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Christians and Money Series- Spiritual Application: Part 6

Introduction

Post 5 of the Christians and Money Series concluded RELATIONSHIPS issues are at the heart of Man’s helplessness to serve two Masters, God and Mammon.

This Post 6 frames the spiritual application of the Christians and Money Series. Due to each post’s word limit, there will be a Post 7 to articulate the natural application to support Man’s goal to serve God and not Mammon.

Post 6 is content-heavy. Further aggravating readability, the subject matter is complicated and abstract, which challenges clarity to see how the parts are gathering together as a whole. It is challenging to feel comfortable in a big forest with diverse flora and fauna.

 

The first section, Awareness and Creation out of Destruction, clarifies that the goals set out in Post 1 were met by seeding awareness to create the required focus and shift in values to support God’s Alternative that restores the RELATIONSHIPS. See Post 3 and 4 for details of these RELATIONSHIPS.

The second section, Individual Hope vs. Collective Hope, reveals money’s spiritual application, which is the individual’s goal of soul salvation. God uses money and RELATIONSHIPS as the context to test Man’s soul to save the soul. This section explains the nature of spirit, soul, and body salvation to avoid confusion among them. This section also describes how the new covenant’s soul salvation is different and more valuable than the old covenant in-terms of approach and outcomes.

The third section, Soul Salvation and Money, offers why soul salvation is essential to fulfilling God’s and Man’s core interest.

I found Post 6 very challenging to narrate compared to the other posts. It is foreseeable that Post 6 will evolve as a live document to reflect these challenges.

 

Awareness and Creation out of Destruction

Post 1 mentioned that this series has 2 goals. It will be helpful to see how the previous 5 posts have supported these 2 goals.

Awareness is the Seed of Realization and Intention
  1. The 1st goal mentioned in Post 1; These series create awareness of the deceptive relationship with money. Man can avoid the eternal consequences that the current norms bring.

In-summary Posts 1 to 5 have shown that, instead of focusing on the RELATIONSHIPS, Man has created surrogates, such as money, to substitute the RELATIONSHIPS God offered. Men find comfort through these surrogates to free themselves from the worry of the future and provide a sense of purpose and meaning on earth, albeit temporal, hedonic, and suffer marginal utility. Man’s choices carry the weight of eternal consequences.

Realizations Sift the Chaff of Man’s Realities from God’s Realities (Photo by TUAN ANH TRAN on Unsplash)

This new awareness seeds new realizations. This seeding is possible because awareness sifts the chaff of Man’s realities from God’s. For the chaff has deceived Man’s senses with an apparent value that’s temporal and pleasure-seeking, diminishing the eternal value of RELATIONSHIPS.

The clarity of this awareness helps Man to look away from future worries and focus on God’s promise to provide for their future needs.

This approach draws from the same truth of the parable of the sower in Mat13. These series are sowing seeds in the heart of readers.

Breaking to Create
  1. The 2nd goal mentioned in Post 1; This series supports the Christians’ walk to break out from the world economic system’s mold. It is making stronger connections between scripture, societal stance, and personal practical application.

In-summary Posts 1 to 5 have shown that surrogates dominate Man’s relationships through institutionalization, affecting the secular, religious, and personal domains. These institutionalized relationships being bureaucratic and social, are transactional and profit-seeking.

Breaking the existing mold supports the shift from what the heart used to value, which is the temporal pleasures of this world, but instead to appreciate the eternal rewards and divine glory. Often money is the means to attain these temporal values. Likewise, God uses money as the context for achieving His alternative to restore Man’s broken RELATIONSHIPS.

This idea of creation emerging from Destruction is original with God (John12:24).

 

Individual Hope vs. Collective Hope

However, Post 5 ended on a despairing note of the unavoidable Age of acute mortality of Mat24:7 and Luke21:10-11, naturally posing the question – Why may one ask, what is the purpose of this Christian and Money Series since the bitter end appears inevitable?

Individual Hope vs. Collective Hope

Notwithstanding the grim events of Mat24:7, this new focus and shift in values are the foundations to support SOUL salvation, which is the spiritual application of money. It is needful to recognize that soul salvation is an individual experience and not for collective humanity.

