Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Christian Backup System

Ever since Adam and Eve ate the first banana, people have been slipping and falling from banana peels. There is no one who is perfect. There is no one who should stand in the  judgement of righteousness. But this does not mean that we can't know whether or not we are walking closely with our God. It doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want because perfection is impossible.

There were two competing philosophies when the space program was started. The scientist wanted to give zero tolerance for error in the on board systems so that redundant backup systems weren't necessary. That way more experimental scientific equipment could be loaded on each flight. The astronauts wanted backup systems which meant that there would be less experimental equipment for each flight. Of course, we know that the astronauts prevailed. They knew that perfection wasn't always possible and there would be no hope for them if a system failed.

The point is that they went to space even though they knew continual perfection was impossible. Their backup systems would always be there when the main system failed. They did not expect to use the backup systems. They were the insurance which pushed them into the unknown.

The Christian backup system is God's forgiveness. We walk with Him but we have a tendency to fail. That failure can be catastrophic if we do not rely on this backup system. We should never begin our journey with the expectation of using the backup system. We simply need to use it when necessary.

A friend of mine parachuted out of planes as much as he could. He loved the thrill that it gave him. He always carried a reserve (backup) chute. He told me of watching a buddy fumble with his tangled chute all the way to the ground rather than use the reserve chute. He told me that the guy was so tight with his money that he didn't want to pay the repacking fee for using that chute. Of course, my friend's reasoning is merely speculation because we can never ask the man who hit the ground.

I see lots of people who continue to lie in their failures (sins) without asking for God's forgiveness. They work harder at making their failures work. They party more often, drink more excessively, sleep around more aggressively and try to keep their minds off of what they are doing in relationship to God. Inside they waste away because they will not come home to Him.

The would realize their emptiness if they would just stop for a minute. They would notice that the ground is coming up on them faster and faster as they try to fix their failed chute. They would employ the backup system if they would just realize that their spaceship is missing the trajectory back to earth. They would ask God to hold their hands as they navigated through the banana peels.

I know this because I have slipped on banana peels. I have tried to make a failed system work. I have fumbled with a failed chute as the ground came up on me fast. And the truth is that I don't really know why I didn't repent, confess and come back to God sooner.

I can't be your judge. I can't tell you if you are walking close to God or not. I can't tell if you haven't used your backup system and come back into His will.

Only you and God know.

Psalm 32:1-11 (ESV) 1 Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit. 3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah 8
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you. 9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.
11 Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

4 comments: said...

The Christian backup system - what an interesting title
(Ps, sorry, this turns out to very long indeed)

I will parallel the exposition with the passage in the NT - 1 John 1:3-10 -

3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our[your] joy complete. 5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. 8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.

Firstly, the overly grace preachers and followers claim that this passage above, is not written for or to the believers or Christians.  They claim this was directed at the non-believers or to the Gnostics. I have written a long exposition on 1 John 1:9, which Ps Prentis parables it here for us, as the insurance or the Christian backup system; if you want to read my article, you can hop over to my blogsite -, and look under the caption of "Against questionable teachings".  1 John 1:9 is written for the believers.

V3 - what is the "what" there in the verse?  It is referring to the Lord, the Word, who came to men as the personified Word, Jesus Christ.  V5 tells us that the Apostle John was going to explain what the Lord had taught.  Verses 1-3 were opening lines; and in opening, in v3, John referenced it to a part of that teaching of Jesus, he was going to put down.  And that part is in v7, the first part of v7. John was saying, in v3, that he was explaining (this teaching of Jesus), so that the readers, could have fellowship with, him and those who were eye-witnesses of the personified Word. It does not necessarily mean the readers have to be non-believers (not with fellowship with the apostles).  It means the believers who were not eye-witnesses or were not there, when the Messiah was alive and teaching, who now, with what John was going to pass on, as the Lord's teaching, could have fellowship with him, John, and the eye-witnesses (some of whom were still alive then, whom John referred to, later, in his epistle, as "old friends"). The rest of v3, John added that, that fellowship of believers, with understanding of the Lord's teaching, is fellowship with the Father God, and the Lord, Jesus.". 

