Saturday, April 05, 2014

The Word Made Flesh

The Word Made Flesh

Was Jesus an inanimate set of truths? Was He a pro forma statement of faith? Or was He a living, breathing manifestation of the Invisible God with a rescue mission of redemption? When the Scriptures declare that the “Word was made flesh”, does that suggest that before He was flesh He was in written form on a heavenly wall? And when we are told that as followers we are “epistles, read of all men” does that mean we are to tattoo the New Testament on our bodies? Now if we can see the fallacies in some of these statements, then we are left with this question:

What is the Word of God and how is it manifested in us? When a sinner believes on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to take up residence in his mortal being. Of course this is a great mystery, but it is a reality nonetheless. The Holy Spirit seals us until the day of our redemption becomes a reality in the life to come, but He also is sent to begin a metamorphosis within that believer which works its way out in observable behaviors that are far different than what had been practiced before. But to put is succinctly, the Spirit begins to mold us into a living, breathing facsimile of our Lord and Master, Jesus. But to take it a sacred step further, the Person of Christ lives within us, and the Spirit begins to crucify what is us in order to allow the resurrected Christ to come forth. Again, an eternal mystery.

But so often the evangelical church has defined itself in terms of what it believes at the expense of how it lives. Gather together 100 average evangelical believers and put them alongside 100 moral unbelievers and you will find precious little which distinguishes between the two groups, to say nothing of observing anything really remarkable in differentiating between them. That should be a shame to us, and in fact, calls into question what we really do believe. And in a subtle effort to soothe our consciences, we as evangelicals wear our statements of faith as a spiritual talisman designed to define us due to the lack of empirical evidence which should be found overwhelmingly in our lives.

We have used and abused the Bible for our own earthly benefit and spiritual self righteousness. The clarion call, “I believe the Bible!” has become a hubristic battle cry which usually exalts the evangelical choir and simultaneously assaults the lost world. But it cannot be ignored that we have to say it loud and clear because our lives are staggeringly insufficient to convey our Biblical adherence without our self serving commentary. Many church signs tout their Bible believing credentials with a spiritual pride that is contrary to the very Bible they profess to believe. In short, the church has become a sort of religious club which is revealed in doctrinal words far greater than it is revealed in remarkable lifestyles that run observably different than the darkness around them. Of course we can always cling to our pro-life stand and our traditional marriage convictions as proof that we “like Jesus”.

But the written Word of God was never meant to be a collection of doctrinal museum pieces that when neatly organized like a theological puzzle we can stand back and admire our work. Of course the Word is God’s truth, but it is not only in the abstract. The Word is powerful, and when allowed to be used by the Spirit it can both save a lost sinner, but also change a saved sinner. And so often when a believer is asked to give his testimony of how God changed his life, he speaks of changes made years ago experienced in the several years following his initial conversion experience. Rarely do we speak of how God changed our lives this year, or this month, or even this very day! How pathetic.

Paul warned the Corinthians against being of Apollos, or of Peter, or of Paul. To be identified with any man is not only unwise, it is unchristian. And yet we say we are Arminian, or Calvinists, or Wesleyan, and other monikers that do not exclusively mention Christ. Or we say we are conservative or fundamental or even evangelical which replace what we should be: Those who remind the world of our Master. And so often the Scriptures are treated as some spiritual algebra book that can only be understood by those with original language credentials. Some dissect the written scriptures down to the atomic level which appeals to the intellect but does little to change the lives of its readers. And many defend their inerrancy doctrine through words and Scriptural evidence without the foundation of a life which authenticates that same inerrancy.

But who among us can stand upon a platform and claim we have arrived? But if we have moved the destination, we then cannot even claim we are on the path which leads to Christlikeness. There is a vast difference between knowing the Word and eating it. A man shows you his pantry full of nutritious foods, well organized and with books that define and categorize all the different foods. He explains the different nutritious values associated with the different foods, and he even shows you how others have compromised their value by redefining the foods and by falsely attributing nutrition to those foods which have none. But since this man is sickly and gaunt, you can safely assume he understands nutrition and has a well organized pantry full of such foods, but he himself is not consuming them.

And such is a reflection of much of the “orthodox” community who have well organized pantries of doctrinal displays, but do not reflect the Christ about whom these pantries are supposed to speak. It is one thing to know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the prophetic significance of that birth, but it is quite another to be resigned to exhibit that same profound humility in our daily lives. It is one thing to recite the golden rule, but it is quite another to actually practice it. It is one thing to believe that Jesus was crucified for the sins of the world, but it is quite another to walk daily in a personal crucifixion. It is one thing to have Louis Sperry Chafer’s systematic theology in your library, but it is quite another to live the demonstrative theology of Jesus.

