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Dreams & Visions
Everyone Equal?
Feelings & Experiences
Judging Doctrine
Judging Dreams-visions
A Christian Is - Part 2
Ministries, Ministers, Doctrines Examined

 Love, Truth, Unity
Part 1
(This in an article in progress. Please send your reactions and comments and thoughts)

Love, Truth, Unity -- These attributes and more are the essentials of healthy Christianity. Unfortunately, Christians have been deceived into misunderstanding these things. The result has been that Love, Truth and Unity have suffered and been perverted and changed into something God has not intended and does not honor.  Because some have championed their own  versions of Love, Truth, and Unity, we are enjoying less of all three. The real have been replaced too often by the counterfeit and the counterfeit can never produce life.

Therefore, this is an attempt to understand God's intended relationship between these three, their relative importance and how they interact with one another. In order to make such an investigation we must determine that any investigation is to be based on Truth as presented and define by the scriptures.  Since Truth defines Love, Truth is essential before Love can be known. While it is also possible to have an untruthful view of Love, untruthful views of Love are not Love, but only counterfeits.

Truth is neither the creator of Love or Unity. It only allows each to be made known to us and enables a fuller partaking of both. It contrasts the true characteristics of Love and Unity against erroneous ones characteristics and helps keep both untainted.

Love

Love, I believe, is the preeminent and greatest of all ways God relates to His creation and we are to relate to one another. The only way we can understand anything from God is because it is part of His Truth. It is Truth that reveals the nature of things. God's word declares that He is Love. 1 Corinthians 13 truthfully defines much of what Love is and its importance in comparison to the gifts, knowledge, to good intentions, sacrifice, and selflessness. It is pre-eminent and everything else pales in comparison to it. It should be noted that Love is not compared in importance to Truth nor can it be. Love cannot be separated from what it is. Truth's function is only to faithfully say what Love is and is not. Love cannot and will not deceive or allow deception. Deception pollutes love, error pollutes love. If anyone promotes a definition of Love that is inconsistent with 1 Corinthians 13, then it is no longer Love that is being defined, but something else. 1 Corinthians 13 is an example of Truth doing its task.

It is in the face of Truth that Love is strongest. Love must completely know the reality (Truth) about someone or it is not complete Love of that person -- it is a love not based on reality but only partial reality.  For example, knowing the truth about someone with all their failings and shortcomings and yet loving that person, is greater love than loving someone of whom we know little. Romantic love may be blind, but God's Love never is. Love has its eyes wide open. It is comforting to know that God knows EVERYTHING about us, nothing is hidden, or distorted and yet He chooses to love us. 

So Truth can never hinder Love but only help show what is true Love and what things may be mistakenly called love (but is something less than love because it is based on false understanding). Truth is NEVER an enemy or at odds with Love. Love cannot be diminished or altered by Truth. 

Truth

Truth is not just knowledge or information. Truth is not necessarily something that has to be processed through the mind and intellect. Truth uses knowledge and information but it is greater than both. Knowledge and information can be inaccurate and incomplete. Knowledge, information, and Truth are not the same things but knowledge and information are the common tools used by Truth. We can know things that are unprofitable, erroneous, and only partly true. Truth is greater than knowledge. Knowledge and information are dangerous apart from truth. Knowledge can puff up, Truth never does. Truth is that spiritual communication that happens so that "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: " (John 10:27 )

Only knowledge that is based on Truth brings life. For example:

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

This is a fundamental! Truth, life, and the way identifies Jesus. There is no identifying with Jesus without the Truth -- it is impossible. Truth is necessary before anyone can come into unity with Jesus, the Father, and the Spirit. Unity is a result of knowing the truth and acting on it and entering Life. More is needed than just understanding and agreeing with John 14:6. I will develop this further with more comments when I discuss unity later in this article.

Truth does not change simply because we lack knowledge of it, can not comprehend it, explain it, or see the full picture. For example, we don't know why God is Love or the mechanics of how we become new creatures in Christ Jesus, or many other things. We may have a portion of the truth about such things, but our knowledge is incomplete.

While we may not understand all truth, we should and can understand what is not truth. We will never understand all truths. God has not said we would. He only said He would lead us in all truth. There are many things spoken of in the bible that are mysteries and will remain so. There are many things where different persons see different facets of a truth and disagree about the full meaning. One or both may be correct in what they see. One or both may be wrong in the application of what they see. Each facet can be valid and yet seem not to be in agreement. 

But knowing Truth is different than discovering error. One does not have to understand all truth to discern error. We need not to have tasted all varieties of apples to know that the one in our hand is rotten. There are truths that must be knowable -- Truths that are critical to the identity and nature of God, Christ, and Salvation. If one maintains that absolute Truth can not be agreed upon about these basics, then we have no foundation for our faith.  Our confidence is based on the fact that we do know the truth and way of Salvation.  If we say we believe, then there has to be specific information about what is believed. No one can live according to opinions that vary with every wind of doctrine. For example, we cannot believe that our God is the same god that the Hindu's worship. If someone told us that we could present Truth that refuted that claim - even though there is much that we do not understand about God we have enough Truth to clearly prove that they are not the same.  The Hindu would present facts and information about their claims which would be in contradiction to what scripture has to say. This same process must be applied to any teaching/revelation that attempts to define what scripture says and especially any teaching/revelation that defines God, Christ, and Salvation.

If anyone says something is untrue, that person is responsible to expose the error using Truth. There is always sufficient Truth to reveal error. In fact, no one can say something is untrue, unless they know what truth is being violated. Any valid Truth that is attacked by error will withstand that attack by using Truth to reveal the nature of the error. Truth never says, "don't pick on me," "don't test me," "don't question me." Truth does not fear challenge, Truth shines clearest against darkness. Truth prevails, is strong against error, and overcomes it. Its very purpose to to bring down strongholds of error and preserve the purity of those things it defines. Truth walks like a giant amid the cowering errors. Error hates Truth lest its deeds be exposed. Truth like Love reflects the voice of our great Shepherd. Those who are His will hear His voice and follow Him. Those who are not His will hate truth because it reveals they do not know Him.

Error finds all sorts of reasons not to be confronted by Truth. Error is quick to shout, "unkindness, no brotherly love, no compassion, who-are-you-to-say-what-is-right, divisive ... and the list goes on. Error likes to find the flaws in the earthen vessel carrying the Truth, rather than to deal with the Truth carried. God would rather have Truth carried by flawed vessels than to leave His Body weakened and destroyed by error.  If it can, error's first course of defense is to discredit the messenger or do anything it can do divert attention away from the Truth that is leveled against it. I retaliates with personal attacks for it cannot bear the scrutiny of Truth.

Error can not vindicate itself with honesty or truth -- only by name-calling, innuendoes, and distortions ( of facts, scripture, and interpretation). It can and does use experiences, worldliness, suppositions, false teachings/"truths", traditions, prejudices, and more to defend itself against the Truth and mask the issues involved. Truth cuts through the experiences, suppositions, false teachings/"truths", traditions, prejudices, and finds what God has said.

Error usually uses true things as its most effective weapons. Even Satan likes to say, "It is written" Mat 4:6. and uses it frequently.  Like poison, it lures its victim using the bait of true things. True things that we like,  know, and understand. But it always adds, takes away, or misrepresents something about Truth.  Basically, it can be said that error is nothing other than distorted or diminished Truth. Since Truth is the essence of God's communication to us, then how can we be content to allow His words to be polluted, distorted, and misrepresented? We don't like it when that happens to our words.

Unity

Unity needs a core that defines what is unified. Without Truth, there can be no definition of Unity. Unity is only possible when the unifying factor is properly defined. Family Unity is based on those things that define a family -- birth relationships, genetic factors, and social factors. Church Unity is based first of all based on what the Church is and then upon who I am and why I am a part of the Church. Unless the Church is defined, then no one can properly discover whether Church Unity is a reality or not. Some are defining church Unity as everyone getting along and liking each other, and saying nice things about each other. In the same manner, we cannot say a gathering of Christians, non-Christians, false Christians, and nice people represents Church Unity. A family gathering that includes strangers, friends, and co-workers does not represent family unity even though family unity may function within such a gathering. We can all agree on the truth of John 14:6. We cannot confuse Unity with the expressions of Unity for the expression of Unity can be counterfeited.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. But that is not enough to call us unified. Even calling Him him Lord and doing many works in His name does not mean or illustrate Unity! These next verses from the mouth of Christ, Himself prove this to be true.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? The fact that they were showing signs of unity and belief did not make them unified with Christ for He states 

7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. He never knew them, they were not a part of Him, never united to Him. How many among us are there now prophesying, casting out devils, and doing wonderful works, that are not part of us, not unified with us, not to be considered as one of us? Jesus states that not only were they unknown to Him, but they are the ones who work wickedness. What a sobering statement for our times.
24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: It is quite apparent that doing wondrous, miraculous, supernatural works are not proof of anything.

More of what Jesus said on this imagined unity and false believers.

Luke 13:25:...saying, Lord, Lord, (they too, called Him, Lord, just like one of the biggest false teachers in Christianity today loudly proclaims Jesus is Lord. Saying it, advertising it, teaching it does not necessarily mean anything) open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are: (they expect to enter, they are sure  He knows them, but He does not)
26 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. color="#d90000"  (they say that they have enjoyed communion, and were in His presence even in eating and drinking, and they heard His teaching where they lived) 
27 But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. (He does not accept their proofs as significant, He does not know them)

Romans 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Are you doing this? Paul is demanding that there be no unity with people violating the truth. Truth is meant to divide.

Doctrine offers surer proofs of being United to Him and His body than do signs, wonders, and "fellowship". Those proofs are found in the pages of the Bible. False and true members are to evaluated on the basis of doctrine, it is the standard -- part of the believer's fruit.  Signs, wonders, and fellowship were never meant for marking members of the Body, but such things may follow those that believe.  It is befuddling to me to understand why persons are called divisive and unloving for helping the Body see those among us who are false and not known by Jesus. Divisive, yes, but dividing the pure from the impure, the wheat from the tares, the members from the non members. We are all called to do that. Why are so few doing that and why are so many hating those who do it?

So, I think it is a great service to those false believers to point out to them that their works, miracles, gifts, popularity, and experiences do not make prove that they are of the Church. Then, if possible, they can repent and truly become one with us. It is also a great disservice to allow them to remain among the Church for their leaven weakens and destroys. They also present a false view of the Body of Christ and Christ, Himself. 

It doesn't matter if the smell like a sheep, walk like a sheep, eat like a sheep, or bleat like a sheep. They are only ugly ducklings that will never grow to be swans. (how is that for a mixed metaphor?)

In order to determine whether a gathering represents unity, each of its components needs to be defined. What defines a Christian? What defines the Church? What defines a false Christian? What defines a heretic? Only Truth can do these things. To refuse to define is to abort Unity. We can call something Unified all we want, but we must define the unifying factor or unity will be like the shifting sand and change its meaning with every element that happens to wander in.

We do not define in order to judge. But truth always exposes error and then we must report what we see. Call it judging if you want, but it is only pointing out what is clearly revealed by the truth, and we all need to grow in the truth. Growing in Truth necessitates being faithful to the Truth and separating it from untruth.

If a person is not a Christian it is an unkindness not to show them the Love and Truth of God so that they too may know the joy of knowing Him. Although, we may not know whether a person is a Christian for sure, every Christian walking in the light should love and rejoice in the Truth, for his hope of salvation is based on the Truth. One is or is not a Christian based on another person's observations.  One is a Christian only when his faith is based on the truth about God, Christ, and the gospel of salvation. Otherwise, his hope is on something else other than Christ and he is NOT a Christian.

Part 2



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