It utterly grieves me beyond all else to see the state of the modern-day church of Christianity–to see the great light of the world dimming, the great flame of freedom declining, the great lifestyle of life dying. Where are the people exhibiting the great light of life? Where is the great flame in the hearts of the people for the Liberator of all? Where is the divinely sweet fruit of this great heritage given to us by the great Godly men of old? It is all being forgotten. But why? Because of the great wave of nominalism that has infiltrated the church, capturing the hearts, minds, and souls of its members. The church has been deceived into believing the lie that a balance of a love of God and a love of the world can exist in union with one another–that we can maintain an intimate relationship of light with darkness, a communion with the giver of Life and the bringer of death, and an amalgamation of sanctification and sin. The church has traded the call of Christ, the lifestyle of Life, and the beauty of pure Christianity for a life lived under the most dangerous of all false securities: that a state of tepid Christianity leads to genuine salvation. Jesus, in His full glory, spoke to the church of Laodecia, saying to them, “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth!“(Revelation 3:15-16). He continues by saying that, “You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked” (Revelation 3:17) The modern church is the grave reflection of this church of nominalism, utterly dead in its mediocrity and abandonment of its first love. The Church is in desperate need of “knocking-out” this nominalism.
Not all hope is lost, for the Lord has already paved the road of hope from our present state of dereliction to a state of true sanctification: “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne”(Revelation 3:18-21). The road taken is predicated on our willingness to open the door of our innermost being, bringing our souls in a manner of meekness before Christ, and pursuing a vehemently ardent love for the Lord and all that pertains to Him, followed by absolute obedience to His righteous commands. This shall mark the beginning of the necessary repentance that is so desperately needed. For if the church turns from their ways, from the false security of nominalism, and back to a committed communion with its first and central Love, only then may we accept the blessing of sincere sanctification and eternal relation with the Lord of Creation.
If we are to have instilled in us such an absolute love of God, which is so opposed to the futility and depravity of our fallen nature, it must come solely by the grace of the Almighty, and through the relational realm of the experiential. But He urges us to seek after His righteousness, His goodness, and the transformative power of His Spirit; that those who draw near to Him, to them also He will draw near. And so, we must earnestly seek to encounter the power and goodness of His presence and to enjoy the fullness of the fruit of His Spirit. This may not come immediately, though. Thus, through however many periods of testing and refinement—of trials and tribulations that may precede the outpouring of His Spirit—we must be willing to stand on the foundation of truth established in Scripture and on our divinely ordained identity grounded in God, just as Christ Himself did in the wilderness. Only then may we be found in the purity of that refined gold of which Jesus so implores us to seek after. For God does not call the perfect but the willing. And if we are found willing to seek, His Word assures that we shall indeed find.
Once we cross over from the intellectual to the glorious synthesis with the experiential, and begin to enjoy the richness of His presence and the abundance of life that He brings, that spring of living water, spoken about in John 4, begins to well up within us. But our souls are not designed to be filled with the Spirit like a barrel—being filled to the brim, capping off, and being left to remain stagnant—but rather, it is like a fire hydrant, where His living water wells up within us to be expelled from the valve of our actions and words. And so, as we begin to spread the kingdom of God, reflecting the image of the Incarnation to the world, and as we bring the Gospel—the power unto salvation and Life—unto all, we further receive His divine peace and joy. For work that glorifies God yields true and divine satisfaction. In short, we gain from giving. This further stimulates our desire for a greater depth in our personal communion with God, and prompts us to seek Him out to an even greater degree; to walk another step closer, to dive a little bit deeper. As we draw closer, He draws closer. As we seek more, we find more. As we ask for more, we are given more. The gifts of His personal connection and intimate revelation catalyze the immensity of that divine spring within us. Thus, we desire to share more. By sharing more, we gain more. By gaining more, we love Him more. By loving Him more, we seek Him more. And the cyclical duality of growth continues.
If we choose to embrace this growth, to embrace a desire for God and His call to obedience, then we shall find ourselves freed from the fetters of nominalism and mediocrity that so hinder the power exhibited in the church, which hitherto has so deprived those in the darkness of the glory of the His light. But if we continue to neglect His call to open the door of our hearts, and therefore, choose to disregard the warning of Christ, so as to settle for the false and powerless Christianity of the modern-day, then we will find the patiently-knocking Savior having left our door, and ourselves in eternal shame and disgrace, being cut off from the immediacy of His intimacy forevermore.
Zack Zabal – 10th Grade