Currently, governments all over the world are passing legislation for or against homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Should the “Churches of God in Christ” be opposing the legislation that favours these practises? I don’t think so for the following reasons:
Firstly, opposing the legislation means a subtle denial of what the Bible teaches regarding the consequence of Adam and Eve’s fall; Satan’s nature was instilled in humankind. So, everyone born into this world has all the characteristics of Satan. Hence, the sins practised by humans are not learnt from one another by association rather, association pulls out the sins that already exists inside our sin nature Romans 5:12. The bible upholds the truth that all sins are innate in humans. The Church doesn’t need scientific studies to authenticate its truthfulness.
Given we humans are born with Satan inside of us (Adamic nature) and dwell in his Kingdom of darkness as well as this world (his environment), his various characteristics are exhibited by different individuals in various ways including homosexuality that’s fuelling same-sex marriage (Marring of marriage) John 8:44a. However, when practised between two consenting adults, it’s not more sinful than fornication or adultery. In the absence of mutual consent, it becomes criminal as in the case of rape. Secular governments’ civil and criminal laws should be geared towards a harmonious and peaceful society by preventing any person(s) from infringing on the rights of others
Secondly, it gives the impression of a lack of insight into God’s redemption plan for humankind. Because God knew Adam and Eve would fall and its effect on humans He created, He provided the Way (His slain Lamb, Christ Jesus) through whom all humans would come back to Him after the fall 1 Corinthians 15:22. This Way of God is to be willingly accepted and received because we’re not created as robots. Those who accept and receive Christ are saved, Satan gets dethroned in them as they’re brought out of his kingdom and put into the Kingdom of Light (The body of Christ) Colossians 1:13. Accepting Jesus can’t be legislated John 3:16.
Thirdly, it will work against the church’s mission in the world which is, rescuing humanity by preaching God’s Way (Jesus Christ) Acts 4:12. Jesus came to save the unsaved in the world not to condemn them John 3:17. And, His apostles stated that the church needs to associate with those “outside Christ” for the sake of love and the preaching of Christ and His Kingdom. Not embarrass, emphasize their sins and intimidate them in order to change their nature and lifestyles by legislation.
Given the dilemma of those who have not accepted and received God’s Way, it should heighten the churches’ zeal and commitment to the great commission not fight unwarranted wars against those living according to the dictates of the king of the kingdom to which they belong. The churches of God in Christ should preach Christ and His Kingdom to humanity and wait patiently as they come to repentance 1 Timothy 2:1-2, 3, 4-6. Fighting government legislation meant for civil liberty is deviating from her mission to love and help them see God’s Way (Light) by the gospel alone. To hate and campaign against people who’re living their lives out there as citizens of this world is belittling and devaluing the Faith.
Deviating from the Mission
The new mission of the church to change the world’s culture by any means possible is sensual not spiritual. It was sensual minded folks who crept into many of the churches long ago that succeeded in changing the focus of the mission by redefining almost everything in the bible. They failed to recognise that the lifestyles and culture of the world is being powered not from the outside, not even from the mind’s realm but deep from the heart’s nature. Only Christ’s blood can awaken the hearts of humans towards God not government legislations, church dogmas or well envisioned and executed religious programmes.
For the church to fulfil her God given mission by His ordained pattern, she must live her purpose! What’s her purpose?
The Church’s purpose in the world
Let’s be reminded that the body of Christ (The Church) is a citizen of heaven not of Satan’s environment (The world). The bible and not secular government legislates for the Church. And, her purpose in the world is to praise God by glorifying Christ in holy living and declaring God’s manifold wisdom 1Peter 2:9, Ephesians 3:10. Hence, Paul the apostle said, we’re to judge (teach, correct, rebuke, train in righteousness for participation in all godly conduct) those of the household of faith (The pillar and buttress of the truth) 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 Timothy 3:15.
The Church needs to be ready for her persecution that will usher in an amazing intervention of God and mass deliverance unto salvation of the unsaved as God’s word is uncompromisingly taught in the assemblies of the saints. Sinful living including homosexuality, same sex-marriage, fornication and adultery must not be tolerated in the churches of God in Christ Ephesians 5:3. Why? It’s the Churches’ responsibility to hold Christ’s disciples accountable as per the profession of the Faith. It was the primary concern of the apostles 2 Corinthians 11:28 NKJV. This should be the churches’ concern now.
