A Voice in the
Wilderness

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" Dogs Bark "

There's the famous philosophical brain teaser: If a tree in a forest falls, but nobody heard it fall, did it MAKE A SOUND? Does that not depend on the definition of "sound". Looking it up in a dictionary: sound is the vibration of material that -could- be heard by an audio receptor such as an ear. But the definition does not stipulate that somebody or some-thing actually -heard- it. A person could pontificate in self-importance that: Since I didn't hear it, it didn't happen. But then a person walks into the forest and there it is... the tree, -fallen- over. Hmmmm. That could be the premise for creationism vs evolution, couldn't it. Man without God says there "is no God" (Ps14:1, 53:1), and since God doesn't exist, He couldn't possibly have 'created' the universe. (Ro1:20) Man did not -see- God do it, so therefore it didn't happen. But Voila! here it is! ...the universe. (the tree has fallen over) So they postulate further UNSEEN events 'evolution' and adhere to a double-standard. But that's not the purpose of this article.

In writings around here we often use the expression: Dogs bark, ducks quack, sinners sin, and the righteous do deeds of righteousness.

So now... if there is NO DOG... the dog DOES NOT EXIST... will there be a dog's 'bark'? Well, OF KChhhhOURSE NOT...don't be ridikoolus! (For you old enough to remember, Balki of the 70s sitcom Perfect Strangers) No duck? No quack. In other words, if you hear barking going on, you know there is a dog somewhere. If there is quacking, a duck. If Cawing, I always look around to see -where- the crow is. Squawking? Where's the squirrel? And then further, where's the cat that it is squawking at?

So then... if there is sin being committed, there is obviously a -sinner- responsible. If "good deeds" are being done, that could lean either way...because there are many sinners who do good deeds to be "seen by men", or for a sinner to indulge in self-justification. But also, the committing of sin might indicate a wayward Christian.

The one after God's own heart comments,

    "I was brought for in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Ps51:5)
The pre-eminent apostle bewails,
    "O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from the body of this death?" (Ro7:24) ...because, the "wages of sin is death" (Rom6:23)
Jesus said of those who have been cleansed from sin that we are "clean" but occasionally need to "wash our feet" (Jn13:10)

That is because we are yet in these "-BODIES- of death" which need "redemption" (Ro8:23) Our spirits may be reserved by the Holy Spirit's sealing (Eph1:13) but these bodies of "flesh and blood" CANNOT go to Heaven in their present form. Our spirits are saved, but these bodies are yet in corruption (1Co15:50-54) and need to be "changed" (Job14:14)

There are purists who don't like this expression, but Salvation is "progressive". Understanding that term correctly: Our spot in Heaven is being reserved (1Pt1:4) as a "promise" right now until the "redemption of the purchased possession" (Eph1:13-14) And then when we -progress- on to the Resurrection/Rapture phase (1Th4:14-17), that's when our bodies are changed and we go to the Lord's presence where He has been "preparing a place" for us. (Jn14:2-3)

And so, when we speak of "faith" in Christ, and ask each other "Do you believe?", which also is preceded by "repentance" ... about -what- are we repenting? From what are we being saved? To what -end- are we believing?

There are people who have lived lives of sin and debauchery. They party, get drunk, looking for drunk sex partners, lie, cheat, steal, and all sorts of things, as the world does. Then their conscience gets ahold of them, they meet God, they hear from the Bible and realize they need Salvation. And so they call out to God. After all, the Bible says,

    "For everyone, whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Ro10:13)
God, I'm sorry for all the whoring around I've done, I'm sorry for cheating everybody in business, I've been a dirty rotten scoundrel. Will you please help me to be a better person. I'm going to work real hard from now on, and I -promise- not to do all those terrible things anymore.

Did that person receive eternal salvation? Are they now saved? Listen. What do we hear? Bark! Bark! Bark! He's still a dog.

What the sinner needs is not to be cleaned up. After all, when a pig is washed, it returns to "wallowing in the mire" and the dog "returns to its own vomit" (2Pt2:22) They are still a -pig- and -dog-. Dogs bark. But what we want to hear is -singing- like a canary. How does a bark get changed into singing?
    "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a NEW CREATION; the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." (2Co5:17)
The sinner was -born- from conception as a 'dog'. In order to sing as a canary it requires a different birth. It is the -nature- of dogs to bark. To sing like a canary requires the -nature- of a canary. How do we aquire the new creation?

It is the discussion Paul gives of the Heavenly vs the Earthly. (1Co15:42-49 -please read this) Mankind is born of the dust of the earth (Ge2:7) We are born with an earthly nature. We need to be born with a Heavenly nature. That's where the "birth from above" comes. That which is of the Holy Spirit. (Jn3:3,8)

It is not enough to become 'better' humans. What we need is to become creatures with a 'heavenly' nature. God's nature. To be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. If we don't have God's Holy Spirit, we are not saved. (Ro8:9) For the Christian, "our citizenship is in Heaven" (Php3:20) That's a different place than this world.

It is fine to be sorry for all our sinful -deeds-. But we need to ask for the new nature. The heavenly nature. When we have that...

    "Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and it is not his nature to sin, because he has been born of God." (1Jn3:9)
That is accomplished in faith by -receiving- Jesus Christ.
    "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the authority to become children of God, to those believing into His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (Jn1:12-13)
The Believer is no longer a son of Adam (1Co15:21-22), but a child of God. The term "child" suggests -genetics-. The -new- 'nature'. With a new nature it is no longer -work- to desire and to do righteousness. It is now part of our new innate -spiritual- makeup. We no longer 'bark' like dogs, but 'sing' like canaries.

But until the second stage of the 'progression', in our hearts we are singing like canaries, but we are still in these bodies of dogs. Sometimes dogs see something that catch their interest and they break away and go 'sniffing'. When that happens, we "confess our sins" and the Lord forgives us. (1Jn1:9) But we are still saved.

The confusion can be sometimes when that 'sniffing' is going on. Is it a -dog- that is sniffing? Or is the canary there, inside, only just being carried along by the dog's body and old habits?

And so, perhaps a person questions: Was I really saved?

Well... what's inside? The old dog, or the singing canary?

What sort of communication happened with God? Did you merely express regret at all the barking, and ask Jesus to come along-side to 'help' you, and be your 'friend', and learn to whine/yowl in dog noises (like that famous U-tube clip) "I love you". Or did you ask to -become- a canary?

    "For He made Him [Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that WE MIGHT BECOME THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF GOD IN HIM." (1Co5:21)

    "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me." (Ps51:10)

Amen!
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