Hermeneutical Hearsay or Heresy?
December 23, 2008
Seated in the heavenlies versus free-will responsibility . . .
~ by the Generic Christian Mystic
The Lord yet again, on 12/19/08, brought something to my heart while reading Jonathan D. Perreault's pdf'd thoughts on Joseph Dillow's fine work, Reign of the Servant Kings. I have already presented elsewhere on this site some arguments against Perreault's all-too-typical and re-hashed methods of interpreting certain scripture while discussing the same issues and passages with Pastor George Zeller in his e-mails to me about the principle of overcoming Christians versus carnal believers.
When I read arguments against conditional rewards and the principle of overcoming faith as a CHOICE, I see the same boring and limited viewpoints being regurgitated from one pastor/seminary student/theology major to the next one in line ready to argue the unified front against FREE GRACE, FREE WILL and FAITHFUL LIVING AS A CHOICE. These voices of dissent out there each read the same lines of arguments against overcoming faith as a CHOICE that others have offered for years and nobody ever "steps outside the box" with any novel arguments to disprove the clear teaching of overcoming faith as a CHOICE believers make. Frankly, it is sad dogma and ennui to read the rants all over again with their worn-out, shoe leather theology.
Either we are God's fancy automatons of inevitable overcoming faith in spite of free will or as the scriptures ACTUALLY TEACH --> We are agents of free will when we become believers and we continue as believers with a CHOICE to follow God's will or not. The Creator God of this vast universe does NOT make faithful puppets of his children!
Think on these things in the light of the scriptures, common Spiritual sense we have from above, and the nature of God as revealed in the word:
Is God's grace really grace unconditional that saves us, gives us eternal life, and enables us to obtain and seek more grace? Or is God's grace some condition-laden grace that in essence requires us to maintain a state of grace and some minimal level of obedience to maintain acceptance before Him -- thus keeping ourselves "in good standing" as far as our eternal security goes? To many theologians this is a bone of real contention creating needless strife.
When one finally sees the revelation of conditional faithful DISCIPLE living as a CHOICE in relation to the word's teachings on the coming Kingdom of God and the rewards that God offers us -- this issue is forever solved. We are saved eternally by unconditional grace [A GIFT] to enter into a disciple's life that is indeed a CHOICE to obey or fall away.
NEXT SET OF THOUGHTS:
Is saving faith cancelled out by living a life of unbelief thereafter?
Are the overcoming rewards God offers to believers who are obedient disciples actually every Christian's unalterable, God-promised, heavenly-voted democratic rights, (I call this the the level playing field mindset)? Or otherwise stated, are God's select promises to the overcomer, (obedient disciple), actually unconditional rights to even the carnal, backslidden believer walking in lawlessness and rebellion OR are these overcomer-only rewards, being based on faithfulness, readiness, suffering, obedience and a maturity of Christ being manifested?
Again, I appeal to that spirit-voiced level of fair play, God's common spiritual sense whispering to you and hope that you can see that when God warns believers to endure, to follow, to be ready, to be wise, to run the race and fight the fight that it is not some "pep talk" or "tally-ho" cheer. The Lord doesn't save us, give us a nice push from
the nest, and save "Fly baby, fly! Good luck! See ya in heaven soon and then we can really party it up!" That is perhaps an overstated sense of how some Christians I know live their lives but you catch my drift here ~ God is NOT playing games with His saved ones. Ah yes, there is a Judgment Seat of Christ that we believers shall ALL stand before and receive from the Lord's hand what He has promised and warned us about.
Hmm, that seems really conditional to me; "You do this, and I will do this," the Bible states over and over. Where all the unconditional rewards or rights now? Yeah, you find yourself standing before Christ as your JUDGE . . . ooh boy . . . and those "seated in the heavenlies" verses we fall back on for comfort seem very, very distant at that moment. The Lord is good, fair, merciful, righteous, loving and all of that -- yes -- but what of a life of unconfessed sin, huge roots of bitterness, wounds and "beatings" of other saints and the lost by one's idle words or lawless walk? How does a Christian's unconditional rights as an overcomer come into play now? Dogma is meaningless before the face of the Almighty One . . .
