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September 7, 2010

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Q/A Topics:
not know the Lord? (re article)

READER QUESTIONS:
Regarding your latest mailing regarding #144. I am confused by these statements:

    ---paste---
    There's a great -many- 'christians' who do not know the Lord. In fact, -most- "christians" do not know the Lord. First of all, most [c]hristians are not true [C]hristians. They have come "some other way" (Jn10:1) But also, of those who are [C]hristians, having "remissions of sins" through repentance (Lk24:47), there are many like Samuel. They are in God's temple, serving God, doing ministry, going through all the rituals, going through all the motions... BUT THEY DO NOT KNOW the LORD.
    ---endpaste---
Here are my questions: How can a true Christian be considered a Christian (with a Capital C), have the witness of the Holy Spirit and still NOT KNOW THE LORD? How does this fit with God's Word in Corinthinians that a true Christian will KNOW they are saved by the witness of the Spirit? I guess another way to state my question is, How can they have the Holy Spirit residing within and NOT know the Lord? It seems impossible since the Holy Spirit is Jesus' helper, or paraklee; a teacher in the Word and a comforter.

I know for a fact that when I became a Christian (Capital C), I met Jesus. I "know" I know the Lord and have a relationship with HIm. I also recognized the witness of the Spirit at the same time. I don't get it. I can't comprehend any true Christian not knowing the Lord. I will have to meditate on this for a while and pray that God will give me understanding. It seems inconsistent to me with the rest of the Bible to say that true Christians do not know the Lord. You use the verse regarding Samuel. He was a child, so I suspect he understood only as a child would at a very yound age. I don't know...say 3 years old? 5 years old? . I assume that children don't really know God until their comprehension and maturity catches up... but for older children and adults to have the witness of the Holy Spirit, be true Christians and still not KNOW the Lord? You got me stumped with that. Is there another way to state how this is so (that Christians can NOT know the Lord) in the Bible? Some further edification might help.

VW ANSWER:
First of all, this subject must be understood in the entirety of the overall context.

Next, this paragraph illustrates two types of "christians". The "-most- 'christians'" is like the 99.999% that next January's article speaks of. They've got the -label- of "christianity", but have "come some other way" (Jn10:1) They are on their way to the Lake of Fire. They are [c]hristians, not [C]hristians.

But the ones "like Samuel"... well... they are like the TV reality show, "Undercover Boss". Perhaps you've seen it? (I've only watched the first few episodes) The president, or some other big-wig 'owner' of a huge company, goes "to work" at some branch location as a -regular- Joe, with the idea to not be recognized by any of the "fellow-employees". Then, after he 'leaves' the job, he calls in the manager under whom he had worked, or sets up a company party and appears on the stage, etc. In one case the manager that had 'problems' (treating the female staff inappropriately) he calls into his office and -introduces- himself as the HEAD OF THE COMPANY. The manager is both 'surprised' that the "employee" turns out to be the -big- 'boss'; but they also talk about what the manager needs to do to mend his ways. Another meets the big boss and is praised, given a raise, and a scholarship for her children because she is going through rough times as a single mom, etc.etc.

These people are all "employees", and are receiving PayChecks. (They're 'saved') The company possibly puts out a newsletter which the employees read. They know the -name- of the Big -Boss-....but they have never met him. He comes down out of his corporate office (like Jesus did out of Heaven) and -introduces- himself, as of Jesus: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of Life; the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us;" (1Jn1:1-2) As if to say: Hands on relationship.

But like the blind man, they only see him as a "fellow-employee". They don't yet know -who- he is. The blind man washes his eyes, is persecuted-giving testimony, and -then- 'meets' Jesus.

A Believer might 'know' the Lord (they are saved), but not truly "KNOW" the Lord. That's why Paul speaks of the "full true knowledge" that we are to -grow- into (Rom1:28, 10:2, Eph1:17, 4:13, Col1:10, 2Pt1:2-3, etc) According to the greek, not just simple "knowledge" of 'knowing', but a precise, COMPLETE and FULL knowledge...acknowledging.

Like I said....in my younger days I 'knew' the Lord in the form of the witness of the Holy Spirit in my life. I was saved. But then I actually -met- the Lord in a face-to-face sort of way. (Not with my physical eyes, but spiritual)

Again.... that article is to be read in its overall -full- context... beginning to end.

