Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Curse of Carnality

“Cursed be the one who does the Lord’s work negligently, and cursed be the one who restrains his sword from blood” (Jeremiah 48:10).

This harsh word is not given without conscience, nor is it meant to promote evil and violence in any fashion.  It is, however, meant to demonstrate a most regrettable and deplorable condition of those born of spiritual incest.  It is spoken in reference to the Moabites (meaning “from (her [the mother’s]) father”), a people born of incest, a people specifically born of Lot and his eldest daughter.  Though righteous Lot is deemed righteous by God, he is perhaps the greatest example of how the righteous are scarcely saved.  He undoubtedly remained too close to sin for too long, and though God delivered him and his family (excepting his pillar-of-salt-wife) from the condemnation and consequent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, he had to work through being “oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)” (2 Peter 2:7-8).

The Moabites and Ammonites are the peoples made from the offspring of Lot’s eldest and youngest daughters respectively, and they are, because of their perverted origins, representative of an inverted and confused stream of life.  They were a constant antagonistic force against Israel, and therefore representative of flesh that always wars against spirit.  Their type in the New Testament is the carnal Christian.  Apostle Paul speaks of them.  “And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?”  (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

Immediately following the scathing indictment in our text verse, we read, “Moab has been at ease since his youth; he has also been undisturbed, like wine on its dregs, and he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into exile.  Therefore he retains his flavor, and his aroma has not changed” (Jeremiah 48:11).

Carnal Christianity is a contradiction in terms; how can that which is inherently spiritual be carnal?  Lot’s daughters were never meant to offspring such disfigured creatures.  Righteous Lot, however, cannot be thwarted ultimately.  These bastard offspring, these hybrid monstrosities, though impossible to sustain as created, are a redemption process away from becoming true Israelites.  Mere men exist, but they are not what God is making.  The offspring of Christ are divine, pure and undefiled.  The redemption process, therefore, designed to remove flesh to bring spirit to light—and performed by circumcision (the application of the cross)—must be initiated and completed.  But the problem with Moab is the same problem with carnal Christians; they both are at ease (not warring against their flesh), undisturbed (indulging their flesh), not emptied from vessel to vessel (bastardizing spiritual gifts by not giving them away but hoarding them for themselves), and have never gone into exile (they have never left the ground or country of their native nature).  In other words, they are enemies of the cross of Christ!

We who are the true circumcision are by definition those who embrace the cross so as to break the curse of carnality, and by that result, we are those who walk no longer in the flesh but in the Spirit.  Avoiding the cross is to do the Lord’s work negligently, and restraining the sword from blood is to avoid the cross in its proper application of removing flesh from spirit.  “Brothers and sisters...there are many, of whom I have often told you, and now tell you even with tears, who live as enemies of the cross of Christ [rejecting and opposing His way of salvation], whose fate is destruction, whose god is their belly [their worldly appetite, their sensuality, their vanity], and whose glory is in their shame—who focus their mind on earthly and temporal things” (Philippians 3:17-19).

“Woe to you, Moab!  The people of Chemosh have perished.  ‘Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the latter days,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 48:46-47).  Always there is hope when a “nothing is impossible” Lord God Almighty is involved.  Though Moab was historically decimated (“the people of Chemosh”—sun worshippers, lessor light lovers, natural light lovers), a kinsman redeemer married a lone and solitary Moabite woman named Ruth and restored the fortunes of Moab in one fell swoop.  God took an inverted, selfish and polluted progeny stream, and redirected it into the lineage of Christ.  The Moabite people are now but a whisper of what they once were, but technically, they survived the attritional forces of redemption.  Likewise, carnal Christians might eke into heaven, but only as a shell of what they were meant to be.  It is as what befell the Israelites who “lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tempted God in the desert”; God “gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul” (Psalm 106:14-15).