Humanity lacks the collective will to change its current trajectory of self-harm and destination of self-destruction. Therefore, humanity foreseeably continues to meander in its self created domain of darkness.

 

Born Again Spirit-Saved Soul-Resurrected Body

 

What is soul salvation? Post 3 briefly introduced the concept of Soul salvation. Firstly, God has offered Man three types of salvation that correspond to Man’s spirit, soul, and body. Collectively, they represent God’s plan for Man to attain divinity.

John3 explains spiritual salvation occurs when the spirit is born again begat by the Holy Spirit (John3:6). Spiritual salvation is a gift of God (Eph2:8-9), obtained by confessing that Jesus is the savior (forgiveness of sins) and believing in His resurrection, according to Rom10:9 and Heb10:12. Spiritual salvation guarantees a place in heaven. See the post “Once Saved Always Saved: Proof” for a deeper understanding of the scriptural basis to substantiate this claim of a heavenly membership guarantee.

Paul introduced salvation of the body in 1Co15. He calls this saved body a spiritual body. This body’s nature is eternal (undying), incorruptible, imbued in power, and glorious. This body is preserved in heaven by the power of God (1Pet1:5).

Peter calls this spiritual body the living hope of believers (1Pet1:3). The spiritual body’s promise is the source of hope for believers on earth, so they do not despair in their earthly suffering. Because God “owes” Man the body, He (God the Father) offered the Holy Spirit to each believer as a promissory note (IOU) (2Co1:22) as an assurance of the promised spiritual body. God gives the spiritual body in the 1st resurrection mentioned in Rev20:5, which marks Jesus’ conquest over death (Rev20:10) on behalf of Man.

In-summary, both spiritual salvation and body salvation are gifts from God. Man’s part is to believe God at His word. However, the matter is very different for soul salvation.

The Complete Salvation of Man- Pathway to Divinity

 

Peter, in 1Pet1:9, describes soul salvation. Soul salvation is highly variable, where each believer has a different degree of soul salvation. Jesus has perfect soul salvation (Heb2:10,5:8-9) among all the sons of God.

Faith is the raw ingredient to support Man’s soul salvation. God the Father, the impartial Judge (1Pet1:17), tests this faith to validate Genuity thru fiery trials of wrongful suffering doing good expressed in sincere brotherly love (2nd Commandment) mentioned in 1Pet1:7, 9 and 22, 1Pet2:19 and 1Pet3:17. Soul salvation is commonly known as the Holy Spirit’s sanctification (1Pet1:2) by faith works cited in James2 to respect Man’s free will by offering Man choices in life.

Confusion, debate, and controversy commonly emerge when one fails or refuses to distinguish between spiritual justification-salvation, a gift of the born again spirit, and soul justification-salvation, which requires Man’s effort as the primary component.

 

Why is human effort key to soul salvation? God values and honors free choice, even above the salvation of Man. The power to wield free will resides in Man’s soul. God the Father presented Jesus the option in the Garden of Gethsamane to die at the cross or abandon ship (Mat26:38-39), and this choice grieved His soul. Jesus’ SOUL was perfected in the weakness of submission when He obeyed His Father’s will to die at the cross (Heb2:10,5:8-9). Man who calls Jesus, Master (John15:20), are not exempted from the soul salvation test of suffering to perfect their soul.

Peter reminded Man of this truth when he presented Jesus as the model example for Man to emulate in this regard (1Pet4:1, 2:21). Because soul salvation requires suffering, Peter in 1Pet4:18 recognized the difficulty of soul salvation by saying, “If the righteous one is sacredly (with difficulty) saved, where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?”.

Apart from preserving Man’s free will and perfecting the soul, Soul salvation has the goal to produce eternal glory (2Co4:16-18, 1Pet4:14) and satisfy the charge of the hypocrisy against Man’s professed sincere faith and love for God that was laid by Satan against Job (and Man) in Job1:9-11.

This eternal glory is the final unit of measure of each person’s degree of soul salvation. To support this view, Paul, in 1Co15:41, recognized that glory is unique between individuals. Glory being the unit of measure, stems from the relationship between soul salvation and glory. Soul salvation produces glory, according to 2Co4:16-18. Therefore evidence of the degree of soul salvation can be inferred by the quantity of eternal glory the soul possesses.

