Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The End Justifies the Means Theology


Let us lay a foundation here before I make a case that the western church and believers en masse have followed a path of least resistance and even employed unscriptural means to achieve a desired end. First, nowhere in the New Testament does it teach that we can use any method to achieve something that we deem as right. In other words, if we see something that is wrong, or if we see something that should be changed, we do not have the liberty to engage that wrong with another wrong. In essence we must walk in the Spirit and not the flesh.

Gal.5: 16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.

There is no wiggle room here, and we must then assess everything through the unvarnished prism of God’s Word regardless of how absurd it seems. In fact, even when obeying God’s Word and walking in the Spirit seems like it will not accomplish what we believe needs to be done, we are still debtors to the Word and not our strategies. Sometimes this seems easy, but there are times where it requires a complete and illogical surrender to God’s Word even though our minds cannot understand how that can be effective. And in these last days those scenarios will become more and more prevalent.

But we must live upon this foundation: The end results are God’s business and not ours. That is a very difficult concept to grasp much less live. We as humans and especially in this culture of human effort and achievement are not only prone to depending completely upon our own plans and energies, but we have come to the place where we even think that is God’s will. And the real conundrum is that when we do achieve some desired results through our own schemes and power, then we learn to make them our template. And it does not take too long before we are walking in the religious flesh attempting to do good for God by the arm of the flesh.

And with so little time devoted to prayer it only adds to the necessity of operating in the flesh. We make a plan, use all kinds of worldly methods to achieve it, and then we ask God to bless it. Instead of praying and waiting on the Lord we set out on our own doing what things we think God wants. And the western church operates almost without exception within that scenario. We as westerners have been taught from birth to see something and go after it with all our might. We who were active in sports learned that principle and then we have brought it into the church.

But that principle is correct. The problem is that what we see needs to be completely through the vision if God’s Word and “going after it” requires prayer and love and humility and self denial and everything that follows and imitates Christ. You see? The principles that works in the world must never be dragged into the church. God ways are not our ways, and when we rely on our own excitement and energy and visions we quickly surrender the power of the Spirit for the power of the flesh.

The difference between the flesh and the Spirit is the difference between following Jesus and following ourselves. But make no mistake, the flesh is very crafty and can morph into all kinds of things including presenting itself as good and moral and even spiritual. But the flesh is the energy of death. And when we walk in the flesh we walk in death even though we might be saved. But the church has seen how the world operates and we have believed a lie.

We now believe things will change by the power of legislation and the democratic process and even war. And when we seek change through earthly vehicles we lend our minds and hearts to that which is perishing. And without realizing it our eyes become fixated upon the temporal and the things that are eternal become doctrinal resource material and not the exclusive power in our lives. We seek to change the culture which has never been our spiritual calling. And we think God doesn’t see what is happening or that He needs us to fix things? God forbid we walk in that delusion. By our words and actions we impugn the sovereignty of God and make the gospel of no effect. While we correctly reprove men like Joel Osteen for their worldly messages, we ourselves are caught up with politics and nationalism and all sorts of mindless conspiracy theories. The voting booths are full and the prayer closets are empty.

So let us view this through the Spirit but also in practical terms. We must start with what do our eyes see, and our ears hear, and what do our hearts desire? We are told several times to keep our eyes upon Jesus, and the moment we look at earthly issues and the constant machinations of man then we will soon be caught in its undertow. The Spirit urges and beckons and leads, while the world shouts and pushes and bullies. We must see with the eyes of faith the kingdom of God. We must look through eternity rather than the ever changing temporal issues. It is a discipline of the Spirit and it cannot be done by a partial surrender to the flesh.

Just what is the “end” for a believer? Our primary calling is twofold: To preach the gospel to every creature and to be transformed into the image of Christ. That is some heavy lifting, my dear brethren. And when you take that in thoroughly, then hopefully you can see that only spiritual ways can achieve spiritual results which please our Father. And the way of the Spirit can never include violence, greed, idolatry, self promotion, or earthly allegiances. It is a very curious thing about the life in the Spirit. The means are always in the Spirit, and the end belongs to God. And therein lies the peace which passes all understanding which keeps our hearts and minds on Christ Jesus our Lord.

Phil.4: 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

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