Friday, September 24, 2010

Our Wonderful State of Bliss

Like me, you probably grew up hearing the adage, "ignorance is bliss."  People still use that saying today.  Some use it thinking the less they know, the less they have to do or be responsible for.  Others use it falsely believing what you don't know won't hurt you. A popular place for people seeking a home is the wonderful State of Bliss.  After all, God wants us to be happy, and where could we be happier than in the State of Bliss.  In the spiritual application of this wonderful place, we understand there are two roads that lead to the State of Bliss where ignorance is the standard of living. 
The first road is traveled by those who never really come to know God.  Paul spoke about these people as he makes reference to his Jewish kinsman.  Paul states they had a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge. (Ro. 10:2)  Paul is a little more pointed in the inspired account recorded by Luke in Acts 17.  As Paul stood on Mars Hill he had encountered an altar with the inscription, "To an unknown god." (vs. 23)  He told those gathered around him that what they worshiped in ignorance, he would proclaim to them in truth. The second road of travel closely parallels the first as this road is used by those who know God, or at least knew Him,  and yet do not practice the truth. Paul warned the Ephesian brethren about this as he exhorted them not walk as the Gentiles walk, for this walk was one of futility based on the ignorance within them. (Eph. 4:17,18)  Paul was speaking to those who were Gentile by birth but makes a distinction between those who had previously come to a knowledge of the truth, and those who have not. 
To be sure, no one likes to be looked upon as ignorant.  So let's also be sure to understand Paul is not speaking of academic intellect.  For there are many intelligent people who have never been given a formal education.  But this knowledge, like the world of academia, is worldly.  What Paul speaks of concerning ignorance is a lack of godly knowledge.  Though we may learn many things in life as we live in this world, we were all at one time ignorant of God's truth.  The psalmist speaks of a time when he was senseless and ignorant, as a beast before the Lord.  Only the Lord's counsel could remove that senselessness and ignorance, and the psalmist was continually with the Lord. (Ps. 73:22-24) 
So man has been given a choice.  We can stay on those roads of ignorance, or we can choose a different road.  As we give ourselves to the teachings of Jesus, we learn not to be ignorant of the devil's schemes.(2 Cor. 2:11)  If there is sinful conduct taking place, the devil is behind it, and we must be aware of his schemes at all times. This giving of ourselves to the truth of God's word will lead us to be wise in godliness, thus able to silence the ignorance of foolish men, by living according to the will of God in relation to worldly leaders. 
Bliss is defined as,"complete happiness; Paradise, or Heaven." (Mirriam-Webster Online Dictionary)  If people desire to live in ignorance, their state is not one of complete happiness but one of deception or delusion.   Those who truly know God long for Paradise, or Heaven, that "happy summerland of bliss."  As those who desire to be the mirror image of Christ, it is the latter place we should desire as our place of residence, that wonderful State of Bliss.  Rodger

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Know Whom I Have Believed

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "be imitators of me just as I also am of Christ." (1 Cor. 11:1)  As we look to be the mirror image of God's glory in our daily walk, we must imitate Christ in our life.  This goes beyond just professing a love for people, it means to stand for God's truth at all times.  Jesus never compromised God's truth and we must look to that example, even when it means having to suffer for His name's sake.  Many today want to think they can teach what they want and people can practice what they want as long as they are sincere.  Since God is a loving God He will accept whatever they do or say.  But Jesus said, "For I did not speak on my own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent me has given me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak."  (Jn. 12:49)   As we think on these words we will get a better understanding of the words Paul wrote to Timothy, "For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day." (2 Tim. 1:12)  In his imitation of Christ, Paul did not speak on his own initiative but what was given to him by the Father through Christ.  Paul spoke only the truth of God's word for he spoke only what was given to him.  Though he may have been ridiculed, or physically abused, he still was not ashamed of the gospel, for he knew whom he had believed.  When we refuse to stand for God's truth, we are not imitating Christ.  When we teach things which are not according to truth, we speak on our own initiative, and not according to the word of God.  I pray we will stand firm in God's truth and proclaim with Paul, "I know whom I have believed."  It matters not what man says, but what God has revealed, and I believe Him to be true.  I also know whatever I entrust to the Father based on His truth, He will guard or keep it, until the great day of judgment.  I will not fear man, for I have not been given a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. (2 Tim. 1:8)  Instead I will unashamedly speak His truth and be an imitator of Christ, and in so doing, be the mirror image of His glory until he come again.  Rodger

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Reflections of Glory

The purpose for this blog is to remind us of who and what we are supposed to be.  A recent study of 2 Corinthians 3 brought this more vividly to my attention.  When the church no longer reflects the glory of God,
we have allowed the darkness of the world to dim our light.  As Paul writes to the brethren in Corinth there was a need to teach them of the greater glory revealed to us.  Many in the world today want to hold up Moses as our hero and one we should look back to, and that the Ten commandments need to be restored.  This is directly against what Paul writes in this section of his letter.  While the glory of Moses was great, the glory of Christ is greater.   If we follow after the teachings of Moses we have allowed a veil to be placed over our heart so as to keep the greater glory from our life. The same can be said for any teachings not from God.  If a teaching is truly from God it is already recorded in His revealed word.  So what are we supposed to see when we look into the mirror of God's word?  Paul tells me I should see the glory Christ.  This glory reflects one who is walking according to truth, and is thus being transformed from the glory of Christ we reflect on earth to the eternal glory of heaven.  As brothers and sisters in Christ we are to be building one another up in the hope of this glory.  As we hold up the truth of God's word we should be shining the light of glory toward the world of darkness,  not dimming it by our refusal to be reflections of God's glory.   So then, let us live as a mirror image of our Savior.  Rodger