January 19, 2016

Disqualified

While writing an article on the America Legion I was surprised to learn that it is Congress who sets the policy on membership and it has been determined that only those with wartime service are eligible. Consequently those who served on active duty when there was no declared war or conflict are disqualified for membership. Some veterans are miffed because they feel Congress is telling them their service doesn’t count. On a spiritual level there are many whose service in the kingdom will also leave them disqualified for eternal life. Jesus said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers’” (Matt 7:21-23 NIV).

4 comments:

Troy Marvel said...

I just read in my Tozer devotion "Renewed Day by Day" volume 1 about loving Christ. Here's what A. W. Tozer had to say in a sermon:

The final test of love is obedience, not sweet emotions, not willingness to sacrifice, not zeal, but obedience to the commandments of Christ!
Our Lord drew a line plain and tight for everyone to see. On one side He placed those who keep His commandments and said, “These love Me.” On the other side He put those who keep not His sayings, and said, “These love Me not.”
The commandments of Christ occupy in the New Testament a place of importance that they do not have in current evangelical thought. The idea that our relation to Christ is revealed by our attitude to His commandments is now considered legalistic by many influential Bible teachers, and the plain words of our Lord are rejected outright or interpreted in a manner to make them conform to religious theories ostensibly based upon the epistles of Paul.
The Christian cannot be certain of the reality and depth of his love until he comes face to face with the commandments of Christ and is forced to decide what to do about them. Then he will know!
I think we should turn for a while from fine spun theological speculations about grace and faith and humbly read the New Testament with a mind to obey what we see there. Love for Christ is a love of willing, as well as a love of feeling, and it is psychologically impossible to love Him adequately unless we will to obey His words!


Steve Corey said...

Gail;

-----I don’t know why I shouldn’t be a member of the American Legion. I’m an American. Doesn’t that count?
-----Evil is an interesting concept. The Bible predominantly uses three descriptions for evil’s founder: accuser, deceiver, and destroyer. His children are chips off the ole block: accusers, deceivers, and destroyers. Paul tells us to do all things without grumbling (Phil 2:14.) James says not to grumble against each other so we won’t be judged (James 5:9.) Jude focuses on some ungodly types amongst the believers who pervert grace into licentiousness, deny Christ, reject authority, and “…revile the glorious ones...These are grumblers, malcontents, following their own passions, loud-mouthed boasters, flattering people to gain advantage.” (Jude 8b,16)
-----Grumbling and whining are merely indirect forms of accusation. But like seeds, if planted and watered in the right climate, they grow into powerful accusations nourished at the root by always present deceit. These accusations become prime material for crafty opportunists to manipulate the sentiments of unsuspecting and naive people. These manipulated sentiments empower mob-like movements capable of bullying others into resignation. Like viruses, they take over what was not theirs to use for producing more of what they are: complaining, whining, accusing, deceiving, “transformers” (ie destroyers.) And it all starts with a grumble.
-----We’ve seen the accusers “secretly” at work destroying the meaning of “American” through the American Progressive movement. The heart and soul of the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts has likewise been dissolved into a mushy gruel. It is not astonishing that the church was very early infected by this virus. It attacks everything that stands for goodness and virtue. I can understand why the American Legion is up next.
-----It was formed in 1919. After WWI, American draftees faced a long and frustrating process of being returned home. Paris was full of them at the same time Russia, Germany, Hungary, and Finland were filling with Bolshevik uprisings, fascist grumblers of the deadliest sort. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., Pres. T. Roosevelt’s oldest son, recognized the risk of these wasting soldiers also filling up with Bolshevik evil. He proposed an organization for girding up morale and support by giving them a good cause for occupying their time and attention.
-----The American Legion was not formed for just any soldier. It does not belong to just any soldier. It especially does not belong to whining, deceitful, jealous soldiers who would merely destroy it by the influence of their bad character.
-----There is one way I can proudly belong to the American Legion, not as a member, but as a part of its strength. I can belong to it by openly standing up for what it is and for its right to belong to wartime veterans without the fear of viral attack. I can also belong to it by publicly exposing the selfishness of its destructive, deceitful, accusers. The same way I can belong to the American Legion makes me an American: standing for my fellow man’s freedom to associate with whom he will, and to not associate with whining wieners. The fabric of our society would not have unraveled if we good Americans would just have stood up for each institution under attack and scorned the whining viruses out of their popularity. If we want America back, we must once again become Americans.

