THE GORDIAN KNOT: Out of the Box Believing
Most people have heard of the story of Alexander the Great’s impossible challenge, which by unconventional thinking he rose to the occasion. This Oxcart was tied to a post by a knot that was impossibly difficult to undo because the ends of the rope was hidden from view. Whoever could untie the knot would receive wisdom and knowledge to rule all of Asia. Up until his approach everyone before him had failed, and Alexander stepped up. Assessing the situation he reasoned, it’s a knot, and the challenge is to undo it. Had he subscribed to the usual convention of untying knots with hands and fingers he would have met with the same fate as others before him. He pulls out his sword and chopped the knot open, won the challenge, and took the purse.
“sir, you cannot fathom the depth of my unbelief”
Thinking of a line by a spiritually disaffected character rejecting a priest’s attempt to evangelize him; said he, “ sir, you cannot fathom the depth of my unbelief”. Now for a man like that there is genuine hope, because although where he stands in unbelief is not pretty, he has guts enough to admit it without any superficial glossing over the truth.He doesn’t believe in a big way and he puts it right out there for you to know. Now what I am about to say is said not in a spirit to cast condemnation on any believer, but instead to point out a mechanism of denial in the faith culture that has a tsunami-like devastating effect on the church.
James Chapter 2:18-20—Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. 19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. 20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
Even devils believe in God, but they are yet devils because they can’t act out their belief. They can’t take actions based on what they know. Now if all we know are the basic elementary principles of the oracles of God: which amounts to simply being born again, with an aim to become better human beings, not much can be divined of us from such actions until one gets to the perfect man, which by our state of denial has eluded us over the centuries.
The answer was quite surprising to him; he was told “you don’t solve it….you work around it nobody solves it”
My younger brother graduated from a local university with emphasis in Computer Engineering Technology, and went on to work for one of these “hallmark type” American corporations. Shortly after being on the job he confronted a situation that presented an impasse to any forward progress he was experiencing. He asked one of his colleagues how they resolved that problem when they encountered it because sooner or later that particular problem arises. The answer was quite surprising to him; he was told “you don’t solve it….you work around it nobody solves it”. That didn’t sit well with him so he went back to hammering away at it. One day shortly after, he was laboring at it till he retired for the night and went to sleep. In his sleep he saw the answer, went to work next day plugged it in, and lo and behold it worked.
This is the kind of work-around culture that exists in the church. Nobody does the works of Jesus as he did them, so we’ve settled for the work-around…..what man can do, and call it God’s work. Just look around you; see that the unbelievers do the same things by whatever charity organizations they call themselves, but they don’t call it God’s work. Thus we have been bringing forth wind and not deliverance in the tradition of Jesus by mighty works according to his explicit instruction as to the details of this ministry of reconciliation.
The child that Mary brought forth, though he bore no physical deformity, was not a normal child. If we think that the life that we are to bring forth in the wake of receiving Jesus through our death is going to, or supposed to be a normal life; this highlights the extent of our denial to the the sheer scope of this unspeakable miracle.
There are many stories of mothers who died giving birth to their babies; we are suppose to die to give in order to give birth to the life of God, but most of us get up and walk away. Isaiah 26:18 speaks of the process: We have been with child, we have been in pain, we have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance in the earth; neither have the inhabitants of the world fallen. God gave to us the keys of his kingdom; power to bind and to loose in executing his judgments that are written. This honor he has given to all his saints: power to bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron as we give birth to Gods work in the ministry of reconciliation. The child that Mary brought forth, though he bore no physical deformity, was not a normal child. If we think that the life that we are to bring forth in the wake of receiving Jesus through our death is going to, or supposed to be a normal life; this highlights the extent of our denial to the the sheer scope of this unspeakable miracle.
This formula of which I speak is announced in Phillipians 3:16— Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Verses 14,15 before this expresses a desire to move on to the perfect man. (14—I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 15—Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.) Verse 16 speaks of a rule, which I call a formula. This formula has gotten us to the thing that is already attained, the new birth. For the sake of clarity this formula is spelt out in details in Romans 10:9-10—That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. In this instance no one has a problem saying what is believed in the heart and what is spoken with the mouth. Everyone who is born again does it, because it is the formula that produces the new birth.
All the trouble occurs in contemplation of what is to be believed and spoken for the perfect man, the next leg of he journey. This challenge is particularly daunting because these things fall outside of the purview that is considered human domain, because it is calculated to bring forth someone whose nature also falls outside of the perview of human domain.
To be continued….