 

The correlation of soul salvation and glory holds great significance for Man than this simple correlation. The new covenant soul’s salvation glory is different and more valuable than the glory that Adam and Eve received from God in Eden. Man forfeited their glory (Rom3:23) when Adam and Eve sinned by partaking the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Gen3). In the New Covenant, God cannot confiscate Man’s glory, like what happened in Eden due to sin. There are two reasons for this.

  1. This glory is different because God does not give this glory as Man’s soul produces it as part of Man’s soul salvation process. Therefore original ownership resides with Man.
  1. In the old testament, the power of sin is the reason for soul death (Eze18:20), and this does not apply in the new testament. This claim is an observation. As for why this is the case, probably, Jesus, God’s only Son as the sin sacrifice (John3:16), and the nature of His death (suffering on the cross willingly) were overpayment for Man’s sins. They over satisfied God’s Justice and justified Him to make this shift in this matter of Man’s soul. This glory of the soul salvation is more valuable than the Edenic glory because it required payment of Jesus’ blood and suffering.

This lengthy introduction is necessary to explain soul salvation as the basis for spiritual application with wealth-money as the context.

 

Soul Salvation and Money

Man’s Heart Follows His Treasure

God recognized the power of treasures to captivate Man’s heart. Mat6:21, Jesus framed this by saying, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be (reside).” God wants Man to realize and value RELATIONSHIPS as true treasures so that Man’s heart chooses to reside in a relationship with God. The 2 commandments of Love (Mat22:36-40) embody God’s Word, All the Law (His purpose), and the Prophets (His will).

RELATIONSHIPS have an actual value similar to money or wealth on earth. The two posts dedicated to exploring this value are as follows.

  1. The Currency of Heaven is Glory- https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/10/31/currency-of-heaven-10min-read/
  2. Wealth Ranking in Heaven- https://sincerelawrence.com/2020/11/04/wealth-ranking-in-heaven-10min-read/

Notwithstanding what these two posts have covered, It is needful to reiterate two aspects to support this post 6’s narrative.

God’s Justice (1st Commandment) and God’s Love (2nd Commandment) Hanging in Perfect Balance

 

  1. The first aspect is about satisfying God’s two most basic needs. The first need is God’s intrinsic nature of love, revealed in 1John4:16. So if God was posed a question and asked, “Who are you?” God will respond; I am love. The 2 Commandments of Love in Mat22:36-40 describes the scope of this love.

 

1st Commandment and 2nd Commandment-

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him,” ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’

“This is the great and foremost Commandment.

“The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’

“On these two commandments depend (hang) the whole Law and the Prophets.”

 

God gave these two Commandments to Man, but He has also imposed these same 2 Commandments onto Himself as evidenced in the giving of His Son for Man’s salvation. God’s sense of Justice demands that both Man and God fulfill these two Commandments alike.

The second need of God is to perform His role as the impartial Judge mentioned in 1Pet1:17, which James says is also the only One that can save or destroy in Jam4:12.

With the above understanding, Mat22:36-40 needs rephrasing to account for God imposing these Commandments onto Himself.

 

1st Commandment rephrased, the “I,” “My” and “Myself” is God referring to Himself

– “I SHALL LOVE MYSELF WITH ALL MY HEART, AND WITH ALL MY SOUL, AND WITH ALL MY MIND.’

The 1st Commandment is a demanding love. In the original form, God is demanding Man’s, undivided love. In the rephrased form, God requires that He honors His Self-Love. Thus God as Judge is upholding both the 1st and 2nd Love Commandments’ sanctity.

In the old covenant, God imposed this demanding loving on Man’s soul that carried the death penalty due to sin (Eze18:20). Although the new covenant has absolved Man from eternal death due to sin, God’s Justice to uphold the 1st Commandment demands that Man’s soul does not receive the same “scott free” treatment as the born again spirit or resurrected body. But instead, the soul (including Jesus’ soul) needs to suffer wrongfully (1Pet2:19) and be tested by fiery trials (1Pet1:7). Money and wealth play a central role in providing the context for these wrongful suffering and fiery trials.

 

2nd Commandment rephrased ‘I SHALL LOVE MAN AS MYSELF.’

The 2nd Commandment is a giving, sacrificial love. In its original form, God is demanding Man love his fellow man as himself. In the rephrased form, it is God demanding Himself to love Man as Himself. This sacrificial love was given as a gift with no contribution needed or desired of man (Eph2:8-9). The blood and body of Christ paid for this love gift for God to fulfill His 2nd Commandment towards Man.

God accepted Christ’s blood as the payment for the forgiveness of sins (Eph1:7). The blood also provided the medium similar to the shedding of blood during natural childbirth for the Holy Spirit, like a mother, to give birth to Man’s born again spirit (John3:6). I am aware that this view is unorthodox, but the elements come together naturally validated by childbirth’s natural experience.

God accepted Christ’s earthly body as the medium to construct the resurrected divine body of God (Col2:9). God retained Jesus’ earthly body as a medium for the resurrected body of the risen Jesus still bears the piercing scars (John20:27).

The Saved Spirit-Soul-Body of Man Ruling with Christ
  1. The second aspect is about satisfying Man’s legitimate need to stand out for their uniqueness and showcase aspects valued by their kind (self-worth). The soul has the innate desire to be respected and appreciated. Humanly speaking, this desire to receive social accolades is the reason for social comparison that breeds jealousy and envy. Money is often the means to fulfill these desires. Man’s desire to realize this need is legitimate. The issue lies with the means.

This need for social recognition emerged in the prodigal Son’s parable when the elder vented his frustration over this matter in Luke15:29-30. God, Himself demonstrates this trait. This observation is not surprising, given that God made Man in His image (Gen1:27).

God used human terms to describe His desire to engage with Man relationally. He uses the relational words such as Father (Mat5:45), brother (Mat28:10), bridegroom, a friend (John15:15), and lover to express (the Book of Song of Solomon, Eze16:8) His uniqueness and desire to be valued in those roles. Therefore, for this reason, Man’s desire for uniqueness and worth is legitimate in the eyes of God.

Tragically, instead of receiving reciprocated respect and appreciation, Man spurns and despises God’s sincere, repeated pleas. The Book of Ezekiel Chapter 16 is one comprehensive example of Man’s unsightly response invoking God’s wrath.

 

Through soul salvation, God has created the means for Man to differentiate themselves uniquely from one another in terms that both God and Man values. Notably, the soul salvation that produces heavenly wealth on earth and the eternal rewards of 1Co3 are often earned in-tandem due to the soul salvation experiences.

The eternal glory indicates how much the transformed soul of that individual is similar to Christ, Christ-likeness. Christ is the supreme ruler of the 1000 years earth rule mentioned in Rev20:6. In this verse, believers raised in the 1st resurrection will co-reign with Christ during this period. It is my view that God confers greater authority to those who have significant eternal glory as this glory commensurates with their degree of Christ-likeness.

The parable of the Minas in Luke 19 provides the basis for this claim. This parable is known for describing the 2nd coming of Christ in Rev20. In this parable, God rewards faithfulness in MONEY matters by giving cities to the said person to rule. For the person with higher monetary returns, God will correspondingly give more cities. Post 7 will discuss the natural application drawing from this parable.

The spiritual application shows faithfulness in money produces eternal glory. This glory is rewarded by God with more significant amounts of authority to co-rule with Christ. Therefore God’s plans for Man are practical, for it satisfies Man’s desire for uniqueness and enhancing their worth in the eyes of their kind, and more importantly, with God.

 

Conclusion

Money is the context, the battleground, and the means for God to test Man’s soul for its professed sincere love for Him and others. God has offered Man eternal incentives of eternal glory and rewards to incentivize Man to focus on Him by not worrying about the future and not to succumb to the temporal pleasures of this world.

God has gone thru great trouble with high stakes in-order that both God and Man fulfill and experience the fullness of the balanced RELATIONSHIPS of the 1st and 2nd Commandment.

Post 7 natural application, although more concrete and practical, is similarly content-heavy.

Christians and Money Series- God’s Appeal to the World: Part 4

Introduction

This post is part 4 of the Christian and Money Series. Cultural, racial, religious, and social factors create a bias that stereotype people to explain their wealth or poverty statuses.

 

Editorial credit: StockPhotosArt / Shutterstock.com

 

In Jesus’ times (Scott, 1990), two such biases stem from cultural, social, and religious factors. Poverty was viewed as “divine chastisement due to sin, while the “ambiguity of wealth” was a sign of divine blessings. When Jesus shared the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16, it offended the rich of His day. The conclusion of the parable ran counter to the two biases. The poor beggar, Lazarus, had a reversal of eternal fortunes after his death while the rich man suffered in Hades.

These biases have held captive Man’s heart till today. I have heard accusations on specific groups of people that they deserved their poverty because of their cultural, racial, religious, and social disposition. They are poor for these reasons and deserve their lot.

Most people do not publically promote these private thoughts that dwell in their hearts. However, telltale signs betray these secrets found in Man’s social behavior. Post 5 will elaborate on the details of this social behavior. Suffice to mention, and for now, they are underpinned by hypocrisy’s coping mechanism in condescension forms, making light of the suffering poor. Conversely, the poor reciprocates by the coping mechanism of self-victimization mentality.

This 4th post in the series has two objectives. The first objective is to build the narrative to clarify man’s position and beliefs, using wealth as the context. This narrative is expansionary and inclusive of non- Christian’s beliefs and values. The second objective is to glean the new testament scriptures identifying God’s appeal to man concerning wealth.

 

Man and Money

Man has a conscience that is part of the soul. This conscience is man’s innate sense of right and wrong without formal instruction. Man’s conscience spans across the world’s belief systems. See link – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conscience

Environmental factors such as cultural, social, and religious factors contribute to determining its unique expression forms, but the underlying elements are common. For example, man values loyalty, community spirit, self-sacrifice. Likewise, Man condemns betrayal, discord, and self-seeking behaviors.

 

Wealth Gap

 

See the following link for the above illustration – https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2020/01/09/trends-in-income-and-wealth-inequality/#:~:text=The%20wealth%20gap%20between%20upper,has%20grown%20wider%20this%20century.&text=From%201983%20to%202016%2C%20the,from%2032%25%20to%2017%25.

Why then does man’s treatment of wealth or money seem to violate the conscience’s rules to accept such objectionable outcomes? One may ask, where is the evidence of this claim in this question? Part 2 of the post shared proof of the glaring wealth gap between the rich and poor. This wealth gap is only growing wider. The above illustration takes the USA data are emblematic of the rest of the world. In Jan 2020, the Guardian reports that 70% of the world’s population experiences this growing wealth gap. See link – https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/jan/22/wealth-gap-widening-for-more-than-70-per-cent-of-global-population-researchers-find

This post posits that other factors have overridden Man’s conscience in the area of wealth. These factors are

  1. Worry about the future, and the need to control that worry through wealth accumulation.
  2. The lure of wealth is innately addictive. Remember the hedonic race in part 2? Wealth brings pleasures, such as enhanced social status, power, influence, physical enjoyments, and control over others.

 

Both the Poor and Rich are Terrified of the Future and Addicted to Wealth Alike

 

The irony is that both the rich and the poor have embraced these factors as shared aspirations. For this reason, the world does not descend into a brutal war between the poor and the rich, culminating into one global French revolution, or witnessing a global embrace of Marxism.

Both Christians and non-Christians, barring a minority in both groups, are mostly helpless to avoid violating their conscience to address this reality. The following posts will explore the application aspects of this minority group. For the majority, unless there is a shift of the motivating factors away from focusing on earthy goals to cope with fears of the uncertain future and to wean off the wealth addiction, money reigns as Master over Man in the constant battle against God’s supremacy.

The following section of this post shares the Christian God’s offer of these alternative motivating factors.

 

God’s Alternative Offer to Wealth

God has two main goals in mind when He offers solutions to Man’s slavery to money. God seeks to fulfill His two commandments: the source of His purpose and will (the Law and the Prophets, Mat22:40). Both commandments are concerning RELATIONSHIPS. This relationship focus is a clear indication that God values relationships above all else in His economy.

 

The Love Commandments

 

The first commandment is the relationship between God and Man. In comparison, the second commandment is a relationship between man and man (Mat22:37-40). The commandments bear the following intentions.

  1. God is appealing and demanding from Man their believing loyalty towards Him. (1st commandment)
  2. God expects Man to show love to their neighbor as oneself in contrast to indifference to their neighbors’ plight. (2nd commandment).

Believing loyalty is also known as loving-kindness, “checed” in Hebrew, which also renders faithfulness a more familiar term in the new testament vernacular. See the link for the word meaning of checed- https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H2617&t=NASB

The scriptures relating to wealth, especially the parables, are shared to support Man’s understanding of God’s salvation offered as a means to realize the 1st commandment. E.g., is the Good Samaritan (Luke15:11-32), the treasure hidden in the field, the pearl of great price (Mat13:44-45), the prodigal son (Luke15:11-32).

The scriptures also reveal God’s expectation to love one’s neighbor, the 2nd commandment, in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke10:30-37 and the unforgiving servant’s story in Mat18:21-35.

God does not leave man without resources and guidelines to motivate Man to choose the love relationship as their new focus and abandon their old focus of worry and addiction to money. God’s motivating factors address both the worry of the future and the issue of the lure of money.

 

God Supplies His Motivating Factors

 

1st Motivating Factor – Solution for Worry

 

The Worry of Needs and Wants

 

Both Christians and non-Christians worry about the future. God recognized valid worries, categorized as needs. In this day and age, the needs of Man has grown to include wants. The final post will address this aspect. Nevertheless, God recognized man’s worry to meet his needs when Jesus identified this as the reason for Man’s shifting loyalties between serving God and Mammon in Mat6:24.

God promises that He will supply all Man’s future needs when he focuses on His will for Him and his identity in Him (Mat6:32). God designs His will into the life circumstances presented to that person. It includes the opportunities, the challenges, the waiting, the people in your life, the victories, the setbacks, the miracles, and the tragedies. God promises to supply what Man needs, even as he experiences His will. Man is to reciprocate in an active faith relationship with Him.

The other less recognized reason and solution offered by God in Mat6:34 is that the present has sufficient troubles on their own that demands attention. God wants to partner Man to address present challenges and appeals to him not to be distracted by worrying about the future. The experience of partnering with God in this active faith in the present is not straightforward and exceeds this post’s scope to explain.

At this juncture, the imagination of what God supplies can run pretty wild. The Bible does offer some guidelines to understand what God supplies. The following post or posts will cover this in more detail. Suffice to say. God supplies wisdom, “time and chance” that relieve the pressure that would have exceeded the breaking point, His divine power, and circumstances to support His will for Man.

 

Personal Testimony

The Fool Who Became King

 

Mind-blindness (autism) handicapped my social and emotional perception until age 49. God had shown and proven His loyal faithfulness as Father over my life since my dad passed away when I was 11 years old.

These handicaps lead to situational unawareness. I grossly underestimated the environment’s harshness and overestimated my capacity and capabilities. I recklessly resigned from full-time employment and was self-employed twice, at age 29-30 and 32-50. Due to personal reasons and adequate resources,  undeservingly, I have decided to retire at age 50, 2020. God has protected me from the hostile business environment and my foolish unawareness for the past 25 years as a working adult.

My lack of awareness blinded me to future worries. Given a temperament that is resilient and determined, I do not complain and worry about my future.  The “success” did not come by fervent prayers, never fasted, and was never diligent in reading the Bible (this only started in 2019). In-fact until 2019, I have never read a complete book in the Bible.

God’s mercies have protected me from an unreasonable environment and marauding competitors. The material success came because I blindly did whatever was presented to me and did the best of my abilities every time without worrying and complaining. Unknowingly just by attending faithfully to my lot in life, I did God’s will.

