Good vs. Evil

Who doesn’t love a nice “good versus evil” story?  Everyone can get behind the good guy in those kind of stories, because we relate to him.  We want to see good prevail.  The problem with the good vs. evil paradigm, is this; it’s a sham.  It is a sham because we think we know what good is, and we don’t.

Everywhere I look in my own life, among my own friends, Christians are struggling with strain in their marriages, with kids making bad choices, with discouragement and depression, with fears and stress.

The Bible says that no one is good.  That our righteousness is as filthy rags.  That one statement right there is sufficient to lay to rest any misguided notion that we “keep” our own salvation by our works and effort.  Even after we are saved, OUR “righteousness” is still nothing more than filthy rags.  God isn’t in the cleaning up business, or the remodeling business.  Jesus didn’t die to make bad people good.  He died to give dead people life.  If being saved means a new creature with new life, the life of the Son of God, living in us, then how do we become dead again by committing sin or by not keeping the law, when He saved us in that very condition to begin with.  While we were yet sinners.

The Lord knew we would sin again.  He saved us anyway.Could God think so little of the ordeal of Calvary that Jesus endured, that He would give what it bought, to someone who will just throw it in the garbage?  No, that is what it means when the Bible says “those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become sons of God.  God is compassionate but He is not foolish, He is not, ever mocked, because no one can get anything over on Him.  That is not “hyper grace” nor is it “easy-believism” because it is much easier to believe in our own abilities than in our absolute inability to produce righteousness of ourselves.  It is not “cheap grace”, though to sin willfully and defiantly does demonstrate a lack of gratitude and lack of understanding of what we were saved from and what price was paid.

We were dead in our trespasses and sins. We did not have comprehension of our guilt, until the Holy Spirit enlightened us to it.  When we believed the Lord for His provision of our salvation, He put a covering of Christ’s righteousness on us.  That is what the imagery of white robes is all about.  We get finally delivered from this body of sin, the flesh, at the resurrection, or when we die.

I hate this old world!  I hate the fact we still sin when we don’t want to.  I hate watching the rising tide of evil, and the pain and suffering that comes with rebellion.  God prefers obedience, but in His Grace, He will receive sacrifice instead.

Some day He is going to amend all that is wrong.  When we are the one hurting, it is easy to want Him to hasten that day.  But when we consider that only by His grace are we saved, we also have a willingness for Him to tarry a little longer, so no one gets left behind that could have been rescued.  I am thankful that it is His job and not mine, to know when is the right time.  The longer I live, the more I am glad He is in charge and not me, and the more willing I am to just be thankful for the power I don’t have. It is so much easier to let someone else be in charge.  In this world such a statement is practically sacrilege. We are told to take life by the horns and “take control”.  We are told we have the power by our own minds, by what we think, to make things go a certain way.  When did fairy tales become the sphere of choice for the so-called intelligentsia hang out in? Hey, go spin that straw into gold while you’re at it,  whydoncha?

I’m tired of hearing how shameful it is that so many Christians are divorced, so many Christians are on psychotropic drugs, how many Christians are depressed.  There is a time and season for everything, and a funeral is not the place to wear a clown suit and blast your sqeaky-horn.  Life is serious.  Yes, it is okay to laugh, yes it is good to praise God and dwell on His blessings with thankful hearts.  But in case you haven’t noticed, plastic churches produce plastic people who are so busy being plastic and trying to keep up the appearance of having it all “together” that they don’t even realize how ineffective they are because they forgot what church is supposed to be anyway.  Heck, it’s been going on so long now, the current generation of leaders, and yes, I mean the fifty and over crowd, don’t even know they have become a caricature.

Authenticity never loses its value.  And like gold, the more scarce it is, the more people yearn for it.  Plastic Christians, whitewashing the outside of the cup, while the inside is still filled with “dead men’s bones” isn’t fooling anyone.  You’re not even fooling yourself.  You know you sin, God knows you sin, and this side of glory, you will never be free of your “body of sin”.

Life is messy and painful.  We are sinners and sinners sin.  Sin separates us from God.  The wages of sin is death.  Jesus died to pay those “wages” for us.  Some of us can’t get it through our thick skulls that we don’t have enough “currency” to pay that debt ourselves. Neither before we are redeemed, nor after.  Even when we have been redeemed, we still don’t have that full inheritance and thus, our “estate” is held in “trust” until we do come of age, which doesn’t happen in this lifetime on Earth.  The only way of clearing the slate, is by confessing our sin. He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  We are to wash with the water of the Word.  We are to eat of it, and drink of it, and partake of it, meditate on it, write it on our heart and mind.  But all of that doesn’t result in perfection.  We are never sanctified until our bodies themselves are changed from the corrupt earthy one, to the spotless heavenly one.

The ground we walk on here is a slough of sewage and sin, that’s why He gave us special shoes (of the gospel of peace).  The armor is not just for defending ourselves from the evil one, but it is like the mask and gown and gloves a nurse puts on before entering the room of a highly contagious patient.  It is like the biohazard suits that chemists wear to protect them from the harmful effects of the substances they interact with on a daily basis.

Being a Christian in this world is kind of like the story from the seventies of “the boy in the plastic bubble”.  Like the weather man now gives the pollution index or smog report, or pollen count, we live in an increasingly dangerous world where evil is gradually proliferating to such toxic levels that it is hazardous to our spiritual health, not to don the spiritual safety gear God has availed to us.

