To Him That Overcomes, Part 3 - IS JESUS REALLY LORD?

Friday, April 19, 2019

Allow me to illustrate the conflict in the above question. What if I were to tell you that Jesus is not really Lord? What if I wrote an article which suggested that the Blood could not cleanse us from sin? Or what if I preached a message and proclaimed that Satan is actually stronger than Jesus? Or suppose I sent you a letter in which I confided that the Cross has no power? Would you be upset? Hopefully so, and you would correctly label me as a heretic and would reject me and this teaching forever. You would categorically deny such a teaching in the strongest possible terms. Thankfully, I know the truth that is found in the Holy Scriptures and I would never teach falsehoods.

Yet the way most of us live our lives teaches the universe that Jesus is not really Lord. We do not have to actually SAY with our mouths, "Satan is more powerful than Jesus; sin is more powerful than the Blood; self is more powerful than the Cross." We say it with our lives every time we willfully sin, every time we give Satan an advantage over us, and every time we put self before Christ. Confessing or proclaiming the Truth means nothing by itself. When we do not DEMONSTRATE the Truth we claim with our mouths, then we are actually teaching the opposite thing with our actions to those that observe us.

We are full of these contradictions. Let me take a very common and seemingly innocent example such as worry. Most of us, from time to time or nearly all of the time, worry about something - our health, our finances, our loved ones, and so on. Yet the Scriptures say “take no thought for your lives and be anxious for nothing.” Why is worry a sin? I know we consider it "only human", but worry really implies a lack of trust in God. It is believing a lie. Identify the lie and you can quickly discover the Truth. What is the lie? “That God is somehow less than sufficient, that perhaps He will not come through for us.” So you see, the enemy gets us to believe a lie, and then gets us to think that we are just being "human". So then we accept something less than the normal Christian life - overcoming - and think that is just the way it is. Remember: Satan has no power apart from our belief in his lie. He can do nothing apart from what God permits.

Overcomers are learning to bridge the gap between what they SAY they believe and how they really LIVE. Now we are not criticizing or judging people for having anxious thoughts, for we have our share of them. We have not overcome in this area. We simply say this is one thing to be overcome, one of many lies which oppose the Truth. The one that overcomes is constantly challenging the lie of the enemy and demonstrating the preeminence of Christ over all things. When every lie is destroyed then the dragon is defeated, for it cannot control what it cannot deceive. Most of what we see and hear is an illusion. It is not the Truth, but a lie, a distortion. Our eyes and our ears cannot be trusted. We must have heavenly vision and heavenly hearing.

For the moment, however, we are confronted with a great disparity, a wide gulf, between things as God intends for them to be and things as they appear to be. We could go down a whole list of items. God says He will meet our needs, but we look and we see that our needs are not met as we expect they are going to be met. God says He is the life of our body, but we cannot seem to shake off illness. God says He has destroyed the works of the devil in Christ, but we see the devil working as usual, seemingly unperturbed. And on and on it goes.

What does this mean? Well, it can only mean one of two things, so we have two options. The first option is to give up and just believe that God does not mean what He says. That is the most common response. The second option is to believe what God says regardless of whether we see it or not. We call this "faith". Faith is not a power we exert in order to change our circumstances, it is an assurance we possess inwardly whether our circumstances are changed or not. The ability to change my circumstances does not make me an overcomer, but to live independently of my circumstances makes me an overcomer. It is living according to "those things that be not as though they were" (Romans 4:17b). If they already "are" outwardly, then we do not need faith, do we (cf. Romans 8:24)?

In other words, if I have no provision, I still believe God is my Infinite Supplier. If I have poor health, I still believe God is the life of my body. If I am attacked by the devil (even if I am BEATEN by the devil), I still believe the devil is defeated. Yesterday I was thoroughly defeated, but today I say that Christ is Victory. This either makes me a crazy person or a disciple living the normal Christian life. How long will it take before what we believe inwardly is seen outwardly? We do not know. But a LIE is a LIE, whether it is told to us once or whether it is told to us a thousand times. It does not become more and more true with the passage of time. Here is the problem. We resist a lie the first few times we hear it (e.g., "God will not meet your needs"). But if things do not change we eventually accept the lie as truth (e.g., "Things are no better now than ten days ago, so perhaps God really has forsaken us"). How easy it is for us to believe in a lie - but it is as much a lie the first time we hear it as it is the hundredth time. So why would we ever listen to it later if we did not listen to it earlier? We MUST know the Truth. For the one that overcomes, what is seen OUTWARDLY neither helps nor hinders the TRUTH that has been seen INWARDLY. This is how the Truth makes us free (John 8:32).