one tiny soapbox: .my life 'til now...(short version)
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Tuesday, July 5

.my life 'til now...(short version)

.before July of 2004, i was a degenerate..those who know me may find that statement surprising (or, perhaps not); so, allow me to explain:

.from my early youth, i was raised in the “way of Holy Ghost.” as i grew older, i began to excel beyond most of my peers in the (rudimentary) knowledge of the Scriptural text. in our assembly, it was taught that a prayed prayer, accompanied by great conviction and an earnest commitment to holiness were essentially sufficient to obtain Salvation from sin. one made such a commitment to The King simply by accepting Him as “personal Savior.” to these, Faith is a power to be wielded by the faithful and believing to move The King’s hand, influencing the outcomes of circumstances to one’s own benefit and relief.

.it was also taught that one could “lose” one’s Salvation ~ or backslide ~ if a life of righteous behavior wasn’t rigorously maintained, so, periodically one was encouraged to renew one’s “commitment” to The King in order to make sure He didn’t catch one asleep or inactive in Faith…we were, in a word, ‘Arminian.’ strong emphasis was rightly placed upon maintaining an effort to grow in Scriptural knowledge, but the teaching of sound doctrine and application fell short.

.this church “orthodoxy” essentially asserted the following: get Saved (make a commitment to The King ~ because it’s the first priority ~ to ensure your entrance to Heaven; fire insurance). then at some point afterwards, come up to the next level (discipleship; where you actually strive to live in increasing obedience to The King's Commands). and along the way, be diligent in exercising your piece of sovereignty, as the disuse thereof may just jeopardize your position in the heavenlies.

.these concepts were essentially reiterated at my collegiate alma mater, where i was exposed to an assortment of wayward teachings, most of which taught pretty much the same thing about Salvation, namely that being Saved meant accepting The King’s “free” gift through making a commitment to live a new life. obedience to Scripture was mainly emphasized in abstract ways that seemed to say that as long as you spoke the language, knew what was right, and were working on the obedience thing, in whatever ways your personal convictions dictated (at least “struggling” with your sins), it was all good.

.fortunately, it was there that my confidence in the whole modern spirit-led movement quietly began to crumble. my brain was becoming over-saturated with countless un-Scriptural teachings, and I saw too many lives remain un-changed ~ including MY OWN. it was like becoming sick over an excess of sugar at a holiday desert party. i just got burnt out (though i couldn’t have articulated this fully, at the time).

.it was in spring of 2000, when a friend gave me a book by Hank Hanegraaff, that my disillusionment began finally to take shape, and became ultimately a quest for sound Scriptural exposition.

.up ‘til this point, i had experienced many emotional and mystical things i thought evidenced an early conversion, things somewhat common to professing Pilgrims born these last hundred years or so, like: remembering the time i responded to the alter call and “really meant it this time;” speaking in tongues; “dancing in the spirit;” a seemingly super-human ability to resist sexual temptations, etc., etc., etc.

.however, never had i demonstrated a genuine fear of The King and a sincere reverence of His Holy Writ. this crucial realization didn’t really dawn on me until a couple life-altering events occurred.

.first, my best friend abandoned me ~ that is: my wife left me. The significance of 6+ years together (and the fruit of a beautiful baby boy) all were thrown to the wind, because she convinced herself her marriage to me was one huge mistake.

.second, and just on the heels of that great tremor, came the Big Quake: a long-time friend loaned me a two part sermon series by fundamentalist preacher, John MacArthur, titled, ‘Salvation Survey.’ i listened to it, and for the first time in my entire life, i began to honestly and thoroughly examine myself, to take a good hard look inward and check the state of my soul ~ and the responsibility i bore for the state of my life.

.the scales fell, and i discovered that, despite having smartly worn the Pilgrim’s label all my adult life, there was a sheer and glaring absence of an actual hunger for and obedience to The Only True and Worthy King, the Triune God.

