Inspired from Study of Romans 14:1-12 and Isaiah 55:8-9
“It's like your an ant, and God is trying to explain to you how a refrigerator works... But your an ant! It would make no sense at all what he was saying to you bro!...”
He was really getting into it now, the ashes from his dimly lit cigar spilling into the ashtray as he leaned back.
“You won't even know that He's speaking to you. At best you'd feel the rumble of His voice and respond to it before you understood what was being said. Only a crazy person would ever imagine that an ant could understand exactly what a human was saying to them, let alone the technological points of a refrigeration system, so how can we, by ourselves understand God?...”
He was in his element, Javier, was doing what Javier did best... Be Javier...
A brother who is both my landlord and good friend, one of the few people I know who genuinely and consistently sacrifice (not an offering; there is a difference) for other people, and one of the few people I gain much insight from through fellowship gave me this wonderful illustration while we vegetated in his cozy camper comfortably situated in the midst of the paradise of his family's unkempt and uninhabited land (until God led me there to steward and organize it).
Simple conversations with my bro can quickly become profoundly deep or inanely hilarious due to the many tangents our personalities often inserted and propagated within the predictable straight line of simple conversation.
I find maintaining conversational tangents while keeping the trajectory of the original subject to be a great tool to expanding your mental capacity and ability to handle several running tasks at once (sorry for the tangent). Although, at such a point the average person may come to the conclusion that we are completely insane by over-hearing some of our more inane tangents about roasted beaver gizzards shipped to Belize that never got received and the package of tar baby replicas we got instead and “the Ground Hog Day Dance is tomorrow and I need those gizzards overnight shipped to me immediately via homing pigeon or I canceling my account!!”
It gets pretty weird, but it is an aspect of our personalities that brings many positive moments into this realm, so why not?
Let's take a brief tangent together:
Now, biblically all ants (and any other living thing other than humans) return to the Lord for they are animated by רוּחַ pronounced, “ru-ock” which is the Spirit of God (Ecclesiastes 3:21 and 12:7) and is the essence of God Himself. However this is not the animating essence of the only earth-native creation of God that He made in His image, humans. For mankind is animated by נְשָׁמָה חַי pronounced, “ne-sha-mah kha-hee” which is the “breath of life” or what is commonly called the “soul” and is the essence of an autonomous being (who therefore can choose to disobey God). Because of the sin of the first man, Adam, our spirit man is dead and in need of resurrection from the day we are brought into this earth as we are consequently “born in sin and shapen in iniquity” (Psalm 51:5), and our “lives” on this earth can be deduced to the simple choosing of which man our eternal “breath of life” will eternally exist in, the carnal man (who will die) or the resurrected spirit man (who was dead before our flesh was given life yet is revived upon the acceptance of the resurrecting blood of Jesus Christ).
Now, because of the copies or images of God that we are, we can become little “gods” if we choose. Actually, the freedom of a soul allows us to be and do nearly anything we can dream up except for one thing...
Actually being God or His equal.
Just like a copy of a $100 bill can look authentic, smell authentic, or even feel authentic, its purchasing power is not in its resemblance to the (currently) powerful original, but the authority given to it by its source of power (the Federal Reserve Bank).
But people are never satisfied...
It's not enough that the lifeless, empty wooden doll Pinocchio lives we are given can be animated at the wish of the Perfect Gipetto (God). We want to be real.
And even more so than that, the wicked heart of man does not stop at longing to become something real but instead begins to long to be the wise and weathered Gipetto; to become the creator of his own Pinocchios that he chisels out and controls...
But, in spite of all these truths and in order to return to the original analogy using the ant, I want you to picture for a moment that God is the person explaining the fundamentals of a refrigeration system and you... sophisticated... finely dressed... and competently educated you... are the ant.
Skip this part of mathing hurts your brain parts
Now, the average height of a human is 180 cm. So, if we use math to compare that to the average size of an ant, which is 0.5 cm, we will see that this would make the distance between the mind of the ant and the mind of the human that explains refrigeration to said ant a comfortable 179.5 cm.
So if you scale that back up to be the distance between the mind of God and the mind of man you will come of with a distance of 64,800 cm between the two of about 0.40 miles. A pretty impressive distance indeed.
Butt... (if you read my other blogs you'll know what the extra “t” is there)
Just the part of the universe we can currently observe is estimated to be 93 BILLION light years wide (546,712,159,706,000,000,000,000 miles wide) and the bible clearly says in Isaiah 55:8-9 that our thoughts and God's thoughts are separated by a distance that is as high as the ENTIRE universe; a distance SO unimaginably great that we can't even measure it with conventional numbers and God, who sits enthroned above the circle of the earth, says that's the distance between our thoughts or level of comprehension and His thoughts/level of comprehension.
Now to expound on how unfathomably great this distance is we have to analyze the words שָׁמֶה and שָׁמַיִם pronounced “sha-meh” (a plural word) and “sha-mah-yim” which is commonly translated to the word “heaven(s)”. However, through some research one will find that Israelites believed in at least three “heavens”:
1. The sky
2. Outer space where the stars (the heavenly host) reside
3. The most holy place or “holy of holies” where God Himself sits enthroned (what we currently and typically call “heaven”)
Now, through further bible research one sees that the kingdom of heaven is here inside of each human, literally. Not physically, but spiritually, for God is spirit. So we see the third heaven, where God resides, is a spiritual realm that is superimposed on the physical one. Another dimension, if you will, that is occupying the same universal “space” but is not on the physical plane. This should add a new level of depth to the verses in Isaiah we just looked at. Let's read them again, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV).
As the heavens... plural
Not just the sky and outer space, but that also includes the Most Holy heavenly realm. The Kingdom of God (that will one day manifest on earth!). So we see that, while the distance between our thoughts/intentions and God's thoughts/intentions is a distance that is so far we could never comprehend it (second heaven), His thoughts are also so close that they are already here, we are just “dead” or “blind” to the consciousness and true understanding of them.
Thank God the Way back to such a perfect consciousness is given to mankind freely. That we can become immediately reconciled and placed in harmony with God although He is so infinitely distant from our physical reality at the moment.
Let's look at what this Way back to God says about believer to believer interactions...
READ ROMANS 14:5-8
What is the unifying factor for the believer?
Is it the service you attend?
The denomination you identify with?
Your political affiliation?
None of these things are the common thread that unites the Body of Christ. It is only Jesus Christ alone.
This is principally why REAL salvation is available to EVERY human being on earth, but real affiliation with every religion isn't.
Membership to any religion, even non-Christian ones, is a result of choice initiated from the participant (mankind). Salvation, however, is a result of response to a choice God already made for the sake of mankind.
That's why, one cannot be a Buddhist without practicing the ways of Buddha (Four Noble Truths, following the Middle Way, etc.), but one can be saved by the Blood of Christ without ever practicing “Christianity” and this phenomena is precisely the result of the principal difference between the Way Jesus is (a result of God's choice) and the innumerable religions (some of which claim to follow Jesus) that fill this world (all of which are a result of man's choice).
Let's work with an example to bring this home...
A practicing Buddhist can get into a fatal car crash and, in his dying moments, truly accept Jesus Christ into his life as Lord and Savior. He/She will have never heard a sermon in a "service", never taken communion or participated in the Eucharist, never gotten baptized with water or made a declaration of faith, but in that moment, before that individual became a “practicing Christian”, that individual received the salvation of Christ and was counted into the number of the saved.
Applying that inversely, a practicing Christian who gets in a fatal car crash and, in his/her dying moments, wishes to apostatize and become a Buddhist would be told that, before that individual can reach Nirvana, he/she must be rid themselves of kleshas, follow the “Noble Eightfold Path” and escape the cycles of reincarnation, which would require devout and zealous study and application of the teachings. Therefore, the Buddhist would probably tell them that when they come back to this world of suffering they should seek the “Middle Way” and begin their ascension towards the Nirvana state...
Do you see the difference now?
Furthermore, salvation and Christianity are separate phenomena; one begetting the other. One single event (salvation) saves the soul of the sinner; the true gratitude of that salvation, the relationship fostered with the sinner's Savior, and the understanding of the sinner's new identity in the Savior is what then manifests an entirely new lifestyle and mentality on this earth (what true Christianity is).
You see, Jesus already said yes to you, He's just waiting on you to say yes to Him. So a sinner lying in a puddle of his/her own blood can, regardless of their immediate religious/spiritual stance, get saved by the power of Jesus if they TRULY accept Him into their heart as Lord and Savior before they die while being a genuine Baptist, Methodist, Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindi, etc. requires you to perform or assume to a certain creed or set of rites before your membership is official.
Christ makes you official through His salvation before the world acknowledges it with their religion for He did not pay such a lofty price while you were saved and sit comfortably on a pew at some church somewhere, but while you were in the worst states of your sin; while you hated and rejected Him; while you ran from His presence in search of some other “god” that will let you have the control over your life (what I believe to be the contemporary sinner's biggest problem with submission to Christ). You cannot be a Muslim while you are still a Christian, but there are MANY Muslim brothers and sisters who have accepted the Lordship and deity of Christ over their lives.
You cannot be a Jew and be a Christian, but there is a whole coalition of believers who still practice some parts of Judaism and submit to the Lordship of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
You cannot be a Buddhist and be a Christian, but the moment you confess with your mouth and believe in your heart that Jesus Christ is YOUR Lord, your identity is changed, regardless of where you are, what you still hold on to and the iniquity that is still present in your life.
Now the question becomes, can you continue being a Buddhist after such a change? The answer is a resounding, “NO!”
Neither can you truly continue being a Jew, or a Greek or a Muslim or an anything for the confession of the Lordship of Christ over your life is the confession that you no longer belong to yourself or any other group/school of thought you used to belong to, but are the literal property of the Lord (Galatians 3:28).
We were bought with a price greater than this life when we were worth nothing but death.
So where a person goes, what a person eats, their past and cultural influences all become subordinate to the new identity in Christ. So if a used-to-be Buddhist stops meditating on the Noble Truths and begins meditating on the Word of God, who is the practicing Christian to say that such an act is wrong? It is before the Lord alone that we stand or fall. Our judgment comes from Him because He is the only one who can see the hearts intentions in our actions. Therefore, our brothers and sisters in the Lord ought not direct us to the things we ought to be doing, but rather constantly point us to who we ought to be doing things for and His character which, as we walk such a road, ought to become more synonymous with our character. If that is the fruit we are bearing (becoming more Christ-like), God forbid any self-respecting Christian try to hinder the actions that are the manifested representation of that growth, even if they do not line up with what that individual believes to be “correct”.
The reason is, the correctness is not in the action with God. Nothing down here could ever possibly be pleasing or appeasing to Him. It is the heart that He sees; our intent and desires that lead us to certain actions; the all important “why” that serves as the leap point to all of the “whats” we do with “whoever” in the “whens” and “wheres” of our present. Even a superficial study of the scriptures shows this to be emphatically clear.
This should drastically change how we evangelize and see the approach we ought to make to other people in regards to our representation of Christ and the propagation of the faith. Because we are all ants, receiving information far more complex than a simple refrigeration system from a Being far more intelligent and grand than ourselves. So let us approach our fellow man as the ants we are, and not as a self-proclaimed god who is bringing the “civility” of the only Way to the unsaved people religion can many times make us look down upon...
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