Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
Select a thought to read by choosing a collection, the month, and then the day:
“You, too, formerly estranged and, by disposition, enemies of God with evil deeds, He has now reconciled unto Himself . . .”
Paul, in Col. 1:21-22
From one of Pastor John’s Old Testament classes, June 27, 2004.
There are things about God that, by nature, you hate. This is what Paul was saying when he wrote, “the flesh yearns against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; these are in opposition to one another . . .” (Gal 5:17). Your nature is in your flesh, and your nature fights against God constantly. It hates God’s ways and if given the chance, will kill anyone who dares to speak the truth with power. The flesh – your flesh – is at war with God and always will be until it is dead. The flesh is hopeless. Those who live according to their flesh will die, but those who follow after the Spirit of God will live (Rom. 8:13).
God is good. He is so good that man cannot believe it. But until God reveals Himself to us, and until He gives us a love for what He shows us about Himself, we hate Him. It is our nature to do so, and the Bible is very clear about that. It is very humbling to confess to God that we are so foolish, but it helps to remember that He already knows that we are. It helps us just to admit that we have hated and despised Him and His ways, and it also helps to remember that He has always loved us anyway and that he will change us if we but ask.
In my ignorance, I have loved some things that God hated, and I have hated some things God loved. And anyone who walks in the darkness of the flesh is just like I was. But thank God, He opened my eyes and gave me a heart to love what He loves and to hate what he hates. And He continues to do that along the way. This is what real life is. To love what God loves and hate what He hates, to see life as God sees it and to feel as he feels – that is eternal life. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent” (Jn. 17:3).
There is no man who does not hate God unless the holy Spirit of God has come into him, no matter what that man says or thinks. By nature, every man hates God. This is the truth behind the fact that every way of worship man has devised is sinful. How can any way of worship that man invents honor a God that he by nature hates? We need the holy Ghost to lead us in everything; it alone knows “the deep things of God”. The holy Ghost is an absolute necessity for salvation. Without the holy Ghost, man is led by his own flesh, and when the flesh leads a man, his actions, even his religious ones, reflect hatred of God instead of submission to Him.
Concerning this way of holiness, Jesus said, “few there be that find it”, and that is true; but the fact that just a few walk on that holy pathway makes it no less holy. If it is of God, it is right, no matter how few or how many humans agree with it.