(Psalms 11:3) “If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?”
I was recently inspired to write this post, after a friend forwarded me an article from Charisma Magazine. ” Putting Discernment Back Into Spiritual Warfare” the article demonstrated some sad but true experiences found in some churches we could relate with, and I felt it was necessary to reach out to many who may have or currently experiencing similar things.
In the late eighties and nineties, in the beginning of our conversions to Christ as newbies, we’re exposed to every extreme wind and wave of doctrine that passed through town. Today some of us that attended meetings together are spread out over, Canada, Europe and USA, but have been maintaining fellowship through social networking. Recently we’ve conferenced called and interestingly, conversed about our beginning years in those Church houses. Although we wouldn’t trade in some of those first faith & love experiences for the world, there was some damage done by the extremes and absences of sound doctrine.
We’ve noted how critically important a good foundation is for those first spiritual days. We’ve all spent years and countless hours renovating our foundations, and with the help of the Holy Spirit are becoming established as the sons of God in the faith. I can say, experienced in construction, to build a house correctly in the beginning is much easier than renovating it later.
Millions of believers suffer scars from those first years, and many prodigals are the results. But remembering the good news, Jesus won’t lose any that the Father has placed in his hands, and he’s still in the business of renovating our lives.
Remember the Potter in (Jeremiah 18:4) “And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it”. In context, the prophet is refereeing to Israel, and can also be an allegory for unregenerate man before Christ vs the new regenerated man after Christ. Anyways, I think there’s some comfort and hope found in the text, by understanding, that regardless of the mess made after the new birth, that the potters hand is still upon us, working a vase of his pleasure.
Many critical foundation stones were needed to establish us firmly in the beginning, just to note one here, would be “correct identity”. Jesus and the Apostles reference sonship, in categorizing identity of believers. John’s Gospel 1:12 say’s; “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” and the apostle John said (1John 3:1,2)1. Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
The core identity of “sons and daughters of God” is more serious than some realize, which many believers may have missed in those early years, because much emphasis on other identities, such as positions, titles and pursuits. The desire to receive power to become the sons and daughters of God is clearly doctrinally safe, as opposed to less secure desires for titles, positions and (ministry offices). The apostle does say, (1 Timothy 3:1) “This is a true saying, if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.” But the core motivational desire should be sonship, not the latter. I have not noted in scripture men having temptations to be sons of God, but have noted greatly repeated temptations for men to hold other identities, titles and positions which have proven to destroy them, and can greatly affect our ambitions and destinies. (See The Lost Sons In The Kingdom)
Most newbies were thrown into the middle of a variety of scriptures or letters not knowing any of its context, thus, a breeding ground for error and even heresy. Heresy, being a work of the flesh described in (Galatians 5:20) which we’ll define as “wrong spiritual concepts that sound spiritually correct.” Just as we wouldn’t jump into the middle of any article, read a few lines and conclude we understood what was said, the same is true for the gospel.
Helping all concerned, fixing foundations is possible and we’ve found great comfort by adjusting how we read the bible. One powerful, yet simple approach that can help millions, is this “how we read the bible”. For example, reading a new testament letter from start to finish, without stopping, consecutive times can truly help straighten out a crooked mess. It’s amazing after some consistency with healthy reading habits how the Holy Spirit reveals the information simply in its context, and also begins to show us verses that have been used out of context. We can be confident that God will help us to understand the gospel as we abide in his word. And as Jesus said in (John 16:13) “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will show you things to come.”
Paul also exhorted young Timothy in various ways, one of which was regarding his reading; (1 Timothy 4:13) “Till I come give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.” And (2 Timothy 2:15) “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
Reading the scripture is essential to renewing the mind and discernment of truth.
Now to leave you with a blessed encouragement, there is hope in the midst of life renovations or recovery from a damaged past experience in Church. And remember to forgive all error and offenses as we grow in the knowledge of the truth.
So to all who are on the potter’s wheel, or pursuing the truth, be blessed knowing that the authority of the written scripture, rightly divided, is a sure foundation until the great day of Christ.