Bad Christians. Good Pagans.

good-evil

Take a look around. Notice the people who are always smiling, always encouraging one another, always standing up for peace, love and justice, making sure that the vulnerable are protected, the weak supported, and everyone that needs food or clothing or shelter is taken care of.

You guessed it. Those are the Christians.

Now look at everyone else, the pagans. They are ignorant, arrogant, greedy, hateful and vicious, wanting nothing more than to shake their fists at God, and spoil his good Creation. 

While this may sound ridiculous, you’ll find variations of this point of view in every Christian denomination. I wouldn’t call it prejudice, exactly. But definitely an us-and-them mentality.

When I was young, I remember there being some doubt as to the eternal destination of my grandparents. This was a serious issue for me. I prayed every night that God would save them. But there was one thing that bothered me—my grandparents were good people. They had one of the best marriages I’d ever seen.

As I grew older, my fundamentalist worldview was seriously challenged by an honest look at the world around me. It was hard for me to watch children and think of them as wicked, God-hating, fallen creatures. As far as I could tell, they seemed genuinely innocent, honest and generous, especially when compared to their parents.

I learned about Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist preacher, who did so much good for so many people. He was shot while secretly smoking cigarettes outside a motel room that he was sharing with a woman who was not his wife.

I learned about Gandhi, a man who admired Christ, especially the Sermon on the Mount. But when asked about conversion, he said, “To be a good Hindu also means that I would be a good Christian. There is no need for me to join your creed to be a believer in the beauty of the teachings of Jesus or try to follow His example.”

Was Gandhi right? Can other religions simulate the same sense of consecration, transformation, purpose and destiny that most Christians feel? Can an atheist have moral nobility, a quality marriage and a genuine love for other people?

The doctrine of Total Depravity, based on Augustine’s concept of Original Sin, states that every person born into this world is morally corrupt, enslaved to sin and is, apart from the grace of God, utterly unwilling and unable to embrace the message of Christ for salvation.

The Synod of Dordrecht (1618), which officially codified the TULIP theology, stated that, at the Fall, humanity “became involved in blindness of mind, horrible darkness, vanity, perverseness of judgment, became wicked, rebellious, obdurate in heart and will and impure in his affection.”

It’s like a group of people came together and decided that one set of people are red and the other are blue, though, to me, an honest look at humanity seems to prove that we are all various shades of purple.

I spent some time searching the internet, hoping to understand how people who accept the conclusions of the Synod of Dordrecht justify the apparent disconnect between Total Depravity and the millions of generous, loving people outside the Church.

The responses I found revolved around these two questions: Who are we to challenge God’s analysis of the human heart? Who are we to question the plain truth of Scripture?

They might have a point. According to the Bible, every human being inherits a state of spiritual death, a debilitating separation from the life of God, perverting their moral compass (Psalm 51:5, Psalm 58:3, Ephesians 2:1-5). The human heart is naturally perverse, hostile toward God (Jeremiah 17:9, John 3:19, John 8:34, Rom. 3:10-11, 8:7). To the unregenerate, wrong will always seem right, and right will always seem wrong (Prov. 14:12, John 8:44).

Christians, however have been transferred from this state of depravity into the kingdom of life and light (Acts 26:17, Col. 1:13, I Peter 2:9, Eph. 5:8). They have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of them, allowing them to share the heart and mind of Christ, giving each of them supernatural abilities and divine character qualities (I Cor. 2, Rom. 8, Col. 1:11, Gal. 5:22-24).

If these verses mean what they say, shouldn’t we see an unmistakable contrast between God’s people and the rest of the world? If not, does this undermine the authority of Scripture or the reliability of our faith?

In my next post, I will try to justify all this purple with the red and blue claims of Scripture. In the meantime, I’d like to hear your thoughts.

How do you feel about this inconvenient truth?

7 thoughts on “Bad Christians. Good Pagans.

  1. Wow,

    Awesome topic. Thanks for taking the plunge. There was some thoughts I wanted to share on your “predestination” post, but taking care of my aunt’s dog prevented me from responding, at the time, but this post also is very relevant. Time prevents me right now as I really need to organize somethoughts before posting, but looking forward to sharing and hearing more thoughts from you and other posters.

