Saturday, September 5, 2020

Truth is in order to goodness!

 

We live in a world today in which truth has been called into question. In some cases we hear terms like “my truth” thrown around as if it was something negotiable, or private, or malleable.

In other cases truth trumps everything and whether or not we accept the truth, believe the truth, know the truth, is all that truly matters.

This week’s reading delves into the matter of truth's necessity for godly behavior. 

I am struck by the fact that scripture admonishes us that we will not be judged by what we believe (i.e. truth) but by what we do. Right belief isn’t the criteria on which we are to be judged. And yet, as Tozer reminds us what we do is a direct reflection of what we believe. Belief should lead to action and right action is dependent upon right belief. Right doctrine, right belief leads to right behavior. It is the means by which right behavior is developed. Acceptance of Christ's work on the cross, faith, is the means for our salvation. But our heavenly rewards seem to be based on our performance (Matthew 25:20-23; Luke 14:1214; 1 Corinthians 3:8). And yet we must never devolve this concept into "works righteousness." We aren't saved by our good works but our good works are dependent upon our being saved (Ephesians 2:10)

The Greeks of the New Testament age loved to talk about ideas and concepts. Their term philosophia literally means “the study of knowledge." But neither the study of knowledge, nor that knowledge, in an of itself alone, are sufficient for believers.

Knowledge about something, an understanding of the way in which something works isn’t necessary to enjoy the result. We can enjoy air conditioning, the internet, gravity, and the weather without completely understanding all the intricacies of them. So too, we do not need to understand all the connections between right belief and right behavior and eternal rewards, to recognize the benefits, right belief will bring to our behavior and our right behavior to pleasing God..

"Personal holiness", "righteousness", "purity", "piety", "piousness" - all these terms seem to be viewed negatively i our cultural settings and yet they are the direct result of right belief.They are the kinds of things that drove men of old to establish great kingdoms, institutions, cultures.

Failure to see this intimate connection is what Tozer claims to be the raison d'être for immorality in congregations today.

The whole purpose for this Tozer study has been to increase our understanding of the principles of revival. Revival comes through the “reviving” of our faith, of our practice, of our commitment to holiness. And this is dependent upon our understanding of the connection between faith and practice. We don’t need to fully comprehend how the Lord works to bring revival to know that right belief and right behavior are a part of discerning God’s most perfect will. We simply need to accept it and to seek it.


So as we continue, let us recommit to maintaining space for this study, for making the time in our schedules, for saying no to some things so that we may say yes to the things that matter. Like any diet, exercise, educational, or professional endeavor, consistency and commitment are key. If we want to revive our faith we need to pursue it with gusto.

Paul said it best when, under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, he wrote:

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things [Philippians 3:10-15]


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