Something that has troubled me for years, increasingly as I have grown in my relationship with the Lord and in my depth of understanding of the New Covenant, has been the acceptance, at least at the popular level, of the entire Bible, as “The Word of God”, WITHOUT ATTENTION TO THE VERY REAL THEOLOGICAL CONCEPT OF PROGRESSIVE REVELATION, or at least with a completely haphazard and piecemeal approach to the application of the principles of progressive biblical revelation and the increase impartation of Divine wisdom and insight over the ages as God unfolds and outworks His Plans and Purposes in our timeline.
In some instances we, as Christians, fully embrace and preach the New Covenant in Christ and virtually discard the entire Old Covenant…For example: “You are not under Law, but under Grace” , “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved”, “You are saved by Faith, through Grace”, “If Christ has made you free you are free indeed” , “Old things have passed away, all things have become new” , “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.” There are dozens of such verses that we apply to our lives in Christ to guarantee our separation from such legalisms as we feel restrict us, dependent, of course, upon our doctrinal and denominational persuasion.
Then, almost in the same breath, we reach back into the Old Testament and preach its texts as if they were as applicable and valid for us today as they were to the Jews living under the prophetic rule of Moses or under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah as they re-built the Temple.
“You have to tithe…bring your tithes to the storehouse”, “You need to keep the Sabbath”, (These work very well to fund the business of the Church). “You shouldn’t get a tattoo,” (exactly why not?). “Don‘t drink alcohol” (did you know that there is a text in Moses that tells the Israelites to buy hard liquor with their tithe money and party down at the temple? Deut.14:24-26…and why was Jesus accused of being “a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!’” if he was a teetotaler?) , “You need to pray early in the morning and when you go to bed” (but Paul says “pray 24/7)”, “Let‘s celebrate the Jewish Passover this year: We need to keep the feasts.”, “You should shout to the Lord in a loud voice,” “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,” “Let’s give the Lord a clap offering”, “Come Lord and Fill this Place” (But Jesus revealed to us that because of His Incarnation the Kingdom of God is WITHIN us, not “out there”! Is the building still the temple, or are we?).
Our sermons on a Sunday freely flow between Old and New Testaments without pause, and we regularly apply Old Testament texts to our lives with assumed full New Covenant authority, whenever they seem to make our homiletic point well, albeit all the while carefully editing around all those portions that are too inconveniently archaic to in any way bear up under reinterpretation or spiritualization into contemporary forms.
(For example, some groups might insist on keeping the Sabbath or not eating pork, but they certainly don’t wear pomegranates on the hems of their robes anymore: There is no consistency. A fairly extreme example might be the Old Order Amish, who have devised myriad ways to live in two worlds, but I will be generous and extend my beef to most Evangelical fellowships, where bits and pieces of Old and New Testament liberties and legalisms are cobbled together in near infinite unchallenged ways as the scriptures are privately interpreted. And we all are supposed to be keeping the Ten Commandments, but I am a professional woodcarver and sculptor, and I absolutely believe that the Lord guided me into this profession some 27 years ago, so what am I supposed to do with the part of the commandment about not making “graven images“? Or how many of us are having a problem coveting our neighbor‘s ox or ass in today‘s world….Do we have the right to simply retranslate the original Hebrew for “ass“ into BMW or Lexus and keep the rest?…We do tend to read the scriptures piecemeal, don‘t we?)
God‘s Word is far deeper and more profoundly complicated than this: It is a living thing…not a dead document…and in our time in His Plan it is a Person with whom we are supposed to have a dynamic ongoing conversational relationship, not just an historical document on expensive paper.
Christians all have their “favorite” texts, as freely dipping into the Psalms and Proverbs and other stories and profound sayings from ancient and even antediluvian epochs as into the Gospels and the letters of the Apostles, and trying to apply what insights they think they have received (“God told me”, “this is what the Scripture means to me”, “Well, I know what my heart tells me is true”, etc.) on a moment-by-moment basis, most often steeped in unguarded emotion. Most of the time most Christians are truly, and only possibly accurately, “familiar” with only a small handful of scriptures that seem to make some sense to them, almost always taken out of context and rote memorized. “Deeper” and more complicated and difficult texts are generally left unexplored and unpenetrated.
Too few Christians ever spend the required time and energy, or pay the price in repentance and humility, to truly understand the more difficult areas of Scripture, of which there are many. Yet there are some 36,000 verses in the Bible…over 1100 pages….and it is (if we are biblical believers) ALL the inspired “God-breathed” Word of God to us, speaking not only of history and of pragmatic issues of life, but of multidimensional eternal realities and purposes and far reaching Divine goals and Purposes and ends-in-view, and is more than worthy of our lifetime of absolute attention before all other things. Certainly God did not waste His breath in transmitting any of this information to us, and we are being irresponsible and lazy if we do not invest the very best of our lives in seeking to fully understand Him through what He has provided to us.
