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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Are You a Long Way from Home?

My computer just established a restore point before it would install the Microsoft updates. I suppose these will allow me to return my computer to its previous state if the updates really mess it up. I get these updates regularly. I wonder if that means that there were so many errrors in the original that they haven't found all the bugs or if there are others hacking into their system with such regularity that Microsoft has to keep up with them. I suspect its a lot of both.

I was thinking: Wouldn't it be great if we had a restore point in our lives?

We would be able to return to a previous state no matter how far we get away from the Lord. We would be able to restore the relationships we really damaged. We would be able to completely undo those things that were harmful to ourselves and others. We could go back to when things were fine.

Of course, this really doesn't exist. As they say, "You can't unring a bell."

While instant restoration is impossible, eventual restoration is. However, it is not easy.

Restoration is a realization that there is a problem. I recently visited someone who is incarcerated. That person has realized that there is a problem and is taking necessary steps to eliminate that problem. I hope these steps stick when back on the street.

No problem can be fixed if it is not recognized as a problem. The alcholic must realize that he or she is an alcoholic. The person in tremendous debt must realize that they can't keep spending. The person who is far away from the Lord must realize how far they have gone. Each requires a turn-around but no one turns around without realizing that he is going the wrong direction.

You must know you are a long way from home.

There has to be a desire to go the right direction. Some people know their addictions but have decided that they don't want to live another way. As the adulterous song of old said, "If loving you is wrong; I don't want to be right." Somehow the desire for something sinful made sin less sinful that not getting what is wanted. Of course, wrong things have consequences. Why don't we have songs which tell of the families that are destroyed because people knew what they were doing was sinful and did it anyway?

You must want to go home.

The person wanting to restore what he once had needs help. He first needs the help of the Lord. It will take a commitment and strength beyond his own to restore things. The sinful nature is not eliminated. The reason he got so far away from home is still there. The sinful nature is not overcome on an intellectual or natural level alone. A spiritual element must employed if coming home and staying home is restored.

You must pray to go and stay home.

King David realized how far he had gotten from his Lord after his sin with Bathsheba. He had violated who he was at his core. He had allowed his sinful nature to rule. It resulted in a man's death and his own pretention that nothing was wrong. The prophet Nathan confronted him and he knew what he had done. He wanted to go back. He prayed that God would restore him.

I regularly talk with people who want to come home to their faith. They want to restore things to where they once were. They can come home but it isn't all that easy. It means more than walking down the aisle in church to make a recommitment to Christ. It  takes more than crying a bucket of tears in remorse. It takes true repentance. It takes humility. It takes commitment. It takes a daily walk with the Lord.

But you can come home no matter how far you have gone. Will you?

Psalm 51:9-12 (ESV) 9 Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.


high-expressions said...

Overall, I like this entry of yours, for it is a good perspective and a right perspective pictured from the Word.

The picture given included acknowledgement that:

1) that believers can stray away, and so, it is against those who present to us, that believers are perfectly aligned with God; as if sins and sinning does NOT cause one to be, in any way, farther away from God; that a believer's way of living does NOT impact his nearness to God. Such, of course, flows from such teachings as, “all it matters, for a believer, is the imputed righteousness of Christ, and the right standing; active or volitional righteousness and right living, are cast to wind.”

2) that a believer still needs restoration, and NOT a believer is forever fully restored from his moment of salvation, and so, no more restoration or redemption is ever needed.

3) that a believer can fall away, and at times, it would be really difficult for the person to return, and NOT that a believer can NEVER fall away, on the ground that he was admitted by grace, and SO, he cannot affect the salvation status of his.

Although NO verses were quoted in support of the position taken by Ps Prentis, the overall counsel of the Word does point to correctness of the position taken.

Why do I frequently point out to people, to be careful about skewed teachings of the overly grace preachers or believers? It is precisely because the important questions Ps Prentis asked in his article are given a miss or would NOT ever be asked, under those teachings. What did Ps Prentis ask? These are what he asked:
You must know you are a long way from home.
You must want to go home.
You must pray to go and stay home.
But you can come home no matter how far you have gone. Will you?

