Monday, April 21, 2008

Our Copious Christ

           In Aldous Huxley’s, Brave New World, society is ignorant of reality.  They exist in this state of mind mainly due to the drug supplement, Soma.  Soma is a drug that keeps the grown humans of Huxley’s world ignorant, and in doing so, keeps rebellion, curiosity, and all hostility and negativity at bay.  Every time a character in the novel uses the drug, it is either for the purpose of heightening a sense of pleasure or pleasantness, or to subdue feelings of negativity, anger, or any extreme emotional or, worse, intellectual response to a foreign or hostile situation. 

In this sense it is seen as the addictive behavior of people in general who run to their addictions as a numbing supplement to the problems of life, or use them to stimulate or increase natural pleasures or happiness.  The addiction leads to more addiction as each time builds upon itself a greater happiness, therefore a greater crash at the end, seeking a supplement that will now fill the bigger void, therefore causing a bigger supplement, and so the vicious cycle goes on and on.

Is this not the behavior of the average churchgoer?  Better yet, you or I as believers?  Do we not wait for Sunday to “fill” ourselves, to numb the pain of life?  Why do we do this?  Church was meant to be a fellowship of the believers in Jesus Christ as sole Savior.  It was not, however, meant to be a place where struggles, pain, and sin are left at the door.  It is in church these needs and fleshly deficiencies should be ministered to and given encouragement for proper healing by faith, prayer, confession, repentance, honesty, passion, and thought, all centered around and only existing through the Words of Scripture.  Instead what we have created is a rehab center that takes on a philosophical, shell-like life.  How did we arrive here?

I don’t know if I’ve made my point clear as far as distinction between The Church, and church.  The difference lies really upon whether we are performing what we call church in the proper boundaries or at least guidelines of God’s Word.  How nonchalantly we walk into our tower of Soma.  Do we come here to face the problems, or to ignore them?  Do we come here to fuel our passion or numb it?  What I fear and what I know is that we have created a self-idealized Utopia that is truly non-existent and bringing about a decay of the real church with its constant façade of non-Biblical and extra-Biblical promises that carry no real, divine power.

It seems as though we’ve turned the church into a self-help program seeking to relate to people on an emotional level so that we can feel human.  What we do not do most of the time is to understand the Word of God as our life, not its supplement.  John Piper said it best during his sermon at Passion conference 2007 in Atlanta Georgia; “Heaven is not your pre-nup to salvation.”  What an honest and very true statement.  How do we understand salvation?  Do we see it as solely the promise of eternal life in Heaven?  But, is Heaven really the thing of it?  The real prize of being saved by grace through faith is that of an eternal, un-hindered and non-tempestuous relationship with the unconditional Lover of our soul Jesus Christ.  On top of this ignorance the church has missed the very concept that defines it.  The marriage ceremony of Christ and His church comes after, and only after, the preparation for and of the bride.

We must understand that our lives are to be Christ’s.  This is the standard that we obviously fall short of before becoming saved.  So what about after we are saved?  The very simple answer is that we are now joint-heirs with Christ.  We take the inheritance that he takes part of, that of eternal relationship with God and the glorification of our bodies in which we will know no inner chaos that is the nature of human temptation.

So what of our daily lives?  Colossians 1:19 says, “And it pleased the Father that in Him (Christ) should all fullness dwell.”  To understand this fully while we are sewn up in these fleshly bodies with finite minds is impossible, as finite will never comprehend infinity.  I wish so much that I could right now, but this was obviously no the best thing for me to know right now.  But at an attempt to at least understand the enormity and effectiveness at this will truly revolutionize one’s outlook on this Christian life.  In another note I’ll write more about this, but when we participate in communion we are remembering the practice and teachings of the last supper and understanding them as our very own.  What happens is that, when we take the “blood” and “flesh” of Christ (I don’t mean this as transubstantiation), we are literally taking on His fleshly life; his perfect, sinless life lived in a human body with a human mind and with human desires.  When I understand this, it convicts me in a way that nothing else does.  My Savior shows such love with this statement and I realize how lightly I have taken communion in the past, not realizing how serious the implications of this practice and just how much I had fallen short of living the life of Christ.  The Bible, as seen from these two passages, shows us that as Christians we are to live the life of Christ knowing from Colossians that, literally, there is no deficiency with Christ. All fullness dwells in Him and we are part of that, if only we would realize it.

The church is relying upon itself to help itself.  When I say the church I’m including myself, and all I’ve said came by conviction of my own actions.  So, what the church, what I have not done is to run to Christ, in whom all fullness (the fullness of God, who is infinite) dwells.  If I did understand this I would understand that in running into the fullness of Christ I am running into the arms of eternal forgiveness, of unconditional love, and unlimited regenerating power.  Some would say that this has been commonly preached, but what is not commonly preached is how we do that.  Actually it is, but I don’t know if it’s fully realized by the congregation, the pastor, or both.  Christ is also the Word.  The Word of God is the written life of Christ.  It is our fullness for it is Him in text form.  But “text” is so limited in its connotation.  It is a living, breathing, inspired book that literally can, if we run to it, define our lives as Christians.  But by this self-same book, reading is the first part, action is the second.  Real action.  There is just such a lack of Christian activity in my life. How much ministering am I doing?  What does this mean? It means me looking for someone who either is not saved or who needs to know the Truth of Christ’s life, and, consequently, His words.  If this is not attempted, how then can I saw the love of Christ is in me?  Is there any fruit?  Where?  Can I honestly say that compassion is a familiar feeling to me?  If I were to be completely candid, which I am, I’d say no.  Compassion cannot exist in a selfish person.  By it’s very base nature, compassion is selfless.  I have to get my eyes off of myself for two seconds to see those around me, screaming, grasping, and failing for answers to what this life is for.  I can’t imagine what life must be like as an atheist.  How can anything ever be enjoyed?  Better yet, how can anything be experienced?  Experience and joy are, by means of the standard definition, abstract.  How can the literal produce an abstract outcome without an outside mediator and a founding intelligence?  I must know what it is to feel compassion for the atheist.  We must learn to have compassion for the atheist.  The church should be flooding the desk of Richard Dawkins with letters of complete and honest love.  Compassion really is just as simple as that; a genuine love for the lost. 

I’m a Calvinist, and I know a lot of people will have a problem with that, but truly I don’t see how Romans, specifically chapter nine, could be any less clear.  It’s not that I’m a follower of Calvin, I’m a follower of Christ, and God, in His sovereign grace, has seen fit to teach me finally to accept all things in His Word, both “logical” and not, due to the fact that I am under Him; creation will not define its creator, it can only display Him! I loved Piper’s quote about this.  His words were, “Christianity begins with the great conviction that quite apart from my ideas, and my feelings, and my thoughts, and my desires, there is objective reality defined by God.  God absolutely is.”  This is nothing but scriptural truth resonated by a completely surrendered servant.  Imagine if you will, what would happen if we were to begin to define objective reality.  Can even the grandest fantasy of our own minds create credibility great enough to match that of absolute truth?  No.  The very fact that there will be disagreements about things such as “Calvinism,” should tell you that we do not have, as a church, the kind of absolute nature that God does.  We are fickle, and change over time.  This is sanctification.  Do you have to be a Calvinist to be a Christian?  No.  Do you have to put a whole and unapologetic faith in the Word of God to be a Christian?  In the most absolute way, yes.  Why?  Because Christ is the Word!  So what is the point about me rambling on about this?  It’s very simple.  We have been given grace by the unconditioned love of Christ, grace unto salvation by faith.  If we truly accept this love, we will understand it as the greatest act of love to ever present itself to creation.  If we know this, and we know, as was said before, that this Christ, this ever-faithful lover of our souls is inside us, defining our life in the most literal and spiritual sense, then we will know what it is to love others in the deepest most profound ways.

To conclude, while this entry may seem long, convoluted, and given over to scatter shooting, I mean it all to come to this.  We as the Church must start relying on the Word of God, and the fellowship granted in that same Word by our mutual faith, in a complete way.  We are to come to Christ with the faith of a child, not just in salvation, but in all things.  Remember your faith as a child, and know that the innocence which spurned it, was given to you in the purifying blood of Christ, to an even deeper sense, removing all sin from your countenance before the Father, allowing your body to be glorified as to Christ’s, the ever and copious Christ of love, forgiveness, and innocence.  May you know the Word and the power it has to transform, regenerate, and renew those who will come to it.  And may you catalyze your church to a full reliance upon Him by examining and refining your own faith to be a complete reliance and full acceptance of the perfect and omni-powerful Word of God, and through this, love unconditionally.  Amen.

2 Timothy 3: 14-17- “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”


Anonymous said...

I greatly enjoy reading your insights. It always gives me much to think about, this one especially. Thank you.

Brennan said...

:) thank you so much

Susan said...

Hey Brennan,

I just discovered your blog, WOW!!

What a passionate heart you have for the Lord.

How wise you are~

Have you ever checked out Steve Camp's blog? I think you would really enjoy it.

Brennan said...

thank you so much for your kind words, they're much appreciated. I checked out the blog and so far I really really like it! thank you so much

Josh Puckett said...

Good stuff bro. I didn't realize you wrote as much as you did... I definitely need to start keeping my blog more up to date.

Also, I'm glad to here you are a Calvinist ;)