“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and He you sent, Jesus Christ” (John 17:3).
It is quite evident that we cannot know God by reason or logic or scholarship or persuasion; we can know about Him, but we cannot know Him. True spiritual knowledge is the outcome of a visitation of heavenly wisdom by the Holy Spirit of God, and is, in itself, a response to the genuine seeking heart. This is the “wisdom from above”, of which James wrote that it was “first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without variance, without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).
This wisdom is always associated with righteousness and humility and must inevitably lead to godliness and holiness of life.
The deeper mysteries of God must remain hidden to us until we have received this divine illumination; until then, we remain “dead in sin”, which is an apt description of the condition left to us by our first parents Adam and Eve, for the capacity to know spiritual things, with which man was created, died when they sinned. That capacity must be “born again” in us by yielding to the Lordship of Christ and obtaining the redemption that is only available through His atoning Blood.
The root of the righteous, we are told, shall bear fruit (Proverbs 12:8) and it shall not be moved (Proverbs 12:3). It is the root that is important; for only from the root springs life and it is as the root is given the nourishment of the right soil and true nutrients that the tree will grow. But it takes time, firstly to establish the root, then to allow the tree to bear fruit. Patience is required before the fruit appears.
Today, the obsession is with “fruit” not the root; fruit is demanded immediately, before the root has even become established; this is instant Christianity and is a mark of our society where instant gratification and satisfaction is demanded.
It is little wonder that the world looks at modern Christianity and turns away in despair, for it is the outcome of a people receiving the gospel in word only, but not in power and in the Holy Spirit (See 1 Thessalonians 1:5).
Current evangelism amounts to little more than an invitation to tranquility and comfort; it has become mere humanism with a few carefully selected words of Jesus thrown in. Christ calls men to take up a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. Christ calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they “accept” Jesus, the world is their oyster. Christ calls them to suffering and endurance; we call them to enjoy all the modern comforts that civilization offers. Christ calls them to self denial and death; we call them to offer them to become stars in a religious constellation. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry imitation of “happiness” that would be derided by those faithful saints who, even today, are paying, with their lives for their faith. It is a shocking calumny that we dare to present the faith to which we are called by God in such a manner!
It is apparent that many think Christianity is a higher and more moral form of entertainment; Christ has done all the suffering and shed all the tears; we have but to enjoy the benefits of His heartbreak. So goes the narrative of modern evangelicalism. But our preoccupation with the benefits of Christianity, and the neglect of our responsibilities and obligations to Christ is a harbinger of bitter days to come. The Church is being consumed by its worldliness and, as we look around us, we see the disintegration of our society that is a direct outcome of the failure of the Church to be a faithful witness of Christ in a fallen world.