(Paul speaks often of coming to both a full knowledge and a full understanding of our God. These are different from one another. Knowledge is a thing of the mind. Understanding is a condition of the heart and spirit. Understanding is related to wisdom, which is the right application of knowledge. In the Old Covenant there is a verse that says that the “People of Israel knew the works of God, but Moses knew His ways.”….We are to grow intimate with our Father…to know His ways….who He is and why He does what He does.)
Furthermore, we all find ourselves mesmerized by the occult fascination of prophecy, and many spend countless hours and tens of thousands of pages of often questionable popular reading material obsessing on the prophetic texts of the Scriptures… most of the time without sufficient regard for the fact that these prophecies also are spiritual artifacts from outside our familiar dimensions, which have everything to do with progressive revelation and the very linear and purposeful and deliberate larger plans of a transcendent God of whom at best “we know in part”. We are altogether too flippant and irreverent too much of the time as we touch these amazing treasures.
But there is a deeper issue. I believe that we are failing to really understand what Paul, especially, has been trying to communicate to us about the New Covenant. I would argue that not only is there a progress of revelation…that the Old Covenant spends its time more and more clearly focusing in on the coming of Christ (to the Gentiles) and Messiah (to the Jews), but that the four Gospel accounts themselves are TRANSITIONAL, and are NOT yet themselves fully part of the New Covenant (except perhaps in the very last chapters of the post resurrection counsels of Christ), and that the terms of the New Covenant are fully defined by Paul, who received them from Christ after his encounter outside Damascus, when he went into the deserts of Arabia alone for three years and met personally with the Risen Lord in a series of supernatural visitations.
By this reasoning, I would argue that many of the instructions of Christ in the Gospels, are NOT directly applicable to the Church but are, by CHRIST’S OWN WORDS for “the lost sheep of the House of Israel”, the Jewish Christians to be.
He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
This is not to say that His words are not spoken to us, as Gentile Christians, but I would argue that until He cried out “IT IS FINISHED”, Jesus Christ was fully a practicing Jew, living as a Jew UNDER THE LAW (Galatians 4:4), because until that victorious moment on the cross the Law had not yet been fulfilled.
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
Therefore, the majority of what He spoke, and which we have on record in the four Gospels, which was recorded by His chosen men in the Gospel accounts, (or at least in the three synoptic gospels, John being somewhat unique) was spoken to Jews who were still under the Law and bound by the Law, as was Jesus Himself, until the veil was torn in the Temple.
I would argue that it is a mistake to directly apply many of the statements in the Gospels to the New Testament Church, without taking into consideration this fact, that Jesus was speaking as an obedient Jew to Jews. He had not yet fulfilled the Law. He was quite willing to overthrow the “traditions of the Elders”, and to correctly interpret the Law as His Father intended it to be understood, ( for example: Mark 2:25-28, Matthew 15: 1-9) but He was not willing to break “one jot or tittle of the Law until EVERYTHING” was fulfilled. (Matt.23:1-3;Matthew 3:15 )
Once He had fulfilled the Law through His self-sacrifice, those things which He instructed His followers to observe that were observations of Jewish Law no longer applied to them or us as necessary conditions of their relationship to their Father or as ritualistic forms for their worship. True “religion” had now become absolutely relational and internalized.
Once He completed His mission and after the Temple curtain was torn from top to bottom (from Heaven to Earth), the Law was fulfilled. This is clearly discussed in Hebrews. The entire Old Testament typology reverted (or metamorphosed) to its Heavenly archetype.
At this time, and especially after Pentecost, (when “Jacob’s Ladder” was completed and “the angels of God began to ASCEND and descend upon it – John 1:51) the New Covenant absorbed and terminated the Old Covenant. (Note the direction here…it is profound.)
And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Matthew 27:50-54
“I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you. John 16:12-15
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:44-49
In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” Acts 1:1-11
Jesus then raised up Paul (1 Corinthians 15:8) and through Paul explained all of this clearly. Paul quite literally reinterpreted the entire Old Covenant through the Person of Jesus Christ. (And therefore, the terms of the New Covenant for the Gentile Church are most clearly to be understood from Paul’s writings, with Peter carrying the ball for the specific terms that apply to the Messianic portion of the Body. Galatians 2:7)
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Galatians 1:11-17
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Romans 1:16-17
Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith— 27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen. Romans 16:25-27
For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. For you have heard of my former life in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it. And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely zealous was I for the traditions of my fathers. But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord’s brother. (In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!) Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia. And I was still unknown in person to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. They only were hearing it said, “He who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.” And they glorified God because of me. Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me. I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those who seemed influential) the gospel that I proclaim among the Gentiles, in order to make sure I was not running or had not run in vain. But even Titus, who was with me, was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek. Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in—who slipped in to spy out our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus, so that they might bring us into slavery— to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you. And from those who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—those, I say, who seemed influential added nothing to me. On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
But when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, “If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?”
