I begin this post with the premise that man is an inherently forgetful creature. We forget everything from where we left our keys, to anniversaries, to where we parked our car, and if it were only these things we were forgetful of it would not be an important enough issue to warrant an entire teaching, yet we often forget spiritual things as well, and this is something that does deserve further scrutiny.
If anyone still doubts that we as human beings are forgetful in pretty much every area of our lives, we need look no further than the history of Israel throughout the centuries in order to dispel any lingering reservations on the matter. The visible cycle that has permeated the history of Israel can be summed up in no more than once sentence. Israel forgets its God, Israel rebels against its God, Israel gives itself over to idols, God sends judgment upon Israel, Israel repents, God blesses Israel, and the cycle begins anew all over again. Yes, man is a profoundly forgetful creature, and even we as believers often forget the truths of God’s word, we forget the promises of God, and begin to grow doubtful, lose hope, and sometimes even panic because along the way we’ve forgotten certain elemental truths that should always be close to our hearts.
Even with the aid of the Holy Spirit, who is tasked with bringing to our remembrance all the things Jesus said to us, we seem to be suffering from a mass attention deficit wherein if anything in our peripheral vision catches our eye, we go off and chase it thinking it is the oasis we’ve been searching for, until tired, and hungry, and thirsty and sunblind, and far from Him, we realize it was only a mirage.
Whether you are a babe in Christ, or a seasoned warrior, whether you’ve known Him for days or for decades, the following six things are what we must remember as believers in perpetuity.
The first thing we must remember as believers is that the Son of God came to bring salvation!
1 John 5:18-21, “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.”
I want to take a minute and just unpack this passage because there are certain things that it implies with which even some of the most renowned spiritual leaders of our time tend to disagree. First, is the truth that those who have been born of God keep themselves, and the wicked one does not touch them. To keep oneself, is to guard oneself, it is to be aware that we have an enemy who roams about seeking whom he may devour, but also that our very flesh wars against us in perpetuity. If we have been born of God, then we guard our hearts, we guard our eyes, we guard our ears, we guard our tongues, and if we are always on guard, the wicked one does not touch us.
It is said that near the Italian city of Naples, once known as Neapolis there is an interesting and unique cave known as the Grotta Del Cane which to this day draws tourists from around the world. The reason that it is visited so often is its peculiarity. Being filled with carbon dioxide, the bottom half of the cave is poisonous, even lethal. Since carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen, it pools in the bottom three feet of the cave. As long as visitors walk upright, there is no danger, but as soon as someone would sit down to rest they would die of asphyxia. The world around us is like this cave, it is full of sin, and lies under the sway of the wicked one. As long as our heads are raised high, and our gaze is fixed toward heavenly things, we will not be poisoned by the sin and deception of this world, but the moment we try to find our rest here, the moment we sit for a spell and stop pressing ever onward we are in danger. We cannot flirt with sin, because it is deadly. We cannot flirt with the world because it will overwhelm us and asphyxiate our spiritual man just as sure as the carbon dioxide in the aforementioned cave does to the unsuspecting who need to rest.
The second thing this passage implies, the one thing our illustrious and illuminated spiritual leaders have a hard time with and some even outright deny is the singularity of Christ as the one means by which we may obtain eternal life with God.
“This is the true God and eternal life!”
It does not say this is one of many gods, it does not say this is one of many paths, it does not say this is one of many truths; ‘we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.’
Do you not think that if there was any other way for man to be reconciled unto God He would have found it? Do you not think that if there was a means by which the Father could have spared His Son He would not have implemented it? I submit to you that God would have readily slaughtered all the cattle on a thousand hills, even all the cattle on ten thousand hills, the world would have been one giant funeral pyre of rams and sheep and doves and heifers if it could have spared His Son the agony of hanging on a cross and dying for mankind’s sins.
If there was any other way than for Jesus to go to the cross, no matter what that way might have been, God would have done it. But there was no other way to satisfy the justice of God, there was no other way to satisfy the righteousness and holiness of God, and so the Son stood before the Father and said ‘I will go!’
Jesus was nailed to a cross, He bled and He died! The Son of God died, and we diminish His death by shrugging our shoulders, and rolling our eyes and saying that there are more ways than One by which man can obtain salvation, or by which man can have eternal life.
You pompous windbags, you whitewashed tombs, you betray your Lord and your God, you trample on the blood of His sacrifice, you trample the Son of God underfoot because you are fearful of men’s reprisal, and because you want the world to love you. Since when does your opinion supersede the Sacred Word? Since when do your feelings trump the righteousness and justice of almighty God? If you will not speak truth, then be silent! If you will not stand for Christ, then let not His name pass your lips again, for it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Repent you workers of iniquity, repent you rabid and ravenous wolves who not only devour the sheep of God’s pasture, but break their bones and suck the marrow. You butcher the innocent and think nothing of it; you lead the sheep astray and don’t lose a second’s worth of sleep over it. Look in the mirror of God’s Word and see your reflection clear you whose titles and accolades and pride have blinded you to the reality that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. God’s judgment is at the door, and it will begin with you who preach a tainted gospel, you who feed the sheep poison and call it spiritual succor, and you who despise the name of the Lord.
“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”
Keep yourselves! Don’t expect your husband to keep you from idols, don’t expect your wife to keep you from idols, don’t expect the deacons, the ushers, the worship leader or even your pastor to keep you from idols, keep yourselves from idols. No, we no longer bow to graven images, we no longer go to altars made of stone, but there are a multitude of idols within the house of God nevertheless. They’ve changed form, but their function is still the same, to replace God and the love for Him in your heart. We don’t go to church because we desire more of Jesus, we go to church because we desire for Jesus to give us more money. Then it is money that is your idol, it is money that is your substitute god, and not the one true God. This is just one example, but there are many more to be had. Whatever it is that takes the place of God in one’s heart, whether it be possessions, positions, or power, it has become their idol, and they worship it with zeal. Keep yourselves from idols, and serve the one true God in spirit and in truth.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.