2) What BURDEN: Gnosticism or “Me-ism”?
Spiritual Light & Spiritual Darkness
According to the book of 1st John, “no Light = no Christ”. But upon the eradication of the life-strangling and death-advancing sin (by repentance and faith in the gospel, which is Light) the man can be restored and soundly positioned within the Light of Christ’s presence, the place where “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), John said. This is the blood-covered canopy of forgiveness and salvation – the Light of Jesus Christ’s living, manifest, and communing presence – this was the atmosphere of individual and corporate fellowship. This is what a Church is, and nothing else besides. Have you ever been illuminated by dwelling within the Light of one of the “golden candlesticks” of God that exists in this generation, my reader (Rev. 1:12, 20, 2:1, 5)? A candlestick emanates Light, and that Light is Christ. Thus says the Light: “there am I in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20). Through Christ’s “manifest” presence (1 Jn. 1:2, Jn. 14:21) we have vitally real and saving “fellowship” with Him (1 Jn. 1:3, 7), basking in the Light of His Image-creating (Col. 3:10, Eph. 4:24) and Image-forming rays (2 Cor. 3:17-18), abiding or walking in His presence which is Light (1 Jn. 2:4, 6, 9) – and according to John this is Eternal Life (1 Jn. 5:11-12) – but when we are slipping (Heb. 2:1-4) from this present-continuous place of glorious grace we need to “take heed” (1 Cor. 10:12). By taking heed we would “keep ourselves in the love of God” by “building up [ourselves] on [our] most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost” (Jude 1:20-21), “looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).
You see, 1 John contains principles by which spiritual light and spiritual darkness operate, principles which are easily understood and person-to-person identifiable, therefore they become grounds whereby we might know that we are savingly related to Christ. This is one of two main metaphors (#1. spiritual light and spiritual darkness, #2. spiritual life and spiritual death) which John uses to express the reality of one single essence (a saving relationship with Jesus Christ as it pertains to the experience of “Love”, God-to-saint transformational, and therefore it is identifiable saint-to-God, for “God is Love”). As much as “God is Love”, John argues, “God is Light”, and, “God is Life”. I say again, these terms are clear and easy to be understood, but preachers are terrifyingly ignorant of them. Perhaps to you, my reader, these terms are not so easily understood as spiritual realities applicable to saints, but there are reasons for that. Men today know too much about extra-biblical details and too little about scriptural details, and so, being guided by extra-biblical ideologies they do, without knowing it, subvert biblical ideologies; the errant for the inerrant. The unbiblical ideology of “Gnosticism” is the intruding force, as it is defined, emphasized, explained, and applied by extra-biblical history. Gnosticism is addressed in the actual letter called 1st John, this is for sure, but men pursue a far greater understanding of Gnosticism as it is extra-biblically defined, and men have a far too simplistic understanding of scripture in comparison, and thus, they are not kept them from over-applying extra-biblical details until, being guided by the errant force they are led astray. The definitions, emphasis, and explanations of extra-biblical history are overriding and subverting the definitions, emphasis, and explanations of inspired scripture.
So many supposed “facts” about extra-biblical history can dominate the imagination of men, and they, not knowing what is true and what is false, exactly, are compelled to trust it ALL, because, well, so many others trust it, and “worldly wisdom” teaches us to trust ancient pieces of paper found in archeological escapades. And yet, should we be so trusting? Such papers are potentially tampered with by Satan himself, are they not? They are not legally guarded by God, no, thus they are potentially inspired by Satan, and he, a mastermind of deception, would not be so glaringly obvious with his introductions of error. Satan is not a man, he plans thousands of years ahead. Yes, and he can bury papers in a cave just for you, 20th century America. What has Satan planned for the reasoned eclectics of the next decades, my reader? What new “scroll” is he waiting to unveil? Decade by decade, men think they get wiser, and indeed, knowledge is increasing, but so is the antichrist revolution. It seems that I have seen almost every major idol of “Christian” apostasy defended in the name of “original language translation” and “historical documentation reasoning”. When will it end? These “papers” seem so special, so they are described. The persons who found these papers and memorialize their veracity, they appear so innocent and humble in their conclusions. They want to look like by-standers and defenders of what is inclusive in the term, “historical fact”, but we can’t trust these papers or these persons, no, nor their broad mouth-full of what they call “historical fact” – I don’t’ have their FAITH! No, because they trust in what is not proven. By faith they affirm as fact what is indeed, improvable. We should rather trust “God’s papers” and “God’s Person”, and in keeping them in memory we shall be able to discern between the true and the false. God help us.
