Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Whom Do We Know?



Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the Father loves whoever has been born of him. -- 1 John 5:1



Yesterday it seemed that we had caught a little glimpse of a separation that could easily escape our notice if we are too sloppy with our thinking and language.  We'll do a little skipping around but maybe we'll get the point:



It must be understood, that when the Bible talks about believing that Jesus is the Son of God, as a proof of God’s grace in the heart, the Bible means not a mere agreement with the truth, but another kind of believing. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” (1 John 5:1) This other kind of believing is called “the faith of God’s elect and the knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness.” (Titus 1:1) There is a spiritual holding to the truth, which will be explained later on.
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The Bible does not state how much people in this world may see God’s glory, and not have God’s grace in their hearts. We are not told exactly to what degree God reveals himself to certain people, and how much they will respond in their hearts. It is very tempting to say that if a person has a certain amount of religious experience, or a certain amount of truth, they must be saved. Perhaps it is even possible for some unsaved people to have greater experiences than some of those who have grace in their hearts! So it is wrong to look at experience or knowledge in terms of amount. Men who have a genuine work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts have experiences and knowledge of a different kind.
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Imagine the situation of the demons. They know they are unrestrained in their wickedness. They know God is their enemy and always will be. Although they are without any hope, still they are active and fighting. Just think, what if they had some of the hope that people have? What if demons, with their knowledge of God, had their wickedness restrained? Imagine if a demon, after all his fears about God’s judgment, was suddenly led to imagine that God might be his Friend? That God might forgive him and let him, sin and all, into heaven? Oh the joy, the wonder, the gratitude we would see! Would not this demon be a great lover of God, since, after all everybody loves people who help them? What else could cause feelings so powerful and sincere? Is it any wonder, that so many people are deceived this way? Especially since people have the demons to promote this delusion. They have been promoting it now for many centuries, and alas they are very good at it.

Now we come to the question, if all these various experiences and feelings come from nothing more than demons are capable of, what are the kinds of experiences that are truly spiritual and holy? What do I have to find in my own heart, as a sure sign of God’s grace there? What are the differences that show them to be from the Holy Spirit?

The demons and damned in hell do not now, and never will experience even the tiniest bit of this. Before their fall, the demons did have this sense of God. But in their fall, they lost it, the only thing they could lose of their knowledge of God. We have seen how the demons have very clear ideas about how powerful God is, his justice, holiness, and so on. They know a lot of facts about God. But now they haven’t a clue about what God is like. They cannot know what God is like any more than a blind man can know about colors! Demons can have a strong sense God’s awesome majesty, but they don’t see his loveliness. They have observed His work among the human race for these thousands of years, indeed with the closest attention; but they never see a glimmer of His beauty. No matter how much they know about God (and we have seen that they know very much indeed) the knowledge they have will never bring them to this higher, spiritual knowing what God is like. On the contrary, the more they know about God, the more they hate Him. The beauty of God consists primarily in this holiness, or moral excellence, and this is what they hate the most. It is because God is holy that the demons hate Him. One could suppose that if God were to be less holy, the demons would hate Him less. No doubt demons would hate any holy Being, no matter what He was like otherwise. But surely they hate this Being all the more, for being infinitely holy, infinitely wise, and infinitely powerful! This is the answer: those feelings and experiences which are good signs of God’s grace in the heart differ from the experience of demons in their source and in their results.

Their source is the sense of the overwhelming holy beauty and loveliness of the things of God. When a person grasps in his mind, or better yet, when he feels his own heart held captive by the attractiveness of the Divine, this is an unmistakable sign of God’s working.


When we see God in His beauty, the beauty of His truth, His holiness, and His grace then we are saved.  It is not faith about God but faith IN God. 

How about a musical interlude for Humpday?  I'll tell you one thing, Jesus has done His part.  If I don't make it, It's Nobody's Fault But Mine



The Dixie Hummingbirds -- that's the way you do it.

2 comments:

Don Johnson said...

Ah, that was just the eyeglass prescription update I needed. I can see clearly now the rain has gone...

But seriously, it's so too easy for me to lose perspective on the bright thread - it's a daily renewal and reminder that it's there. :-)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

False gods are petty, pridefull, envious, jealous and chock full of hate.
They hate anything and anyOne who challenges their power, snd it's nobody's fault but theirs.
This is what happens when one not only ignores truth, wisdom and goodness but also attacks it.

And you are right, Mush, it's never enough.
Elevating the self above God leads to an insatiable hunger that will never be satisfied or appeased.
And like a cancer or deadly virus this only leads to death of the host.

The walking dead is very real.

The only cure is to embrace truth, goodness and beauty, and to embrace Who it comes from.
Excellent post, Bro!