    But just to get the ideas rolling, I think one point is that something that God has been helping me understand is that death came by sin and sin is just doing the opposite of how God asks us to be. That does not mean a non-believer is incapable of doing something good, it just means that sin taints our lives whether big or small, direct or indirect.

    The analogy God used to help me understand this is a cup full of water:

    There are theee cups of water. One is half gasoline, half water. The second is 99% water, 1% gasoline. The third is 100% water.

    He asked me: “Which one would you drink?”

    The 100% water obviously. He asked why not the others?

    Well even if I did not know it was gasoline mixed with water, the first cup will obviously look like there is something wrong. The second is deceptive because it does not look wrong. It might have a trace of a weird taste, but I would have dismissed if I did mot know ahead of time it is poisonous.

    God’s answer was, “remember that before the fall what I made was ‘very good’ this is what I wanted all creation, including humanity, to experience. But any deviation from keeping My commandmets will create sin which leads to pain and suffering, what even the world would call ‘evil’, today. Notice the bad tree was called ‘the knowledge of good &evil. Even the tiniest drop will kill you. It’s just a matter of how fast. If you kept drinking water with 1% gasoline for a week. At first you may feel okay but it will get to you, not as fast as the half&half but it will get to you eventually. Plus on the outside it does not look like there is anything wrong so it is deceptive as there is some good and evil mixed together. This is how satan ensnares people through pride.”

    And thinking about it it made a lot of sense. One thing God helped me realize is that no matter how “good” one may try to be if it is done for the wrong reasons it is not really good.

    Like in Hinduism or Buddhism. What is the point of being “good”? To get good “karma” which will help to eventually become enlighten and realize the “so-called” (using my fingers sarcastically) god-state that we are all gods and must become transcendent. Put here is te problem.

    One by karma’s definition we are being good to receive, ao it is really for a selfish reason. And we take confort in knowing bad things will happen to evil doers, so it is revengful and passive-aggressive hate.

    Plus if we are gods or become God, that means we make the rules, and if we make the rules, that certainly will not solve the sin problem as that is basically what this world is today: selfishness, revenge, hate, man thinking we are God – in other words: pride.

    Sounds just like the oldest lie in the Book just wrapped in a slightly different package:

    Genesis 3:4-5
    “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    Maybe on the surface it may seem like Karma is the same thing taught by Christ, but it really is not. This is why Christianity is not just moralism.

    God asks us to do what is right simply for the reason that it is the right thin to do. And that this is our joy to do the will of our Father, not to get something, but to do it out of love. To love our neighbors because it is the right thing to do, not because there is some cosmological system of getting even where the universe will give us like $10000, or big house, or our dream spouse, if we be good. Is it really being good if we are doing it to fulfill lusts?

    This is why God is helpig me to understand through His discipline that I had understood Christianity so incorretly.

    I remember Him asking me, “what is Heaven?”

    My answer at thetime was something like this, “a place where we all get mansions and there is no suffering and we just have fun all day.”

    God’s answer was, “So, your telling Me, Heaven is a place were for eternity you can fulfill all your wordly lusts and not face the consequences. Seeing as so long as people do not follow My Narrow Way, everyone’s definition of fun is different, if I left you to your own devises, Heaven would devolve into the basest regions of hell real quick. I mean is this not what happened on earth?”

    Felt like an anvil had been dropped on me. The weight of truth that God discplined me with was heavy, but I could not deny it. Needed some serious repentance and forgiveness.

    If we look at what Christianity has turned into today alongside just general secularism, we can see they are really two sides of the same coin. A far cry from the truth.

    God is helping me realize that is how the devil gets people. The devil takes a lie and mixes to varying degrees with truth and at the end of the day we are left with nothing but lies arguing and squabbling in confusion about which one is right. All of them feel intuitively like there is something right about them, but we cannot demy the cotradictions so we choose to ignore them, and believe with blind faith and fiercely defend our beliefs if challenged and get offended causing more chaos. But at the end of the day, when the real truth is revealed by Christ it puts all to shame, and instread of repenting we are bogged down now in traditons, vanity, and plain old just choosing our sin and lust and not wanting to admit we were wrong because of pride.