 

2nd Motivating Factor – Shift in Values

In today’s materialistic culture, the motivating factors offered by God has lost much of its luster. It is not the fault of God, for Man has chosen to deify themselves by proxy. Elements that supported man’s deification are mainly due to their sense of mastery over their destiny. The following fostered Man’s sense of mastery over their future and shifted Man’s values away from God’s values.-

  1. Man has more than doubled the life expectancy from the late 30s in the late 1800s to beyond 70s by the early 2000s. Singapore’s life expectancy is in the 80s. See link – https://www.macrotrends.net/countries/SGP/singapore/life-expectancy#:~:text=The%20current%20life%20expectancy%20for,a%200.26%25%20increase%20from%202017.
  2. Man has mastered their physical environment (notwithstanding the irreparable damage done to nature) and a pseudo mastery over their biology. Genetic engineering is one of the new frontiers for humanity.
  3. Man’s sense of personal agency has shot through the roof, bolstered by the relentless rise of individual liberties.
God’s Appeal to the Alternative, Reimar/Shutterstock.com

 

Tragically, This pandemic of self-deification affects both Christians and non-Christians alike.

God beckons Man with seven appeals to support Man’s shift from the additive lure of money-wealth to fulfill the two commandments, to restore the RELATIONSHIPS-

  1. God is appealing to Man’s senses to value His Fatherly love, offered to save humanity in the form of the death and resurrection of His only Son, the Lord Jesus. (John3:16, Rom10:9). The Father’s heart is appealing for His children to return to His bosom, the prodigal son narrative offered on an epic scale.

 

  1. God appeals to Man’s senses to value the true incorruptible treasures more than the temporal earthly pleasures, relationships, and possessions. The true treasures are the relationship with Him, His eternal rewards, the gloried incorruptible body, the eternal glory, and reunion with Him and all the loved ones that have embraced the family of God. Valuing the true treasures is the crucial battleground of the soul. For where the treasures are, there, the soul will take residence (Mat6:21).

 

  1. God appeals to Man’s senses to recognize that their body is temporal, suffer aging, physical death, and eternal death. What will it profit to Man to accumulate and hold tightly to things that lose all value in the afterlife? (Mark8:36)

 

  1. God is appealing to Man’s senses to recognize an afterlife where judgment and sentence await (Mat25:46). This appeal to many seems like a threat. God’s hands are bound in this regard and helpless to circumvent His sense of justice. God’s justice demand this outcome (Rom2:12-16,1Pet1:17).

 

  1. God is appealing to Man’s sense to choose forgiveness apart from the works pathway in Christ (Eph2:8-9), where the favored judgment is merciful, and the verdict at worst is forfeting the eternal rewards and the soul’s eternal glory (1Co5:5, 1Co3:15, 2Co4:16-18).

 

  1. God appeals to Man’s sense to avoid the impartial judgment pathway, where the sentence is likely an eternal staycation in Hell.

 

  1. God appeals to Man to choose His Son. By doing so, He frees Man of worry of the future on earth, as Man finds rest for their soul on earth in the work of His Son (Mat11:28-30, Heb4:11).

 

Conclusion

The world operates by the power paradigm. The powerful determines the Laws of the land and wields the power of life and death over others. Humanity recognizes this Law and obeys the rules set by the powerful. Democracy veils the ordinary senses to this Law, enchanting the human sense of agency with an illusion that the power lies with the individual because they vote the powerful into power.

Such naïve notions are put to naught when the next crisis hits. The covid19 pandemic is but an appetizer of the Law in operation. War seems a distant memory since the last World War in 1942. It seems to escape notice, but the elements that catalyzed such atrocities are the same; humanity is the source of these atrocities.

 

Daring and Taunting God Does Not Seem to be a Sound Strategy

 

It seems inconceivable while Man can recognize and subject themselves to human authorities, Man dares to taunt God by spurning His appeal and invitation.

Christians deem the Christian God as the most powerful entity across all time and space. But this God is dismissed as the King of charlatans by other religious beliefs and non-existent by an atheist or a choice, among other valid alternatives.

It may turn out that these reasons to ignore God are correct. Still, the stakes appear unacceptably high for a reasonable person to place a wager against God, who has offered such favorable terms to achieve divinity. The only cost on Man’s part is the belief in Jesus and after that best effort at obedience until death. This free lunch for Man exacted an unspeakable price from God the Father who paid dearly for this offer.

This post ends on this note. The next post will explore further how Man’s attempts to solve this wealth gap have failed, why it has failed, and the root cause behind these failures. Post 5 will also examine God’s alternative to address this failure.

 

References

  1. Scott, B. (1990). Hear then the parable (1st ed.). Fortress Press.