We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Galatians 1:1-16
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith. Galatians 3:13-14
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. Ephesians 3:7-13
Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. 1 Timothy 2:6-7
When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, Ephesians 3:1-11
Salvation of the soul is entirely based upon New Covenant terms: Certain aspects of the Old Testament still are in play as regards blood Israel “for the sake of the Fathers” and the promises made to them, which are immutable and which will be kept, but the sacrificial system and the Levitical Law are over. Everything prior to the revelation of the Kingdom covenant through Paul must be viewed through the Pauline lens or it is going to be misunderstood because it still is a record of statements made under the Old Covenant.
This includes many of the statements of record of Jesus Himself in the four Gospels. I will moderate this by saying that even though Jesus was an obedient Jew speaking to Jews under the Law, He also was aware of what was about to happen and was speaking of things to come, which while He walked among us before the resurrection had not yet been brought into being. As His words are read, some of them do reach ahead, but not all of them.
Even Christ could not arbitrarily move ahead of His Father’s appointed times. However, because of the reluctance of the Jewish element of the First Church to let go of its ancient heritage, and because of the rapidly rising domination of Romanism, which is really a Christianized conflation of Judaistic Temple ritualism and the Roman love of law with the new Faith, these Old Covenant residues have never been purged from much of Christendumb, and having become reified, remain to this day.
Think of it this way. When we first had kids we had certain rules and methods by which we raised them…When they were infants we, as parents, virtually were God to them. When they were toddlers we were benevolent tyrant legalists. As they grew we moved more and more into dealing with them as reasoning adults. As they became more mature and self-aware and demanded more freedom and responsibility the rules continued to change and we gave them more freedom and responsibility and they had to accept both the rewards and the consequences that come with these things, some of which can be terribly significant. And now that they are fully adults they are raising their own children in much the same pattern.
The words we spoke and rules we invoked are still valid, and are still our words. We even, in some measure, might invoke them upon our grandchildren, when we are with them, as their parents permit. But there has been a “progressive revelation” in the lives of our children over the years. It is not that the things we tried to teach them as infants and as toddlers are no longer true or even authoritative. Rather, these things have been fulfilled and absorbed into larger lessons…have become parts of a foundation that no longer, in themselves, are visible or necessary to be invoked. My grown children no longer require a spanking, or a time out. (Actually…sometimes I wonder about this….but that is another essay.)
However, their toddlers do, and these words and rules are certainly applicable and appropriate for them. The wisdom in them has not changed. They will work as well for my grown childrens’ little ones as they did for them, and then will be passed on in their season. At all stages, the words are true. They are not, however, equally applicable…equally congruent for the time or season or situation.
This is a very poor illustration. But it might help make my point. The Word of God is the Word of God in its entirety…unbroken and inerrantly inspired . But the progress of revelation is clearly evident in the Word. We have a record of Divine communication given to us spanning over 3500 years, and dealing with eons more than that. It deals both with the whole plan of God for the Cosmos and for the race of Man, and also for the “day to day” affairs of generations of fallen humanity from Adam through the last generation of Christians on the planet, and at every level of spiritual awareness and spiritual maturity or lack thereof. It deals with everyone from entire nations and empires to every individual that has ever or ever will live.
There are hundreds of passages in the Word itself which directly and indirectly indicate that God is moving His plans forward in stages, and that as those stages unfold those that are unfolding generally fulfill and supersede those that preceded them, most of the time obscuring or erasing most or all of the effects of the earlier stages from the arena.
It is silly and illogical to try to think of this vast multidimensional communication as somehow being equally weighted in its injunctions from its earliest pronouncements to its last, and for the infant believer to be regarded in the same way as the matured saint, especially when we know that there is an absolute termination of one of its Covenants and the inauguration of an entirely separate and entirely New Covenant to replace it on entirely different terms.
The Letter to the Hebrews is absolutely clear that there is a totally new priesthood, a totally new ORDER of worship and obedience, in place after the resurrection of Christ, and that the Church belongs to that new order and not to the old.