It’s prescribed that believers who insist on misusing their bodies sinfully and dishonouring God 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 should be “put out of the fellowship of saints” with the hope the believer(s)’ direct rough experience with Satan may lead to repentance 1 Corinthians 5:9-10, 11, 12-13. Presently, many churches have colossal failure keeping the faith (Living God’s purpose). That’s where duty calls! As the world sees a true gospel life, love and discipline in the churches of God, everyone will think twice before joining the church.
While His light exposes the darkness inside humankind, more freakish legislation will come as stated prophetically in the Bible as the unavoidable consequence of rejecting God’s light that came into the world over 2000 years ago. Everything outside the light (Christ) will experience increasing conflict within itself. Light drives out darkness, and exposes it too! Its war, a war not to be fought with carnal weapons but with heavenly weapons purified by Christ’s Blood. Church, Selah!
But, churches’ that forget her purpose will also forget her mission as is the case with many today. They’re in need of rebuke and correction from the ministry gifts of Christ than the people of the world! When churches that claim to be in Christ join and aspire to join international groups for world peace, poverty eradication et al, one wonders how the mighty is fallen!? Oh, how a people gifted with sight, purpose and mission has been blinded and derailed! Whilst busy with fights and projects God has not assigned, wild weeds has overtaken them.
It’s when the church is ostracised, called weird people and persecuted, that her purpose and mission advance through the Holy Spirit.
Neither Jesus nor the Apostles protested and lobbied against legislations! Let’s imitate their examples!
As Philip, the evangelist preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ in Samaria, a magician named Simon believed the gospel and was baptised along with others who also believed. Then, Simon continued with Philip in the gospel work.
When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard of the new believers’ community (church) in Samaria, they sent Peter and John out to serve the church. They arrived and God used them to bless the brothers and sisters to receive the Holy Spirit by the laying on of their hands. Though Simon was present, he didn’t receive this blessing — he was more interested in buying the power that he too might lay his hands on others to receive the Holy Spirit Acts 8:4-19. Was Simon a believer and part of the assembly? Yes!
But, Peter’s reply to his request was revelatory and instructive. Here is the apostle’s reply: Acts 8:20-23
May your silver perish with you! Why the threatening reply?
Because Simon, thought he could obtain the gift of God with money!
You have neither part nor lot in this matter! Why?
Because this disciple’s heart was not right before God.
Repent! Of what?
The wicked intent of his heart. How?
By praying to the Lord, if possible, for the wicked intent of his heart to be forgiven him.
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity!
While the first three comments of Peter centred on Simon’s action of wanting to buy God’s gift, the fourth focused on his heart. Also, in a different scene, Peter prophetically commented on Ananias’s heart, “why has Satan filled your heart…?” and why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? Acts 5:3 & 4. Was Peter’s utterance to Simon and Ananias, right? Is revelatory prophecy not meant only for exhortation? Well, what do you know!
As we read the scriptures, the Holy Spirit can use it to expose our hearts to us as well as use us prophetically to expose one another’s heart with the intent for us to repent. But, if we fail to humble ourselves and repent, eventually, our hearts actions (imaginations) which are tangible to God plays out physically Psalm 14:1. This is the reason Christ’s life starts in our hearts. A “heart set on God” may sin and recover — but it’s not so with a “heart set on sin” Romans 4:8. Why? “… In whose spirit (heart) there is no deceit” Psalm 32:2b. Selah!
Careful study of the scriptures reveals something strange about believers who did not “set their hearts on God” (failed to guard their hearts) and Satan used it as his factory. They hardly ever recovered. They either died or never got mentioned again in the bible. Examples: Ananias and Sapphira, Sual, Judas, Simon, the strayed widows, Demas et al. Given this ugly possibility, scriptures exhort and admonish us to embrace the faith (Christ) wholeheartedly and keep good conscience 1 Timothy 1:19.
Simon’s response authenticated Peter’s insight about the condition of his heart. “And Simon answered, pray for me to the Lord that nothing of what you have said may come upon me Acts 8:24.” Again, he was more interested in avoiding “perishing” than the state of his heart for which Peter advised him to seek God. Simon’s heart was unlike David’s. David’s reply and reaction after Nathan confronted him mirrored the kind of “heart that is set on God” and commended 2 Samuel 12:1-4, 5-7, 9, and 13, Acts 13:22b.
As disciples, we need to set “our hearts on God” and not let poison in because, it can affect our relationship with God — separating us from having part in the business of the Holy Spirit while being active with “Churchianity”. Twisting Hebrews chapters 7, 9 & 10 in order to console ourselves, ‘All sins — past, present, and future — have been dealt with once and for all” will not heal a “heart set on sin” and take away its deep seated guilt.
It’s doubtful any human can live a guilt free life without Jesus Christ.
As Christians, only Christ’s sacrifice, a sincere and humble walk with Him deals death blow to guilt. It makes us fall at His feet as He exposes our hearts and actions of sin(s) to us by the Holy Spirit and we actually experience increasingly the double cure of His blood. Firstly, He cleanses us from the sin(s) we’ve fallen into and it becomes history. Albeit, people may still hold it against us but not God — the sign is, we enjoy His peace within and not guilt. Secondly, the sin(s) lose its or their grip over us and we neither cherish it in our hearts nor carry on practising it or them Joel 2:13 NLT, Micah 6:8.
But, if we continue cherishing the sin(s) we fell into in our hearts or — and, practice the sin(s), then, guilt will not go away. No theological analysis, psychologist or psychiatrist has the power to take away guilt’s power over a person.
Scriptures indicates that nursing iniquity (letting out the room of our hearts to Satan) is a different kettle of fish from falling into sin through overzealousness and carelessness. I am not saying circumstance justifies sin, just highlighting the truth that God, knows each of our hearts. ‘God looks on the heart’ 1 Samuel 16:7. This is why God’s understanding and judgement differs from ours and we’re not qualified to judge (condemn) anyone. We can state our understanding of God’s position but, is God’s to condemn or justify anyone.
Hence, Jesus’s words to His body (the Church) is always pointed to the inside of the cup (heart) because it’s where God looks on. While, it’s not optional to keep outside the cup clean, for God, as aptly narrated by Jesus, outside cleanliness of our cups must come from the inside cleanliness His blood has achieved and is achieving for us Matthew 5:20, 1 Peter 3:4. This is the kind of righteousness that exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees Matthew 23:25, 5:8.
So, to think or teach that the evils we may harbour in our hearts is less evil compared to when it’s actualised for others to see is deceptive. Whilst physical murder has more consequences for a victim’s family and friends unlike a victim of hatred, God, who is Spirit, understands how hatred of anyone (even those who make us their enemies) equates to murder 1 John 3:15, Matthew 5:43-48, 1 Peter 1:22 . We have the option to agree or disagree with God but not the luxury of moderating His judgement, period!
We can best serve our communities and bring healing to those battling with guilt by encouraging them to walk heartily with Christ.
God takes the things we permit, contrive, cherish and hold in our hearts towards other people and our spouses very seriously 1 Chronicles 15:29, Malachi 2:15 NKJV, Proverbs 4:23. A teaching that diminishes this truth is deadly Proverbs 25:28 NKJV, Proverbs 16:32 NKJV.
Paul stated it clearly: Think aright — and act rightly Philippians 4:8-9. It’s opportunity that restrains whatever we have in our hearts (hatred or love) from translating to physical murder or act of kindness.
It’s a faithless generation that fails to guard her heart. Guard YOUR heart!
From the minute a sinner accepts and receives Christ into his or her heart, God’s reward is waiting for that individual whether the person dies immediately after or continues to live on the earth.
The question is, will the person who repents on their ‘deathbed’ receive an equal reward as the person who remains on earth producing good deeds and suffering for Christ?
Before answering the question, let’s remember that some people who are healthy become born again and die shortly after without the opportunity of having good deeds in Christ. God will not penalize them by giving them a lesser reward. Selah! It is our belief in Him that actually gets rewarded as opposed to the works grace accomplishes through us 1 Corinthians 15:10. God rewards our faith.
Christ told Paul, ‘you will see how much you will suffer for the gospel’. What does suffering for the gospel mean? It is labouring hard in the gospel with its attendant consequences.
Why did Paul and every other believer who remains on the earth have to suffer for the gospel? It was for him, and every believer to keep on believing in Christ Jesus and not for a reward. Every work the Holy Spirit accomplishes through us is aimed at keeping us looking to or abiding in Christ to the end.
This is the reason we’re told in Hebrews, ‘Abraham believed God and it was counted unto him as righteousness’ without works. And though His faith produced good works and he was rewarded with blessings, we’re told he did not receive the thing (reward) he was believing for. What reward did he look forward to receiving?
It’s important to know what the reward is because, the body of Christ (The church) is also looking forward to the same reward though she is presently receiving blessings for her work and sufferings in the gospel like the past people of God. We know that the reward is not ebullience because, Jesus said, ‘He delights to answer our prayers now so our joy may be full’. Believers’ full felicity is for now not a reward later in heaven John 16. To enjoy it, we’re encouraged to abide in Him and ask for what we want according to His will.
In 1 Corinthians 9:24 Paul said, “in a race, all run but only one gets the prize, so run that you may obtain it”. What is the meaning of “run” in Paul’s statement?
“Run” in Paul’s speech means, keep believing aright. All who keep believing or running aright are “one” — that is, (the Church). Only the Church will receive the prize. In other words, the Church (The body of Christ) is like a relay team that includes those that have finished their laps but are waiting for the final team member to reach the finishing line. Then, the team will be declared as overcomers and receive the reward Hebrews 11:40.
So, those who walked perfectly with God while on the earth are not yet made perfect because of us, the church. Why? The reason is, the phrase “not yet made perfect” speaks of the reward and they can’t get it until the Church as the “final member” finishes her lap of the race.
John the apostle, tells us what the reward is in 1 John 3:2, “Dear friends (Team or Church), now we are God’s children, and it hasn’t yet appeared what we will be. We know that when he appears we will be like him because we’ll see him as he is”. Notice the phrase, “We will be like him” When? At His appearing! This is the reward for which the saints are being kept by grace. Our perseverance in labouring in the gospel and suffering joyfully is to the end that we may keep believing in Christ.
Our believing ties us to His work which in turn refreshes our believing. The greatest reward or gold medal we will receive is Christ! We will be like our Lord, when He appears. Selah!
Before His appearing, even the walk of those pronounced perfect by God is only partial 1 Corinthians 13:10. His appearing will give the Church her reward in full. Of all the grace the Church has received, the appearing of Christ will bring in such grace the Church has never known 1 Peter 1:13. By this grace at His appearing, we will be like Him. Then, indeed, God would have brought many sons out from Christ as the first Son. No reward supersedes this!
After the Church is pronounced winner and all her parts decorated with Gold (Him), we will serve with Him in different capacities, as sovereignly assigned by God. The capacity each part will serve with Him is not earned by us.
Jesus explained it in Matthew 20. The hired labourers worked in His Kingdom’s vineyard. At the end of the day (Time of reward), each received the same prize though they started working at different times. They as “one man”, were rewarded with “one denarius” (representing Him or the Master’s heart). Same principle applied in Matthew 25. Both the servants with five and two talents were rewarded equally, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master”. Notice their differential talents of five and two were tagged little. And, both talent and reward was sovereignly given. The person with one talent who stopped believing had no work or fruit and was condemned. His lack of faith in the Master was the real problem as opposed to his fruitlessness John 15:4.
James and John wanted to sit, one on the right and the other on the left side of Jesus in Mark 10. Jesus promised them, ‘you will surely drink my cup and get the baptism of death as me but for sitting on my right and left, God will assign it to those for whom it’s prepared. Notice, Jesus did not say it’s for those who worked for it. Whilst the working or producing fruit cannot be separated from genuine faith, the fruit is as a result of faith.
While we’re busy in the gospel worshipping and serving others by faith, we’re consciously and unconsciously keeping our faith aflame. All who keep it aflame to the end will be saved and rewarded. His pleasure and reward is not for those who refused to repent (believe in Him) or for those who draw back and stop believing.
Jesus said in Matthew 16:27 and Revelation 22:12, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. We know that what we have done means nothing without the faith that propelled us to do so. So, the reward is actually for the faith as against the deed itself. Paul clarifies it in Romans 14:23, “whatever does not proceed from faith is sin”. This is why we don’t talk of heroes of deeds in Hebrews but of faith. Hebrews 11, was careful to highlight the means over the heroic deeds. There is no good deed found with Christians that cannot be seen with some people who are outside of Christ but, it is faith that matters to God.
Our faith is our work and it is what gets rewarded. Every good deed done for the sake of doing good means nothing to God. But, good deed in the name of Christ Jesus, will be rewarded as faith in Christ. No other good deed will compare to the good deed of believing in Christ. Those who keep believing will keep His work to the end and be called overcomers. They shall eat from the “Tree of Life”, perpetually escape the “second death”, eat the hidden manna and receive a name written on “White Stone” and be clothed with “White Garment” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17 & 26.
The grand hope and reward of all believers is to be the sons of God with the first begotten from the dead (Jesus Christ) and to reign with Him in authority over the nations Revelation 3:5 & 21:7.
Believing or abiding in Christ to the end is everything! This is why all the apostles prayed and pleaded with the disciples to keep the faith to the end lest their (the apostles) labour would be in vain not that their labour will not be rewarded. It’s vital to note that if a convert turns back or stops believing and following Christ, it becomes a “labour in vain” for the believer(s) who planted and watered 1 Corinthians 3:12-15. However, their reward remains intact! 1 Corinthians 15:58.
Finally, remember, it is God, that gives the growth and not the labourers. We will be rewarded for the faith of doing the assignment and not the result of the assignment. We’ll receive the same reward because it’s our faith that’s rewarded. Therefore, the acceptance and receiving of Christ into the heart by faith though on one’s ‘deathbed’ will not stop a person from the reward of being like Him at His appearing. Selah!
Is Satan the devil really as powerful as to cause the kinds of division seen among true Christians today?
Before answering the above question, I guess it is important for us as Christians to remind ourselves of the obvious—that is, we are Christians only because we have Christ in us. Therefore, we all belong to Him.
Doubtless, the devil and his cohorts are powerful but not most powerful! Certainly not powerful enough to take on Christ Jesus the Creator of all things Colossians 1:16.
While the bible described Satan as the strong man, Christ is declared as the stronger man Luke 11:22.
So why has the devil succeeded and is still succeeding in inciting division among believers against the desire of Christ for His Church to live and enjoy unity and peace?
It seems the problem lies with something we Christians have not understood and as such are not obeying. But, what could it be? Don’t be partisan—don’t build camps.
Paul and Barnabas understood this truth. In-spite of their disagreement, they kept on with the gospel without nicknaming it their brand. Because there was absence of this branding of the gospel, when Paul requested for John Mark’s assistance in the gospel, Barnabas did not think Paul was trying to get Mark to switch movement, denomination or camp.
The apostles had a firm grasp of the path Jesus laid for the Church’s unity and peace. Hence, it helped them not to build little or huge camps for themselves.
Though we read of the disagreements in the early church, we see no example of the sort of camps, denominations and movements we have today. Given the grace Paul had for deep and difficult revelations into the Person of Christ as testified by Peter, he could have easily created his own camp, denomination or movement and nicknamed it “Paulinism”. But rather, he exhorted and admonished thus; 1 Corinthians 1:12, 3:4-6, 22, 4:6.
Even where some Christians derailed into dangerous doctrines, the apostle’s approach to correcting them was not to nickname their own gospel. Rather, they confronted the false doctrines headlong—by showing the church via the scriptures and their Christlike lifestyle how the doctrines were wrong. Presently, the church is so deviated from this pattern one would wonder if ever it can be remedied. Here is where faith comes in! All things are possible if we are willing to believe, trust and obey the Omnipotent God.
Well, the bible speaks of the wiles of the devil and states that we’re not ignorant of it. Could it be that we have actually made ourselves ignorant of it?
Let us look at one of his wiles which I strongly believe the church has been for a long time ignorant of and therefore has not attacked it with our Christ given weapons of prayer, wisdom, love and obedience.
The wile I am referring to is the camps we have unwisely built for ourselves, though we have not done this intentionally in all cases. Nevertheless, its effect has achieved the devil’s wishes for us to be divided contrary to our Saviour’s desire for His church to live in unity.
Over the centuries, the Holy Spirit has been revealing clearly that this tragedy of camp building and its divisive effect has to be addressed. But the costs to those who have laboured and invested not just money but their lives to building these camps is enormous. As a result, it’s overwhelming to think about redressing the issue. But, I am persuaded that most of the faithful servants of God who have long joined the Lord will undo the things they did to contribute to the camps we have today if they are given a chance. Pardon my presumption.
