an adequacy of injurious abilities to intimidate and defeat their enemies. The clear message of this display of powers is, “Keep your distance; touch not my property; and be respectful because I have the power to hurt you.” For this reason the inhabitants of this world, Christian or otherwise, are tricked and put their faith in evil as their security, and barely one in a thousand will at first allow the nonresistance doctrine to be anything better than a proclamation of cowardice. Nearly all mankind is controlled by the fear of deadly assault or personal injury and unconsciously feel that if they surrender their trust in retaliatory evil that they would be instantly killed, their family murdered, or some other horrible harm imposed.

Very few realize how much they put their faith and trust in this demonic god of human injury. They have enshrined him in the DoD, NSA, CIA, and the U.N. They worship him in armies, navies, militia organizations, battle-ships, arsenals, criminal laws, judicial judgments, guns, bombs, and poison gas. And if we propose that Christians separate themselves from all these evils and live a life of un-injurious charitable treatment of mankind they cry out with alarm, “These have come hither that turn the world upside down!” “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” and “Make America Great Again.” “What would become of our Christian society if war, capital, and other injurious punishments should be abolished?” On this altar Christians have sacrificed human beings enough to people several such planets as the earth, with no other result than to confirm and systematize violence throughout the whole globe. And yet INJURY is still their god, and at his gory altar of revenge and cruelty they are determined to worship, amid the mushroom clouds of deadly weapons, and the groans of a bleeding world.

The Conclusion

But the Son of the Highest, the great self-sacrificing Non-Resistant Jesus, is our prophet, priest, and king. Even though the angered inhabitants of the earth have turned a deaf ear to his voice, he shall yet be heard. He declares that good is the only adversary that can conquer evil. Therefore, He instructs His disciples to resist evil only with good. This is the sub-principle of Christian non-resistance. “Evil can be overcome only with good.”

Faith, then, in the inherent superiority of good over evil, truth over error, right over wrong, love over hatred, is the immediate moral foundation of our doctrine. Therefore, we transfer all the faith we have been taught to value in injury to charity, kindness, and un-injurious treatment, as the only manner of war against evil-doers.

We no longer seek to put down evil with evil, we lift up the cross of Jesus as our banner,  and triumph in the divine motto “RESIST NOT INJURY WITH INJURY.” Let this be the magnetic needle of our narrow way across the troubled waters of Christian reformation, until all called men, shall have been formed into proper harmony with the Kingdom law of the living God – “THOU SHALT LOVE THY NEIGHBOR AS THYSELF.”

The earth, so long a slaughter-field, Shall yet an Eden bloom;

The tiger to the lamb shall yield, And War descend the tomb.

For all shall feel the Savior’s love, Reflected from the cross;

That love, that non-resistant love, Which triumphed on the cross.

Older Posts »

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner