October 11, 2011

Open Letter

Have you ever had a blog post you really didn't want to write? But you knew you had to anyway?

Maybe not. Maybe that's just me. Because I've been feeling led to write this post for weeks now, maybe months, I don't know. But I've fought against it, made excuses, and generally tried to pretend it wasn't really important.

And now here I am. Writing the post my flesh doesn't want to write. (Romans 7:18-19) However, putting it off as long as I have has been disobedience to the Holy Spirit's prompting. I am choosing to no longer live in disobedience. I say this to my shame, since I should have obeyed immediately. Thank the Lord for His forgiveness.

Note: I can say without a shadow of a doubt the Holy Spirit is prompting me to write this post. That does not mean the Holy Spirit is writing it through me. He has guided me to this topic. All I am going to do is plainly lay out what the Bible says.

I did not plan to wait and write this post on this day. In fact, I just got out of bed in the middle of the night to start working on it because I can wrestle with God no longer. So don't think I'm trying to capitalize on the latest controversy. The timing was entirely uncalculated.

HSAT:

Dear friends and military sisters (since that's my main audience),

I've had on my heart for a long time a burden to communicate some Biblical truths to you. I've fought against it because I love you, and the thought of hurting any one of you hurts me. And what I'm about to say may hurt to some degree. It may offend you. It may make you angry. It may cost me your friendship.

But the time has come to say some things plainly. I've avoided it, hinted at it, hedged around it and gambled with time for too long. I'm sorry.

I don't really know how to start, so I'm just going to start. There are teachings out there that claim the cover of Christianity but they are not Christian. They use the archetypes of Christianity - Jesus, salvation, Heaven - but the way they define and apply those archetypes in no way resembles what God tells us in the Bible

To start with: there is only one God. Oh sure, lots of sages will tell you there's only one god, and we all call him by different names. But that's not the truth. There is only one God, and He has chosen His own name:
God also said to Moses, "Say this to the Israelites: Yahweh, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you. This is My name forever; this is how I am to be remembered in every generation." (Exodus 3:15)
Why does it matter that there is only one God? Because there are those who will tell you that there is more than one god, that there are in fact multiple gods, a counsel of gods. These gods and our god were once people, human beings like us, but our god became a god, and showed us how we might progress to become gods as well, and how to take our families into eternity with us as gods.

Dear friends, I say this to you with all the love in my heart: This is not true.

How can I say this? Because God, Yahweh Himself, says this is not true -
"See now that I alone am He; there is no God but Me." ~ Deuteronomy 32:39

"'You are My witnesses'- the Lord's declaration- 'and My servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. No god was formed before Me, and there will be none after Me. I, I am the Lord, and there is no other Savior but Me.'" ~ Isaiah 43:10-11
See here as well:
We know that an idol has no real existence, and that there is no God but one. For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth--as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords"-- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. ~ 1 Corinthians 8:4-7

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time ~ 1 Timothy 2:5
Finally, what did Jesus say?
"And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." ~ John 17:3
If anyone would know if there was more than one god, it would be Jesus. Yahweh has spoken. He is the only God. He always has been and always will be.

The idea that we, created humans, could become gods is the oldest lie in human history.
Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You can't eat from any tree in the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. But about the fruit of the tree in the middle of the garden, God said, 'You must not eat it or touch it, or you will die.' " "No! You will not die," the serpent said to the woman. "In fact, God knows that when you eat it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." ~ Genesis 3:1-5
Satan has used this lie since man was created. Why? Because he knows how seductive it is. He fell for it himself:
Shining morning star, how you have fallen from the heavens! You destroyer of nations, you have been cut down to the ground. You said to yourself: "I will ascend to the heavens; I will set up my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of the gods' assembly, in the remotest parts of the North. I will ascend above the highest clouds; I will make myself like the Most High." But you will be brought down to Sheol into the deepest regions of the Pit. ~ Isaiah 14:12-15
Only one person in the Bible ever expressed a desire to be a god. Do not be deceived: to desire to be like Yahweh, to be a god, is not to imitate Jesus. It is to imitate Satan.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. ~ Philippians 2:5-7
So many people I know, people I love like family, are hanging their eternal hope on this teaching. I am ashamed I haven't spoken of it before. But this is a dangerous, destructive, deadly hope. There is no life it in. There is no salvation. There is no truth.

Sadly, that teaching is the basis for a multitude of other false teachings. It's very popular in many circles, Christian, non-religious and everything in-between, to say "We're all God's children." That sounds sweet and comforting. But again, it's untrue.

Let me be clear: there are those who will teach you that you were born a child of God, that he is your Heavenly Father, and that everyone who has ever been or ever will be born is also his child, and eventually all but the most evil people will make it to some level of Heaven, or Celestial Kingdom.

The truth is: everyone who has ever been and will ever be born is God's special creation, designed in His image. (Genesis 1:27) God loves the whole world, everyone who has ever been and will ever be born. (John 3:16)

However, no one is born a child of God, except for Jesus, God's one and only son. (again, John 3:16) Yahweh has no other "begotten" children, as the King James translation puts it. Those who become God's children do by way of adoption:
for He chose us in Him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will. ~ Ephesians 1:4-5
Jesus taught this as well, both in parables and in plain teaching:
As a large crowd was gathering, and people were flocking to Him from every town, He said in a parable: "A sower went out to sow his seed. As he was sowing, some fell along the path; it was trampled on, and the birds of the sky ate it up. Other seed fell on the rock; when it sprang up, it withered, since it lacked moisture. Other seed fell among thorns; the thorns sprang up with it and choked it. Still other seed fell on good ground; when it sprang up, it produced a crop: 100 times [what was sown]." As He said this, He called out, "Anyone who has ears to hear should listen!"

"This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. The seeds along the path are those who have heard. Then the Devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. And the seeds on the rock are those who, when they hear, welcome the word with joy. Having no root, these believe for a while and depart in a time of testing. As for the seed that fell among thorns, these are the ones who, when they have heard, go on their way and are choked with worries, riches, and pleasures of life, and produce no mature fruit. But the seed in the good ground-these are the ones who, having heard the word with an honest and good heart, hold on to it and by enduring, bear fruit." ~ Luke 8
Here, Jesus clearly teaches that not everyone is a redeemed child of God. If that were the case, all of the seeds would eventually take root and bear fruit, regardless of the soil.

Elsewhere, Jesus is more explicit:
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name?' Then I will announce to them, 'I never knew you!" ~Matthew 7:21-23
Note: Jesus does not say, "Depart from me, you didn't do good enough!" or "Depart from me, my spirit brother or sister!" He says, "I never knew you."

No one is born in a relationship with Yahweh as His child. The Bible is clear on that. Other people or other writings say differently, but it doesn't matter. The Bible is the final authority.

Why is this important? Because getting these two things wrong mean the difference between life and a fate worse than death.
Then He will also say to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels!...And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. ~ Matthew 25:41, 46
Which brings me to my final point: Perfection.

If, as this system teaches, we are capable of achieving godhood, and because our Heavenly Father loves us so much he sent our spirit brother Jesus to earth to show us how to become gods, we must use this time on earth to perfect ourselves and our families by following many rules and regulations that will bring us closer and closer to perfection, which is rewarded with (hopefully) godhood. And not just rules that God gave us in the Bible, also rules that were added hundreds of years after the Bible was completed. That's a lot of rules, a lot of perfection to live up to.

Who is able to actually achieve perfection? No one. Therefore, we are always going to be left in a state of uncertainty, always burdened with the admonition to "try harder" and "keep going," because your godhood, your family's eternal destiny together, depends on your effort. God loves you, he is your Father, but you still have to earn his favor.

This is perhaps the most dangerous lie of all, because it puts our hope on ourselves and what we can do, rather than on Jesus and what he has already done. And let's be honest, you don't need me to quote a verse from the Bible to tell you that no one is perfect. We all know that.

So where does that leave us? If we believe that our eternal hope lies in our attempt to become as close to perfect as possible, we are forever stuck in a rut. I may be able to go a whole week without gossiping, but as soon as I gossip, that week was shot. My 'perfect streak' is over. Case closed.

Life then becomes a constant struggle against failing to meet expectations. As soon as we feel like we master one area of our lives, another starts falling apart. Or, even if we're doing *good* in an area, in the back of our minds, we know we can always do *better* - and if we can do *better* we aren't doing good enough.