I hate this world.  Not the people, the atmosphere.  It’s become hard to breathe here. You know?  But we are kind of like the firemen and paramedics who ran into the buildings on 9-11.  At least that’s what we are supposed to be like.  No greater love hath any man than this, to lay down his life for a friend.  We cry come get us, Lord, in the same way that Jesus asked that if there was any way for “this cup to pass from me”..  We dread what lies ahead, but we have that example of Jesus to look to and emulate.  He has never asked anything of us that He didn’t go through Himself.

So when the road is rocky, when it feels like the devil is winning, and when we want to just throw our hands up in defeat, we have to look back at the cross, and look way up yonder to that seemingly distant day when the troubles will be over.  Nothing to do but keep walking in the light He has given, and hold His hand in the dark when the light is not there.

There is such a thing as good and evil.  But none of that good is our own, our flesh itself is one of the enemies of our soul. There is no good in this world, only in God.  Only in Jesus, only in the Holy Spirit, and that great and Holy God has condescended to extend His light into our darkness, and show us a way that leads out of death and into life.

Strike out on your “shortcuts” at your own peril.  I’m sticking with Him.  No “better way” exists.  No short cuts, no new thing under the sun.  God is God, always was God, always will be God.  Kali isn’t god, Mohammad is not God, we do not have a “Christ-consciousness” nor some inner path to “enlightenment” and we do not attain godhood.

We are utterly lost until we acknowledge the One True God, and yield to his Sovereignty which we will not, cannot ever overthrow.

We will have no peace, the world will have no peace, until Jesus sit’s on the throne of David.  Satan has been given a long leash for this time, but it’s the retractable kind.  And it will be drawn up short in God’s due time.  I’m looking forward to that day.  I’m ready for a world where God has put things back in proper order and place.  I don’t care if I’m the lowliest servant in that Kingdom, as long as I get to be a part of it, serving Him.

I take Satan’s existence kind of personally.  I don’t like him.  I hate to give him the satisfaction of my screw-ups and falls and failures.  So at least I am learning to do what takes the wind out of his sails, and fess up to the Lord and apologize to the people I wrong or hurt.  I am learning how not to give him that satisfaction, by resisting my instinctive (fleshly) reactions, and casting down vain imaginations and everything that exalts itself above God.  Things like ego.  Things like pride or a desire to be “right” or to nurse resentment toward someone.

Not doing “good” for the sake of “being good” but rather, resisting evil for the sake of depriving the enemy of any reason to gloat.  I hate that guy.  People who don’t believe in him, are fools, and his favorite kind of people.  His other favorites are the ones who blame their own sins on him.  He’s more than happy to take the credit, just as long as we don’t own up and repent.And it’s so easy to go along with that arrangement.  We don’t know the release that comes with confession and repentance if we never do it.

I’m thankful that I understand what I do understand, by the grace and mercy of God.  I am thankful to Jesus for the salvation He purchased on my behalf, and gave to me freely and that God loves me that much to allow it.  It may not be popular, and it may not be a gift many others in this world appreciate or have any interest in receiving.  I may see a day when I am persecuted for it, even as so many of my brothers and sisters in this world have been, both in the past and in the present day.  But I know that what we seek and what we yearn for and what we need, can be found no place else. My God is the God who sent fire down to consume the altar of Baal and the wood and the water and the priests of Baal. My God is the one who parted the red sea, who delivered a nation, who tells the ocean how far it may extend, and no further, who speaks to the wind and the wind obeys, who placed each planet and star in their place and keeps them there, and who keeps your heart beating and mine, until the day He stops it.  I don’t understand everything about Him.  But I know He is God, and there is no other. There are many pretenders, but only one great I AM. It ain’t me, and it ain’t Oprah Winfrey.

Religions are all man’s efforts and aspirations that they inherited from their father (Satan) that same delusion that says  I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; and I will sit upon the mount of congregation, in the uttermost parts of the north;  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. Does Satan, and don’t men, even hear themselves acknowledge the very fact that God is the Most High?  Most High means MOST high, no one can go higher.  Most high is the ultimate.  But that is what happens when someone refuses to accept the truth.  They become prey to delusion.  Satan himself is delusional.

God, the One true God, never said, “if you can climb, if you can build, if you can make a way up here to me, then I will give you my approval, or my throne, or a crown or reward of any kind.  God, the One true God, reached down to where we are.  He made a way for us to come to Him.  Only we don’t want to accept our own impotence or to acknowledge our own helplessness, inadequacy, and unworthiness, and most of all, we don’t want to accept His authority and indictment. And He even gives us the option to reject those things.  That’s a pretty generous God.  He made us, and He had a purpose in doing so.  If we reject His purpose, that’s our prerogative, but it also means we go through eternity living with that choice, in a place separated from the source of life, a place of perpetual death, but without the relief and finality of ceasing to exist.  He created us,eternal souls. We choose our own way, yes.  But it was never ours to determine what the array of eternal options would be.  We like to tell ourselves we can do that.  But just like the Bipolar who went off his meds can’t actually fly, that doesn’t change the reality.  The guy high on bath salts who thinks his arm is a chicken leg and eats it, didn’t actually turn his arm into a chicken leg either.

That’s how reality works.

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