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Concerning "what men say" the word of God means -we are admonished to "test all things, prove all things and hold fast to that which is good" but NONE OF THIS can we do except by acknowledging the Spirit of God, -asking HIM for His counsel by His Spirit which HE WILL confirm for us throughout His written word -but not according to man's understanding of it -nor by what MEN SAY it means!
We need to repent of agreeing with men, -without first asking THE LORD! We need to repent of deciding for ourselves what is or is not "of His Spirit" -according to our own understanding of the word, -without ASKING THE LORD. And we need to repent of calling evil good and calling good evil, simply because we think we know. Without a doubt, many will do EXACTLY THAT with this Letter: some will be so offended in their flesh that they will utterly reject it as evil. Still others will weigh and measure it using the false measure of their own mind/in their soul (remember, "wickedness" and "our wicked ways" is the weighing and measuring of things for our own "selves" according to our own knowledge of what "God hath said") -INSTEAD OF SUBMITTING IT TO HIM WHO IS THE LIVING WORD, -INSTEAD OF DEFERRING TO THE LORD (instead of asking Him to act as the spiritual Head) -INSTEAD OF SEEKING HIM FOR HIS COUNSEL BY HIS SPIRIT, many will cast this letter off as evil and will feel fully justified in doing so, -according to their OWN "knowledge of the word" (just like the pharisees did) without ever having actually inquired of "The Lord" Himself!
The church's entire history (Catholic and Protestant alike -even Jewish for that matter) is littered, literally chock-full of false teachers and false prophets, pastors, priests and ministers who SAY THEY speak the oracles of God -in whom many ignorantly put their trust, yet the only One who can rightly divide the Word of Truth is Him who is the Word, and HE HIMSELF IS AVAILABLE to any who will SEEK HIS FACE!
Paul said it best: his knowledge of the the Lord was not of men, it was neither "earned nor learned" but was a gift of God's grace that was given by the revelation of Jesus Christ, who is Himself the Living Word. Not learned from "wise" scribes who knew every dot & tittle but by grace. Not taught by so-called much learned men with their muddy water & trampled down fodder -which Paul counted as but dung -for the excellency of the knowledge of God in Christ, -and that, by grace, as it pleased the Father to reveal Him.
Jesus Himself also said that His doctrine was not His own, it too was neither "earned nor learned" but He spoke as the Father moved Him to speak...saying also: for so it pleased the Father to hide these things from the wise, and to REVEAL them unto babes!(Mt.11:25) Jesus also warned: "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." (Mt.18:3) We must be c-o-n-v-e-r-t-e-d from Adam's pride to the humility of that Holy Child Jesus! (Mt.13:9-15 cf. vs.15)
There are only TWO men (representing two different choices) in the earth: the First man -Adam, of the earth/earthy versus the "Second Man" which is the Lord HIMSELF: Jesus Christ, who was raised the Spiritual (New) Man.
As a result of the fall of man, the "first man" (rebellious Adam) opposes being "slain" -he stubbornly OPPOSES having his life counted as dead and hidden in Christ. Hence that "first man" in his rebellion, sits in the temple of God (on the throne of his own heart) usurping and occupying the rightful place of Jesus Christ, -man exalts his own "self" in the name of Christ (who WE ARE in Christ) while sitting in the temple of God (which temple we are) -steadfastly refusing (except in lip service) to deny himself, refusing "in Spirit and in Truth" to be "slain and hidden" in Christ! Instead, "in his own rebellious spirit and in his own perception of truth" man continues to exalt himself "above God" -above all that is called God, AKA, above Jesus Christ. Unrepentant in heart and mind, the self-willed soul of man resists and opposes "the Will of the Father" which thing is that he (the fallen man/Adam) must be "done away with" and "become hidden in" the Second Man (Jesus Christ.) And in his folly, man does so to his own destruction.
Man deceives his own heart: he steadfastly continues in his error (trying to be like God) and stubbornly persists in his folly: secular humanism and/or Christianized Humanism -makes no difference what you call it, both are the SAME lie: only the LATTER is the MORE DECEPTIVE of the two forms of humanism because it is disguised as Christianity. Secular humanists vaunt self as their own god, and the Christian vaunts himself as God in his own Christ-like-ness (man's counterfeit Christ.) Both secular and Christain humanists are still "man defying God" -and both are man justifying himself in his own sight: as a man thinks in his own vain heart so is he, deceived by his own vanity. Both forms of humanism (Christian and secular) are man hiding his rebellion from his own self. Both are yet deceived in the vanity of man's own mind and both are yet rebellious in man's idolatry (stubbornness) of heart. Man hides himself from his own flesh, refuses to acknowledge his own self-destructive self-determination by which he "will not agree with God" -or admit even to himself that he is yet REBELLIOUS in his heart. In the idolatry of his own heart, man thinks of himself as right in his own sight, justifies himself according to the counsel of his own mind and continues to do whatsoever seems right in his own sight. He is a rebellious "house" -every man doing that which is right in his own sight, walking in the counsel of his own mind, opposing himself by resisting the Will of God (which is that he be slain in Christ and repent of the evil) to do our own will and not the will of the Father. "But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.(Isa.64:6)
Since this is the nature of the "old man" and these are the works of the unregenerate soul -in the deception of the mind of man -striving to perfect himself by any means which is humanism, is it any wonder that the LORD is calling the Church TO REPENT of having returned to those very same DEAD WORKS!
Because we have committed the keeping of our souls to Him and because He is Faithful as the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, -God will do whatever He must do to turn us from these things back to Him. As Paul said to those "foolish Galatians" who tried to end or complete in the flesh what was begun in the Spirit, -do you not hear the Law? If we continue to walk "as Adam" by stiving to perfect ourselves "with our faith and by our knowledge of the word" instead of resting in Him, accepting the His Finished and receiving Him Who is the Living Word (Jesus Christ) as the Fulfillment of e-v-e-r-y commandment found in scripture, -then should we not also soberly consider Adam's judgment, -and his end?
"That man" (Adam) who opposes God and vaunts his own self against the things of the Spirit of God, -he is the "son of perdition" It is unrepentant Adam who rejects the Truth, in favor of the counsel of his own mind, -his own soul: the Mind of man has become his own god. He is REBELLIOUS against God and His Christ! "That man" (rebellious Adam, "the son of perdition") walks the earth "as one man" whose body has many members, -figuratively, a collective tabernacle of flesh in the earth referred to as a rebellious house, -man's flesh "tent" housing a spirit of rebellion; he has been taken captive of Satan: and is blinded by the god of this world. If unrepentant and unsaved, he is under the CONTROL of the enemy's Anti-Christ spirit of rebellion; if saved and yet rebellious, he is under the ungodly influence of Satan's own rebellious Anti-Christ spirit.
The rebellious first man (Adam) still vaunts himself "against Christ" through both secular and Christian humanism, as he sits in the temple of God, -in man's own heart and exalts himself in this tabernacle of flesh by proclaiming himself to be "as God." The many members "of his body" taken captive by him to do his will; they are figuratively, and collectively: "as one man" in his opposition to God and His Christ, and rebellious man is "Anti-Christ." The number of man is 6. Man's humanist religious system, man's political systems and man's economic systems are three-fold (666) -all three "systems of man" bearing the number of man's name (6)
Taken captive through his own lusts (1Jn.2:16) deceiving his own self in his own conceits, this man (fallen, unrepentant, unregenerate Adam) is that "one man" who is "LOST" (Jn.17:12) And he is lost (condemned) because he has chosen to love a lie (2Thes.2:10) more than the Truth, he in fact opposes, even despises the Truth. He steadfastly refuses (John 3:20) to repent in HIM who is the Truth, refuses to be "kept in Him" and refuses to be converted (changed by exchange) and he refuses, he will not be HID in Christ (Jn.17:12) in accordance with the Word of Truth sent by God: man would rather exalt self as his own god (humanism) -or as a Christian, exalt man in his own efforst to be like God in man's own Christ-like-ness (counterfeit Christ) -than be hid in "Jesus Christ" who is God! Jesus referred to that "one man" as him who is "lost". (John 17:12)
Motivated by Satan's rebellious anti-Christ spirit "the body of that one man" -the son of perdition (who has many members of his body) is typified in the spirit and the deeds of Judas. Judas himself represents (is an example of) those who reject Christ -and "who do the will of Satan in their hearts and minds," -being led or ruled from within by Satan -doing the will of Satan (exalting his throne above the throne of God, to be like the Most High God) carrying out the work of Satan by opposing God and his Christ, Jesus Christ. Rebellious man's ways are as Judas -self destructive, leading to death.
Satan came down to earth to work his own will (which was to exalt himself above all that is called God. Satan vowed to exalt his will above the will of God: he was determined to be "like the Most High God" and set his own will to sit his own "self" upon the seat of spiritual authority, on the Throne of God, -which is the hearts and minds of men.
Just as he beguiled Eve: through logic + reasoning which the serpent mixed with twisted knowledge of what "God had said" -so too, Satan has used the SAME devices to deceive many in the Churches! Satan has turned, twisted and perverted the written word of God, in order to beguile the minds of men to cause man (even Christians) to believe the lie of the garden (i.e., that man can be like God/or like Jesus) and to cause man to exalt himself against the knowledge of God, causing man in the folly of his own vain mind to oppose the will of God: which Will is that Adam is to be counted as dead, slain and his life hid, in Jesus Christ
Satan disguises himself as an "angel of light" (as Truth) deceiving millions into doing his will by making his will appear to be the will of God. Satan disguises his own works, as though they are the works and the will of God. Satan beguiles the mind of men using lies disguised as "gospel truth" -so that through the conceit of knowledge, -according to what men see in the perception of their own eyes, Satan convinces man that what man is doing (either by perfecting himself to achieve man's so-called full potential, OR the Christian man, living his life for Christ by trying to be LIKE Christ -which are Satan's counterfeit truths) is in fact, to the glory of God!
Satan works his will in the hearts of men "to be like the Most High God" -and he encourages man to declare himself to be "like Christ" which means the "anointed" of God! Jesus Christ is HIMSELF the "Anointed One" of the Father -and we are not called to be like Him but are instead commanded to be hid in the likeness of Him who is Himself the express image of the Father!
We (all mankind) have been given two VERY OPPOSITE CHOICES: Jesus Christ (we are either FOR HIM) --OR-- we are against Christ, i.e., "Anti-Christ".
AS BELIEVERS if we "name the Name of Christ" (on behalf of those who "call upon the Name" of the Lord) God will move heaven and earth -if necessary, to turn us back to Him! But woe unto us if we stubbornly choose to EXALT OURSELVES -for then, even we "who name the name of Christ" must needs be humbled. Either we make the choice now to "fall upon the Stone" and be humbled (broken) -either we choose to be slain/hidden in Him/by Him, -or that Stone will fall upon us and it (HE) will grind us, our idolatrous selves, to powder.
If we continue to vaunt our own will to be as gods and/or to be like Jesus, in man's own counterfeit Christ-like-ness (by which we are opposing the will of God in Christ Jesus) -then there is nothing left for us, -who trample the blood of the Son of God underfoot, -but a "fearful looking to of judgment"! We, God's own people called by his Name, must repent by asking Jesus Christ to grant us repentance and rest, asking Him to hide us in HIMSELF, asking Him by grace to count us as dead men: slain in Him together with Him on the Cross, so that we can, -in Spirit and in Truth, say: "I" am crucified with Christ" and my life is hid in God: IN CHRIST who Himself is my "Life" and my Peace. Jesus Christ is our complete reconciliation to God, which is in Him and by Him through the faith of Him by the grace of Him.
There is a lot of difference between the pride of the pharisee and the humility of the publican who said: "Lord have mercy upon me, a sinner" -lest we behave as the pharisee, we ought to keep in mind that "we" are all SINNERS saved by grace whose heart cry must be: "I" am crucified with Christ, "HE" must increase, "I" must decrease -rather than the boastful attitude of the pharisee's proud heart: "I thank God I know who I am..." There is only One who is entitled to say: "I AM"
By grace, in the humility of Christ, "I" must agree to R.I.P. in Him who has reconciled me to Himself in Christ, who HIMSELF is The Second Adam: the One New Man, the Anointed of the Father: Jesus Christ, who IS HIMSELF the Only "Man" who will be found "Faithful" and "True" --as it is written: Let GOD be true, but every man a liar." (Rom.3:4)
If we refuse to choose the "gift of Grace" which is Jesus Christ, -then by default we have actually chosen to be judged as Adam. Adam is yet DECEIVED in his thinking still striving to reach what he believes is his own full potential (to be like God) who opposes God's Will by not accepting (IN SPIRIT and IN TRUTH) that God has already judged Adam, IN CHRIST -and that in Adam, there is no "Life" -for "in Adam" all die (i.e., in Adam there is eternal separation from God.)
We must die, one Way or the other! Either by grace "in Christ" -where all are made alive through HIM who HIMSELF is The LIFE, or in opposistion to Christ, we can stubbornly choose to vaunt ourselves as man whose "own image" he worships (whose stubbornness is as idolatry.) We can choose to continue in the "folly of man" by which man strives to be his own god or like God (even "like Jesus") which are merely two variations of the same lie of the serpent that will cause MANY to spend eternity separated FROM God.