V4 went on to say, so that the readers' joy might be complete.  It does not say, "so that we might have joy", but that "our joy might be complete". Now, if specifically, the passage was written for the non-believers, it would be reasonable to expect John to have said "so that we might have joy", but he was not specifically targeting non-believers alone, but to believers, and so, the saying - "our joy might be complete".  

When you are a believer, you have joy.  You may say, "No, I have no joy!". No, you have joy; it is a matter of fullness.  Non- believers, they have no biblical joy!  Brother Anthony, why do I, a believer, have so little joy? One reason is given by John, here - lack of understanding of the Word, of God.  John was instructing, so that we may have understanding, and with embracing of the truth, we will have more joy; and so, John said, "so that your joy may be complete". It will be taking too much space, here, to explain, and so I won't, but biblical joy is had, through embracing the truths.

Cont... said...

Cont. From above

V5 - God is light; what is light referring to? Holiness, righteousness.  No, not love, that many people said it to be.  I am not saying God is not love; I am just saying, the "light" here, is not pointing to, God is love, specifically.  In Him, there is no darkness at all, meaning there is no evil in God.  God is light; He is holy, there is no evil in God; God cannot be evil; He is set apart from evil, that is why God is holy or holiness.

V6 - so, if we claim we are at the same plain where God is, where there is no darkness, i.e. in the light; where there is no evil or wickedness, i.e. in holiness, in righteousness, how can we walk in evil or wickedness, or unrighteousness!?  It cannot be, it would be a lie, and we are not living out the truth.  It is not specifically referring to occasional sin, you and I did, although that is to be avoided too, as far as possible, (and this teaching of Jesus, here, addresses it), but it is talking about a WALK in darkness, in evil, in wickedness, in sins.  As a WALK, we, believers or Christians, are to walk in the .... light, in righteousness.  Is it not said by another apostle, Matthew, in Matt 6:33, that the Lord said, we are to first, seek His Kingdom and His righteousness.  By the way, that passage of Matt 6:33 was and is referring to believers, and not non-believers. Righteousness is to be lived or walked out, not just believed.

V7a - does God walk in darkness? No.  So, as a believer, don't walk in darkness, God isn't walking there.  He is in the plain of holiness, righteousness - light; walk there, said John.  Now, God can step into darkness, and pull you out, but He does not walk there.  If you want to walk with God, don't walk in darkness, God won't join you there, He cannot; He is set apart to holiness - He is holiness; what must you do? Walk where God walks, in the light.  

When you walk there, in the light, and I, too walk there, we have fellowship; that is what it says there, in v7. I am not living in USA; I have not met Ps Prentis, but we have a fellowship, because we are walking in the same plain, where we are connected through the joint fellowship with the Godhead. Now, the fact that "walk" is used in this v7, it already points to the passage cannot be targeting to non-believers, or that the verse is about entering into salvation. Non-believers don't WALK in the light; walk carries the connotation of living out, not occasional doings.

V7b - this part is the controversial bit, for some people.  Some people, because they insist that non-believers were being referred to, and so, entering into salvation, coming into the light, the blood of Jesus purifies the new believer of all sins.  But there is a problem with this, for it said, "WALK", not enter or come into!  This verse definitely is not talking about entry into salvation, as is taught as such, by some overly grace preachers.  

Another category of people looks at it this way, that believers are being referred to, AND the blood of Jesus automatically purifies the believer of all his sins.  In other words, there is not a thing the believer has to do.  Can this be right?  Firstly, there is the "if you walk in the light".  Now, if one truly walks in the light all the time, he would do no wrong or sin, would he!? Yes; and so, there is no previously unforgiven sins to talk about.  In other words, since the cleansing at entry into salvation, there was no new sin to be forgiven! The next verse, v8, which we will look at, in a while, tells us that it is not possible to be without sins at all (since entry into salvation).  So, the verse is not referring to no cleansing required.  

The only possibility is that we do stray, out of the light, but we are to get back in; in other words, we may stray, but we are not to WALK in darkness, we are to get back to WALKING in the light. So, is it we strayed, and we get back into the light, we automatically get cleansed of our sins?  No, and Yes!

Cont... said...