My dear friends, this is not the way it is supposed to be. Life is a struggle, because sin exists in the world and in our fallen human natures. On our own, by sheer willpower and determination, we can't beat it.
"For I assure you: Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or one stroke of a letter will pass from the law until all things are accomplished. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches people to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever practices and teaches these commandments will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." ~ Matthew 5:18-20
"For whoever keeps the entire law, yet fails in one point, is guilty of breaking it all." ~ James 2:10
God knows that. He even planned ahead for it. (see the Ephesians reference again) Yahweh gave us the laws in the Bible to A) display His holiness and B) expose our need for Him. And in the knowledge that we mere mortals could never accomplish perfection, He provided a way for us to be perfected:
Since the law has only a shadow of the good things to come, and not the actual form of those realities, it can never perfect the worshipers by the same sacrifices they continually offer year after year. Otherwise, wouldn't they have stopped being offered, since the worshipers, once purified, would no longer have any consciousness of sins?...Therefore, as He was coming into the world, He said: You did not want sacrifice and offering, but You prepared a body for Me. You did not delight in whole burnt offerings and sin offerings. Then I said, "See, I have come- it is written about Me in the volume of the scroll- to do Your will, O God!" After He says above, You did not desire or delight in sacrifices and offerings, whole burnt offerings and sin offerings, (which are offered according to the law), He then says, See, I have come to do Your will. He takes away the first to establish the second. By this will, we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once and for all. Now every priest stands day after day ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this man, after offering one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God. He is now waiting until His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are sanctified. The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. For after He had said: This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws on their hearts, and I will write them on their minds, I will never again remember their sins and their lawless acts. ~ Hebrews 10
Because Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, once we accept that sacrifice on our behalf, we are considered perfect in God's eyes. Jesus died once, for all, and that was all that was needed. That is the only thing that bridges the gap between our human efforts and God's absolute standard of absolute perfection. We could never keep enough rules, never give enough to charity, never be a nice enough person - not even shed our own blood to pay for our sins and receive God's forgiveness. Our blood isn't good enough.

However, we can accept Jesus's perfection as our own by taking him as our Lord and Savior.
But if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin...If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. ~ 1 John 1:7,9
My friends, I say this to you because I love you:

If there is any hope in your heart of eternal godhood, do not follow the path of Lucifer: Yahweh will have no other gods except Him. (Daniel 5, specifically vv. 22-30)

If there is any dependence on being born as God's pre-existing spirit child, let go and embrace adoption as his true child. (Ephesians 1, above)

If you are striving for perfection, stop and rest in the grace of God. ("For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast." ~ Ephesians 2:8-9)

Above all, take all teachings to the Bible, because it is the only authority for any of these matters. Since God completed His written word with the book of Revelation, many have come spreading false teachings and new writings, claiming to speak for God or the word of God. Do not be deceived: These teachings present themselves as a form of Christianity. This is not Christianity, and any group or church that teaches these things is not Christian.

Unless they communicate the same truths the Bible teaches, specifically the ones we've examined above, they do not represent God and will not lead you to the truth, to Jesus Messiah or to Yahweh God.

Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves. You'll recognize them by their fruit. ~ Matthew 7:15-16

9 comments:

  1. As always, I agree with you 100%. The mere idea that people think they could achieve perfection on their own is completely lost on me. I'm not sure if it's good or bad that it surprises me when people think they can achieve godhood or perfection when the Bible CLEARLY states that is impossible.

    I think you did a great job of communicating that and backing it up with scripture. See? I told you you could do it. =)

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  2. I agree wholeheartedly. Do not feel bad for writing this. Someone needs to read it... and if that one person reads it then the other that get angry won't matter.

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  3. Awesome job! You did a fantastic job of explaining this and of backing everything you said up with scripture... the ultimate truth. I couldn't agree with you more and know that God led you to write this for a purpose... someone will come across this blog that really needed to read this. God bless!

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  4. Very well written! You have a way with words and you found all of the perfect scriptures to back it up. Don't feel bad for speaking the truth!

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  5. (I know this is off-topic, but...)

    "HSAT"! Ha! I know where you lurk, Missie!

    (c:

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  6. That's the Gospel you just preached, sister. Amen, glory to God, and may God use it to open closed ears and blind eyes.

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  7. Amazing GRACE! So thankful for that! Thank's for writing this, I think it's so hard because I am not super great at the bible verses yet, though I am learning! It's so awesome to have someone to back everything up with verses :)

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  8. I'm not sure if this was meant for me to read or not. But I am going to digest this a little more.

    My friend Katie posted on FB today about Faith. Perhaps both of you are trying to tell me something. :)

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