    It’s like if one gathers 100 people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs into a room and we ask them, “who here thinks they are good?” I think most people will raise their hands. If we ask, “who here thinks maybe they are not good, but overall there good out weighs their bad.” I believe many more will raise their hands.

    But if we said to everyone in the group, we have filmed and recorded everything you ever did, thought, and desired even all the secret things and will post this on facebook and youtube. I think people will have some good memories, but would sooner run for the hills due to shame as I am sure all of us have those secret thoughts, desires, and things we did that we knew were wrong, but did them anyways. So much for being good right. One drop of poison will kill slowly and gallon of poison kills quick, but both kill in the end.

    Point is we judge ourselves and others by flawed sinful standards, but like the drop of gasoline in a cup of water vs the half&half sometimes the sin in some peoples lives is just more noticable.

    Now that being said, if a person does live righteously, blameless before God, will they get into Heaven by works. Of course, God is fair. He even says He judges according to our works, but with the examples above, by His grace, it is clear to me know we are all sinful, not by association to Adam and Eve, but because of the sin in our own personal lives. I know some will say this is heresy, but I believe the Bible truely supports this:

    (Ezekiel 18;1-32)
    “The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying,

    What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge?

    As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

    But if a man be just, and do that which is lawful and right, And hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, neither hath defiled his neighbour’s wife, neither hath come near to a menstruous woman, And hath not oppressed any, but hath restored to the debtor his pledge, hath spoiled none by violence, hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment; He that hath not given forth upon usury, neither hath taken any increase, that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man and man, Hath walked in my statutes, and hath kept my judgments, to deal truly; he is just, he shall surely live, saith the Lord GOD.

    If he beget a son that is a robber, a shedder of blood, and that doeth the like to any one of these things, And that doeth not any of those duties, but even hath eaten upon the mountains, and defiled his neighbour’s wife, Hath oppressed the poor and needy, hath spoiled by violence, hath not restored the pledge, and hath lifted up his eyes to the idols, hath committed abomination, Hath given forth upon usury, and hath taken increase: shall he then live? he shall not live: he hath done all these abominations; he shall surely die; his blood shall be upon him.

    Now, lo, if he beget a son, that seeth all his father’s sins which he hath done, and considereth, and doeth not such like, That hath not eaten upon the mountains, neither hath lifted up his eyes to the idols of the house of Israel, hath not defiled his neighbour’s wife, Neither hath oppressed any, hath not withholden the pledge, neither hath spoiled by violence, but hath given his bread to the hungry, and hath covered the naked with a garment, That hath taken off his hand from the poor, that hath not received usury nor increase, hath executed my judgments, hath walked in my statutes; he shall not die for the iniquity of his father, he shall surely live. As for his father, because he cruelly oppressed, spoiled his brother by violence, and did that which is not good among his people, lo, even he shall die in his iniquity.

    Yet say ye, Why? doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father? When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all my statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

    But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

    But when the righteous turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and doeth according to all the abominations that the wicked man doeth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sinned, in them shall he die. Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Hear now, O house of Israel; Is not my way equal? are not your ways unequal? When a righteous man turneth away from his righteousness, and committeth iniquity, and dieth in them; for his iniquity that he hath done shall he die. Again, when the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive. Because he considereth, and turneth away from all his transgressions that he hath committed, he shall surely live, he shall not die. Yet saith the house of Israel, The way of the Lord is not equal. O house of Israel, are not my ways equal? are not your ways unequal?

    Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord GOD. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.”

    (Jeremiah 7:1-11)
    “The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, Stand in the gate of the LORD’S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.

    Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; And come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and chant, “We are saved (my salvation is by the grace of the Lord)”–only to go right back to all those evils again? Is this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.”

    (Ezekiel 13:12-14)
    “The word of the LORD came again to me, saying, Son of man, when the people of the land sinneth against Me by trespassing grievously against My Law, then will I stretch out mine hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast from it: Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD. ”

    (Matthew 3:7-10)
    But when he saw the crowds and many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire; therefore, bring ye forth fruit worthy of the repentance that ye claimed to have made!”

