Summary: For all our exposure to the Bible, we Christians do pick up some incredible, often self-justifying, but ruinous theories about God.
Oh Christian, where did you learn that?
For all our exposure to the Bible, we Christians do pick up some incredible, often self-justifying, but ruinous theories about God. Some of the more common theories include:
The Christian who says “I don’t really consult God, I don’t know what discernment means, I simply assume that everything that happens to me is directly or indirectly from God”
We are born-again Christians but just like the unsaved, we always do our own thing. We walk by sight in the spiritual emptiness of our own intellects. Other than knowing in our hearts that God forgave our past sins because of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross (which knowledge was actually revealed to us by God’s Spirit) we insist everything else must come to us through our natural senses and be capable of being initially understood by our reasoning natural mind.
Consequently, since we only believe what we can see, we are largely circumstance driven and ruled people. When things go well we are O.K. but when things go wrong, which is most of the time, we remain on the unhappy treadmill of trying to fix our circumstances. So, we become “If only I had a better or change of _______ (car, house, spouse, job, appearance etc.) I would be happy” type of people. Even when we achieve our “If only I had”, it remains a mystery to us why we quickly again aren’t truly happy.
Even though the Bible says that “The whole world is under the control of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19 NIV), we stubbornly hold the view that God is in control and everything that happens to me, good or bad, must be from God. The Bible’s teachings that Christians are to discern, as in hear from God, what things are of the world, or of the flesh, or of the devil, and therefore not of God but to be resisted, are foreign to us. We don’t believe its possible to know God’s will before acting, therefore we plough on hoping that if something is not God’s will He will somehow forcibly stop us from doing it (even though He didn’t stop Adam and Eve). As a result most of our decisions and choices are outside and contrary to the will of God. When we end up suffering because of our own choices, which were without God’s input, we might religiously claim that we are suffering for Christ. Needless to say we’re not very eager to share our type of Christianity with others.
1 Cor 6:9 ...Do not be deceived...
The Christian who says “I tried standing on the (written) promises of God, but it didn’t work, for you just never know with God and besides you’re not really supposed to know”.
We are Christians who have been around awhile and we’ve seen a thing or two. We believe that the Bible is the word of God and sometimes even try our best to stand on scripture promises that we think apply to our case. When things don’t work out as we had hoped we either assume that it just must not have been God’s will, or we get very discouraged and either secretly or openly conclude that God’s promises just don’t work.
We are quick to pass on to others whenever we hear of someone who was “a good Christian” who tried standing on one of God’s promises and it didn’t work. We are now like others who say you never can really know with God, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t; we just don’t see the relevance of faith. Even though Jesus said “According to your faith be it unto you” and “Whatever you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them and you shall have them” – Mat. 9:29, Mark 11:24. We believe, based on our experience, that it’s presumptuous to say you’re believing God for something. Also we think that to say such things takes away from God’s sovereignty and puts Him in the position of responding to our will rather than our responding to His will. (We don’t allow of course for the possibility that God in His Sovereignty could personally give us a promise, and the faith to believe Him for its fulfillment). We basically prefer to judge God and His promises based on our own experiences and those of others close to us, rather than to re-examine our circumstances in the light of God’s word as revealed to us by His Spirit.
We have never seriously considered either of the following two realities:
(a) If you give me a list of all the things you might say to me and promise me
sometime in my life, but have not actually said to me yet, that it would be very unwise of me to select something from that list and try and stand on it and make it come to pass - until you had in fact said it to me. So it is with the Bible – in one sense this is a list of all the sayings of God, sayings that God may at some point say to me but hasn’t yet. If I then pick a promise from the list and try to stand on it, but God hasn’t yet spoken it to me personally, is it then fair for me to judge God when inevitably the promise doesn’t come to pass? Only the Spirit of God can breathe life into a dead written word of scripture and cause it to become a spoken living word to me personally which I then hear inaudibly in my heart. Christianity is a relationship with a living God.