As I look forward to the verdict of my oncologist this next week, I am reminded once again of a couple of places in the Scriptures:
“Length of days is in the hands of The Lord” ~ Proverbs 3:13-18
“For all our days are passed away in thy wrath: We bring our years to an end as a sigh. The days of our years are threescore years and ten, Or even by reason of strength fourscore years; Yet is their pride but labor and sorrow; For it is soon gone, and we fly away” ~ Psalm 90:9,10
“To live is Christ and to die is gain”” ~ Philippians 1:21
That being said, the “law of sin and death,” has been replaced by the Spirit of life in Christ! (Romans 7:18-25 & 8:2)
Truth resides in the Spirit of Christ. He is the Truth. By the Spirit, the Truth is resident in us who believe. It is the gift of God by revelation- lest any be tempted to boast.
So here’s the deal as I have come to understand it: It is better, by far, to die and be with Christ. (I should say that the Biblical evidence is that, while God is always conscious of us, even in our death, we are not always conscious of God, especially in our death. Call it “soul sleep” or what ever makes sense out of it for you, but either way, when the time is right, like at the last trumpet when we are all changed, whether we have been sleeping or not, we will awake bright eyed and bushy tailed to enjoy our fellowship with God and each other in Christ!)
What I do want to get at here, however, is the reason for sticking around in this old creation life, no matter the state of our deterioration. We remain here for the sake of those around us. Clearly the bottom line is the impartation or communication of Truth to the”others” in our lives. (Keeping in mind that Jesus is the Truth, and that’s what we’re talking about here)
While we should be careful with the Truth, lest we hurt people with a careless wielding of the Sword of the Spirit. For instance, to the Corinthians Paul wrote that he could not address them as spiritual or mature, but carnal/immature. This just to say that we need to keep in mind where we are and to whom we are communicating the truth. Even Jesus had more to share at the “Last Supper” than His disciples were ready to hear. Love keeps track of where loved ones are, both in the flesh, and in the Spirit.
What I am increasingly concerned about is the possibility of being so careful – so concerned not to offend that we compromise the truth whether by omission or by sharing error (i.e. truth with a little bit of leaven mixed in) Just to remind you, Jesus identified leaven as hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the presentation of something, or even our selves, as genuine, when it is not. For present purpose, I would like to stay on track by suggesting that “Genuine” is TRUTH.
Truth is best found by searching the Word of God, whether in the Bible or in The Spirit. For instance, God is very clear in His word concerning what He considers “Church.” What the traditions of men have taught us is Church isn’t even close. The same could be said for most of tradition’s ministerial add-ons from apostles to pastors, and all the claims in between. For too long the saints have been taxed to pay for hypocrisy, presumption and preeminence.
It is past time to stop feeling sorry for all three. It is time, even past time for the TRUTH. If I have it right in my present condition, that’s what I have been left around to do. Over the years, I have been more than willing to share the truth both inside and outside the camp – generally on the outside, where the TRUTH is mostly to be found, “And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come,” Hebrews 13:12-14.
It was a place “outside the camp” where TRUTH was crucified. That same TRUTH came also with GRACE, “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.” John 1:16-18 NIV.
Aren’t we glad that TRUTH came with GRACE? It’s very difficult to imagine how TRUTH might have reacted to crucifixion if GRACE had not been right there with It!