So, what will it be for us who remain today, are we going to agree with the Spirit of God and break down these camps or what?
God never builds upon wrong foundation. He always first clears the refuse of lies. His ancient pattern is always to breakdown and build up afresh and anew. Strategic restructuring is never His pattern.
Am I saying we don’t need these nicknames: Multicultural, End time, Reform, Emergent, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Evangelical, Calvinist, Armenian, House church, Baptist, and Methodist etc.? My apologies if I missed out your camp.
It is God’s mind that we should breakdown these camps if we truly want to experience the Lord Jesus’ desire for us to enjoy unity and peace amongst us (the church). For clarity, I am not addressing “unity within our camps and its babies”. It is amply clear that the tactics employed to achieve our tactical “unity” has not and cannot workout unity for His body. Neither can ecumenism.
What I am addressing is the unity of the spirit and peace in the one church that has expression across the different locale.
Now, I am not saying the camps are the cause of disagreements but that they are catalysts for division—actually, the camp is the division. In part 1 of Unity and peace, I did state clearly that disagreement is not division and should not lead to it. However, it is unthinkable to have camps without division.
Love—foundation of the faith, with unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, will carry His church through disagreements. These disagreements arise mainly because we all do not get the true understanding of the person of Christ at the same time. We grow in our knowledge, in our walk in and with Christ at varying paces and God is satisfied with that. If a Christian within a gathering or the whole gathering locale is sinning or in error doctrinally, it should be addressed as such and not from the standpoint of gospel brand.
So, why the bitter divisions? The answer is crystal clear—the camps!
The problem is this; if we must grow our camps then unavoidably we will be partisan, crafty, callous, and egocentric instead Christocentric. But, if we choose Christo-centricity, then, painfully but rewardingly, the camps must need be done away with.
As the body of Christ, here are three vital things to consider deeply if we are honestly desiring our unity and peace.
Firstly, is God actually wanting us to breakdown these ungodly walls (camps, denominations, movements) that have been built knowingly or unknowingly over the centuries?
Secondly, are we prepared to repent and pay the painful price of breaking down the camps our past beloved brothers and sisters and even us now have painstakingly built and relied on for our identity for so long?
And lastly, are we ready to start afresh, learn the things we hopped and skipped over and follow Christ’s pattern relying only on Him, the captain of our salvation, the centre of our unity and the prince of our peace?
What’s your response? It will be helpful to the church.
Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name Psalms 86:11.
… He (God) testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will’ Acts 13:22.
Though God testified that David’s heart pursued after Him, David did not fail to see that many of his imaginations and actions fell short of the state of his heart. He saw his soul’s wrong meditations and the consequences in his fleshly actions that displeased God.
But, David acknowledged the truth that God wants only pure, true and sincere worship or devotion. So, in his anguish for a solution, he prayed to God, ‘Unite my heart to fear (worship) your name’. He was active in his longing for God’s help regarding the matter. He wanted his whole being to join in blessing and praising God Psalms 103:1
This is the heart beat of every true follower of Christ. It is the sign of a vibrant faith.
Scriptures clarifies the truth that, pure and sincere devotion involves our heart, soul and body. It’s God’s work in our heart overshadowing our soul and bearing its fruit out of our body. This is what it means to worship in spirit and truth John 4:23-24. Meaning, the actions of our body should reflect what is in our soul as our soul takes instruction from our heart or spirit where God is working His will.
What did David mean by asking God to unite his heart?
Could it be that he was asking for sanctification? I believe he was. He had a good grasp of the dichotomy of spirit (heart), soul and body and wanted them to unite to glorify God. In other words, he wanted his heart, soul and body to agree with God’s opinion or thought. He desired the free and smooth sailing of God’s command in his daily worship and service to Him.
However, David realized he couldn’t do it by himself, He needed God’s sanctifying power.
David didn’t allow God’s testimony of him to be used by the deceiver (Satan) to delude him. Rather, by faith, he hungered for His righteousness—thereby letting God’s testimony of him serve as a catalyst for, ‘His will in heaven to be done in his life on earth’ Matthew 6:10.
