Thursday, November 25, 2010
Through Holy Ghost revelation, God graciously reveals Himself to us as He spans the gap between divinity and depravity. “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:10). There is an absolute need in the Christian’s life for the revealed knowledge of God. This supernaturally exposed knowledge is essential whereby it confirms the Christian’s faith and encourages growth in the Lord Jesus Christ. As His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts are higher than our thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9), the fundamental truths revealed by the Holy Ghost through theological study brings us closer to God and understanding His mysteries. Theology is not limited to the elite or academic, but to everyone with a desire to draw nearer to God.
The divinely revealed principles can shed light on such troubled subjects within the Christian life such as how the spiritual man is to view the flesh. By the verses “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) and also “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), we know Jesus is God incarnated in the flesh. If we examine the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ, we can learn by His example of how to understand, manage, and cope with this crude matter called flesh. “Man unfortunately does not understand God’s Word and so he tries continually to refine and reform his flesh.” To look at Jesus and how He dealt with this carnal shell, is to look at the quintessential example of how man should regard the flesh. Jesus was 100% God, yet He was also 100% man. He was God, yet “we find him hungry, thirsty, tired, moved to pity, and moved to anger.” He was God, yet He experienced pain and suffering. He experienced trials and temptations of the flesh that all men undergo. There is no perfect model to base our actions upon when dealing with the flesh other than the Lord Jesus Christ. To hear the way He prayed in the garden, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42) and to hear Him tell the disciples to “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Matthew 26:41). Even Jesus Christ experienced the carnal aspect of this flesh, yet He sinned not. God knows the flesh, not only did He create it; He experienced life in it through the Lord Jesus Christ. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Hebrews 4:15). Through prayer and faith, we must sacrifice those fleshly desires and temptations to the will of the Father just as Jesus did. If we feed our flesh, we starve our spirit and if we feed our sinful flesh, we stray from the will of God.
Even within the church itself, the theological principles that are revealed to us through the Word of God can be used to pattern our own relationships. If salvation is indeed a free gift, as it is written in Ephesians 2:8, how much should this principle contour our own associations within the church? If the atonement of sin was satisfied by the suffering, humility, grace and mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, how then should this theological concept forge a pattern to the authority and discipleship within the church? Not everyone is a scholar or philosopher, “but if the great theologians can mark out the basic truth of revelation, using skillfully the instrument of human reason, the result will be faithful guidance in the life, work, worship, and prayer of Christians.” Undoubtedly, the theological truths we gather from Scripture form a solid foundation in which we can build the framework of our lives upon.
For instance, since salvation is given freely of God, we should be open and welcoming to every soul that is in our churches and our communities. To every saint and sinner alike, we should show the love and compassion that Jesus shows to the world. “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). It is God’s love that compels us to show His love throughout the world. Because of God’s mercy and grace, there is no benchmark for salvation. God is love and has given salvation freely to all men only if they believe. Because He died for all so that all may live, then therefore, we must all have been dead in our sins and in our trespasses. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23) is a truth that every believer needs to relay to a lost and dying world. Salvation is not purchased with riches or status. Salvation is not accomplished by good works or fancy words. No, salvation is freely given by our loving God so that we all may obtain eternal life through the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Everyone must understand that salvation is a free gift and this can be shown in love as we relate to our peers.
“Even the most intellectually demanding of the topics and questions in theology were born of a basic pastoral concern.” We could also expound that the atonement of sin was accomplished at Calvary by the humility and suffering of the Savior and, in like manner, so should we also model the leadership within the church also with the same traits the Lord Jesus portrayed. The authority within the church should minister with the same humility and self-sacrifice the Lord Jesus graciously exhibited. The pastor of the church should serve the Lord and minister to the congregation with meekness and obedience to God’s will. Sin’s atonement was accomplished at Calvary by the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ through love; the will of God can be accomplished within the church by the pastor through love in the same manner of humility, suffering, and self-denial.
“To engage in theology, however, is not to amuse ourselves with the idea that our thinking approaches that of God’s. Instead, it is to recognize that God has taken into consideration our frailties.” God reveals Himself, His plan, and His will to us out of love because He considers our weaknesses from our humanities. Theology serves as a way to relay these meanings and messages to us through His Word. The interpretations and revelations that are divinely given, builds upon themselves like bricks of a building. Each basic theological truth is laid in place and compliments the previous principle like interlocking bricks that form a foundation and then a wall until brick upon brick a building is standing. God provides this understanding through His Word and by the Holy Ghost. “For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little” (Isaiah 28:10). Through His Word and at the direction from the Holy Ghost, we take one theological principle then keep building upon that truth with another until we form a solid and sound theology that encourages, convicts, and strengthens our faith.