Normally, a cult is a group of people who’ve gone wrong, and who’ve gone into extremes.
Converse to “the normality of a cult”, please consider that a cult may be a way of thinking, for such people in a group always have their own teachings, that condition their thinking and unite them in their cause.
“It’s only natural”, we often say; and use this claim of our thinking’s way, to opt out of just about anything!
If eternity is at stake, all-the-while as we live, then our thinking is the only tool we’ve got to get us there, enable us to live there or here, and to take-us-on gloriously, as we live. It’s important.
Despite the heading of this article, this script is not about Islam’s apparent domination of our western world’s outlook at this time. “Thinking”, ..though! It’s an important issue and people ARE concerned about “the Muslim uprising”, and with good cause.
I’ve recently posted this article on the web – Nations & Global Islam – and it can be accessed through that link. It’s evidence that people ARE concerned. This web site of mine is not a major news source, obviously; but my write-up of “global Islam” has been downloaded 465 times to date – it’s now early October. Evidence that demands a verdict!
So, let’s get back to the original article:
Many people think of eternity as some condition or state in the future, after death. But eternity and spirituality are also in the here-and-now.
The apostle John wrote that: The world is passing away and is disappearing, and with it: the forbidden cravings – the passionate desires, the lust – of it; but he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his lifetime, lives and remains forever” ~1 John 2:17.
Let’s see this last phrase of that verse, in an explained version that’s closer to the original text – he who does the will of God and carries out His purposes in his lifetime, lives and remains forever.
Doing the will of God is a surprisingly simple topic, with only four explicit criteria to it: for the will of God is our salvation: see John 6:39-40; the will of God is our sanctification, that we live a holy life by surrendering to the gospel’s claims: see 1 Thessalonians 3:1-8; the will of God is for our joy, through our thanksgiving: see 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; and the will of God is that we do good by doing what’s right: see 1 Peter 2:15.
Please follow this highlighted link, for a more complete insight into doing God’s will.
The phrase: “lives and remains forever”, is commonly translated with just two words: “lives forever”, but is actually three in the original writings: “lives”, being a verb; and then the missing word which is a preposition meaning “into” or “amongst”, and then “forever” which is a noun.
The original meaning for “forever” in Vines Expository Dictionary is very interesting. The Greek word is aion, meaning: an endless age of spiritual and moral force. Now, that sounds better!
Therefore, by using these comparisons, we can get an original interpretation: He who does the will of God, lives into and amongst this endless age of eternity’s spiritual and moral force.
If, in doing God’s will, the believer in Christ has entered into a timeless age, of spiritual and moral force, then he-or-she, is living eternally.
The author of Vines Expository Dictionary is very emphatic, that the Greek word aion, must not be translated as “world”, which is used as a substitute at other textual sites where it would mean a temporal world, but that the Greeks’ conception of it, is that of an ongoing, eternal and timeless age.
This is an important conception or: ownership-claim for anyone’s true faith, because in the days of the Bible’s writing, the Greeks’ thinking condition was very philosophical, as the people thought deeply about life and therefore, to interpret the original words according to their original use is of paramount importance.
Therefore to bring in this idea of aion’s meaning, into the interpretation of 1 John 2:17, is a key to comprehending the true, spiritual nature and value of our Biblical and supernatural faith, because: how we think by our faith, is how we’ll each respond to the demands and opportunities of life.
Therefore, our conception of “death”, takes on a whole new light. That is, if we’re living in a timeless age of spiritual and moral force, by doing God’s will, then our lives are not defined by this lifetime alone, but by the ongoing, timeless age that we’re now living in, and death is just a “hiccup” in the continuum of Life.
It’s a world of controversy! We see, hear, smell, taste and feel all that is around us. But do we judge by what we see? Or do we deny the outward appearances and continue doing God’s will?
For, if the eternal gospel is true, that Christ has claimed our very souls, by living our life – the perfect life; and then: by dying our death – the death that we were due at God’s hand for our sin, but through His death: taking away our sins, sicknesses and weaknesses; and then being raised from death on our behalf so that we have His very own Life, then He avails us of the power to life a new life; and so: we have this new freedom to do God’s will.
For Christ himself has claimed: “Just as the Father raises up the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whomever He wills and is pleased to give it.
“Even the Father judges no one, for He has given all judgment – the last judgment and the whole business of judging – entirely into the hands of the Son, so that all men may give honor, reverence and personal homage to the Son, just as they give honor to the Father. In fact, whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, Who has sent Him.
“I assure you – Christ speaking! – most solemnly I tell you, the person whose ears are open to My words: who listens to My message and believes and trusts in and clings to and relies on Him Who sent Me, now possesses eternal life.
“Furthermore, such a person does not come into judgment – he does not incur sentence of judgment, and will not come under any eternal condemnation – but he has already passed over, out of death into life” ~John 5:21-24.
So, Jesus’ words have surely “sealed the deal”, that we live now, by doing God’s will, into and amongst this timeless age of spiritual and moral force, by having passed over from death into Life, though our ownership of the gospel’s message, and through our true faith in the One who seals this message in our hearts – our divine companion, the Holy Spirit.
Therefore I tell you, every sin and blasphemy – every evil, abusive, or injurious speech and thought, or indignity against sacred things – can be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not and cannot be forgiven ~Matthew 12:31.
The immediate context where Jesus spoke these words, warning about blasphemy and defining what blasphemy is, points towards spiritual discernment – judging between true and fraud claims of moral and spiritual goodness: see especially Matthew 12:28 in the context of the whole chapter.
Therefore it’s for the very reason that the Holy Spirit is our only source of eternal counsel, and guide into all truth, that Christ warns us against speaking against Him. That is, if you deny His presence and role, there’s no forgiveness, because He is the effective agent of cleansing: see Titus 3:4-7; and the only One who can guide us in true and right thinking: see John 16:13-15.
This is why the Christian believer seems to walk the tightrope between life and death, in our thought life. Our hearts are conditioned by the eternal gospel through Holy Spirit’s cleansing of us, and our minds are therefore conditioned to think about the circumstances in which we live, by the gospel’s wisdom, so that we are constrained by our conscience and thinking, to see life in a stark contrast – Spirit and Life vs. sin & death.
We choose life, through our lifestyle of spiritual worship. And we choose to live eternally by doing God’s will.
Our Lord has “put pay” to any death cult’s way of thinking, by these words, as they were uttered by Him to his dear friend Martha, at the grave scene of Martha’s brother’s burial:
Jesus said to His dear friend: Your brother shall rise again.
Martha replied, I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
Jesus said to her, I-Am myself, the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever believes in Me, although he may die, yet he shall live; and whoever continues to live and believe in Me shall never actually die at all. Do you believe this? ~John 11:23-26.
Hm. Do you believe this?
Death, only “opens it’s jaws” on those who’ve continued to live in sin. But by believing in Holy Spirit’s illumination of our souls, through our knowledge of the gospel, we pass through.
Yes. Death is our enemy according to 1 Cor. 15:26, but each of us must pass through death – “ten out of ten people die”. This condition is pictured, although not named as such, as the first death; but there is a second death, when death itself and hell are cast into the lake of fire, thus ending and/or starting eternal punishment: ~Revelation 20:14.
I say: “thus ending..”, for we have the promise of God: “The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth” ~Psalm 34:16.
And: “Let them – those people who have wicked and deceitful mouths – be before the Lord in remembrance continually, that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth” ~Psalm 109:15, cp. v2.
Finally, the great Victor over death is ours! For: since He conquered death and we belong to Him, then this thinking condition of our faith, defies death as an enemy.
So, let’s say along with the apostle Paul: “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” ~1 Cor. 15:56.
We do not “court death” by sinning, but instead: we hold fast to Holy Spirit’s counsel, who is the Spirit of our Victorious Christ, and Himself: our victory indeed.
It may seem “a hard act to follow” when death, our last enemy, is still “on our battlefield” until the day we die. But we have our ever faithful Companion and His word as our divine “usher”, helper, guide, friend and comforter: throughout this corridor of time, as our everlasting spiritual and moral force Who guards our way, and makes our lives real :in-and-amongst: this ongoing, eternal and timeless age.