So many times I read, where those arguing for a biblical "free ride" to ruling and reigning as co-heirs, seek to assure such a things by emphaszing only Christ's supreme salvic work on the cross as the 1st-class ticket that MAKES us all overcomers and that what Jesus did assures us, (even against our free-will), of being overcomers, even priests and kings of God. Well, in essence they are right, in an ideal, "in the heavelies", already done for us way -- yes they ARE correct -- but . . . they reason out into the future realms from an incomplete platform of what is called, NOW, REALITY, "the real world", the here and now where God is making disciples. What am I getting at?
When Paul and others write in the word of many things being "accomplished", "already done", "finished", "seated in high places", "makes us kings and priests", "gives us that promised land" and "we are more than conquerors, (overcomers) through Christ Jesus", etc, etc, etc -- these words of course are true, by faith we believe this. But wait, we see death, suffering, abuses, lies, wars, demonic activity increasing and the promises of God seem so far off. That tension of what has been done "up there", in the META-REALITY is still only trickling through down here on this planet.
Where was God during the Holocaust when Jew and Christian alike died? Where was my loving heavenly Father and Saviour when my son died in 1986 on one cold winter March morning? Yeah, He was victorious and still mercifully "seated in the heavenlies" reigning in His heavenly Kingdom. So where does that leave the believer now feeling very overcome by death and suffering instead of an overcomer?
What we fail to see is that we DO have things promised to us but will we endure to MAKE them true in our experience now? Will we accept suffering our cross here that we may be crowned there? Will we like Abraham turn our back on reason and accept a life of faith? Will that faith then ask us to lift up that which we love the most dearly to God as a sacrificial death of obedience? Will we actually walk over and stand with Caleb and Joshua and inherit the promise? Or do we sit on our theological hands and simply repeat the mantra, "Jesus will make me a king, I am already a victor so why should I do anything but just sit here and believe all is taken care of for me? Let me rest in the promises and be carried over the Jordan by swing low, sweet angels."
I am sorry folks, it's just not that easy.
Most all the salvic promises promised WILL be made true for believers . . . one day in God's Eternity, yes . . . but when the Lord comes to reward those obedient disciples who made the CHOICE, to by free-will SEEK His kingdom and His righteousness . . . only those, ONLY THOSE, ready, waiting, awake and faithful will gain the conditional rewards of the Kingdom of God come to earth.
Yes, much that Christians trust in as a "safety net" set of verses and sub-doctrines will be but mere hollow phrases and a clanging cymbal when the Lord of Love comes as the Judge.
Will He find faith, (overcoming, disciple-walk living faith), when He comes or will He find the unprepared, the form-of-godliness-without-power faith?
He has ALREADY SEEN, "in the heavenlies" that finished and elect group, overcomers, a remnant, kings and priests, a Bride made ready, disciples poor in spirit and meek, peacemakers, pure in heart ones prepared that WILL secure the promised crowns and seats of servant-rulership. The Lamb of God HAS already perfected them. It is done. This is a META-REALITY waiting for fulfillment in the here and now. He has promised this WILL be. This group of the elect ones is NOT fixed however -- oh no -- not all of us shall be of that. Only those that CHOOSE to be of the chosen will seek this with their WHOLE HEART and follow the Lamb . . . and follow the Lamb . . . and follow the Lamb . . .
We are invited, places are reserved, in loving faith He calls, hoping we will cherish ALL His word, ALL His promises and so walk as faithful disciples.
May we not be as Esau was . . . but may we wrestle with the Angel and gain that blessing. The Lord will touch our strength as we wrestle with Him over this blessing, this birthright. We will limp, our pride will suffer and die and in our weakness, we will come to find that strength and lean on Him as our Rod and Staff.
Bless you Lord God! Bless you! May your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven . . .