2 Samuel 15 / Jeremiah 19 / Romans 3-4
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.
It's hard to believe God because it goes against everything that's in us to do it. There is no reinforcement from the humans around us in the places we seek comfort and justification. We have to conform to what they need us to be for their sake, which means not conforming to the truth that lives in us. The point of separating ourselves from what we used to love is not only to remove ourselves from being polluted by the animal way that they continually reinforce in us, but to become a brother to Able, Noah, Abraham, and Moses who were alone in their agreement with God while the rest of the humans around them continued on with their existences completely unaware of and uninterested in seeking God's presence and truth.
Moses felt the pull of the only true God within his body and tried to act on the Israelites' behalf. What he got was rejection and accusation from the ones he assumed he was ready to help. So he had to go into the desert for 40 years and learn the new way, amongst neither the people he knew and grew up with nor the people he already knew he was going to become a shepherd to(no validation from any of the accessible or most likely, what he originally assumed he would have going on the pull from God that was inside him). He had to go and learn a totally new way from God's hand, alone and away from what was familiar to him, unable to act on what he knew in his heart that he had learned in Egypt for 40 years because it was all wrong. He had to go and unlearn all that was in him so that he could learn a new way, not from the hand of any of the humans but directly from the God who was calling him by what He put inside Moses.
Contrast that with the religious leaders who are self-appointed (by their hard work learning the system of the institution they are trying to become a leader in) and approved by others who did the same thing. They learn how to interpret the system's rules (first), along with how that particular human run institution interprets the preserved words. Although they claim to be taught by God, that's just an aside because they are taught by other humans, who have been taught by humans, etc., in the same manner that all humans teach other. All the institutions, no matter what they claim, originate from below (from the humans who are bound to the earth) and are maintained from below. They certainly claim to be taught by their gods, and right they are in this because their gods are themselves and each other, for whom they live and maintain their organizations.
Abraham was also alone and without justification and reinforcement from the humans around him. God spoke to him very much as the Son spoke to his own disciples, teaching Abraham what was true amidst all the others who lived around him. There was no agreement with those who would have been respected, who were respectable amongst the Sumerian people. God didn't justify him in the sight of anyone like he would have wanted, but told him to leave, to go away from that concentration of humans and everything that the humans valued, to desolate places where none of them wanted to go. The formula goes thusly: God revealed Himself to Abraham, then Abraham had to make a choice whether he would listen and do the hard thing, or cave in to himself and do that which was easier and more comfortable.
We don't want to go where God wants us to go, because what we naturally, instinctively want is different than what God wants for us. We want to be in agreement and find comfort for ourselves with the humans around us, because we know that has given us agreement and comfort in the past. We want what the animal needs to survive in the best way possible, in the way it learned to survive according to the instincts that were born into us. THey were our teachers, and those instincts were cultivated and reinforced by the humans who encouraged us to take them in to our selves deeper and more concretely so that we became like them. The animals love those who are like them because they aren't a threat to the group that is conforming to the group's desire to survive for the good of the group. They naturally hate those who question the group because they are a threat, even in their not wanting to conform.
Jesus didn't necessarily want to go into the desert for 40 days without food, and he didn't want to know he was the chosen and promised Messiah only to become a sacrifice presented by God—shameful, humiliated and disgraced. He didn't want to have to 100% trust God that He knew what He was doing, and just go along with it. It's hard to believe because it's work going against what is naturally inside us to want to do and be. Moses didn't want to go to Midian and just wait for 40 years amongst neither the Egyptians or the Hebrews—nothing familiar to console him. Noah didn't want to spend a hundred years building something that didn't exist because there was no need for it. The disciples didn't want to be put out of the synagogue, scorned, ridiculed, mocked and killed. They wanted to be the disciples of the great and promised Messiah who had finally come into the world, and all the agreement that comes with that position from the "respectable" humans.
There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.
Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit.
Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways,
Paul was often speaking in terms of the law because he was constantly addressing Jews who opposed what he was saying because they considered themselves righteous, since they had the law. He considered a threat to what he knew he needed to do with what was supernaturally put inside him because they assumed in their minds that their observance of the law made them right with God who had given it, blessed by Him above everyone else. They thought and taught, that "observing the law" was the only way to please God.
In fact they were right because the law that God gave to Moses had built into it the way to be right with God. However, the humans made what was good into something that could serve themselves, something they could turn into something else that they could own and control by what their self-appointed experts systematically did with what had been given to Moses. The snake is naturally cunning, not simplistic; and since the snake is 3what rules the humans they are compelled to take what is simple and good, and turn it into something convoluted so as to be able to twist it into what can serve them. What the rabbis, teachers of the law and the supposed leaders of God's people did was systematically turn what was inherently good and simple into what was complicated and incomprehensible with their endless reinterpretations of what the law meant.
They have forsaken me and made this a place of foreign gods; they have burned sacrifices in it to gods that neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent. They have built the high places of Baal to burn their sons in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.
What happened as the humans progressed is that they became more cunning and learned how to hide better. Instead of outwardly setting up their idols on the shelves of their own personal altars, they learned how to become smugly self-aware, and turned the carved wooden and metal idols into intangible things like their own self-rightness because they had the biggest idol of all—what was once good and simple now became something complicated that could serve them and their own self-rightness apart from God.
In Romans Paul tries to persuade with the truth about Abraham, circumcision, and the law. There is no righteousness in observing the law, rather it is a schoolmaster that teaches one to see that they are completely sinful and unable to please God by what they accomplish on the outside. The question that should be asked is, "What is sinful and evil versus righteous and good?" According to Paul circumcision didn't matter, instead faith, which came before circumcision, an argument he was using because he was addressing the Jews who thought that the law was something special in itself, so merely having it made them right with God. It's the same way with all the religious groups, who always reduce everything to having the right thing. Mostly what it reduces down to is thinking the correct facts, having the correct system and belonging to that system which according to them is favored by their gods, and they're right because their gods are themselves and their rules that they adhere to, which they think will save them. It's all they can do because the knowledge of God was taken out of the world in 400 or so a.d. It, simply speaking, left when God didn't need to deal directly with the humans because He had His own Son with Him, where He is. All the humans ever developed was theoretical concepts and interpretations that sounded more right than that which the other groups had, which they made into their own personal torah and worshipped, thinking that could make them right with their gods, and get them something in return.
The details in this letter are highly Jew-specific. Jewish details aren't as relevant today. The message of Paul, though, is not irrelevant. Being right with God transcends the Law of Moses, Abraham, and Noah. Being right with God is doing what He wants, being motivated by our heart desiring to please Him and give Him what He wants, not what we want dressed up in whatever veneer we think we can stick on it and call it something righteous.
The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
The heart remains deceitfully wicked in the animals because they have not been chosen to become sons, to have their marriage to the animal nature undone in them so that they can please Him and give Him what He wants instead of what we want to give Him, which is all the animal can ever do. Those who cannot see the serpent on the pole think that they can just all of a sudden become right with God by creating their own version of the torah and then worshipping it. Being true to it is being true to their gods, but their heart is stained with the filth of the animal, the same thing Jeremiah and Paul, and Jesus point out—they are not worshipping God but themselves and the system they have created.
"I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind,
God's righteous judgment will be revealed when God will judge men's secrets through Jesus Christ.
So true is this that it is the absolute wrong thing when we think we are righteous enough to judge another brother. There is only one who is capable of judging a man, because the real judgment of a man has to take place in the places where no other man can see. Only God can fully see into the secret places of a man's heart, so therefore only He is righteous enough to judge. It is not the outward things that God judges by, but the real things, the way a man is inside, where no one can see but Him. That's why it is impossible for any man to judge another, because he does not know what God might be doing in that man's heart, because he cannot see what is happening inside. God may be teaching him this or that lesson, and it may involve certain things to happen to that man on the outside for God's purposes.
This is true for those chosen to become sons, because they will appear to look bad and wrong to those who observe and judge from what they assume they can see with their natural eyes. That is a formula God employs for His own sons, to set them fundamentally at odds with the human animals, especially those in charge, by making their adherence to what the Father has put into them something that makes them look bad. Those who observe will always be able to make up justifications for anything they do—especially judge and condemn their brother—because they can't understand how deceitful and instinct-driven their hearts actually are. What they want for themselves and the humans who want to be in their god club is for everyone to obey the rules so there are no threats from within the group, because they are filled with animal fears and one way of appeasing them is to surround themselves with others who are them, who validate whatever lie they have proposed to believe about God. And whoever violates their laws are chastised, condemned and thrown out of their god club. They cannot see the snake on the pole that the sons can see, who have been specially given those eyes by their true Father. The false sons only ever see their made up jesus god, doing what they want him to do, for them. It's also why they can never truly love, because the animals cannot love anyone but themselves, and that according to the purpose and will of God for them to be and stay that way.
The only reason to keep pointing this out is to remind the sons that they cannot be a part of that world of the vile humans, whether they claim to know the way to their made up gods or not. The humans are filled with a disease called the animal nature, which reinforces the evil that is allowed to surface in the son and tempt him, when he is exposed to that human disease. Human sentiment of being drawn to love and take care of those who look like us, especially because we share the same DNA, is not the sentiment of the Father, nor the Son who specifically pointed out that human family means nothing to the real God, while to the humans it means everything, because it's all they know.
If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple. And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
It is easy to be tricked by our "deceitfully wicked" hearts, which are full of judgment and lies all the time. We constantly excuse ourselves from judgment, then pronounce it on another because the animal heart is deceitful and we are deceived by it. It always tells us that we are better and above judgment, and that others are less and deserving of it. That is the way the animal heart works—deceitful to its owner and evil toward God. Because of animal fear it has to protect itself, and this is merely one way to do it. None is above the reproach of the state of the heart—we all fall short of God's requirements.
What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!
Perhaps the most compelling facet of the evil animal nature is an egotistical agreement/craving in us because the animal wants/needs/craves to be right among men and it urges us to do whatever we can to get it for ourselves. To be accepted as having a thing we want to give them (agreement), knowing something we want to teach them (egotistical). Even though we do have the truth and life of God growing in us, planted there by the intention of the Father that we comprehend His truth; nevertheless the evil, base animal—also living in us—wants it to be validated, recognized and agreed with by the humans. That would be like a trophy, someone/something substantial we can hold on to and say that what we have is real because we can see it.
It's evil and irrational, and even if that did happen, what would we do then? Would it be some kind of treasure we can hold on to as we fill our self up with the pride of man, being vindicated by him in the natural where it doesn't even matter? That's all the humans can do as they look around them every Sunday and think, "Okay, I'm still good; I can feel validated still because all these people still believe the same thing I do, so it must be real."
What has happened in our reality is that the life has been growing in us and the truth has been becoming stronger not because we've been validated by any of the humans, but only because the Father initiated and the Son has continued to reinforce what has been put into us, which runs contrary to what the humans would reinforce in us. That miraculous revelation of what's actually true in the place that counts most—heaven, the spiritual world where God lives—has been reinforced over and over and over, not on an external level where we normally understand things, but on a level that is deep and hard to get at—impossible to own and control. It hasn't gotten weaker, but stronger. Although we do want to be validated and justified by the humans because of the animal, and we keep thinking there will possibly be some sort of comfort and agreement there, we also know there won't be, because the process that's happening in us isn't happening in them, and all they want from us is for us to conform and believe what the rest of the group believes, and then they will accept us. However, that will run contrary to what has been put into us, so we cannot do that unless we turn away from the process that has already been started, that we turned to in the first place because we know it is right and good.
The only agreement we have is with the Father first, and those on the earth who have what we have second, because we know they are His possession and purpose. So we try to make our terms of agreement with the other humans, which doesn't work either because that is not the Lord's will that one son be ruled over and manipulated by another, for their purpose. Then we go back to the humans who don't have the truth and keep trying to get the same thing from them, and are surprised when we get no reinforcement from them. What we get is a knife in the back and a kick in the ass because we are also unwilling to completely conform to what they need us to be. We want what God wants, but it's too hard to actually go where He says we must go, because we hate that with everything that is in us. That's the place of sadness and loneliness where there is no agreement, the place of mourning not celebration.
Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them
and be separate,
says the Lord.
"I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
The first year on this day, seeking to find an agreement with the community of christadelphians who kicked us out of their god club, I wrote this:
Some of the past writings in this journal are marred by my own presumptuous judgments of the community who call themselves believers. Mostly it is a reaction to their actions against two of us, their decision to use their earthly power to exile us from the community of believers because of what seemed to be happening on the outside. They couldn't see what God was, and is, doing with us, yet that fact means nothing. None of this matters enough to react with the same judgment about them or what God may be doing in their lives.
I am sorry and deeply repentant that I would assume I was good enough to do God's job, that I needed to intercede on behalf of Him, to be His uninvited agent and presume to convict anyone about anything. I know, right this second, that I am not above reproach, that my heart is deceitful and it is utterly evil, wicked, and sinful against God. I know that the old man always wants to lead me astray and tell me I'm good enough to do that.
I know that this is true in form and principle regarding my true brothers, yet writing this was motivated by my desire to get some kind of agreement with them, and perhaps receive some sort of comfort from that agreement. It's a very strong craving within our animal heart to be accepted, even superficially. God has already done the judging and His judgment is perfect because He knows what lives in the humans' hearts, even and especially those who claim they know the way to Him, but can't because they're mere animals without the knowledge of God in their hearts, specifically put there because of His intention that they become sons of God. All they can do is reinforce their own made up truth—that God recognizes their institution the way they do, which is totally animal driven, that their own will and desire is the same as God's, and they are being pleasing to Him by practicing their rituals and obeying the rules that keep them feeling safe and right with God. As long as they can keep looking around every Sunday, or all week at Bible camp, and see and conform that all the others around them are still reinforcing the same subjective "truth," made up and maintained by humans, apart from what is actually real according to God, they'll feel "right."
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
It's the hardest thing to not look for validation in all the places that are familiar to us. Although it's against what's naturally in us to do, we must go into the mourning, not seek to dodge it by whatever we can generate by our own hand's ability to get whatever agreement we are seeking. The sons of God are those whose existences are not easy or align with what they would naturally want to have, what the animal nature tells us we need and crave. The sons of God must learn to mourn together, to comfort each other and not make the other into something that can serve them, but just someone who can reinforce the good and simple command of the Son the his brothers, going against what the animal wants us to be for it.
A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.