David’s prayer is not surprising. The people of old who pleased God did so by faith, that is, their obedience to God’s command was through Christ though He had not physically been made manifest to mankind on earth.
Did God answer David’s prayer?Yes! He answers the prayers of His children for help always.
Reading through the scriptures, it is clear that David transformed from one who put Uriah in the front line to die, to being a godly king. Towards his end, he testified, ‘that God had given him rest on every side’. Though, within context, ‘rest on every side’ in its use in earlier and later passages with reference to David related to physical wars. However, its spiritual dimension can’t be ignored because, the bigger picture in all of David’s dealings was the spiritual. This was why God testified, that David’s heart was after His own heart or way.
David desired a good standing in God’s sight both for himself and his people just as it applied to other saints of old like Abraham, Moses et al. Hebrews 11:26.
For those whose hearts acknowledge and desire God’s will, when the soul and body unite with the heart, God’s will is easily accomplished—obedience to Christ’ command through the Holy Spirit sails freely. This is the effect of sanctification.
In the New Testament, Paul’s prayer for the church in 1 Thessalonians 5:23 lined up with David’s, “… May every fiber of my being unite in reverence to your name” (Psalms 86:11b Living Bible).
Our Savior (Jesus Christ), authenticated the thought behind both David and Paul’s prayers by His reply to the question: What is the greatest commandment in Matthew 22:37-38.
His answer was simple but profound, ‘Love God holistically (spirit, soul and body). And it is exhibited by the second greatest command in Matthew 22:39—meaning, as God has loved you and helped you to love yourself, love others in the same way. Put differently, let your light shine! God grants our prayer for sanctification because, He wants to see us building on His solid Foundation with the right materials 1 Corinthians 3:11. Not with wood, hay and stubble—but with gold, silver and precious stones 1 Corinthians 3:12.
The testimony of God about His Son’s body (the church) on earth is that she is the light and salt of the world. And, He wants to see that testimony lived out. Hence, the exhortation and admonition, “…let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father” Matthew 5:16, Galatians 6:10.
Paul the apostle tells us, ‘The opposite of us letting our light shine out will be, to live as enemies of His cross that saved us’ Philippians 3:18. But, when His light in us shines out, what glory it brings to God!
Like David, a servant with a heart after God’s heart, let us pray, “… May every fibre of my being unite in reverence to your name” and from Paul’s example, a man full of grace, let us desire and pray: ‘May the God of peace himself cause us to be completely dedicated to him; and may our spirit, soul, and body be kept intact and blameless at our Lord Jesus Christ’s coming’. Amen!
It is good to know and handle the word of God because it contain His Spirit as a light that gives life (John 8:12, 1:4). However, we can handle His word without its spirit or life and light (2 Corinthians 3:6, Jeremiah 2:8).
This danger is subtle and can creep upon us if we presume our busyness— evangelizing, teaching, and caring for people, active in social networks and blogging as tantamount to having His life in abundance (John 10:10).
Even being consumed with our legitimate means of livelihood can conceal our lack of His ever abundant life beckoning on us.
The truth that God’s word is crucial and ineluctable for humans and the universe is undeniable. By His word, the cosmos was spoken into being, and our life’s origin is from Him.
To us humans, Adam being the first, God spoke not that our life should be rather, He entered man by His breath—that is, His very spirit (Life) took residence in Adam. Hence, man became a living soul. Adam came to know the life inside him as the Word — his God and Creator in whom he lived, moved and had his being (Acts 17:28).
Therefore, in their activities in Eden’s garden, God’s every word became their light and first priority. And it was to be an inheritance to their descendants.
But, with the passing of time, they gave God’s word second place in their daily living through the deception of the serpent, the devil. This meant they departed from His path of light and life into darkness or the broad way — a tragic fall from God’s grace! Hebrews 12:15a. From being a living soul, they became dead souls with fleshly might, which was no match for their enemy, Satan (a fallen angel and his cohorts).
Obviously, the kingdom of darkness gained a boast over man. Suddenly, man who through God’s grace had boldness and dominion over all of His creation had lost His glory. As a result, when God called out to Adam and Eve, they didn’t have boldness to fellowship with Him any more.
Though they still handled or remembered His word to them not to eat from the tree of good and evil, the life and light of His word had been lost. They had no power of life to obey it again. Once God’s word takes second place in man, its life and light goes out.
