Code To Live By PART 3
A mixture of morality and wisdom needful – yet oft neglected and overlooked by Christians today.
1. Behavior makes genuine not feelings.
2. You lose control when you lose control.
3. EDM is a dangerous sin.
4. You pay for what you say.
5. Don’t build bombs.
6. Personal relationship requires personal knowledge.
6.1. To possess a personal relationship with someone you must know them personally.
6.2. As such, possessing only general knowledge of someone is not enough to be in (or claim to be in) a personal relationship with them. Again, personal relationship requires personal knowledge.
6.3. What is the difference between personal and general knowledge?
6.3.1. General knowledge = The knowledge you possess about that person is gained through a third party or what can be deduced through superficial observation.
6.3.2. Personal knowledge = The knowledge you possess about that person comes from them. They communicate directly with you (versus indirectly through general revelation).
6.4. (Having said that) knowing someone personally doesn’t always mean that I possess a personal relationship, but it is one of pre-requisites if it is to ever exist.
6.5. A helpful example: I know Jeff Ward personally. He communicates directly with me. And, I am fortunate enough to possess a personal relationship with him. Imagine however, that Jeff had never spoken or never had some form of direct communication with me. Though he and I may know a lot about each other by way of observation or through third party sources and as a result, desire to have a relationship w/each other, that would not be something either of us could claim was true until such communication took place. I could not claim to know him or be in a friendship with him until personal communication and knowledge was shared between us. This then is the difference between Jeff Ward and John Elway as it relates to me. I know things about John Elway – but none of it came from him personally. It instead comes from what I have observed in watching him play football, or reading something written about him or listening to him in an interview or seeing him driving/walking around the area where I live. I therefore could say I know who he is, but never that I knew him personally – nor that I possessed a personal relationship with him.
6.6. So connected is this aspect of personal knowledge to personal relationship that oftentimes this is what we are implying when we say, “I know him/her”. When we hear somebody say that (or when we say it), often what we are implying is that we possess a personal relationship (good or bad) with that person. We are also equally implying that what we know is indeed on a personal level – i.e. we have had direct communication with them, or that what we know is coming directly from them (or as the saying goes, “straight from the horses’ mouth”). Another important factor to consider as it relates to all of this is the issue of degree/scope. IOW: the more I know them personally, the more potential I have to be in a relationship or go deeper in my already existing relationship with them. This too is an area where most human beings intuitively make the connection as demonstrated by game shows like the Newlywed Game – where how close of a relationship a couple possesses is assessed based on how much they personally know about each other.
6.7. That being said the reason I bring all of this up is NOT b/c I am concerned about the relationships we possess w/one another – or what we claim to be the basis for knowing each other, BUT RATHER how all of this pertains to God and those who claim to know Him or possess a personal relationship with Him.
6.8. Since He is a personal being, the principles we just discussed would apply to Him as well. IOW: to truly be in a personal relationship with Him – or CLAIM that we know HIM, requires that we possess knowledge about Him – but again that knowledge must be personal. It must be the kind of knowledge that comes directly from His mouth (personally). This theologians call “special revelation” and it is what we call “the Word of God” or the “Bible”.
It represents God’s direct communication to us (2Ti 3:16 – “God breathed”). And we must know Him according to it – otherwise our claim to possessing a personal relationship is a lie. Hence why Isaiah says what he does in (Isa 8:20).
6.9. All people possess general knowledge (or as theologians call it, “general revelation”) concerning God (and is the reason they are without excuse, if they do not take that general information and pursue personal knowledge or special revelation) – because this means they know enough (TO KNOW) this is what they should be doing (that He is their Creator and therefore Master). This is what Paul is talking about as to why God is angry with the majority of mankind – b/c though they possess the general they don’t use that as motivation to seek the personal or special knowledge but (instead) claim that by such knowledge they already possess a relationship –when in reality, it is nothing but idolatry (Rom 1:18 – 20).
6.10. So (again) like us, a relationship w/God requires more than general knowledge, we must know Him personally—according to His personal and direct words to us (in the Bible). Otherwise, the god we are claiming is Him will instead be a false god (using the same name).
6.11. One other thing, before attempting to apply this, God’s personal revelation/knowledge also tells us that knowing Him (or possessing relationship w/Him) requires doing more than simply storing that information in our brains, we must also act in obedience to what He communicates (e.g. Jer 9:9:6, 12-14, 24; Tit 1:16). And like before, the more we grow in these respects (knowing and obeying His personal word), the closer we will be in our relationship w/Him.
6.12. Getting to the application (then), the most obvious, is that if YOU want to truly say you know God and are in a relationship w/Him – or close w/Him then it requires knowing Him personally –according to His personal words (i.e. the Bible) and obeying what He says in it. THAT (once more) sb super obvious as application. BUT there is another – ONE I think we tend to overlook.
6.13. And that is the fact that the same can be said about those we encounter – who attempt to tell us that what we believe is wrong – claiming that THEY are the ones who know God (or in a relationship w/Him). Sometimes we can get confused WHEN PEOPLE say that – or become worried (since there are a whole lot more of them than us)!
6.14. But here’s the question, “If they are truly the ones who know God, then why are they always the ones who seem to know the least about His Word?
6.15. They claim to know Him and be in a relationship w/Him yet WHAT they know OR HOW MUCH they attempt to support WHAT they know from God’s personal revelation (i.e. His WORD) ALWAYS seems to be LIGHT or NON-EXISTENT. IOW: it is predominately based on general revelation, third party sources (i.e. their flaky pastor or some flaky teacher on the radio or in a book), or is based entirely on what they FEEL – OR want GOD to be.
6.16. And (as I already mentioned) claiming to personally know GOD according only to those things (or GENERAL REVELATION – or w/IGNORANCE OF HIS WORD is again IDOLATRY – especially when speaking about salvation since God’s Word makes it clear that it is only thru His personal revelation (His WORD) that we become “wise unto salvation” (2Ti 3:15 – this btw is speaking about the OT Scriptures, the thing most so-called Christians avoid like the plague).
6.17. So here’s is what I want you to do the next time you encounter somebody who tries to tell YOU that you don’t know God –or that you are wrong, and that what they are telling you is right (b/c they DO know God).
6.18. Get them to agree that knowing someone (i.e. being in a personal relationship) requires knowing them personally (their direct communication w/you). It shouldn’t be hard to do since as I mentioned everybody agrees that is true (it is what we call an axiomatic truth).
6.19. Then take that fact and apply it to God (i.e. knowing God/being in relationship w/God EQUALLY requires knowing Him according to/consistent with His personal revelation – i.e. His Word).
6.20. Then ask them something along these lines, “How is that you claim to know God personally yet possess very little personal knowledge from His Word? How is that POSSIBLE? Doesn’t that seem stupid to you?” Doesn’t it make more sense, that the person who really KNOWS God is the person who BOTH KNOWS His WORD (meaning not just part of it – but all of it), and obeys it?” (Final question), “Between you and I which one do YOU think most represents that person or their church or their pastor?”
6.21. We live in a crazy world where people think they can personally know God without knowing His personal revelation (i.e. the Bible). Don’t be duped THEN by what you hear or what others claim. Instead take them to task in the way we just discussed. This (btw) is what it means to “let your reasonableness be evident to everyone” as (Phi 4) calls us to be – to reason with people, to use what they already know and accept to be true, to show them what they are currently thinking is CRAZY! As the means to opening the door- to get them to listen.
7. What comes around goes around.
7.1. Somewhere along the path of my life (interspersed w/in both my Christian as well as non-Christian) existence was this idea that there will be a day of reckoning – or a time when all the wrongs and rights we do in this life will be paid back to us (in bad for the wrong and good for the right).
7.2. Judgment Day (of course) fits within this particular genre (and was a part of my Christian education), but there was also this piece related to the now (or this life). IOW: Judgment Day (or what we face after this life is over) is NOT THE ONLY TIME we will experience PAYBACK. That there will be an experiencing of SOME of those things in this life as well.
7.3. The common expression (at least in my day) FOR THIS WAS, “what comes around, goes around.”
7.4. Couched in biblical terms, its equivalent would be, “you will reap, what you sow” (Gal 6:7-10; see also Pro 14:14; Isa 3:10-11).
7.5. This truth explained and unpacked from a “scientific” perspective = God has created us – and the universe we live in, according to what is known as Newton’s Third Law. (For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.)
7.6. What THEN has changed about my understanding of this principle (what comes around goes around/you reap what you sow/newton’s third law) = I NOW REALIZE THAT THE BIBLE TEACHES that ALL of what you do will paid back in this life (or world). IOW: it isn’t JUST PART. Or some of what we do (and the rest is picked up on JUDGMENT DAY). There is a reckoning that takes place (first) in this life. What you do GOOD or BAD wb PAID back in kind AND in full in this life. Though maybe not directly to you, it nonetheless will create an effect that will impact this world in some positive or negative way (based on whether what you did was good or bad, righteous or sinful). THIS AGAIN is NEWTON’S THIRD LAW and WHAT THE BIBLE TEACHES (as we shall see). As such, what we must keep in mind, is that all of us by our actions in the present are contributing to (and creating) what will most assuredly be our (or other’s) futures (e.g. Hezekiah – 2Ki 20:12-19; Exo 20:5; Joh 9:1-2).
7.8. In most cases, it will be you that is the primary recipient of the benefits or the consequences. This is especially true as it relates to sin (Pro 11:31 w/1Pe 4:17-18) = The whole letter is dealing w/suffering or those scenarios/situations in life where things are less than ideal (corrupt govts, perverted bosses, disobedient husbands and persecuting pagans – chs 2:13-4:11). Peter identifies those negative experiences as “various trials” meant to do two things:
7.8.1. Test the genuineness of our faith (iow: to be legit we need to more than fair-weather Christians) (1:6-9)
7.8.2. Pay us back for what we have done that is sinful/wrong (1Pe 4:12-18) = This last verse is reference to (Pro 11:31) = Notice it doesn’t exactly follow what Peter writes (“scarcely saved” vs. “repaid”). And that b/c the intention of Peter’s reference is not dictation by digestion. He is (iow) taking what Pro 11 tells us (that we WB REPAID in this life for what we do) and applying that to the larger picture of salvation – or how such repayment will ultimately affect those who will be saved/end up in heaven. Which means not only is he confirming THIS TRUTH (including for the Christian), but the danger of piling up unnecessary (or extra punishment) since even for those who are super diligent about practicing righteousness (the “righteous”), the amount they must repay makes life tough enough, to the point that it (at times) threatens their apostasy. Hence the reason he states they are “scarcely saved”. And the reason also he begs the question regarding those “who do not obey the gospel of God” (17) – i.e. anyone who doesn’t truly take to heart the need to have “excellent behavior” at all times and in all situations (2:12), “what will become of [them] –the ungodly and the sinner?”
Based on HOW MUCH they will have to pay for in this life, it is guaranteed that the side they will end up on wb the wrong one. IOW: what they suffer will be so MUCH and SO consuming (due to the fact that they have more to pay for), THAT such pay back will further corrupt them (or push them deeper into their depraved and delusional state).
This is what Peter (and Pro 11) are implying will become of them. THIS IS HOW they wb PAID BACK. Dark deeds will beget further darkness (as their payment) (Eph 4:18).
7.9. This (btw) provides the FOIL for SEEING that things are not always as they seem for the WICKED. Though they may seem to live good, care-free lives – especially given the fact that they are not having to constantly deal with the moral piece, they are instead being repaid as God uses such wickedness to push them further down the rabbit hole of DARKNESS and into believing the lie (the worst of all punishments since its end is of course eternal damnation) (1Ki 22:22; Eze 14:9; Rom 1:21-28; 2Th 2:11-12; Pro 14:12).
7.10. SO THEN, there is A CAUSE and EFFECT relationship between what we do and what we experience in our lives or what is experienced in this world. If it is true in the material world it must be true as it relates to the metaphysical world since morality is expressed through actions in the material world.
7.11. IOW: IF the BIBLE is THE TRUTH, IF GOD has spoken from the metaphysical realm into our material world (and the BIBLE is indeed the book that captures that communication) THEN the laws established by it MUST BE in AGREEMENT with those LAWS we can OBSERVE (and confirm) to BE functioning in this world.
7.12. This (as I have said in the past) is ONE of the litmus tests for determining true religion (or whose metaphysical system is the legitimate one). IF WHAT IT teaches is DISPROVES in in contradiction to the LAWS of nature – or HOW WE know this world (and human beings) function, THEN it must be FANTASY – NOT TRUE RELIGION.
7.13. Important code (then) to live by (and use in determining your present actions) b/c what you do will be realized in some form of future payout either good or bad. What comes around goes around! Hence why (then) PETER says what he does in (1Pe 2:10-12).
8. ZEAL is realized through ownership.
8.1. Those who claim to have been saved in a para-church ministry (whether in grade school, high school or college) tend to be far more serious about their faith and “sold out” for Jesus than kids who discover such things in the church.
8.2. If you were ever a part of one of these kinds of groups, you know what I am talking about. My first real experience with Christianity/Christ was the result of a college Christian group known as Fellowship Of Christian Athletes and then after meeting Kris, we used to attend a group on U of M’s campus called Chi Alpha. And the people in those groups were all super zealous for their Christian Faith and for reaching others for Christ.
8.3. Irrespective of whether those groups were legitimate (or not), the question is still important, WHY? Or (better yet) WHY did their Christianity seem to be more important (to them)?
8.4. That question, has bugged me my entire ministry – until now. I think I know what the difference is.
8.5. It’s OWNERSHIP.
8.6. Instead of someone preaching/teaching us God’s Word (though we did have bible study where at times someone would attempt to teach), for the most part – the meetings in those groups function more like a book club. Everybody was reading and sharing what they had learned from God’s Word.
8.7. IOW: We were doing the processing/digesting not someone for us. And when that happens, it becomes more real or relevant to my life – because (WHEN) that happens, I am taking ownership of it.
8.8. It is no longer the belief/convictions of my church or my pastor or parents, but me – b/c I read it for myself—AND I did the work of processing/digesting for myself (and applying to my life in the unique and personal way that only I can do).
8.9. I’ve talked about this before, it is the idea behind what Scripture refers to as “meditation” = to muse, to be absorbed in thought, to turn over and over in your mind, to reflect on its personal application.
8.10. Scripture is filled with examples of people meditating on God’ Word as the expected practice of all God’s people if they are to be the kinds of Godly, committed people He has called them to be (Gen 24:63; Jos 1:8; Psa 1:2, 19:14, 49:1-20, 119:15).
8.11. This (then) is what we have to do (and what you parents need to promote with your kids), times of meditation and sharing.
8.12. What this might look like: Pick one chapter of your regular daily reading as the portion you will meditate on by attempting to write down (in a journal) as many answers to the following two questions:
8.12.1. What truths are established?
8.12.2. What lies are exposed?