What BURDEN: Gnosticism or Me-ism?
What BURDEN: Gnosticism or Me-ism? So what is the burden of 1st John, is it Gnosticism? Historical jargon would emphasize “it” and isolate your eyes “there”, but God does the rather. The Lord would put your eyes upon Himself – GOD – and looking upon Him you will find Him gazing back at you; His eyes therewith baptizing you; therewith searching and knowing you with blinding purity. 1st John is not about “Gnosticism” but “Me-ism”, yes, because it is written to me! Gnosticism is not my problem, no. My “Me-ism” is my problem, and by the searching power of God’s word 1st John will teach me about the destructive and damning heresy called “Me-ism”! To isolate this situation to be one which exclusively involves the deception of the Gnostics, is folly. The false prophet on the corner will tell you all about the Gnostics until you forget all about God and our main problem, “Me-ism”. Once given to these sweeping assumptions and the like, things are forced upon the inspired text: the biblical, scriptural, and descriptive terminology which John uses to characterize the spiritual condition of his audience is manipulated and forced to affirm what it does not affirm – that the outstanding issue is predominantly Gnostic instead of inclusively Gnostic – thus the readers are compelled to think about “the Gnostics” instead of what God is saying to you and me. 1st John is written to set me free from “Me-ism” not historical Gnosticism! “Me-ism” is, in other words, the modern “Gnosticism” that assaults true Christianity. It has evolved with our depravity and changed its name, but God be praised that it can be discovered by the letter of 1st John!
The great majority of spiritual terms John uses to describe the recipients to whom he wrote, are terms which are exhaustive and vast, stretching from the Old Testament to the New Testament, describing spiritual characteristics which are attributed to depravity and lost-ness (Isa. 42:6-7, Isa. 60:1-3, Matt. 4:16), initial salvation and conversion (2 Cor. 4:3-6), backsliding and temporary detainment in a situation of threatening damnation (Isa. 50:10, Matt. 25:5, Eph. 4:117-18), a backslider’s restoration from positional woe (Eph. 5:14, 2 Pet. 1:9), the present-continuous keeping power of salvific grace which keeps men from falling (Prov. 4:18, 2 Cor. 3:17-18), and final salvation’s full and consummating expression of redemption (Rev. 21:22-25)! The spiritual terminology at hand, therefore, cannot rightly be isolated to a Gnostic problem. Rather, it is a carnality problem consistent with any type err which causes a saint to fall, Gnosticism being one of them. A crafty way to side-step the burden of God for us, is to force the authorial intent of scripture to be strictly historical, and when men over-emphasize the situation of the 1st century so much beyond the reality of what it was, thus the pastoral burden and spiritual terminology seen in the scripture, they think, becomes inapplicable to us. In the name of “hermeneutics”, men violently corrupt the meaning which God would communicate from the biblical text. Stop and consider, my reader, shall we not abominate the idolatry of “Intellectualism” and “Christian Academia”? [To be blamed, offending, etc. IS to fall into spiritual darkness, and can it be truthfully said that the writers of the New Testament believed it impossible for saints to be blamed or under offence, etc.? ]
In this idolatry-saturated culture of America we need to abominate the modern expressions of depravity like the inspired writers did abominate theirs; one of them being, Gnosticism. Gnosticism was just one color of depravity which was being addressed in this letter, but the vast majority deals with actual affections in the human heart, actual lifestyles lived, actual sins committed and actual righteousness neglected, therefore these matters pertain to much more than the philosophy of Gnosticism – this was written for us; you and me! John wrote this letter to historical persons in a historical situation, yes, but the Holy Ghost inspired that authorial intent of John so that his letter which was sent to them is a letter sent to me. John’s address was a master-piece of the Holy Ghost – a letter, yes, but also an infallible guide to the one true God. The book of 1st John is an all-encompassing mirror into which every generation of humanity is commanded to gaze into, and upon this, with God’s help, they will behold themselves as they actually are. Their spiritual position as it pertains to the biblical realities John set forth to expound are sharply applicable to us right now! Yes, and this means that John’s letter is written that it might be applied to us in our present circumstances of spiritual conflict! But how many hearts of simple-minded people are subverted by preachers who are acquainted with biblical texts just enough to apply them to the historical situation in which they were written, and that alone? Dead Churches are a problem, yes, but dead preachers declare dead sermons with dead words for a reason, and it is the carnality-inspired methods which are used to interpret and apply the life-giving scripture of the Bible! Unholy men have invaded into the Holy Place, and having taken God’s holy vessels – and with them, now, they eat, drink, and rise up to play. They go in their depraved dissatisfaction still more, adding drunkenness to thirst, arriving at what is called “the normal” of today: “The Church of God” utterly man-centered and unholy, looking more like a middle-aged-man fraternity equipped with the recreation of a clubhouse. This should rather be called, “The Church of Man” – an assembly of men centered around recreational activities, forsaken by the recreating Deity. God help them. My reader, let this shock us to ask ourselves the question: how has Satan accomplished all of this while men preach from the Bible and encourage people to read from the Bible?
With seemingly profound elaboration the historical situation which pertained to the 1st century Church is explained, and the people, knowing not what they do, fail to perceive how the inspired text pertains to themselves! They hear the sermon and go away thinking they are learning something beneficial about God, and yet, alas, they walk away the same man they were before – NO CHANGES! My reader, such men go away unaffected because the inspired text was unapplied! The sermon was nothing but a regurgitated meal of carnal thoughts and carnal words, from carnal studies based around historical facts, and the people…they become intellectually enlarged like oxen fattened for the slaughter (1 Cor. 8:2-3, 13:2). It is written, “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain” (1 Cor. 3:19-20). Don’t you see? These preachers preach words, yes, even words of scripture (Matt. 4:6, John 5:39, Rom. 10:2-3), but they speak the scriptures in “words which man’s wisdom teacheth” instead of that which “the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:13). These men don’t understand the mysterious workings of depravity, how that “the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor. 2:14). And what is the greatest evidence? God said, “If they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jer. 23:22).
These poor souls, they have “a zeal of God” (Rom. 10:2), yes, but they are “ignorant of God’s righteousness” as it is imputed and imparted, or, how it is graciously granted by faith apart from works, and then, how it overpowers the whole man so that he walks-out-in a righteousness that is alive in works! These poor souls fill their minds with historical information and fancy phraseology, but they know nothing of the scriptures in regard to what matters: the Authorial intent of God as it applies to us right now. Without personal application there is no personal change. Without personal application there is no God-to-man personal interaction. It a book of historicity with no personal relevancy – a historical book of messages written to others…not oneself. The result: Sunday worship becomes self-worship, and the altar, hell’s doorstep! Solemnly consider it, my reader! We live in a spiritual HOLOCAUST, and this is bad enough without being done in the name of Jesus Christ the Savior!? Blasphemy. Utter blasphemy. When men abuse scripture and it is sure: the worst things that can happen to humanity will transpire. It is time we steadfastly look upon the problem - all the ways we have been separated from the plain truths of the Biblical Jesus Christ, the only historical Christ, who also is the only Living Christ. Anyone removed from a conscious understanding of the biblical and scriptural demands of God’s will, like all others, fall into the holocaust of souls who boast themselves to be theologically precise.
Let’s face it like men and look straight on at the brutal scene, and in so doing let us take some repose. Let us be cautious, introspective, and ashamed at what we have become. Look straight on, oh man, and see: like swine the trough, men devour the regurgitated meal of popularized facts about God, and waking up in hell they blaspheme. Devouring and devouring they go, “ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2 Tim. 3:7). Criminals call cops “the pig”, but God points the finger at Churchmen (Matt. 7:1-6). Will you stop, oh man, there is a PROBLEM! - a mindset, a method, and a philosophy of learning about God which has become antichrist, impersonal, self-promoting, and conscience-destroying. Men, given over to animal-like passion without a conscience, stagger down the crash course. Generations pass, their carcasses coffined, and the preachers murderously pretend to care. The mourners gather and their pain is solaced with lies. They’re told to imagine themselves in heaven. They’re resting all of their emotions upon the words of the preacher as he says, “Think of how you will be with your loved ones in heaven, once again!” While thinking upon an imaginary landscape of heaven, its white clouds and blue skies, the soul of their beloved family member is burning in hell. Thinking that his soul is flying somewhere in a fairytale image of blue skies, it is actually rolling around the pits of hell with teeth-gnashing out-cries! Being hurled into the pit, and by an angry God confined, it is for torture. The dead man lived a gospel-denying lifestyle which taught the people the precepts of hell, but the preacher, saying, “He’s in Heaven now”, teaches the people to say “Amen” to his “Covenant with Hell”. Nodding their head saying, “Amen, Amen”, they hasten their feet on the pathway leading down. Oh my reader W-A-I-T! …H-O-L-D ON!
The Church door you enter may be Hell’s Gate!
The religiously popular love you see may be a mask for HATE!
Oh reader, consider it...the awful fate!
Of men who will not stop arguing with God even before Heaven’s Gate!
They disagree. They pound on. They refuse to see. They go on…and why? Their preacher told them a LIE!
Sermon after sermon, a clanging symbol, the preacher with his serpent’s tongue venomized the people.
Very clear elocution is uttered, yes, but with no real application…all things follow each person’s imagination.
If you would hear it, my reader, 1st John is not so much a book about Gnosticism as it is a book about YOU! It is a book about your obsession with bodily health and earthly-mindedness, your accumulation of wealth for the sense of self-security, your ungodly infatuation with craftsmanship and various hobbies, your lust for success by means of secular education, your concept of “life” as it pertains to manmade inventions and electronic entertainment, your core values of family and friends at the expense of biblical truth, your admiration of sports and fame instead of heavenly realities, your memorization of statistics, competitions, titles, and trophies instead of Holy Scripture, your romanticism of marriage into a “fairy-tale” livelihood which fuels an obsession with covetousness and selfishness instead of self-sacrifice, your amazement of what “you can do” and how “you would feel”, if you were employed in the earthly institution of your selection, if you were to climb the latter of “human respect”, and, God help us, there is much more!
Therefore according to 1st John my reader, remember: “no Light = no Christ”, and this is applicable to us today! Yes, and it would do us good to understand spiritual darkness and spiritual Light as it pertains to OUR lives today! Furthermore for further application, a biblical theme of equal magnitude in 1st John is: “no Love = no Christ”. These two spiritual manifestations are one and the same – they are expressions which exist everywhere God IS. Like the Light does forcibly transform all darkened and depraved creatures into Christ’s Image, so also, God’s love, when IT appears (Titus 3:3-7 & 2:11-14 see “appeared”), it transforms hateful, sin-loving, rebels into Christ-like (John 13:1), self-sacrificial (John 13:34-35, 15:12-14), God-centered (1 Jn. 4:12, 16, 19-20, 5:1) and God-dominated (1 Cor. 8:3) brethren, born into and unified by the most sacred Familial union (“the Household of God”-Eph. 2:19)! It is an irresistible love which arrests God-hating men, making them love the godliness they once hated (1 Jn. 4:19, 2 Cor. 5:14), “For [God the Father] made [Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor. 5:21)!
The terminology heretofore addressed called, spiritual darkness and spiritual light, spiritual death and spiritual life, and also the argumentation of 1st John called, “no Love = no Christ”, these represent a small portion of majoring themes which unlock the modern relevance of the inspired book. The whole portion of terms like these and their correlating frameworks of argumentation, and, their pertinence with the rest of scripture…this is a matter which I cannot write at length on right now, but for the purpose of the reader’s further study in The Book of 1st John a chart is provided below. This chart will serve as a guide to help familiarize you with the pastoral argumentation of The Book of 1st John.
Confirmation of their Spiritual Condition after Initial Conversion
“ye are…in the Spirit” -Rom. 8:9
“we live by the Spirit” -Gal. 5:25
“ye are not in the flesh” -Rom. 8:9
you “have put on Christ” -Gal. 3:27
for you “to live is Christ” -Php. 1:21
“ye are dead” -Col. 3:3
you are “in Christ” -Rom.8:1, Gal. 6:15
you have been made wise -1 Cor. 1:30
you have been made a virgin -2 Cor. 11:2-4
you have been granted saving faith -Rom. 12:3
In Terms Pertaining to 1st John
“your sins are forgiven you” -1Jn.2:12
“ye have known Him “ -1Jn.2:13 , “known the Father”-1Jn.2:13, “known Him” -1Jn.2:14
“the word of God abideth in you” -1Jn.2:14
“have overcome the wicked one” -1Jn.2:14
“now ye are light in the Lord” -Eph. 5:8
The Burden and Commandment that Saints would Walk-Out their Nature
continue to “walk…after the Spirit” -Rom.8:1
continue to “walk in the Spirit” -Gal. 5:25
don’t be carnal and “walk as men” -1 Cor. 3:3-4
continue to “put on” Christ -Rom. 13:14, Eph. 4:22-24, Col. 3:8-15
continue to live “as Christ” -Rom. 6:4, Eph. 5:2, Col. 3:13, 1 Pet. 4:1
continue to die -Rom. 8:13, Col. 3:5
“so walk ye in Him” -Col. 2:6, Gal. 2:20, 6:16
walk in wisdom -Eph. 5:15-17, James 3:13-18
keep virginity -James 4:4, Rev. 14:2
keep the faith –Col. 1:23
In Terms Pertaining to 1st John
continue to be forgiven -1 Jn. 1:9
continue to know God -2 Pet. 3:17-18, Col. 1:9-10, Eph. 1:16-17, 4:20-24, Php. 1:9-10, Romans 12:2, Gal. 5:8, 1 Jn. 2:24, 2 Pet. 1:9, James 1:25
continue to abide -1 Jn. 2:6, 24, 28, John 15:4, 6-7, 5:38
continue to overcome -Rev. 3:21
continue to “walk in the Light” -1 Jn. 1:7
Old Testament: When men do recognize that they are fallen into a damnable condition, they feel abandoned by God (Ps. 7:6-7, Isa. 51:9), which means they feel forgotten and out His mind (Ps. 10:12, 13:1, 74:19, 31:12, 42:9, 77:9), this is because they are engrossed in the darkness which comes when God turns away His face, from whence cometh Light (Ps. 27:8-9, 30:7, 51:9, 69:17, 102:2, 143:7), and now, groping in darkness, under intense anguish because of God’s wrath (Ps. 32:4, 31:9-10, 16), they plead that God would turn His face back again so that they might be saved (Ps. 27:8-9, 30:7, 51:9, 69:17, 102:2, 143:7) – through this experience they are in this way, crushed and humiliated before a Sovereign God (Ps. 39:9, Isa. 63:17, Ps. 19:12-13) so that, if or when they are delivered from the awful damnation in which they have fallen into, they will give glory to God that He – and He alone – chose to no longer hide His face…thus upon them – suddenly – Light shined (Ps. 67:1, 80:1-3, 7, 19, 119:135, Num. 6:25, Ps. 4:6, 11:7, 42:5, 44:3, 89:15, Ezek. 39:29). “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and uphold me with Thy free Spirit” (Ps. 51:12), was David’s cry. For more details see Saints Who Recover – The Temporary Experience of the Deception of God (chapter 15, section 6).
New Testament: For a detailed explanation of spiritual light and spiritual darkness, see Spiritual Darkness (chapter 16, section 2), Spiritual Drunkenness (chapter 16, section 4), NT Darkness to Light: The Gospel of Regeneration (chapter 17, section 3). These hyperlinked sections bring into view additional scriptures which further confirm the scriptural teaching of spiritual death as a synonymous experience with spiritual darkness, spiritual sleep, and spiritual drunkenness as revealed in the OT & NT. Understanding such terms as these is of such vital necessity because they, being repeatedly used again and again, are central to the burden which Christ had for His Church in the Last Days. Using these very terms and spiritual realities, Christ gave warnings and prophetic analogies which depicted the dangers which await the Church. The Lord pleads with the Church that she would be found in such a condition that they would not eternally regret (awake, waiting, looking, watchful, in the light, alert, temperate, and sober), terms which are altogether incomprehensible without understanding these curses. See also the sermon called, “Spiritual Darkness”.