And truly... not everybody will understand it. Some, perhaps, because when they were saved they -did- come to "full true knowledge" right away, and so don't know what it is to be saved, but not have that relationship with the Lord. Others, because they are part of the 99.999% and don't know -either- form of knowing... they are not saved.

Some might even -have- a 'knowing' of the Lord, along with the "witness" of the Spirit (Rom8:16) as He "helps" (Jn16:13, 14:16, etc); and they will continue along for years being happy in their level of knowing, until something happens and they meet the Lord in a new way. The 'new' way will make the old seem, by comparison, as if they had not known the Lord at all. (like I explained about my own life) But until a person comes to that deeper knowing, they might not even be aware that anything greater than what they presently have is a possibility, or that it even exists; and to them, their present state is Wonderfully Grand; they are truly saved, and rejoicing in the Lord.... singing "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine; O what a foretaste of Glory Divine...Heir of salvation purchase of God, Born of His Spirit washed in His blood"

Again... please understand the article as a -whole-.

As another subscriber replied to the article, suggesting that the -greater- knowing indicates a greater 'maturity'...

    "I write to you, fathers, because you have known Him from the beginning. I write to you, young men, because you have overcome evil. I write to you, little children, because you have known the Father. I have written to you, fathers, because you have known Him from the beginning. I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the Word of God abides in you, and you have overcome evil." (1Jn2:13-14)
But don't assume that it requires a vision, bright light, levitation, audible voice, dream, etc. In fact, if somebody today has such, in our Biblical era of walking "by faith, not by sight" (2Co5:7) where we "do not see Him yet" (1Pt1:8), where charismania and other sorts of paganism judge their 'spirituality' by 'signs' and hallucinations, I would tend to be doubtful of such a testimony. I told my experience. In the past I've also shared the experience of the 'vision/dream' in which a demon was allowed to test me. Was PB going to follow after the vision and bright light, or would he use his God-given "sound mind" to analyze the vision and its message? And when events did NOT unfold -exactly- as foretold, I was not surprised. The being, itself, was -dark-. The 'light' was -behind- him. Playing light 'tricks'. And at that, not very skillfully done. Hollywood is waaay more gifted in special effects. Satan and his demons are little two-bit impostors and imitators. He boasted, "I will be like the Most High" (Is14:14) but he has never been able to master the technique. He's really not all that smart nor undetectable to a True Believer into Jesus Christ if the Believer will, but, use their "sound mind". The reason he deceives so many is because those deceived don't know the Lord, and DON'T -WANT- TO KNOW THE LORD. Any little hint at the 'supernatural' will do. And if he performs a few magical tricks and light shows, even if poorly done, they have their 'proof' against God....or, so-they-think... in their lusts and pride.

Again... not everybody will understand the article nor these additional comments. These things are "spiritually discerned" (1Co2:14)

    "But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he is not able to know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is discerned by no one. For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ." (1Co2:14-16)

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Suffering God?

VISITOR QUESTION:
Does God suffer?

VW ANSWER:
Is this not a rather open-ended question?

If you believe, as the Bible teaches, that Jesus -is- God (Jn10:30), that the Father and Son are "One" (Jn17) and in God-like characteristic was "before all things, and in Him all things consist" (Col1:17), when Jesus suffered on the cross (Mt27:46, Is53)....God also suffered, being "one" with Jesus, the Father and Son being "one".

Other than that, what would there be for God to suffer about? He does not become ill, He does not become injured....He is the Creator of all things. From Scripture we do know that He has 'wrath' against sin and sinful man, and is storing up judgment for the Great Day. He has "compassion" on humanity (Ps78:38, 86:15, etc), and so does He not 'grieve' regarding mankind. But is grief the same as "suffering"? That depends on what you mean by your question.

VISITOR:
You said "Jesus suffered on the cross". Is he suffering now or is the suffering a past event and he is not now suffering? Does God change?

VW:
Unlike the catholic church who proclaim that Jesus is "still suffering" and "still bleeding".....on the cross Jesus proclaimed, "It has been finished!" (Jn19:30) and doctrinally it is proclaimed that He offered Himself "once for all" (Rom6:10, Heb7:27, 9:12,26, 1Pt3:18) The expression "once for all" means that it's a DONE DEAL. Finished! No More!

VISITOR:
Can we grieve the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God, therefore God grieves.

VW:
But like I postulated: is "grief" the same as "suffering"?

VISITOR:
Are you saying Jesus changed when he said "It has been finished!" from a suffering God to a not suffering God? Can God change if he is perfect? If God was really suffering on the cross, that is an attribute of God, right.

VW:
Are you for real????? Do you -read- what you write? Sigh!

VISITOR:
What doesn't make sense to you?

VW:
Your 'logic'.

VISITOR:
I have suffering in my life and I feel encouraged when I know that God loves me and suffers too.

VW:
When Jesus suffered on the cross, that was a one-time-deal. When He rose from the dead in triumph, that did not mean that God -changed-! (as you were suggesting) It meant that He -accomplished- what He came to do. (Thus, "It has been finished!") He did not come to suffer -because- we suffer, so we can now 'commisserate' together with God in suffering. Bring God down into our ash heap (with Job) and scrape our sores together. Jesus suffered on the cross and paid the "death" penalty that is due from mankind because of sin. (Gen2:17) The "soul that sins shall die" (Ezk18:4) Yes, since Jesus became flesh and blood (Heb2:14) and suffered He can "sympathize with our weaknesses" (Heb4:15)

But God is NOT a "suffering God". Jesus suffered and died on the cross (once for all), and then rose again, to SET US FREE from sin and death. (Rom8:2)

It's about 'sin'. It grieves God that we are sinners. Jesus was sent to pay the penalty. But if the sinner refuses the "gift" (Eph2:8) of Salvation (Jn1:12), what God stores up is "wrath". (Mt3:7)

VISITOR:
I have always thought of Christ on the Cross as the brightest expression of the nature of God. I try to see everything about God through the cross of Christ and the great truth shown on the cross was that God suffers because he loves us. You seem to want to say since it was a one-time-deal and was in the past so God does not suffer anymore.

VW:
As Jesus was headed to the cross, He says to the disciples...

    John16: 20 Truly, truly, I say to you that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; and you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will become joy.
    21 A woman, when she is in labor, has sorrow because her hour has come; but as soon as she gives birth to the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a person has been born into the world.
    22 Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and no one takes your joy from you.
VISITOR:
Did Jesus in his entire nature (both human and divine) suffer on the cross? Or was it just his human nature? Did God the Father suffer when he saw his Son suffering on the cross as you or I would when we see our kids get hurt?

VW:
Did I not answer this in my very first reply.

VISITOR
The [Jn16:20-22] quote has nothing to say on the suffering of God. He is saying his disciples will sorrow and then rejoice.

VW:
It is Jesus talking about a woman's travail while giving birth. But once the birth is complete, she is no longer suffering. Now she has joy. Same with Jesus: He suffered on the cross and died...but then rose from the grave. With such a triumph in victory over death (1Co15:54-57), WHAT IS THERE TO SUFFER ABOUT??? It is triumph! It is Victory!

'Was just trying to use that example, as Jesus told it, to get your mind out of the gutter of suffering....the "ever perpetual bleeding Jesus" that some religions/denominations emulate. Just like that work of blasphemy by the Latin-mass catholic, Mel Gibson, the "Passion of the Christ"
The angels said it best, and the Jews of Jesus' day did not accept it, but persecuted the disciples for proclaiming it....

    "...the resurrection from the dead" (Ac4:2)
Which the angels had announced....
    "He is not here; for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying." (Mt28:6)
And Jesus is now "at the right hand of God" (Ro8:34, Col3:1, Heb1:3,8:1, 1Pt3:22)

Being at the right hand of God is NOT a place or condition of 'suffering', but of GLORY and HONOR!

This is all I will reply to God's "suffering"

VISITOR:
Okay I will expect no more replies from you, I am truly sad.

I reject any attempt (as you are trying to do) to seek God elsewhere than in the cross of Christ. Your conception of God is confused and unreliable (and mine would be too) and must be replaced by God's revelation of himself in the cross of Christ as the suffering God. Your preconceptions of God must be destroyed through the cross. I pray for you.

VW: (God's Word)

    "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous." (1Jn2:1)
And -where- is this "Advocate"? At the "right hand of God". And what is He doing there? He "makes intercession for us" (Rom8:34)

If we are still looking -to- the cross... well... Jesus is no longer there. He "finished" His job there, and is now with the Father. If we are seeking God at the cross, we won't find Him there. Truly, we must repent of our sin at the cross; that's where the penalty was paid. But as Believers, if we want fellowship, that is found at the Father's throne.

    "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb4:16)

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