Tuesday, July 8

Understand what you claim.....

"For I desire to have you know how greatly I struggle for you, and for those at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge hidden. Now this I say that no one may delude you with persuasiveness of speech." Colossians 2:1-4 WEB

A friend asked me the other day whether the fact that they were 'raised' Baptist had any effect on their salvation. This led to a discussion of the Roman Catholic Church, Eastern Orthodox Catholic Church, and the many denominations that exists within the body of Christ. It struck me, with the multitude of 'sects' within the Christian faith; emergent, seeker-friendly, and traditional (to name a few), that the Christian today can find a faith-statement and a church to support it anywhere in the United States today. Yet many of us don't even question the Pastor, Minister, Chaplain, or Elder that stands before us on a stage and tells us what the Word of God says. Many Christians don't have a world-view, let alone can bulid the structure that defines what Christianity means.

With the demands of this world and the society in which we live, even with the progression and availability of information of an enormous amount, we have become more lax in our pursuit of knowledge, wisdom, and absolute authority of the information presented to us. We have family concerns, financial demands, and a host of 'other' things that demand our resources and our time. Too often for the Christian today, Sunday service and an occassional Wednesday night get together are all the instruction they recieve. And they don't question what is being taught. It is a bold pastor that demands that the congregation hold him accountable for what he preaches. Too many times, we just figure that if it 'feels right', then it must be so. And, in time, the deviation from the Truth becomes as wide as a four-lane highway.

"The soul prospers when we have clear knowledge of the truth as it is in Jesus." Matthew Henry wrote in his commentary on these verses. "Knowledge and faith make a soul rich." God did not make the human being to be a mindless automon, incapable of pursuing and maintaining a relationship----with all of the intricates involved. He made us to prosper and to prosper others within the whole of humanity. There is not a person alive that doesn't long for belonging to the greater community. There is not a person alive that wants, needs, and desires connection with another.

Multitudes of studies, philosphical arguements, polls, and historical evidence prove this to be an ingrained part of being human.

We want to be loved, and there are those who would point towards this need to show that we have created a god to meet that need. They say we, ourselves, are capable of achieving 'godhood' or that we are ourselves 'gods of our lives'. Mystical methologies, Pagan chants and rituals, and self-absorbion is the path to achieving 'nirvana'. Because of the original Sin, we seek to remove the need for God and substitute it with something else, something we ourselves can control and extort for our protection and good feeling.

We reject the very 'thing' that can answer our questions, fulfill our needs, and be consistent in the delivery of it all.

But it requires understanding. It requires pursuit and personal accountability. Because of our sinful nature, ingrained and tested throughout the history of man, we are incapable of trusting ourselves to define and clarify the Truth; we often mistake subjective truth for the absolute, until someone knocks it down with another view.

"The treasures of wisdom are hid, not from us," Henry's commentary states, "but for us, in Christ." That is the standard that defies our best attempts to change, to alter to the cultural depravity of the moment, or to fit our demand for fulfillment of our needs in the most comfortable way.

We cannot understand and know Christ until we have realized that the Absolute Truth lies within Him. We cannot realize the Truth until we discover this relationship and connection that Christ offers us beyond the profession and actuation of our faith. Christ displayed and portrayed each and every question that lies within our souls demanding answers. We have only to seek it out in study, discussion, and research of the Word of God.

The Holy Spirit enables us to understand that which is beyond our understanding, for knowledge of God is only hidden from those proud, arrogant unbelievers who refused to acknowledge the Truth and its authority.

With an understanding of the Absolute Truth; false doctrines, minute varations of its absoluteness, and false truth are exposed as quickly as they are whispered in the halls of the church. Accountability demands that we guard our intake of knowledge, holding it to the truth and authority of God. "We cannot be built up in Christ, or grow in him, unless we are first rooted in him, or founded upon him." Henry concludes about this section of Colossians, "Being established in the faith, we must abound therein, and improve in it more and more."

Rather than label yourself a Baptist, Catholic, or Protestant; label yourself a seeker of God, following in the steps set forth by Christ, with the help of the Holy Spirit instead. And discover yourself what the core is; what absolutes there are that define the family to which you belong. You will find that it is only doctrinal differences, not core differences, that bind you together with those in other denominations. And then, as you hold other 'authorities' of false religions (even labeling themselves Christian), you wil see that there aren't any core truths you share, only doctrinal walls.

As for me and my house, we will follow the Christ...........

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