Chronicles of Diversity

Building sanctifcation, Part 1
August 9, 2006, 11:39 pm
Filed under: Weekly Columns

9 August 2006; Volume 8, Issue 24

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Salt is a good thing, it preserves and enhances the taste of food. But what good is it if it loses those qualities? Well salt can’t change its nature, NaCl was the way God made it. If you replace the chlorine with say carbonate, you still have a salt in the chemical sense, but it can give you a bad case of gas. It has other worthwhile uses, but does not do much good compared to regular salt.

This of course is a loose paraphrase of Matthew 5:13.

I made some Indian smoked salmon this week. It is virtually impossible to buy in the store, because it is cold smoked until it is dry. Mine took about 30 hours to get to the stage where I like it. You can hot smoke (kipper) salmon in the same modern equipment I used in about 2 hours. Real Indian smoked salmon will keep virtually forever without refrigeration, mine because it is not so dry would probably get there eventually, because it has enough salt to keep it from spoiling. Hot smoked salmon needs refrigeration all the time. Without refrigeration for more than a few hours and you are looking for trouble. Chances are it won’t kill you, but it could make you sick enough to wish you were dead.

So what good is an “on fire church” if it isn’t salty, and the air conditioner isn’t working?

Today, the times are like none I have ever experienced. Thank God, that the Rapture could happen at any moment and we will all be in air conditioned heaven. It must be a global warming thing after all. Of course my salmon (I used pinks) is still high enough in oils that without refrigeration it will eventually become somewhat rancid. The real Indians used Chum salmon, lower in fat. But Coho and Kings don’t work at all. Their oil nature becomes rancid over time, so even hot smoked and refrigerated, it still must be vacuum sealed to maintain its flavor. Now if the world just had a holy knife, or pair of holy scissors maybe they could cut through the thick plastic and taste the Christian essence?

I once went to one of those full gospel or Pentecostal churches. The pastor was the son of one of those tongue speakers also. So as this pastor was reaching the sunset of his life, he had pretty much seen all the manifestations of the gifts of the spirit, the good, the bad, and the ugly. While giving a sermon, he could get an idea, pause for just a moment, and then give it a spin that would be the least offensive to the majority of the congregation, but still get the point across to those not just warming the pews.

When need be, there is something about being six five and weighing over 250 pounds that can give you a certain swagger. I will never forget one of his sermons. I don’t know what title he had for the sermon, if he had one. I called it, “Be careful what you pray for, it might just come true.”

It was preached right after one of those great commission seasons, you know, Acts 1:8: But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

It seems that the Jerusalem church did a pretty good job at evangelizing the Jerusalem part, not quite so good in Judea, a little less well in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth, you can forget that. “We might fall off the edge of the globe, or their might be demons and bad people out there.”

First it started with persecution, Saul or Paul knew something about that, but that really didn’t have a significant effect, the Jerusalem church still was the Jerusalem church. “Filled with the power and the gifts of the Spirit! Can I get a witness? Amen, brothers and sisters. Praise the Lord, Hallelujah!”

As time went on the persecution got worse, but the fishers of men, were still fishing from the dock. Then in the year of our Lord 70, the dock was destroyed, along with the rest of the city. Finally, we have Christian evangelists at their best, running for their lives to the ends of the earth, seeking safety from the storm.

That sermon doesn’t preach very well in most places. I condensed it considerably, just for my readers, ‘cause I’m such a sensitive guy, but there are enough facts available to fill 20 – 30 minutes for a real sermon.

I realize that the comments on Acts 1:8 in the American Evangelical Study Bible says that short term missions trips, provided they don’t exceed two weeks in length qualify as fulfillment of the Judea, Samaria, and end of the earth requirements. Also, it is perfectly acceptable to account for them as true missions giving in the church’s financial records. After all the sheep will not just give tens of thousands of dollars to build a school or something with a permanent effect, but if you can make them believe that their vacation fulfilled their (and by their extension God’s) missions requirements, they can return to their Jerusalem and justify all the stress of leaving their secure material comforts.

We live in a world of religious warfare. It’s not a “War on Terror,” like the President so stated almost 5 years ago. It is not “World War III” like Newt and other Neocon and conservative pundits have recently so stated. Democrats and liberals have redefined everything in so many politically correct ways, if it were not for God’s gift of gravity, I might forget which way is up and which way is down, so war to them is just bad karma that will soon dissipate as the wind blows. However, this is war, and it is a war based on three great Babylonian religions, against everyone else who are part of the infidels, including the other two.

Three great Babylonian religions? That’s right Sunni and Shia Islam, and western Globalism.

You see the devil doesn’t want you sitting under your own fig tree enjoying your family and friends as the Bible describes as paradise. The devil wants you subjugated to any higher power other than God Almighty. Whether that be overtly as in the case of Islam, or covertly in the case of Globalism you are stilled called to worship at the altar of another Caesar. In the case of Islam it is Allah, derived from the Moon God, and in Globalism it is Mammon, earned from the materialism God.

When Jesus sets up His Kingdom on this earth, no matter how you think He will bring it about, that Kingdom will be a Theocracy.

In any theocracy there is no separation of church and state. Sorry to say many of America’s founding fathers were Christian theocrats. Which works really well if you are elitist enough to believe you have a direct line to God, and all the rest of the world is made up of carnal Christians and the carnally damned. To know for sure the absolute difference between good and evil and what’s best for everyone else, that is heaven on earth, and Man at his sinful finest.

Let’s form a democracy and vote on it. Thankfully, the Puritan Presbyterians didn’t want to live in a Baptist theocracy, and vise versa. Surely none of them wanted to serve some Papist Pope, nor a Divine Right King. By the grace of God, America was founded as a republic. That of course has been systemically educated out of our educational system. In a true democracy nothing works. As America slouches closer and closer to that utopian democratic model isn’t it amazing how government at all levels becomes more and more powerless to do anything, constructive or otherwise. All the while free trade globalism is evangelized as the mechanism to bring heaven to earth.

Theocratic Shiites (Iran and organizations such as Hezbollah) hate Jews, Christians, and Sunni Arabs. Sunnis (Arabs and organizations such as Al Qaida and Hamas) hate Jews, Christians, and Shiites. Since in Islam, government and religion are one, Islam hates, Israel, the United States, and all infidels. Let’s all go to war and bring democracy to the middle east. Iraq and Afghanistan surely don’t understand a world of peace, harmony, democracy, and global materialism. Those simpleton Palestinians how could they be so stupid to elect Hamas the majority party in their government. The Lebanese by allowing Hezbollah to be armed by Iran through Syria and also being a political party, how inane. Well, Israel is in the process of taking care of that problem, even as Hezbollah rockets continue to make a point for and in Israel.

Peace in the Middle East could spontaneously evolve from this primordial chaotic ooze at any moment. Ain’t evolution grand, it gives us answers when things are too complex for us to understand, or God doesn’t tell us what exactly he is doing. But I probably could sell thousands of books, if I speculate enough and retain a good agent. “God I sure hope I’m not in the city where that suitcase nuke goes off as I am selling my books (and doing your work).”

No stupendous change is going to work in a positive way for you unless you begin to get a deeper understanding of how God uses this world to build His church and Christians. Real theologians call this progressive sanctification, whatever that means. The evangelical concept of this is being recreated into the image of Jesus. The problem with the evangelical application is that it seeks to raise the individual to equality with God’s glory without undergoing any earthly suffering. A lot of this evolves from the Wesleyan doctrine that you can rise above your sin. John and Charles admitted that they never quite got there, but at least they were holy enough to admit their “short comings.”

Modern evangelicals no longer share that humility, and you too can reach that Nirvana (sorry wrong religion) if you just indulge in their conferences, buy their DVD’s, CD’s, tapes, and books. The difference between these modern indulgence peddlers and Johann Tetzel of Luther’s day is that Tetzel was selling the offer for loved ones to escape purgatory. Today it is much more immediate gratification of the self. So instead of the pope trying to raise funds to build St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, the modern day authorities build their materialist ministries with the Pope Leo X vision of papal authority. Of course their vision also comes from God, just like the Pope, but they are too blind to see this connection, and of course are totally anti Roman Catholic in their preaching, even though the promote a more highly evolved version of a global catholic church.

Is it any wonder Islam cannot discern the difference between the United States, American Christianity, unfettered corporate greed, and the true gospel of the “people of the book?”

The Bible speaks to a different type of evangelism and a different gospel, remote to much of evangelicalism, which truly builds one through the process of progressive sanctification. Probably the most direct reference is in the contrast between Romans chapters 7 and 8.

To paraphrase briefly, Chapter 7: We are all rotten scum balls in this life, always have been, always will be. Chapter 8: In Christ Jesus that doesn’t matter, be grateful for what you’ve got and get with the program.

At least beginning with Pelagius, more than likely when this letter of Paul was first read, Christians have said and preached that the two chapters do not logically connect. You can’t be a scum ball, and not feel guilty about it (and without you trying to fix it). See, if we don’t silently add the trying to fix it and overcome the scum baldness (sic.) we will stay a scum ball forever. That is completely logical to all humanity. However and therefore, (for those of you trained in looking for those words) it also follows that by your works you can overcome sin. Jesus may do the heavy lifting, but by God I have a role to play (or else I’m worthless.) Ergo, I am at least partially responsible for my heavenly crowns.

But that is Biblical revisionism (to be humanly and politically correct). What Paul is saying in context is just as the paraphrase states above is true. Furthermore, when you move from Christ Jesus as your total justification before God for your sinfulness, you also lose His power to be without condemnation. That is ladies and gentlemen, some pretty heavy lifting. Spun another way, what you do out of gratitude alone, is the only sufficient means of grace to overcome the guilt of still being a scum ball of flesh.

Again, what Christ Jesus did on the cross finished the work of your justification and adopted you as heirs of God’s kingdom. You can’t become more adopted as a Christian, for some reason known only to God through Jesus’ blood on the cross, you are an heir positionally, not an error, this will never change. That adoption is also outside and within what we call time and space. That is Good News. Therein alone resides the power to be free of sin and guilt, resting in Christ. It is God’s freedom alone, and cannot therefore be linked to your best logic, or your best good works. Once you do, you will be plagued with guilt and powerless to overcome it.

So what type of gratitude filled salt do you wish to become? The enhancing flavor of Indian smoked that will keep forever. The salt of hot smoked salmon that must be refrigerated and vacuum sealed, a common salt that gives everyone intestinal gas, or just a brine that is used to melt the winter ice along the world’s roadways. These are of course just allegorical statements of a deeper truth. Through the cross alone comes man’s first true freedom, with that comes the gift and the power for you to make a choice and live successfully no matter what the worldly circumstances may hold. This true wherever you may find yourself, empowered not to worry about sin, completely on the basis of your total thankfulness and nothing else.

The world is going to hell more rapidly than perhaps ever in history. Therefore, your homework for next week is to think about what you might thankfully give up in this world, so that you won’t have to be forcefully exiled to “the end of the earth.” Christians were created to be allegorically the preservation and flavor enhancing common force in the world. The question is not whether you will be used, it is if you will enjoy the trip.?

Our latest Chronicles:

Unity in Diversity; PDF link:
Evolved Units; PDF link:
Chaos Economics; PDF link:
Christian acquiescence; PDF link:
Building; PDF link:
Walls & ceilings; PDF link: