Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Discipline of Delusion (part 3 of 3)

Now judgment is not judgment unto condemnation for His people, nevertheless, He will eradicate all sin with judgment unto victory.  The agency of judgment is no different in both applications except to the degree of its administration.  Any enlightened Christian could hardly object to suffering after being shown their true character; this is of no small significance but is greatly lacking in the experience of many today.  Too many Christians say “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” without understanding that it is first a positional statement before it becomes an experiential one (Romans 8:1).  This is not to take away the importance of declaring something before one can live it; that concept has its place, but it must ever live within the reality that is the tension between an actual and a hoped for experience.

The sin resident within our natural bodies is that element of sin that we must mortify on a regular basis by the Spirit; when we fail to do this, as we so often do while we are learning to walk in the Spirit, we touch that which is unclean and become ceremoniously impure and consequently unfit to stand but condemned before God.  When we indulge the flesh we become temporarily separated from God and we correctly feel condemned.  The action of indulging our flesh is, indeed, condemned by God, though the person the action sprang from is not yet condemned (in an ultimate sense).  If their action becomes habitual and ultimately defines their character, however, the life of Christ will have been displaced; this condemnation is justifiable and is an utter and final condemnation.  Indeed, “the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment, and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires…” (1 Peter 2:9-10, emphasis added, NASB).

Of course, this is even too harsh for me; I write this trembling and fearing deeply.  I will not, however, water down what I believe it is saying nor dampen its impact to acquiesce my own conscience.  I know the miracle of the new creation inside me, and I have had some success living by its rule; my overall experience, however, has been regrettably more carnal than spiritual.  Nevertheless, I soldier on; I must embrace things too wonderful for me and too harsh for my tender sensibilities.  I too must be willing to readjust my preconceptions about life and theology.  As Oswald Chambers said:

The theological view ought to be constantly examined; if we put it in the place of God we become invincibly ignorant, that is, we won’t accept any other point of view, and the invincible ignorance of fanaticism leads to delusions for which we alone are to blame. The fundamental things are not the things which can be proved logically in practical life.  Watch where you are inclined to be invincibly ignorant, and you will find your point of view causes you to break down in the most vital thing. An accepted view of God has caused many a man to fail at the critical moment, it has kept him from being the kind of man he ought to be, and only when he abandons his view of God for God Himself, does he become the right kind of man.

How often, indeed, do we find ourselves “invincibly ignorant?” Adamant and dogmatic over something too close to us to view properly, we ignorantly assert our ridiculously truncated perspective without apologies. We are the god of all that exits our mouth; but as the psalmist once said, “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that speaks great things; who have said, ‘With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own; who is lord over us?” (Psalm 12:3-4). The discipline of delusion is the love of God expressing the wisdom of a Father that knows best; He understands when to feed or starve his son’s desires and appetites.  He often sees fit to feed a son’s delusion with more delusion; the pleasure this son finds in wickedness God hopes to eradicate by feeding until satiated beyond the bounds of appreciation. Once again, it is a form of judgment; whether unto victory or condemnation remains to be seen.

Having now scared the hell out of myself and my audience (and I suppose that is a good thing), let us not forget His lovingkindness.  “But, beloved, we are convinced of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation, though we are speaking in this way” (Hebrews 6:9).