This should deter us ever looking away from Christ Jesus, THE NEW AND LIVING WAY that gives us boldness to fellowship with God at His throne of grace Hebrews 4:16, 10:19-22. Looking away means relegating Him to second place in our lives.
Jesus hates to be our second love or priority. It is a colossal mistake with hellish consequences.
Making Him our second priority is like knowing and handling the word without the life and light. And without light, gloom and darkness prevail. Hence, man loses direction and the essence of living which is—to praise and worship God daily.
The words of prolific writer, C. S. Lewis captured the fact of human neglect of her duties to God: “Human history is the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy”.
The word “happy” is mankind’s way of describing peace and joy. But, the word of God says to us, peace and joy are founded upon righteousness as a virtue of His kingdom (Romans 14:17). The rejection of the spirit, light and life in His word equates to us robbing ourselves of true happiness. Mankind’s own happiness is transient because it is based on things that are temporal and does fade away.
God destined righteousness, peace and joy (happiness) for man is wrapped up in His Son and in Him alone. His word carries the impact of His life as a light shining on the narrow path for all who will embrace and cling to His Son—herein is real happiness found (Psalm 119:105). His word is destined for first place in us humans and over all things and in all things. It must be so for us to have coherence, escape corruption and enjoy happiness for all eternity.
Jesus’ narrative of the rich man who existed in transient happiness while in his mortal body but ended up in perpetual unhappiness in his immortal state is a warning for mankind and the church to give God’s life and light found in His word first priority while the opportunity remains.
All who have been called into Christ are daily in this battle to “abide in Him” (1 John 2:28) described as “looking unto Jesus” in (Hebrews 12:2) and referenced as ‘your first love or the love you had at first’ in Revelation 2. In other words, to abide in Christ is to look steadilyon Him (keep Him as first love) and not to make Him second priority in our daily living. That is to say, Christ as God’s light and life bound up in the word must not be separated. Handling His word without its light and life will at most, make us moralistic people.
Mistake of the Ephesians Church
What happened to Ephesus church as representing a certain church age in (Revelation 2:2-4) is an admonition for us in the twenty-first century church. They remembered the word, laboured hard, had patience and even fished out false apostles among them yet, Christ’ life and light (first love) that worked within their hearts was faded. This is a thing you and I must guard against in our own lives (Matthew 22:37-39).
Intimate relationship or fellowship with God should always come first and from its backdrop, relationships and all its activities with others.
Adam and Eve experienced the glory of God living in, walking and talking with them in Eden’s garden while He remained first in their everyday living. But as said earlier, painfully, they were eventually defeated in that garden because they demoted God’s word to second place.
God’s infinite wisdom and redemptive purpose was to later hatch, His Word became flesh and dwelt amongst men. And, in the garden of Gethsemane, the Word shed His blood, died and resurrected. Now, He lives not just among us but in us, walking and talking with us as Adam and Eve experienced Him in Eden’s garden. This time, and in this Gethsemane garden (the world), the Man Jesus has defeated the serpent.
Therefore, today, the scriptures exhort and admonish man boldly, ‘Christ in you—the hope of glory’ (Colossians 1:27). Not we working for the gospel but, the spirit, light and life of His word or the gospel working in us and giving out its fruit through us.
Paul the apostle had a good grasp of this. As the gospel (light and life of God’s word) worked in him, he strived to imprint the truth of Gethsemane’s victory into the heart of the church. Nevertheless, he never failed to also remind the church to learn from man’s fall in Eden through Satan’s deception (2 Corinthians 11:3).
For emphasis, Satan’s deception worked only because Adam and Eve forgot their first love. This is why the Holy Spirit is with us, always reminding and helping us not to forget our first love, Christ Jesus. And we are admonished to encourage one another daily to this end (Hebrews 3:13).
So, God is not looking for us to just know the letter of His word or is He seeking to talk “to” us, no, rather, He desires to talk “with” us—herein is life. And, He wants to “walk” with us not just “show” us the way— that is light as found in His word (Christ). He is the Light of the world (John 8:12, Revelation 21:23). Outside Him is gross darkness.
As redeemed and beloved children of God, may we find grace to keep coveting after the spirit, light and life in His scriptures, that is our first love!