I confess, I’m not there yet. If I’m not sinning one way, it’s another. I know, “Welcome to the obvious Nathan.” Right? That bothers me though, because I believe that a sinful cycle is broken by the power of the Holy Spirit that puts the deeds of my flesh to death, but saying that doesn’t mean anything if there isn’t a result. I can say that I believe with all my heart that the issue of sin in me is broken as I confess “Jesus, my Lord,…”, and the Church in me says, “Through faith, it is, when Jesus returns.” But the Christian in me wonders why I still eat the fruit of sin that Christ took away? How can I eat something that’s been taken away?
What I’m about to write might be controversial, but I’ll clean it up.
The Holy Spirit teaches the Scripture for my understanding, not my local church (1 John 2:26-28). I’ve learned through my local church the meaning of fellowship and worship to God as a body within the Body, but the knowledge of the truth is learned by my personal relationship to the Holy Spirit who teaches me all things in Christ for discerning the nature of my spirit and the spirits of the body gathered around the preaching of the gospel. Why is that important? Christ the Lord has bought the world with His blood, and each person who remains faithful to believe in the Word of God is being saved by Him for an eternal life, which is a life in Him, the nature of Jesus Christ; as opposed to the nature of Satan, which is not a life, but an experience of eternal consequence that eternal beings—as such we are—will inevitably wake up to, if found guilty by maintaining the position of denying the very Person who bailed the world out of jail. That Person is Jesus Christ, the Son of the Eternal Father.
I guess the reason for my writing this is to hope for those who read and believe as I do to pray a prayer of righteousness over my soul, that my conscience guilty of sin will be forgiven and healed. Not that I would escape the necessary discipline as a son of God, on the contrary, I ask for the necessary discipline to overcome the fruit of my sin I desire even now… To eat.
6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles.
It’s been nearly a month since I wrote of how the wisest person on the face of the planet received their wisdom—The proverbs of Solomon. And now here we are in the 21st century being fed of its milk and meat to understand the words of the wise and their riddles.
SPIRITUAL MILK AND MEAT
Take milk and meat as our example to a figure of spiritual speech: (a) milk is our figure of speech for those recently born into Jesus Christ by their awareness of good and evil, and (b) meat is for those grown to handle the many questions that newborns will have regarding this developing faith by their understanding to the meaning of the knowledge of good and evil.
If you believed in the gospel last month, your faith is in dire need of milk (the Word of God) provided through the sustenance of our Church Body (your local christian church). The Word of God has revealed to you your condition of death that separates you from God; in other words you’ve reached a state of awareness [enlightenment] to the nature of your condition—spiritual condition—of which condemns you to death because of sin. At this stage of development the soul hungers for the pure milk of the Word because eternal life is a promised result upon believing, but it takes time to grow.
The Helper (Holy Spirit) is that established energy and power of wisdom and truth; Jesus will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. You will go through a process of being born while aware of the experience, not like being born as a human baby of which we don’t recall; because a soul that is condemned to death ignores the wrath of God which is directed at the sin, not the person, that person has made a conscious choice to accept the wrath of God rather than repent of their sin by faith in Christ. So there is an experience of deep mourning or spiritual grieving by the separating of loved ones during this process of faith development; they are not accepting this truth when we are, and it’s a very painful spiritual endurance, but this experience is very necessary because it intimate-izes our relationship to God.
At this stage of our faith development there are worldly experiences that will test us, train us, and much pain (healthy pain); think of it as becoming a super saiyan—dragon ball z style! Any of you readers familiar? Okay, well, the point is that our personality transforms into the calling of God; the ministry of reconciliation is taking shape in our psychology, and our faith is developing into a responsibility. Our frame of reference is shifting from an earthly temperial perspective to an immortally eternal perspective; so there will be much discipline from your parents (another figure of speech) whom—if is in Christ—will raise you up in that discipline of our heavenly Father. Expect much correction with edification as your soul is resurrecting to life from the dead (even though you’re awake to witness it).
Remember, it took 3 days before our Lord was resurrected from the dead and many more days later before ascending into heaven to be at the right hand of God our Father; so don’t let anyone try and tell you that this process of conversion happens simply in the day of which you believe, it takes time in respect of salvation. And as we continue to devote ourselves to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will teach us the meaning of Truth; we will learn how to see through the facade of the deceiver, and discern good and evil.
Proverbs 1 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org 1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To discern the sayings of understanding, 3 To receive instruction in wise behavior, Righteousness, justice and equity; 4 To give prudence to the naïve, To the youth knowledge and discretion, 5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning, And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel, 6 To understand a proverb and a figure, The words of the wise and their riddles. 7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; Fools despise wisdom and instruction. 8 Hear, my son, your father’s instruction And do not forsake your mother’s teaching; 9 Indeed, they are a graceful wreath to your head And ornaments about your neck. 10 My son, if sinners entice you, Do not consent. 11 If they say, “Come with us, Let us lie in wait for blood, Let us ambush the innocent without cause; 12 Let us swallow them alive like Sheol, Even whole, as those who go down to the pit; 13 We will find all kinds of precious wealth, We will fill our houses with spoil; 14 Throw in your lot with us, We shall all have one purse,” 15 My son, do not walk in the way with them. Keep your feet from their path, 16 For their feet run to evil And they hasten to shed blood. 17 Indeed, it is useless to spread the baited net In the sight of any bird; 18 But they lie in wait for their own blood; They ambush their own lives. 19 So are the ways of everyone who gains by violence; It takes away the life of its possessors. Wisdom Warns 20 Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square; 21 At the head of the noisy streets she cries out; At the entrance of the gates in the city she utters her sayings: 22 “How long, O naïve ones, will you love being simple-minded? And scoffers delight themselves in scoffing And fools hate knowledge? 23 “Turn to my reproof, Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. 24 “Because I called and you refused, I stretched out my hand and no one paid attention; 25 And you neglected all my counsel And did not want my reproof; 26 I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your dread comes, 27 When your dread comes like a storm And your calamity comes like a whirlwind, When distress and anguish come upon you. 28 “Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; They will seek me diligently but they will not find me, 29 Because they hated knowledge And did not choose the fear of the LORD. 30 “They would not accept my counsel, They spurned all my reproof. 31 “So they shall eat of the fruit of their own way And be satiated with their own devices. 32 “For the waywardness of the naïve will kill them, And the complacency of fools will destroy them. 33 “But he who listens to me shall live securely And will be at ease from the dread of evil.”
1 Peter 2:1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
Hebrews 5:11 Concerning him we have much to say, and it is hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing. 12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.
Luke 3:16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 17 His winnowing fork is in His hand to thoroughly clear His threshing floor, and to gather the wheat into His barn; but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
2 Corinthians 5:11 Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we persuade men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences. 12 We are not again commending ourselves to you but are giving you an occasion to be proud of us, so that you will have an answer for those who take pride in appearance and not in heart. 13 For if we are beside ourselves, it is for God; if we are of sound mind, it is for you. 14 For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15 and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf. 16 Therefore from now on we recognize no one according to the flesh; even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him in this way no longer. 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. 18 Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Matthew Henry (P1-V6) Commentary 2. As an interpreter (v. 6)-to understand a proverb. Solomon was himself famous for expounding riddles and resolving hard questions, which was of old the celebrated entertainment of the eastern princes, witness the solutions he gave to the enquiries with which the queen of Sheba thought to puzzle him. Now here he undertakes to furnish his readers with that talent, as far as would be serviceable to the best purposes. “They shall understand a proverb, even the interpretation, without which the proverb is a nut uncracked; when they hear a wise saying, though it be figurative, they shall take the sense of it, and know how to make use of it.’ The words of the wise are sometimes dark sayings. In St. Paul’s epistles there is that which is hard to be understood; but to those who, being well-versed in the scriptures, know how to compare spiritual things with spiritual, they will be easy and safe; so that, if you ask them, Have you understood all these things? they may answer, Yea, Lord. Note, It is a credit to religion when men of honesty are men of sense; all good people therefore should aim to be intelligent, and run to and fro, take pains in the use of means, that their knowledge may be increased.
1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy.
The immediate reaction to this verse is… “TO ARMS!“ right, because naturally our internal defenses go up in preparation for war. Who enjoys being told that they’re being stubborn, especially when they already know it? If we do enjoy it, then I would say that we might be beyond broken, and are in need of the spiritual hands of a Surgeon. How do we react to the thought of God using His holy Word to expose what we need to repent of?
If I’m honest, the sin that is present with me is alerted by forces of evil that invade my thoughts, whispering dark ideas of narcissism: “Close the hearing of my ears.” “Ignore the egotism that so desperately desires my subjection and allegiance.” “The intent is my humiliation once conceded; don’t give in, don’t back up, head up, back straight.” “I’m right, God is wrong.” “I’m justified” “‘But God is goo‘—” “That’s a lie”. The enemy is hard at work to keep me from the truth about being reconciled to God. Our spiritual war is real whether the world has convinced itself of the lie or not. (Let me ask you, reader. Do you sense any stubbornness by me [Nathan] in this post? ).
It is okay to acknowledge the potential of unaware elements to stubborness in our conversations even if our intent is not at all to be stubborn, or to harden our necks even if our motive is not to win the arguments. Ask someone that knows you—and knows you well (or even not well)—whether you’re being stubborn about something (anything), and just listen. They might even have fun with it; attempting to get a rise out of you, but let them try; practice balancing your emotions to accept the spiritual reproof—that’s the key—because it’s not about the person reproving you, it’s about tuning into the Holy Spirit of God at work in you. I’m not saying not to be truthful about how you will feel during this exercise, quite the opposite actually, be honest about what you’re feeling; be willing to accept time to revisit the necessary conflict for more practice at psychological development, but more importantly, resolution for a more intimate connection with God. Remember this verse when in conflict:
Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.
Is God good?
Is God your heavenly Father?
Is God love?
Does God love you?
Proverbs 29 (NASB)—blueletterbible.org 1 A man who hardens his neck after much reproof Will suddenly be broken beyond remedy. 2 When the righteous increase, the people rejoice, But when a wicked man rules, people groan. 3 A man who loves wisdom makes his father glad, But he who keeps company with harlots wastes his wealth. 4 The king gives stability to the land by justice, But a man who takes bribes overthrows it. 5 A man who flatters his neighbor Is spreading a net for his steps. 6 By transgression an evil man is ensnared, But the righteous sings and rejoices. 7 The righteous is concerned for the rights of the poor, The wicked does not understand such concern. 8 Scorners set a city aflame, But wise men turn away anger. 9 When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, The foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. 10 Men of bloodshed hate the blameless, But the upright are concerned for his life. 11 A fool always loses his temper, But a wise man holds it back. 12 If a ruler pays attention to falsehood, All his ministers become wicked. 13 The poor man and the oppressor have this in common: The LORD gives light to the eyes of both. 14 If a king judges the poor with truth, His throne will be established forever. 15 The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. 16 When the wicked increase, transgression increases; But the righteous will see their fall. 17 Correct your son, and he will give you comfort; He will also delight your soul. 18 Where there is no vision, the people are unrestrained, But happy is he who keeps the law. 19 A slave will not be instructed by words alone; For though he understands, there will be no response. 20 Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. 21 He who pampers his slave from childhood Will in the end find him to be a son. 22 An angry man stirs up strife, And a hot-tempered man abounds in transgression. 23 A man’s pride will bring him low, But a humble spirit will obtain honor. 24 He who is a partner with a thief hates his own life; He hears the oath but tells nothing. 25 The fear of man brings a snare, But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted. 26 Many seek the ruler’s favor, But justice for man comes from the LORD. 27 An unjust man is abominable to the righteous, And he who is upright in the way is abominable to the wicked.
Here, (Prov 1—Matthew Henry) 1. The obstinacy of many wicked people in a wicked way is to be greatly lamented. They are often reproved by parents and friends, by magistrates and ministers, by the providence of God and by their own consciences, have had their sins set in order before them and fair warning given them of the consequences of them, but all in vain; they harden their necks. Perhaps they fling away, and will not so much as give the reproof a patient hearing; or, if they do, yet they go on in the sins for which they are reproved; they will not bow their necks to the yoke, but are children of Belial; they refuse reproof (ch. 10:17), despise it (ch. 5:12), hate it, ch. 12:1.
2. The issue of this obstinacy is to be greatly dreaded: Those that go on in sin, in spite of admonition, shall be destroyed; those that will not be reformed must expect to be ruined; if the rods answer not the end, expect the axes. They shall be suddenly destroyed, in the midst of their security, and without remedy; they have sinned against the preventing remedy, and therefore let them not expect any recovering remedy. Hell is remediless destruction. They shall be destroyed, and no healing, so the word is. If God wounds, who can heal?