All of the above questions would NOT be asked, EVER, for such believers who subscribe to teachings of the overly grace preachers, for under their theology, they are home, nothing, NOT even themselves, can move them anywhere.

It is so very true that one needs to realize that there is a problem, without that, about-turn will NOT come. It is obvious, overly grace believers and preachers do NOT see any problem, and so, they will NOT turn. Apart from talking about them, generally, it is true “No problem can be fixed if it is not recognized as a problem. In fact, I commonly say the same by this: “If one does NOT think he is sick, then he won’t go see a doctor. How to help? There are many scenarios under this, NOT just simply about one is far away from home; for example, some people can be demonized or demon possessed, but they think otherwise, and so, there is just little we can do for them, for they want NOT, to come into any session, even if it is just so that we could discern more accurately. Or more generally, some people are in bondage but they just do NOT realize it.

Some do know something is amiss, but they don’t want to fix it. Why do people NOT want to have a problem fixed? There can be a number of reasons, but and the common one is this: they do NOT think it is significant enough, a problem that must be fixed. Very simply, when you have a tap that leaks only a tiny bit, you will tend to ignore it, and NOT fix it! It is the same with our Christian life or for that matter, simply our life, for really, when we become a Christian, there is really NO such thing as a separate partitions for life; there is just one life, the Christian life is his life and his life is the Christian life.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

So, if one thinks that once he is saved, everything else is the “tiny bit”, like the little leaking of the tap I mentioned, then they could NOT be bothered with corrective change. Sinning is NOT tiny bit, and NOT asking for forgiveness from God for our transgressions or sins is NOT tiny bit. You don’t see a need to come back home when you have the idea that you have all the slack you want, and it bothers NOT, the Lord, that you are having that slack! God is the same God of the Old Testament (OT); people should NOT chuck the OT, they miss the picture of how God is like. It is NEVER God was like that in the OT, and then God changed; change to be a “lovey-devy” God of the New Testament (NT). The OT paints for us, among other things, we cannot “anyhow” with God; in other words, we cannot be too casual and take Him for granted.

Some people, knowingly or unknowingly are challenging God on legalism. ”God caused me to be saved-what (to enter into salvation; by His grace-right; nothing to do with me!); He proclaimed I am a child of His-what; Through Apostle Paul, God said I am a citizen of Heaven-what. He said, He is love and faithful, right; then He got to see me through, since He got me saved (entered into salvation) in the first place.” Be careful - God hates legalism; you go legalism with God, you will lose.

It takes spiritual discernment to understand our position, our strength and our weakness, and humility to admit that we can be vulnerable, and we need to dwell in the shelter of the Most High (Ps 91). Now, that is home – the shelter of the Most High; and I want to stay right at home with God; and there is just only one way to do that – love God for whom He is (Ps 91:14).

People like Jesus’ simple perspective of life (a Christian’s life), and it is to love God with their all, and to love their neighbors as themselves. But yet they simply ignore Jesus’ equally simple perspective of how to love God, which is “He who loves Me obeys My commands (John 14:15), and He who obeys My commands is the one who loves Me (John 14:21a)”.

God said, “Be holy as I am holy” (1 Pet 1:15-16), how many of us really bother with that?

God said to seek, first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all our needs would be added unto us (Matt 6:33), but people want to say, “But I am already fully righteous, the moment I entered salvation, and so, I don’t have to seek anymore, righteousness!”

God said, “Being infant, anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is NOT acquainted with the teaching about righteousness”, but preachers want to argue, “No, we, Benjamite generation believers, from Sarah (GRACE) are fed meat (slaughter an animal – meat, NOT milk) by the steward (no name, because he is the Holy Spirit!) whom Joseph commanded (!), and so, we know righteousness alright – see it is all written there in Gen 43:14-15!) – What EISEGESIS of the Word!

God said to confess our sins and ask for forgiveness, and He is righteous and just to forgive us, and cleanse us of all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), but people want to insist only non-believers need to do that, NOT them, believers!

Scripture said (in 1 Cor 6:9-11) said people who engage in these wickedness, sexual immorality, swindlers, etc, etc, they will NOT inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, but people (believers) insist they righteous, and the only thing they need to do is just to tell the devil off, whenever they have sinned! Don’t hit God with legalism; a swindler is a swindler, whether he is a swindler as a non-believer or a swindler as a believer! If you think that just because you are a believer, you cannot be deemed as a swindler, you are mistaken.

