Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Of Us

 Certain spiritual issues require thought and introspection. Thankfully none of them are salvific. When it comes to salvific matters, it’s cut and dry, absent ambiguity, because being saved, having the promise of eternity well in hand, and being anchored in it is one of those paramount issues that must be established fully before we can mature and grow as believers.

If I’m constantly questioning whether I’m saved or not, if I’m always wondering whether or not I have eternal life, I’ll have neither the time nor inclination to do anything else but worry. Working while it’s day, doing exploits on behalf of the Kingdom, these things require a foundation of the full conviction and assurance that He knows me, I am His, and He has me well in hand.

Goats pretending to be sheep will never know the peace and joy that comes with being a true sheep, following the Shepherd. It’s largely why many supposed believers require extra-biblical experiences to satisfy or spiritually fulfill them, going off into the weeds to the point of trying their hand at astral projections and out-of-body experiences.

Jesus didn’t say His sheep would know His voice and open their third eye. He said they would know His voice and follow Him. Goats get bored easily, are always looking for excitement, and are always searching for something fresh and new. The taste of green pastures doesn’t change; neither does the taste of fresh water.

That’s why my hackles get raised whenever I hear people declaring that God is doing something fresh, new, never before seen. It’s the ninth wonder of the world sort of stuff, brother; you just have to believe! I don’t, though. I don’t have to believe; you want me to believe, and what you want me to believe is contrary to what my Shepherd tells me I should believe.

1 John 2:18-19, “Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us; but they went out that they might be made manifest, that none of them were of us.”

Peppered throughout the Bible, especially when referencing the last days, we have warning upon warning when it comes to deceivers, false prophets, false Christs, and antichrists. There’s quite a mélange of deception, and if you don’t know the Shepherd’s voice, it will be difficult to remain standing.

By what John relates, even during his day, there were individuals who infiltrated the brethren with the singular purpose of deceiving them and leading them astray. This is what he means by those who came out of us because they were not of us. They left the fellowship of the saints because they were never of the fellowship of the saints.

And that’s one way of looking at it: individuals who stray, those who return to the world and the things thereof, were never of the household of faith, to begin with. They were just goats pretending to be sheep hoping to get sheep to become goats, and when it didn’t go as planned, they went on to find new opportunities. At least, John is asserting this when discussing those who strayed.

I’d be perfectly content with ending this train of thought here if not for the fact that those Jesus will say He never knew, prophesied, cast out demons, and did wonders in His name. Those absent intellectual curiosity will likely shrug their shoulders here and say they did those things by the powers of darkness. Still, biblically we know that the devil doesn’t set about destroying his own kingdom.

Coke doesn’t do promo tours for Pepsi, and Nike doesn’t encourage you to buy Reebok. Devils don’t cast out devils, and Satan doesn’t prophesy and do wonders in Christ’s name.

And that’s the philosophical question I’ve been grappling with for a few days now: Was the casting out of devils, the doing of wonders, and the prophesying a long con on the devil’s part? Was he just seeding soil so he could reap a harvest, or did individuals give in to lawlessness and worldliness because they ceased being watchful?

It is feasible that at some point throughout their life, both a sheep and a hog end up in the mud pit. The difference between the two is that the hog loves the mud, while the sheep does its best to extricate itself from it.

When a sheep stumbles, its singular purpose is to get back up and continue following after the Shepherd. A swine’s only focus is to find the next mud puddle he can jump into. How do you know whether or not you have laid hold of the promise? If the mud feels natural to you, if you enjoy it, if every fiber of your being isn’t screaming for you to get out of it, perhaps you are something other than a sheep who hears the Shepherd’s voice.

If you’re reading these words, know it’s not too late. You can still be His, truly His. You can still Hear His voice, follow Him, and know that you possess the promise of eternity. You can know it with the certainty that a sheep knows its shepherd will lead it to still waters and green pastures.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr. 

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