How understanding our exaltation in Christ in the future affects our present walk.
What do people know about you?
Paul said to the Philippians, “Let people you come into contact with be getting to know by personal experience your leniency.” Philippians 4:5
That’s my translation. The Greek word translated leniency means “the quality of being more merciful or lenient than expected.” Do people know that about you? Does this sound hard? Don’t worry about it because Paul follows that up immediately with “the Lord is at hand.”
In other words, God will help you implement this as you let your mind dwell at regular intervals on the truths that relate to this dispensation of grace.
Grace produces the most precious characteristics humankind has ever known.
Christ Without Organized Religion…
Since many make appeals to you to join a religious organization called a church, I will make one telling you that you don’t need to join one at all.
Many are dissatisfied with and turning away from organized religion, commonly called “the church.” They insist that the church has nothing to offer them and that its association with ridiculous beliefs, questionable moneyed interests, its associations with nationalism, and politics is leading them into areas they simply don’t want to be involved in. They do not like the elaborate rituals which more and more become characteristic of what the churches call worship. They are rebelling, and rightfully so, against creeds with reprehensible articles imposed upon them from human sources who pretend to lord over others in the “religious” realm. Because of things like this, they are turning from the church.
And the tragedy is that many of these now feel that there is nothing for them but agnosticism and unbelief. “It is unmistakable that today,” according to one, “there prevails a far-reaching mistrust of everything that has to do with the Church, even among such as are quite open to the gospel of Jesus Christ. We must not forget that the idea of the Church is heavily compromised by nineteen hundred years of Church history, and the churches have accumulated obstacles between Jesus Christ and the individual person which are often impossible to surmount.”
Those who see the problems with organized religion have been so long trained to think that he or she can’t be “right with God” apart from the human institution, it never enters into their minds that it is possible to find true happiness in God apart from organized religion, so they give up God altogether. But, those who have tried the church-centered life and found it lacking should try the Scripture-based Christ-centered life instead – a religionless Christianity. Those who are giving up being churchmen, should try being Christians. It will greatly help you if you can embrace the idea that church-connections aren’t Christ-connections.
There are many who are Christians in every Biblical sense of the word, and yet they are Christians wholly apart from all institutions and organizations that are called churches. Any person can enjoy God’s fellowship wholly apart from organized religion. I claim to be one of these. In fact, I am convinced that the only way I can live out my life as an active believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is to do it apart from organized religion. This course alone permits me to give Him the preeminence in all things. I would heartily recommend this way of life to others. I would advise them that if they see fit to give up the church, they do not need to give up Jesus Christ. He is available to all people without ritual, clergy, or clubs.
Scripture, rightly divided, is not only necessary, but it is enough.
Ur’s Death-Pits: Ghoulish Monuments To The Pagan “Afterlife” Theology.
In the early 1920s, archeologists uncovered over 2,000 tombs from ancient Ur – the place God called Abram out of. The great archeologist and historian, Sir Leonard Woolley, believes they were the graves of wealthy aristocrats if not kings. He describes one of the most disturbing tombs he came across (see his sketch below).
“In it lay the bodies of six men-servants and sixty-eight women; the men lay along the side by the door, the bodies of the women were disposed in regular rows across the floor (all of them richly dressed in the style of their mistress), every one of them lying on her side with legs slightly bent and hands brought up near the face, so close together that the heads of those in one row rested on the legs of those in the row above.”
Were these ritually killed against their wills to serve their masters in the fictitious afterlife? Did they willingly die because of their religious beliefs? I don’t know. But what I do know is that their deed was inspired by their creed.
This “death pit”, this bone-chilling, awful, ghoulish scene, reminds us as to why God called Abram out of Ur. God wanted Abram, through his faith, to produce a people who would live as lights in the dark idolatrous world leading these nations into the knowledge of the true and living God. Abram’s faith exposed the false teaching of the afterlife, the gods, and of the common views of the nature of man.
Let us be similar lights in our day.