    So it goes both ways. The righteousness of our forefathers will not save us and the sin of our forefathers will not condemn us. We all have those sins in our lives, we condemn ourselves and we need to repent of because as much we can be in denial about it, the reality is apart from Christ how many of us only have “good” in our lives and not just on the surface level or do we have “good & evil”? In other words living our lives on a foundation of lies. As light has not communion with darkness neither righteousness with sin. As a “half-truth” though it may sound a little more politically correct is another word for “falsehood”.

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    • I have also been entertaining similar thoughts as I try to come up with a convincing answer for my next post. Thanks for all of this. It will help me a lot.

      I always appreciate what you have to say. And I find myself especially intrigued by the analogies you receive from the Lord. They always leave me thinking . . . .

      Like

  2. I was talking to a friend recently about this and she was saying that the Satanist Temple in L.A. has been very active in philanthropy in the city. It drives home this point I think.

    What I’ve come to understand is that it is one thing to act generously, but it is another to do it as an act of a God’s sacrificial love flowing through us. “If I give all I possess to the poor but have not love I gain nothing.” God is looking for a people inhabited by and glorifying Him in unity. The acts are a mark of it. But the oneness that causes them is the real point.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Jenny,

      Tried to reply to your previous comment, but for some reason my computer and phone will not allow the reply button to work for that specific comment. Weird…

      So, hope you do not mind responding to your main comment as to your question:

      “Thanks for this! Tangential question – you learned what heaven is not, but what did you learn it *is*? Very curious!”

      First, I completely agree with your post about about how “God is looking for a people inhabited by and glorifying Him in unity. The acts are a mark of it. But the oneness that causes them is the real point.”

      So far as God has helped me to understand, that is the answer to what Heaven “is”.

      As to specific details I cannot say for certain, but it seems that more often when the Lord would say, “The kingdom of Heaven is like…” He was explaining a lot about how God’s Kingdom operates and less about specifically what we will do (like if we will still need to use the bathroom, for example.)

      While obviously the Bible gives us clues to specifics on what we will do (Christ gives us some specifics, plus the prophets – including Moses in the book of Genesis and John in the book of Revelations, as well as Paul in his epistles), the area God is helping me to understand at this point, is more the “how it functions”. Here is the definition that God is using with me, right now:

      “In a nut shell, Heaven is place where everyone looks to the good of others, before themselves.”

      Another way of saying this is, “The Kingdom of Heaven is place where everyone keeps the commandments of God flawlessly because they genuinely want to do it, not because they are being forced to, but of out of our own volition we genuinely want to keep His commandments, because we love Him and as a result, if we all did, there would be no pain and suffering.”

      Basically, if we love God with all our hearts, mind, and strength, we will want to obey Him as that is the best way to show our love to Him. Why? Because there is nothing the creation can ever can do to give God anything He does not already own or cannot create Himself. In that sense we are really worthless, since what can we do for Him. But that is the point, He did not make us because there was something to gain for Him, He made us simply because He loves us, period. And as our ultimate Parent He wants what is best for us. By God’s grace as He teaches me, my current understanding is that the reason why He asks us to keep His commandments is not because it boosts His ego because a bunch of little minions are doing what He says, no questions asked. Rather, He gave us His commandments so we would not cause suffering and pain for ourselves and we would be able to abide in His goodness and peace alongside our brothers and sister forever and ever. What can be better than that! ^-^

      An example of this is in the parable of the prodigal son, did the prodigal son suffer? Yes he did. But was it because his dad was a big meanie, or did the suffering come about because he did not obey his father? (It is obviously the latter, not the former.) In other words, he brought about his own self-constructed destruction by not abiding with his father and being faithful in obeying him. Because if he did, the prodigal son would not have suffered to the point of starvation. His father wanted to protect him, not stifle him. When God helped me understand this, it really helped me better understand the issue of suffering in the world. Sometimes non-believers say, “If God is so good, why is there suffering in the world, if He was good He would stop it. Since He does not, He must not care, be powerless to stop it, or not exist.”