Perhaps a fresh look at how we view God’s Word might help us to come into agreement with the Spirit’s ministry. And perhaps a fresh comparison between our lives and the life of the Lord Jesus might also break up the doctrinal fallow ground and plant a new and vibrant crop that when watered and nourished could bring a harvest of spiritual fruit that could be labeled, simply, Jesus.

Or we can remain as we are.


Anonymous said...


Been pondering all these things these last few years and trying to adjust a new thinking according to the Word Made Flesh. I have to sort through, throw out the old familiar fundamentalist comfort foods, and begin again.

Am going to have to start the whole bible from beginning to end and ask the Lord to give me new eyes and new heart when I read it. I have to throw out all the unedifying things of the world, and unfortunately, forget 'church' stuff for a season and pretend I'm meeting Jesus again, and it's just HIM all the time.

If I witness to someone (rarely these days), my first impulse is to send them to a bible-believing church, then I wonder if that's the right thing to do. I don't even attend church now; I want to, but can't (something in me just can't formulate what it is). Maybe it's that we must conform and worship alike, follow the status quo and be yes-men to the high-minded pastors. I don't know. But going to church feels like I'm trying to serve men, and not give Christ the glory. Churches today are built for men; how can I witness, then send someone to a church?

I can follow Jesus only right now, and pray that I am worthy of His calling and represent Him to others. It's imperative that nothing stands in the way of us, IMO, and Jesus. Proud men want to mediate for us, and turn a profit (money or fame or a promotion) while doing it.

The only believers of JESUS I will heed are those who don't benefit from this world while doing so. My ears should only hear the Word taught by men who have a passion for setting the church straight and lift Him up, and only Him.

Thank you Lord for this blog and Bro. Rick and my brethren here.


Cherie c. said...

Part one of two:

"Or we can remain as we are."

Oh, but those who are His cannot remain as they are. He won't let them, as you know first hand Pastor Rick.

And if you do remain as you are, perhaps there was never anything real to begin with.

Only Read This If You Don't Want Your Best Life Now:

12 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;

13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

A few years ago I would have testified as described in this post. How I was changes many years ago. But His hand is on me everyday, if I seek Him. His hand blesses and it corrects me. He knows that I am willful and stubborn, and He addresses that.

When I hear that people are so in the Lord, that they are happy and content and nothing ever bothers them, I want to cry. Why? Because He is not in them. The Spirit of God does not work that way. Uh, I am saved, continue as usual. Nope, at least not with me. My life since I was truly saved four years ago, has been 10% content and "happy", whatever happy is, give me His joy every time over happiness; and 90% sorrow, pain, tears, remorse, fear. Not necessarily in that order. But my best life now? Uh, not even close. And you know what? I am okay with it. I know, you want to call the men in white coats, i get it, but you got it all wrong.

Read the Scripture again.

Cherie c. said...

Part two:

The Lord dealt with me again just last night. I awoke at 4am with fear and trembling. I found myself asking for mercy, repenting and knowing that this was just the beginning of what was to come. The next few days He is going to correct my selfish, pushy, disobedient heart. It is not going to be pleasant. But also in my time of prayer, He also gave me a way to get back on track, but I will still have to go through the chastisement. Am I looking forward to it on a fleshly level, no. But on a spiritual level, I am thankful and so unworthy. I don't say that lightly. Someone reading this will not understand because they did not read and drink in the Scripture that i posted. Those who know the Lord know what I am saying, and they too feel likewise. I hope anyway.

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons

He loves me so much that no only did He die for me and take the wrath that I deserve, He also corrects me because He loves me and does not want me to fall. How is that for true Love? You don't think correction from the Lord is love? Well, then, I will pray for you because if He is not correcting you, then you are perishing. Go ahead and take it easy in all you do, and think, and say. Then when you face Him, hold on because you will wish you had been corrected.

I am a bit fearful of what is to come with this, but I also know I deserve what is to come and it will sanctify me more. I do not rebuke the correction, just pray for strength and return more to the Word, which is the very essences of correction. To bring us into submission and into a deeper relationship with the Lord. It is important to know that God will not be mocked, especially by those who profess to know Him.

This post is timely, but then God is always on time and always in control. Pray for me, as I pray for you. To know Him is to love all He has for us, the good, the correction, the isolation and loneliness. But oh, to know one day that I will have the best life now. The real life that He meant for us, not this fake, one time charlie of a life we now live.

Oh, someday I will share what I did. Suffice it to say I didn't break any laws, just acted in self-righteousness that He hates. I too hate it when I look back on it. I may have gotten my way, but it didn't make me happy. For the next day or two, maybe longer, I will live with a remorse so palpable that there is a bitter taste in my mouth. Then I wait for the correction. I will know it when it comes. I will still praise Him, and thank Him that He thinks so much of me to correct me so that I do not perish.


4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

But He has. Halleluiah, Thank You Jesus!

your sister in Christ Jesus