In the western world we use the mind to understand, reason and memorize facts. This is known as natural understanding. Yet the Bible specifically says to lean not towards your own (natural) understanding!
This is because the Lord God is Spirit and truth, so we must know him, and follow him in spirit and truth, not just our filing systems between our ears! In the 1960’s you had the Jesus movement, and people got into Jesus, yet often times Jesus was not “into” them! This is an age-old problem of believing in something, yet the belief system, like a philosophy, has no power over sin! This is called being religious, and although certain philosophies are much more beneficial than others in our personal lives, they should never be confused with actually receiving and abiding in Christ, who has power over sin!
The most tragic part of any belief system, is that people truly believe they are in the right place – when in truth, they may not be! Satan appeals to the mind, the eye, the soul and emotions to have his way with us, yet he does not care for us, only furthering his own cause which is to be lord and god over all the creation.
Yet the Lord God, who is the creator of heaven and earth, chooses out of humanity (before the creation) a people for himself, to move and operate in to bring glory to himself and his eternal purposes alone! God is good, as God is Holy, and he cannot be in the presence of sin! The love the Lord God has, was the action, of giving his only begotten son (the second Adam) as an atonement for sin, for the ones God has chosen to do a work of Salvation within. You can’t “sign up” for Jesus, it is the work of the Holy Spirit alone, in convicting us of our need for him, because of sin. This spiritual work – which only the Lord does, is known as sanctification, which is a separating out from the world, the flesh and our sin natures, which all humanity has suffered and are born with. This is why it is by Grace we are saved, in whom the Lord starts a work in. I have found that a child who is sown into the world as wheat, will always suffer rejection by the world: by are those sown into the world as tears or weeds.
After man fell from life and grace (separation) by being tempted to sin by Satan, in “willful disobedience to him” thus caused independence of God, just like we have the ability to do after our initial repentance and regeneration . This independence from God is called death, (for a born again believer it spells spiritual death – eventually, if there is no repentance). The rest of humanity continues to suffer this (separation) death to God, and will suffer physical destruction after the judgment.This continued willful separation from God (by the ones who have been given a chance at eternal life), inherently produces spiritual death, and although there is but one Christ and one Salvation, the disciple must continue to abide in the life-giving sap of the vine, the bad fruit is cut off and pruned, yet if the branch continues to dry up and die, it too is ultimately cut off and burnt!
We must have a love for the truth, (who is Jesus Christ within us) should we ultimately hope to finish with Christ, and further enter into the kingdom of heaven, which Jesus taught was within us now!
All Christian doctrine that I am familiar with teaches Salvation by Grace alone, as this is the Lord God’s work within us which produces growth and fruit in our lives, which is unquestionably correct! Yet other doctrines emphasize that anyone can be saved (from sin) and a type of legalism of do this – but not that, is preached! Still other doctrines will teach that real believers (the good ground) are the only true elect, and therefore the only ones who can hope to finish the race. Yet the Apostle Paul spoke about, when he pushed on in for the prize, as to not becoming disqualified!
Both these belief systems (doctrines) cannot possibly both be correct, which means there is error in one or both. So how do we discern the truth? We do this by abiding in Christ, and letting him show us! Not by compiling all the texts together and combing through them by natural intellect. Paul understood this principle, he called those that didn’t abide in Christ, enemies of the cross. John said that there where those who started with us, yet became diverted to a different Gospel. The different Gospel is walking in independence from going to the Lord: (The Old Testament is full of examples of this). After Pentecost, this is what John called the “Spirit” of antichrist! So then the “Spirit” of antichrist, is the same as the “Spirit” of error. It is really quite simple for those who abide in Christ, and don’t walk in independence (which is sin) apart from the Lord in their natural understanding. No man-made institution can teach one these truths, it is learned by our spirits – otherwise after millenniums it would have already taken root, and you can bet Satan would have tried to counterfeit it!
This shows that the physical world, and all living creatures have been affected by sin and imperfection with the exception of the “Second Adam”, God incarnate – “Jesus Christ”. Without whom no man will see God! He is the way, the truth, and the life, and without Him, humanity is stuffed!
The actions of the Cross, was the victory over sin (separation from God), and on a spiritual level, Satan IS defeated! Yet on the carnal level, the struggle continues and we who have started with Christ, must continue to abide in him for a renewal of our “spiritual strength and life” not just our natural understanding.
This is why I always say, that you cannot teach someone into Jesus!
It is a matter of heart, will we walk with him (the ones who’ve been given the chance to become the sons and daughters of God), or will we not? Everything in the world is a potential distraction in moving further and further away from our Lord. This is what the disciples all understood sometime after the day of Pentecost, even Peter.
That’s why the greatest of the commandments is to love the Lord thy God first, before all else!
Jesus did not come to do away with this law, he came to fulfill it!