      While that might seem logical, in reality it is not. It is circular reasoning. Because we have to remember the sinful lifestyle of the prodigal son who did not obey his father brought suffering upon himself. If he rationalized, “If my father loves me why does he not stop my starvation, since he does not, he must love me; therefore, since he does not care about me, I hate him and will not obey him,” and proceeds to live more rebelliously, he will suffer more, then he will rationalize the same thing, and it becomes a viscous cycle of self-justification. Also, he is forgetting, that his father try to help him even to the point of giving him a huge amount of funds to sustain himself, even the the father had every right to punish his son, for how rude he was being. If the son had wisely used those resources, by using them the way his father taught him to, then he would have not suffered. He suffered because he loved sinful living and reveled in it, until it caught up to him. It was never his dad’s fault. His dad only ever tried to help him. Plus, did the dad send his son away, or did the son go off to a far distant land and cut all ties with his father?

      Based on this, God helped me to understand that the suffering and evil exists in this world not because God is not good, but rather because we do not do the good things He asks to do. Because if everyone did there would be no suffering.

      Anyone who tries to use suffering as an excuse to do away with God is trying to justify sin (maybe not consciously, but it in the end, that is the goal, to justify living life in a way that seems right to our own eyes since we are to prideful to admit we are wrong, or we just want to live sinfully and never face the self-constructed consequences). Because one, if the one who uses this flawed logic’s life is flawless and without sin, then maybe they have a point, but when push comes to shove, all of us have those secret thoughts and desires and things we have done when we thought no one was looking. Plus, beyond the hypocrisy, if one uses this flawed logic to say God does not exist, that means since there is no standard of righteousness, it justifies the sinner to live sinfully. But when the sinner sins, they create suffering (big or small, direct or indirect), and if they use that suffering to try and justify the nonexistence of God, that gives them more reason to sin. Basically, suffering and pain is not God’s fault, it is ours. God is so kind, so humble, so gentle that He does not want to trample on the volition that He gave us (even though He as every right to do so). So, He waits patiently, waiting for us to acknowledge our sin and come to our senses (like the prodigal son eventually did), repent, and return back to Him. Then if we obey Him because we truly love Him, the suffering and pain will also stop.

      So that is the issue at play. If God forces us to do things His way, it will work, but He does not think it is fair that we do not get a choice in the matter. If He gives us a choice, we can royally mess things up (like we already have), but at least a true relationship is possible. So God launched an ingenious plan: Give His creation volition and also provide the method on how not to mess things up (a.k.a: His commandments, The Law).

      While God can make everyone do what He says through force (like mind control), or coercion (like threat of being hit by a lighting bolt), He does not want to do that. Just because He can does not mean He wants to or will. And, yes, God could have made it so we just do good and never do anything else, but then despite everything being hunky-dory we would never really have a “choice” in the matter.

      God’s ultimate demonstration of His love is that He gave us volition. But the problem being if He left us alone without any guidance, there is great chance we will mess something up (think: trying to take care of a pristine garden without any idea that plants need water: would be a disaster). So He gave us His commandments as a way of letting us know what to do to maintain the goodness, as a way of not leaving us in the dark, but still gave us the ability to choose, so that we can really have a relationship with Him and each other. So in the end if everyone in the world, right now, chose kept His commandments faithfully we would have world peace and the peace would last so long as no one ever transgressed His commandments again. This is why I am starting to think that the Kingdom of Heaven is just that. It is a place where we can have a genuine, loving relationship with God and our all His Creation. He already demonstrates His love to us, but how do we reciprocate? God gave us the answer: We choose to “love our neighbor as ourselves.” Why? Because if we love God, would we not love and care for that which He loves and cares for?

      One issue in this respect is defining the “Commandments” or “The Law”. In this regard, this entire time, I was not talking about the Levitical law, as we define it today in Christianity or Judaism, but the commandments as taught and demonstrated by Jesus Christ. The Lord even said, “If you love Me, ye shall obey My commandments.” I use to think that was like a threatening condition: If we fail to obey Him, we do not love Him and will be punished instantly. Gave me a lot of stress.