.it was at that point i knew ~ with total conviction ~ i needed once for all to confess and repent of my utter rebelliousness. subsequently, through a time of humbling and tearful prayer, in which i came to full terms with the thoroughness of my depraved human nature, i threw myself at The King’s mercy and begged His forgiveness. it was the only thing i could do.

.fortunately, my contrition was rewarded. though i deserve no credit for it, whatsoever.

.you see, before coming to The King, though i hardly realized it, i was pretty self-assured (read: PRIDEFUL) by my so-called Scriptural knowledge, and i fairly well lived out what i knew ~ or so i thought (like the rich young ruler). i looked down on others, comparing their apparent lack of righteousness to my own behavior and taking comfort in the contrasts, like the arrogant Pharisee who, glancing over at the tax collector praying nearby, thought himself more righteous than he. i knew that in most “theological” discussions, i could blow many folks away with my authentic Scriptural insight, sheer intellect and command of Standard English ~ and my ability to bluff well.

.but i had come to realize that i lacked any genuine desire to allow The Eternal Truths to penetrate my heart, expose my motives, and destroy my sin-laced thought patterns (which are many).

.it was these patterns of thought that proved my un-willingness to obey The King’s Will ~ as revealed in Scripture; His will for me to live a life of continual Spiritual and Truthful worship reflected in all i think, say, and do…His Will for me to be the true Leader and Provider in my home by not resisting or slacking in my responsibilities as husband and father…in a nutshell, His Will for me to OBEY. Period.

.now i am so very thankful that, through the aid of the Great Counselor, i have gladly been stripped of my own pride, self-righteousness and self-centeredness, and dressed in The King’s own Righteousness, with all the Riches that entails! and, with the deepest humility i can actually say ~ after all these years of just thinking i was a Pilgrim, Saved from the sting of death and the eternal pains of hell, as many do suppose of themselves ~ at long last i now have a Saving Faith in the Lord Christ Jesus, that I Love God and hate sin, and have an assurance of Salvation and Eternal Life, the price of which was completely paid by his Sacrifice, but which most assuredly comes to us only at a great cost.

.thanks to The Counselor’s illuminating work coupled with the teaching of sound, orthodox doctrine graciously afforded at the local assembly of Pilgrims, i’ve come to realize that a hunger to fully know the way of The King and desire to serve him with OBEDIENCE to His Written Revelation are indications of a heart truly regenerate.

.i’ve also learned that being a Pilgrim is not something we are just from the neck up; that is, in speech and theory, only. rather, it’s evidenced both by what we say and by how we respond to what The King has said.

~ ~ ~

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

~ the apostle Paul's Letter to the early Roman Pilgrims (ch. 1:16-32)

~ ~ ~

I know very well how foolish the message of the cross sounds to those who are on the road to destruction. But we who are being Saved recognize this message as the very power of God. As the Scriptures say: ‘I will destroy human wisdom and DISCARD their most brilliant ideas.’

So where does this leave the philosophers, the scholars, and the world's brilliant debaters? God has made them all look foolish and has shown their wisdom to be useless nonsense. Since God in His wisdom saw to it that the world would never find Him through human wisdom, He has used our foolish preaching to save all who believe.

God's way seems foolish to the Jews because they want a sign from heaven to prove it is true. And it is foolish to the Greeks because they believe only what agrees with their own wisdom. So when we preach that Christ was crucified, the Jews are offended, and the Gentiles say it's all nonsense. But to those called by God to salvation, both Jews and Gentiles, Christ is the mighty power of God and the wonderful wisdom of God. This "foolish" plan of God is far wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God's weakness is far stronger than the greatest of human strength.”

~ Paul's 1st Letter to the early Corinthian Pilgrims (ch. 1:18-25)

Comments on ".my life 'til now...(short version)"

 

Anonymous Anonymous said... (Fri Jul 08, 10:27:00 AM 2005) : 

It's your brother Marvin...Your Loved, your Bold, Praise Jesus for you.

My wife has left me as well.

 

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