Now if perfection had been attainable through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need would there have been for another priest to arise after the order of Melchizedek, rather than one named after the order of Aaron? For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. For the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar…. For on the one hand, a former commandment is set aside because of its weakness and uselessness (for the law made nothing perfect); but on the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God…. This makes Jesus the guarantor of a better covenant…. Now the point in what we are saying is this: we have such a high priest, one who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, a minister in the holy places, in the true tent that the Lord set up, not man. Hebrews 7:11-8:2
But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises…. In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away…. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire. Hebrews 8:6;Hebrews 8:13;Hebrews 12:28-29
We, as the Church, have a mandate to honor and defend Israel, and Israel will receive the promises made to the Fathers according to the Word, but this has nothing to do with us having to abide by any of the terms of the Mosaic Law or to overly focus upon the Old Covenant.
Our attachments to the Old Testament are listed as ones of encouragement and hope…in it are stories of faith, of courage, of the power and faithfulness of our God, and of the confidence God has in Himself and in His plan. And these are supernaturally inspired and empowered records filled with Divine Life.
Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. 1 Corinthians 10:11
No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. That is why his faith was “counted to him as righteousness.” But the words “it was counted to him” were not written for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be counted to us who believe in him who raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification. Romans 4:20-25
But our mandate is recorded in the New Covenant, and especially in the Epistles of Paul, to whom was given the privilege of revealing the Risen Christ to the Gentile world.
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, Hebrews 1:1
THE HUMAN LIVING WISDOM OF THE SCRIPTURES IS AGELESS. THEREFORE THE ANCIENT JEWISH WISDOM IS AS FULLY APPLICABLE TO OUR LIVES AND THE LIVES OF OUR CHILDREN TODAY AS IT WAS IN MOSES OR SOLOMON’S DAY.
IT IS THE PROGRESS OF REVELATION WHICH IS TIME-FULL, IS MOVING FORWARD, AND WHICH DOES ADVANCE AND EVOLVE. THIS REVELATION INCREASES, MATURES, IS FULFILLED. IT IS LIKE A PLANT: IT STARTS AS A SEED, GERMINATES, SENDS DOWN A TAP ROOT, SENDS UP ITS SHOOT, GROWS, FLOWERS, BEARS ITS FRUIT, PRODUCES MORE SEED, INCREASES…..
THAT WHICH PERTAINS TO HUMAN BEINGS, EACH OF US IN OUR BRIEF LIFE- TIMES, IS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME AND ALWAYS HAS BEEN…WE DON’T CHANGE, THOUGH OUR ENVIRONMENTS DO, AND THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN EXISTENCE REMAIN THE SAME…WE ARE BORN FALLEN, INTO EVIL, WITH INFINITE PROMISE, AND WE MUST DISCOVER THIS AND ACCEPT OUR REDEMPTION AND BE TRANSFORMED.
ALSO, THERE ARE BILLIONS OF US. GOD HAS MADE EACH OF US UTTERLY UNIQUE. OUR MINDS ARE NOT ONLY UNFATHOMABLY COMPLEX, BUT HOW EACH OF US USES THEM IS ABSOLUTELY INDIVIDUALIZED. BEFORE WE MEET THE LORD HUMANITY IS CHAOTIC AND ANARCHISTIC. AFTER WE MEET THE LORD, IF WE TRULY GROW IN HIM, HE DOES NOT ASK US TO CONFORM TO A RULE, OR TO EACH OTHER, OR TO AN ORGANIZATION, BUT ONLY TO HIM.
“LOVE GOD, AND DO ANYTHING YOU WANT” (Augustine of Hippo).
ONCE THE LOVE OF GOD AS HE HAS REVEALED HIMSELF TO US IS CONSTRAINING US, WE ARE ABSOLUTELY FREE TO DO ANYTHING AT ALL; WE WILL NOT EVER WANDER OUTSIDE OF HIS WILL, OR IF WE DO, WE WILL ALMOST INSTANTLY BE DRAWN BACK FROM OUR WANDERING. THERE WILL BE LITTLE NEED FOR EXTERNAL CONTROLS: WE HAVE THE BOOK AND THE ABIDING COMPANIONSHIP OF THE AUTHOR OF THE BOOK. BEYOND THAT JUST WISE COUNSEL FROM THE MORE MATURE TO THE YOUNGER, AND HUMILITY ON THE PART OF THE YOUNGER TO RECEIVE THAT COUNSEL ALONG WITH SELFLESSNESS AND OTHERS-CENTEREDNESS AS A FAITH COMMUNITY WILL GUARANTEE THE WELL-BEING AND PROTECTION OF ALL.