      Now, God has helped me to understand based on the description of true relationship, choice, and goodness discussed above, that Jesus meant that literally. Anyone who keeps God’s commandments freely will do so because they Love Him, and as you mentioned it is outward actions that reveal where the heart is. Not that the works can undo the wrong we have done in our lives, but that the works are the natural outcome of the relationship inside if one is truly saved. Just like an apple tree does not need to strain and toil or it will accidentally produce bananas, a true child of God will not see the commandments of Christ as a burden, but it will be their life’s joy to keep them. Even if they make a mistake it bothers them, because they don’t want to mess up.

      One example He gave me to better understand this is:

      In the past, I use to wonder what Heaven would be like. The idea that we would just do nothing but sing songs to God all day, at the time seemed to me very boring. I remember God addressed it like this:

      God asked me, “Ryan, you remember the Cheruvim that stand before my throne, that say, Holy, Holy, Holy, all the time?

      “Yes, God…”

      “Now Ryan, do you think I force them to be there, and if they stop I will be angry and zap them into oblivion? If for all intends and purposes, they do not need to stand before me saying, ‘Holy’ all the time, what do you think would happen if you went over to them and said:

      You know guys it is okay if you take a break, you know that right?

      or

      doesn’t this getting tiring after a while?

      You know what their response will be?”

      “No, God I don’t… I don’t get it where are you going with this?”

      God answered, “Don’t worry, you will get it, if you hear Me out.

      There response would be something like this:

      What?! Ryan we are not here before the throne of God crying out ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ forever because God is forcing us too, but rather we really want to do this. In fact if someone forced us to stop, we would be depressed. It is the most greatest privilege that God has allowed us to declare his Holiness before His throne. We want nothing less than to do this for all eternity, it is our life’s passion to declare God’s righteousness and His awesomeness. He is soooooo good to us, the least we can do is to let others know how amazing He is.”

      It gave me a real hard jolt, because I had realized that fundamentally, I may have grown up in a church when I was younger, but this helped me to understand that no matter how much one can go to church, do Bible studies, be a philanthropist, morning prayers, devotions, go on missions, etc. we can still miss the entire point about what it really means to follow God and have a relationship with Him: not to do these things out of a mere sense of religiousness, or duty, but because we really just want to because we love Him. Just like He has blessed us and continues to do so, despite our shortcomings, not in approval of our sin, but because He really just wants to let us know He loves.

      He does ask that we stop doing bad things (action, thoughts, and desires) since it is not good for us and our fellow brothers and sisters, but in the end, He really just loves us.

      I realize that was a really long-winded explanation to basically say: Heaven is place where, because we Love the Lord our God with all our hearts, mind, and strength, we shall love our neighbor as ourselves which will result in there only being good like it was prior to sin entering into the Garden of Eden.

      A lot of this I am learning on the fly, and often have difficulty trying to enunciate what I feel would take years to try and explain due to trying to wrap my head around it as I don’t fully get all of it yet either, into these comments sections, but I hope you can forgive me for what seems to be a very unorganized thought process.

      Also, due to time constraints, I was not able to use verse references, in the above paragraphs, but if you would like to discuss this with those, we can do so, just need to take some time, to go find all of them. I have a hard time remembering exact verse references (like Romans 1:2 or something like that) and tend to just remember the words. Plus it may require some more explaining on some issues that God is working on me. The more He teaches, encourages, and disciplines, the more I begin to learn how interconnected everything is and how true doctrine is not a set of isolated principles, but that they them stem one from another in a logical way and it is often difficult explain without a proper sequencing.

      As a final note, when you wrote:
      “I was talking to a friend recently about this and she was saying that the Satanist Temple in L.A. has been very active in philanthropy in the city. It drives home this point I think.”

      Holy Spirit reminded me of this:
      Matthew 7:15-23
      Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

      Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye workers of Lawlessness.

      2 Corinthians 11:13-15
      For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. Therefore it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness, whose end will be according to their deeds.

      Jeremiah 17:10
      But I, the LORD, search all hearts, and examine the secret motives, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

      God Bless

      Like

  3. Pingback: Why Christians Don’t Change | Barnts in the Belfry

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