Love you all,
Steve Corey

Gail Marvel said...

Good thoughts. The American Legion has a branch called the Sons of the American Legion, to which a person can belong to if their dad or granddad are qualified for membership in the American Legion itself. Spiritually speaking this would smack of someone trying to gain eternal life based on their granddaddy’s righteousness.
Troy, I love Tozer. Thanks for including his voice in the conversation.
Gail

Steve Corey said...

Hi Troy! It’s been a long time.
-----I don’t know Tozer very well. I like what he says about obedience. But there has always been one difficult hurdle for me to get over in regards to obedience: what to obey. Of course, our duty is to obey the Lord. But as a young man, I was acutely aware of His absence from any face to face conversations I could have with Him for sorting out exactly what it was He wanted me to obey. But He made me a thinking man. And I reasoned three sources might be available to help me over this hurdle.
-----The first source, not first in importance but in interactive, conscious presence are those who make a life of obeying Him, like AW Tozer, CS Lewis, CH Spurgeon, and Alexander Campbell. And these kind are all around us, too. I can tell by evidence you are one. Paul tells us to look to one another for examples. Peter tells elders to lead by example rather than rule. This source is at the heart of fellowship. But it also delivers the Charles Taze Russell’s, Ellen G White’s, Joseph Smith’s and a complete spectrum of others in between. If we focus on our fellow believers for what to obey, we get mighty confused.
-----The second source is much more important than the first. The Bible is God’s ideas expressed to us through thoughts and feelings He stirred up within godly men. Much of it is so straight forward that any demand for explanation is truly an attempt to dance, dodge, or weave around it. The rest of it requires at least a little thought, some historical knowledge, and often, some evidence, too. And this is where things get problematic again, because it delivers us right back to the previous spectrum of fellow believers from Tozer to Smith (if one might dare consider Smith a believer.) Everyone carries a few pieces of evidential matter and many thoughts about the particulars the Bible means for us to obey. It’s just that nobody’s assortment of them is completely like anyone else’s.
-----The third source is hard to explain. I think you just have to live honestly in your desire to obey in order to grow in understanding it. For who can touch the Holy Spirit, or converse with it like you and I can with each other? But when you’ve come to Christ in obedience you’ve got the Spirit. He’s not optional like white sidewalls or rear-view mirror cams. You got the Lord, you get the Spirit. And if you live honestly in your desire to obey, the Spirit leads you into knowing what you need to obey. It’s not always the same for each of us. This variety was not meant to be dividers, but enrichment. But humanity has made the former of it.
-----I think it is safe to presume that most of the variety between Tozer and Smith has the Holy Spirit. Presumption otherwise might be judgment the Bible commands us not to do. The need for this variety is not in the complexity of the commands or the illusiveness of their meaning. It is in the complexity and illusiveness of the human psyche, and the Lord’s abject desire to save as many of them as will be saved regardless of their inability to see things the same. The truth of the desire to obey seems to be the substance from which the Holy Spirit expresses particulars for His occupied individuals to obey.
-----And that’s about as good as it gets. Actually, that’s about as good as it can get. Who could ask for more by which to know what to obey? Great friends and loved ones to consider and imitate. Special words like none other in human existence, written by God, and more portable than health insurance. Life insurance you can clutch in hand always and read anywhere, topped off by God’s own Spirit intertwining with yours to play even the circumstances of your mundane life into meaningful messages just for you personally. And the more you desire to obey, the more it all comes your way (not like Burger King, but like to where you’re at in the moment) personally.

Love you, Troy
Steve