Sometimes people have some weird ideas about Christianity. Truth is – there are some weird ideas that attach themselves to the label.
The disciples of Jesus Christ were called Christians first in Antioch. And the scholars tell us it was a term of derision.
But Christian is ‘Christ-one’. They were also referred to as followers of ‘The Way’.
Jesus is The Way, The Truth, The Life.
I’m pretty sure I referred to this before, but The truth properly defined is the truth. Or as I like to say – true truth. (F. Schaeffer may have coined this phrase)
It can’t be your truth or my truth. It can only be THE truth.
And if you and I don’t agree about what the THE truth is – then let’s just say (leaving us both out of the picture) – that THE TRUTH is out there!
Out there because THE TRUTH is THE truth. Or else there is no such thing as definitions in the language of humans.
So in the context of searching for TRUE Christianity and all that goes with it, I marvel a little, at what impresses human beings.
What they esteem as important. What credentials they look for – in order to be impressed.
Often they are impressed with things I wouldn’t give a second thought to.
Paul talks to the Corinthians and says:
II Cor. 11/
18 Since many boast [of worldly things and brag] about human accomplishments, I will boast too. 19 For you, being so wise, gladly tolerate and accept the foolish [like me]! 20 For you tolerate it if anyone makes you his slave; or devours you and your possessions; or takes advantage of you; or acts presumptuously; or hits you in the face.
Sometimes people succumb to cult-like figures who bear the ‘fruits’ (of darkness) that Paul refers to in the above scriptures.
Some people are impressed with bragging, controlling, dogmatic, physically strong, human beings.
Paul the apostle was an impressive human being, but for entirely different and worthwhile attributes. The attributes of Christ in his life – no less.
The signs of an authentic apostle that he had accompanying his life – involved both a powerful demonstration of the greatness of God, as manifested in the granting of special miracles through his life – but also in the suffering he endured for the faith.
He played an essential part in delivering The Revelation of the TRUE gospel to mankind and the church.
There are many extremes in life. Extreme cults, extreme doctrines, extreme sinful behaviour, extreme fanaticism, extreme politics, indeed – extremes in everything.
Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord,
But a just weight is His delight.
Balance is a word we could use to describe the antithesis of extreme. However, the opposite to extreme in a dictionary definition may not include the word balance.
But in the context I wish to use it – usually extreme views allow for none other, and are completely unbalanced or imbalanced.
There is a closed heart and mind in extremity, that is obsessed with a particular aspect of something, to the exclusion of all other considerations that might be presented as just as feasible.
A just ‘weighing-up’ is desirable and wise, in considering a given view.
At the same time not giving way to every and any ‘different’ slant on things.
We must look for the biblical slant. (Ephesians 4/14)
We are not to be naive and embrace everything, and everyone else’s opinion – so we can be ‘nice’ to everyone.
At the same time we should have a willingness to allow for – another aspect, another side to truth, without leaving already held convictions, which we are – in no doubt about. (Philippians 3/16, Hebrews 10/35)
To come to a balanced view on a given subject in the context of biblical truth, we need to search the scriptures.
We must understand that we cannot fully contain all of God’s understanding.
Job chapter 36/25-26:
All humanity has seen it;
mortals gaze on it from afar.
How great is God—beyond our understanding!
The number of his years is past finding out.
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counsellor?”
I tend to mention these truths, i.e. that come under the heading: the omniscience of God, quite often, even in the context of other subject matter.
I do so because although I want to hold fast to that which is good, and walk by the same rule that I have already attained. I at the same time want to be receptive to The Lord Jesus Christ as He opens my inner eyes even further. (Ephesians 1/18)
Doing so in recognition that none of us have a monopoly on truth, and have arrived at full understanding, or are more ‘learned’ than our fellow believers.
It is great to expose ourselves to The Word of God, as we compare scripture with scripture, in our endeavour to enter further into the counsel of God.
Balance sounds like an unexciting word. And I have heard preachers somewhat dismissive of it.
I realise that God needs to lift us to a higher plain of experience. But if we do not maintain a balanced view – we, rather than ascend to a higher realm shall descend into the fleshly realm of dogmatism and self-righteousness.
The truth for non-Christian or Christian can seem hard to find.
When we experience difficulty – I wholeheartedly encourage all to simply read the Bible for yourself. But prayerfully, meditatively, asking that the eyes of your understanding be further opened and enlightened…
As a young Christian I had a zealous hunger for theological truth. But it did not satisfy, as my real longing was for a loving, living relationship with God Himself.
The more I tried to cram intellectual comprehension into my mind, the more frustrated I became.
Then one day God opened my inner eyes and spoke to me through one scripture.
Jesus addressing the Jews said: John 5:38-40 (NKJV)
38 But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. 39 You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 40 But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.
It was a true revelation of truth, and impacted me powerfully.
Of course I was a Christian at the time, but was being distracted by ‘knowledge’ and missing out on the realisation that Christ alone can manifest His word to us. True understanding can only come from Him.
We must seek Christ in and through the scriptures, seeking to know Him more.
We can know about God, but knowing Him personally and intimately, in increasing measure (help us Lord!), this alone will truly satisfy those on a spiritual quest.
I learned how to meditate in God’s Word, and allow, the opposite to what Jesus said to the Jews, to be my ongoing experience:
‘…you do not have His word abiding in you…’,
His Word abiding in us, is the key to peace with God, the key to increased revelation of the beautiful person of The Lord Jesus Christ.