Cont. From above

No, because we cannot be completely right with God when we have sinned and the sin has not been dealt with.  The pre-Fall Adam was right with God, post-Fall he was not completely right with God.  Our faith rest on this, am I not right? Yes, I am right, for it is so, that, because the fallen Adam was no longer completely right with God, that we, men, have the need to be reconciled back to God - to be put right with God; that was what Jesus came to do, by His death and resurrection.  

Sin separates Man from God. Was it automatically, men became reconciled back to God? Could men's doing good, reconciled men to God? You are being heretic if you say, yes! It is sad that some Catholic Fathers believe it so, without the person entering into salvation!  

After Adam fell, was fellowship immediately and completely off? The picture painted in Scripture was not, but Man on the whole was and is still headed towards diminished and diminishing fellowship with God.  God went out of His way and still does, to provide fellowship, against His holiness nature, to men.  It is love at work; it is grace and mercy been granted.  

Men with sins not dealt with, are NOT meeting and walking with God at where He is, in the light.  But brother Anthony, I did sin, and I still got this and that help, from God-le. Silly, that is God has gone out of His way; that is, He is being gracious and merciful to you.

There is no automatic.  So, I may say, come to my shop, and you will leave looking great! It is silly of you to run off immediately with the conclusion that if you would just come to my shop and automatically, you will be a great looking guy or gal.  You have not heard me out, of what you have to do, and what I will do to and for you. For example, I want to tell you that I will need to cut and fashion a different hairdo for you; and you need to want to do that, have your hair cut, and refashioned; your clothes, maybe, I try this or that, on you; and on top of that, I will teach you how you need to carry yourself, like how you stand, and sit and eat! Yah, the passage does not end at v7. Too many people want to just stop at v7!

Vv8 & 9, they tell us what we have to do, and what the Lord will do, that we may live an "as consistent as possible, fellowship in the light, with God, and with one another".  

V8 -  John was giving it straight to us, believers - we will sin, at one time or another (we have to resist sinning, or straying into darkness, nevertheless); if you say, you never sin since entry into salvation, that is a lie; you are deceiving yourself.  When we sin, we have strayed from the light.  James 1:14 said that a person is tempted when he is dragged away; in other words, moved off the light.

V9 - Sins separate, and forgiveness is necessary for reconciliation.  Some like to think the process is a believer has sinned, and he gets back into the light, and then he confesses his sin, and he is reconciled to God. I don't want to say it is wrong, but I look at it this way: a believer has sinned, he confesses his sin, and he is reconciled to God, and that put him back into the light.  We have to believe God is just and faithful to forgive us and cleanse us of all our unrighteousness; we confess and we believe God does that, and God does it, and we are back into the light, the plain of holiness, righteousness.  In this way, if you are walking in the light, you are righteous, you are cleansed, for in the light there is no darkness, no evil, no unrighteousness.  Vv8-9 serve to explain v7.  Is there anything for us to do? Will God be doing anything?  The answers for both, are yes.  We confess, God forgives and cleanses us.  The result, we are back in the light, to continue to walk with God.

Cont... said...

Cont. From above

Well, Ps Prentis, in his entry, used the reserve parachute as a parable, and said that the person needs to activate the backup parachute, or he will fall to his death. It is pointing to we need to confess our sins; that is what we need to do, in our journey to Heaven; stop listening to overly grace preachers who teach that Christians should NOT ask God for forgiveness, other than the only time he asked, which was at his entry into salvation. Such teaching is heretic, if not apostate, in my view.

V10 - to end it all, John underscored again that we do sin; in other words, we cannot ignore 1 John 1:9. In v8, John said we deceive ourselves if we claim we are without sin; in this verse, he said we are making God out to be a liar.  

There is another important thing, many missed out, and it is that by saying, at the end, that God's word is not in the "us",  it is pointing to this teaching is directed at the believers, for God's word is never expected to be in the non-believers! Would it not be right to say that we do not say such a thing to a non-believer, that God's word is not in him? It is silly of us to think that God's word is in a non-believer. 

Again, I say, 1 John 1:9 is for the believer.  It is not even if the main parachute fails, we activate the backup or reserve chute, it is we will encounter failures, and so, what must we do? Confess when you have sinned, and believe that God is just and faithful to forgive you and cleanse you of all unrighteousness.

Anthony Chia, high.expressions