[Word Count: 1097]
“The disciple is not above his Master, nor the servant above his Lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his Master, and the servant as his Lord. If they have called the Master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of His household?”
-- Jesus Christ, Matthew 10:24-25 KJV
When you think about it, the disciple of Christ has the same goals the world claims to pursue for its citizens: peace, prosperity, immortality, power, knowledge, love, hope, faith and transcendence. If Christianity has so much common ground with the world and its religions, why not engage in limited collaboration with other religions, philosophies, metaphysics, esoterica, and so on? We're one planet with one common future, right? If enough humans desire the same utopia, why can't we work together to achieve it???
One Bible (with the occasional Apocrypha added) and 45,000 "Christian" denominations, two hundred of which are based in the United States. What went wrong here? These groups don't even agree on how to be saved or what deeds count as sin! Once again, the Bible clears the muddy waters:
“He put another parable before them, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven may be compared to a Man who sowed good seed in His field, but while His men were sleeping, His enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. So when the plants came up and bore grain, then the weeds appeared also. "And the servants of the Master of the house came and said to Him, ‘Master, did You not sow good seed in Your field? How then does it have weeds?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ So the servants said to Him, ‘Then do You want us to go and gather them?’ But He said, ‘No, lest in gathering the weeds you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into My barn.' "Then He left the crowds and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, 'Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.' He answered, 'The one who sows the good seed is the Son of Man [Aramaic, Adam]. The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the Kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed them is the Devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send His angels, and they will gather out of His Kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers, and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.” -- Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 ESV
Echoes of Eternity
There's always been in the Sayings of Jesus something that continually amazes me: the total absence of ambiguity as to who is saved and who is not. In today's church there is a constant atmosphere of dogmatism in which everyone is compelled intellectually to say and believe the same thing and any thoughtful dissent is immediately condemned without debate or discussion. This is due to a religious culture in which NO ONE REALLY KNOWS WHO IS SAVED AND WHO IS NOT SAVED.
The smoke and mirrors of church culture and doctrine totally dissipate in the Presence of Jesus; Jesus knows exactly who is His and who belongs to the Devil. This is because the identity of those who will be saved was determined in Eternity by The GODHEAD before the light of Genesis Chapter One, Verse Three was called forth as we discussed in Part Three of this series.
Oil and Water
So you don't have to allow yourself to be confused by the orthodoxy debates, inquisition histories, Vatican Two reforms, protestant reformation discussions, female and gay pastors or even the attempts to merge the three monotheistic faiths...
...no one destined for Heaven will be left out and no one destined for Wrath will escape.
That being said, we must not allow ourselves to be seduced by those who claim that all roads lead to Heaven or that everyone is going to be saved and no one will be damned. Damnation is real because evil is real. I've already went to great lengths to present the Biblical definition of "evil" in such a way as to be inclusive of the entire human species---including YOU as well as myself. Evil is not identified by works alone but by the absence of GOD in the human heart. The most altruistic soul walking the Earth today without Christ Jesus is just as damned as the most prolific serial killer.
The Great Delusion
YOU ARE NOT GOD...you have never been GOD and you will never be GOD. Deity is beyond your grasp for ever; a quintillion reincarnations will not place you any closer to Deity than the opposite ends of our ever-expanding universe touching each other.
This is why the world hates Christ: His arrival on the stage of world history stripped the underwear of validity from every myth ever propagated, every secret mystery of every false cult, every delusion of spiritual ascension, every false promise of immortality and every attempt to dismiss death for what it really is: the awful consequence of believing that i have ANY intrinsic value apart from The Eternal GOD Who created me for NO OTHER REASON than to glorify Himself at my expense...
...because He is worthy of my nothingness!
There is NO probability of any reconciliation between Jesus Christ and His enemies whether they are pagan, druidic, metaphysical, occultic, spiritist, wiccan, freemason, Rastafarian, superstitious, religious, agnostic, humanist, existentialistic or atheist.
If you can't walk to Heaven without your family, friends, neighbors and coworkers...
...if acceptance by your peers is critical to your self-esteem and identity...
...if standing before Christ and Satan your only words are "Why can't we all just get along?"...
...Christian discipleship is not for you.
In Part Twenty-Three we're going to circle back to Conversion and the Priceless Gift of Peace with GOD that comes with it!