Summary: Man tries to say there are saints and non-saints, but Paul says, all who are in Christ are saints. Man says, there are clergy and lay people. Paul says to the Philippians, you are partners with me in the Gospel.
Chuck Swindoll was told this true story of Joe Gibbs, head coach
of the Washington Red Skins. Joe's friend Frank looked out the
window one morning and there was his faithful Labrador Retriever
sitting on the front porch with something hanging from the dog's
jaws. A closer look revealed it was his neighbor's pet rabbit. Frank
panicked-what was he to do? His mind raced through the options,
and landed on one he thought was best.
He pulled the rabbit from his dogs mouth, and brought it into his
kitchen. He washed off all the dirt and gunk. Then he too it into the
bathroom and pulled out the hair dryer and blew the dead creature
until it was nice and fluffy. For a dead rabbit it looked quite nice.
That night after dark Frank crawled over the back fence and placed
the dead rabbit back in his cage. He then slipped back through the
darkness, hopped the fence, and breathed a sigh of relief. His scheme
seemed perfect until the next morning when there was a loud
banging on his front door. When frank opened it, there was his
neighbor with the dead rabbit clutched in his hand. "Frank," he
said, "we have a real sicko in the neighborhood. My rabbit died
three days ago and I buried it in the back. Some nut dug it up and
cleaned it off, and stuck it back in the hutch."
You can just imagine how stupid Frank must have felt in hearing
the facts which totally altered his whole perception of reality. He
had totally misread the evidence and assumed his dog had killed the
rabbit. It is amazing how we can turn reality into fiction by not
knowing the facts. Most of the major divisions of history that put
men at odds with one another are based on this demonic inspired
ability to jump to conclusions without the facts. Men are forever
trying to make divisions where the Word of God is making unity.
Men often live in a world of fiction of their own making, and not the
real world that God has made.
Man tries to divide the more female feeling approach to life, and
the more male intellectual approach, and thus, separate the head
and the heart. Paul makes all who so think feel stupid, for he links
the two together as one, and says that love is to abound more and
more in knowledge. Man tries to divide life into the good things and
the bad things-the positive events, and the negative events. But Paul
says that this neat classification is an exercise in futility, for God
uses the bad things and negative events for our good, and His glory.
You cannot compartmentalize life and keep the good and bad
separate, for going to prison was the way God advanced the Gospel
through Paul. The good and bad are linked together.
Man tries to separate the bad preachers from the good ones by
focusing on their motives, but Paul says that what matters is not the
motive, but the message, and so all the differences are not the issue,
but the unity of all who preach Christ. The fact of the united
message changes the whole picture of how you see the great
variations and divisions of the church. Man is constantly looking for
ways to divide and separate. God is looking for constant ways to
link and unite. Division is the goal of man, but unity is the goal of
Man tries to say there are saints and non-saints, but Paul says, all
who are in Christ are saints. Man says, there are clergy and lay
people. Paul says to the Philippians, you are partners with me in the
Gospel. There is no division in Christ. Man says, there is male and
female in Christ, but Paul says, there is neither male nor female, and
in 4:3 he says, the women equally contended for the Gospel at his
side. Paul says, you cannot even divide between God and man, for
in chapter 2 he says, God became man, and in Jesus Christ the
divine and the human were linked forever as one. Men love to
distinguish between what is human and what is divine less in mixing
the two the divine gets contaminated. Apparently God was not
worried about this, for He sent His Son to enter wholly into human
nature. We don't have to worry that God will be offended by
linking man to Him as partner.
It is true that man at best is sinful, and God is holy, and some
things don't mix well, like gas and water; sin and holiness. We don't
want to pretend like many cults do, that man is God. There will be
an eternal distinction between man and God, and man will never be