Jesus gave the Parable of the Return of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32), to tell us that we need to realize we have done wrong and genuinely want to return to the Father (Luke 15:17), but people teach the parable as saying, see, “Repentance is NOT even required”.


high-expressions said...

Cont. from above

How do we love God, and therefore is able to be dwelling under the shelter of the Most High? That is the home-place. How do we obey the Holy God, NOT just your lovey-devy God? Do we obey the Holy God, or do we find ways and means, to wriggle our ways out, instead of doing as the commandments of God, dictate? Are you really at home? You might think you are at home, but are you really at home? I am NOT suggesting people be paranoids, but we do want to live with an attitude of obeying the prescription of God; like God, on the day before the Great Exodus (Passover), told the Israelites through Moses (Ex 12:22), “You must stay at home, if any one of you is found outside of your home, the Lord’s instrument of death is going to get you!” Ps Prentis is completely right, no matter how far you are from home, decide to, act to, and pray to, go and stay home.

Don’t wait till you are far off before you want to come home. That is playing with fire! This brings back to memory, an article I wrote, in which I talked about the pillar of fire that guided the Israelites in the Exodus. Stay with the fire or light, if you stray, quickly come back in; if you wander off too far, you only have yourselves to blame, when you are sucked into the dark of the night. All of these, including Ps Prentis’ article, is talking about believers or God’s children, NOT non-believers.

No-lah, believers cannot fall away one-lah! Are you sure; that is NOT the picture Scripture painted for us. Read Heb 6:4-6; it is written there mature believers falling away are difficult (the word, impossible, was used) to return to the Lord. Ps Prentis is right, that at times, it is very difficult for those who have strayed or fallen away to return home. This is NOT the place to expound on the possibility and impossibility of falling away and the return thereof. If you can accept it, at face value from me, it is believers can fall away, and it can be hard, and even quite impossible for some of them to return, but it is NOT “it is ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE for them to return, despite commonly, it translated as so, for Heb 6:4-6, that it is impossible for …. those, … to return.” No, the “impossible” in Heb 6:4-6 is NOT absolute IMPOSSIBILITY, rather, in Greek language, some words are having shades, with the extreme far end as the absolute. The Greek word, “adynatos” (G102) is one such word. As used in Heb 6:4-6, it means “quite impossible”, in our modern English translation. Similar kind of thing can be found in Hebrew words, too, like the word, “Shama”, which can mean from, to hear a sound, to listen, to even to hear to agree. It is some of us who insist that it meant absolute impossibility, but the common use of the word, is that it can vary from very difficult to almost impossible to absolutely impossible. DON’T tell one who had fallen away that it is impossible for him to return by quoting him, Heb 6:4-6; if you are saying that you are condemning him! I am NOT going to explain here, but you can mediate on the 3 times Apostle Peter denied Jesus and was he able to return to the Lord. What did Peter accomplish after that?

But I must NOT dilute the intent of the author for Heb 6:4-6, that indeed it is difficult for a matured ones (a mature believer) to return, if he falls away.


high-expressions said...

COnt. from above

Ps Prentis hits on right nail, so to speak; what is in need is a “deep cut into the heart”; one, especially the difficult case, needs to come to the place of contrition of the heart. The text that Ps Prentis quoted from the Psalms, Ps 51 (vv 9-12), is an expression arising from such a contrite heart. It is still possible to return; so return ….. … before it is too late; I am sorry, I still believe there is a cut-off for us all; it is part and parcel of the justice of God. That cut-off is our mortal death which we cannot control. Don’t play with fire, and say, “I still have time.” No, you don’t have time, unless you can predict when you will die! Return NOW.

By the way, talking about restore point and going back in time, well, your Heavenly NEVER goes back in time; at most He made a day stand still (He did!). He can see forward, and He can fix some stuff in the future, but He also tweaks real-time, mostly. Be like your Father in the latter, press on with life; leave what is behind you, and press forward to finish the race, winning the prize God has prepared for you.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions