The fire has gone out in Christianity, just as it did in Israel. The fire is the living, holy, presence of God in the midst; nothing else can bring the holy fire but the holy presence. We have lit false fires upon our altars; false “worship”, false “teachers”, false “prophets”, false doctrine. Emotion, the feelings of men, has replaced the Holy Spirit. Christians, having once found Christ, seem to be content to seek no more. David knew otherwise;
“Seek the Lord and be strengthened; seek His face continually” (Psalm 105:
(NOTE: The verbs “seek” are in the imperative mood and the active voice in both cases, telling us that it is absolutely mandatory that we do this! The verb “strengthened” is in the imperative mood but the passive voice, telling us that it is something to be done to us, rather than by us.)
There is a deceitful logic at work today which insists that if we have found the Lord we need to seek Him no more; this will come as a shock to the great saints of history who knew that the struggle to enter in to the place of rest was never over. This completely false notion is a lie of Satan and leads to complacency, the deadly foe of spiritual growth; indeed, spiritual complacency is a retardant, as Jesus pointed out;
For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away (Matthew 13:12). This is the way the economy of God works.
Without a pressing and acute desire of the heart there can be no manifestation of Christ to His people; like Moses, we must earnestly seek and cry out “O God, I beseech You, show me Your glory!” Christ waits to be wanted, but people are content with a false Christ and those who are content with a false Christ must be content with a false salvation.
“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, those doing lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23).
False salvation is the fruit of either one of two things, deception or rebellion, both of which are the work of the mystery of lawlessness in the people of God.
First, there is deception that leads to false faith, which is where the word is received without power and the Holy Spirit (compare with 1 Thessalonians 1:5). The gospel that results is a different gospel brought by a different spirit (see Galatians 1:6 and 2 Corinthians 11:4) and is characterized by the doctrines of men who cannot see and do not hear. This was the condition of the Pharisees, who looked intently at their Messiah for three years but never saw Him. They had the Law but they were lawless.
Secondly, there is rebellion that is the result of unfaithfulness, where the truth is known but ignored; they see but refuse to obey; it is believing without following and is, biblically speaking, unbelief; if you believe and don’t do, that’s unbelief, because belief that is not lived is not alive. This was the condition of the Church at Sardis, of which Jesus told John to tell them; “I know your works; You have a name that lives, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1). This unfaithfulness in God’s people is a fulfillment of the type laid down by unfaithful Israel, who knew the truth but would not obey. Here is how the writer to the Hebrews put it;
“And to whom did He swear that they should not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey. So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still remains, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have fallen short of it. (Hebrews 3:18-4:1).