V.B.5.b Resisting Knowledge

PART  V  – ASSOCIATIONAL ASPECTS OF THE LAMP-STAND MODEL

SUBPART B –  The Trumpets/ Witness of the Spirit Corollary

Article 5 –  Resonance & Dissonance

Section (b)

RESISTING KNOWLEDGE

By Daniel Irving

The following article may be viewed in video format at this Youtube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hpm1HqGFaAs

 i.     The Rejection of Doctrine Versus the Rejection of Light

ii.    Christ Knowing Us

iii.   Reprobation by Resistance to Knowledge

iv.   Christ as God’s Image Communicated to the Church

v.    The Work of Christ Resulted in No More Cover in Death

vi.   The Rejection of the Called Due to the Rejection of Knowledge

vii.  Rejection of Knowledge as Antithetical to Justification by Faith

Illumined from Above 01

Section (b)

DISAGREEMENT WITH, & DISJUNCTION FROM THE SPIRIT OF GOD

i.  The Rejection of Doctrine Versus the Rejection of Light

In secular affairs, there is a continuous tension between an expedient versus the principled course.  We learn early in life to compromise upon strict adherence to a principle in order to avoid the inconveniences or the conflict which often follows standing upon principle.  This has been sorely the case for the historic Church and for institutions of religion.  Consider the Protestant reformers made many doctrinal concessions in their efforts to maintain the appearance of a conservative orthodoxy to those still accustomed to the old ways of Catholicism.  Cross on LakeProtestants that held to the more principled positions were persecuted, and sometimes forfeited their lives as a result.  The Anabaptists, who rejected the reformer’s compromise on infant baptism are a good example.  When the monarchy of England began to require oaths of allegiance, those ministers willing to sacrifice the principled for the expedient were able to rationalize their compliance; a position for which they remain disapproved in our consciences even today.  Those unwilling to yield truth for the sake of expedience, earned for themselves that good report through faith.[1]  The majority chose the easier way, rationalizing they could do more good within the religious system, than without.  While those willing to compromise principle may have earned for themselves an inglorious record in the history of truth’s restoration, this is not to say they necessarily withdrew from Light.

When those of the Holiness and the Healing movements began to demonstrate a higher standard of devotion to Christ than what the denominations were demonstrating, many chose to remain in the cold orthodoxy of their denomination.  Apostolic Faith Group 1910When God restored the Pentecostal doctrine and experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the commencement of the twentieth-century, many devoted figures of the Holiness and Healing movements chose to reject the restoration of doctrinal and experiential truth to stay with those ways to which they had grown accustomed and in which they were comfortable.  But that is not to say they necessarily withdrew from Light.

On the other hand, we might ask ourselves; What if some, after having received a restored truth and experience of that truth, had willingly laid it aside for the sake of an expedient consideration, or for a worldly concern?  Such an individual – whose hope resides in a justification by faith – might take warning from the epistle to the Hebrews where we read:

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in him.   But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition;   but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.                Heb 10:38-39

Again, the rejection of true doctrine, does not necessarily equate to the rejection of LightDoctrine is only words.  The substance, we call Light.   Nonetheless, there may come a point when the rejection of true doctrine constitutes a rejection of the Truth itself and therefore a rejection of Light. This occurs when the rejection of true doctrine has a willfulness about it, or occurs in a time and place so as to constitute an affront to the Person or work of the Holy Ghost.

Whether or not the rejection of doctrine constitutes a rejection of Light, the willful withdrawal from a greater to a lesser form of doctrinal truth is often an indicator of a corrupted spiritual condition.  We sometimes see this when men make an unusual regressive move from one denomination to another having a lesser form of doctrinal truth or holiness standard.

We have an example of Christians opting for something less than what they received in Paul’s letter to the Galatians.  These believers had experienced the power of faith in Jesus Christ amidst the work of the Holy Ghost in their assembly and in their own hearts.  They were now opting to trust in outward forms as having any saving significance.  Paul tells them that by defaulting to something less than the truth they had known, they had “fallen from grace”, rendering Christ; “of no effect”.[2]  Painfully-strong words!  And all because they had simply defaulted for a form of religion allowing them solace in the flesh:

  You observe days & months & seasons & years.   I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.       Gal. 4:10-11

Even though the Galatians had experienced the power of God testifying unto them, they gave heed to someone who thought it a safer bet to revert to legal principles and outward forms of righteousness.  Paul warns them:

You foolish Galatians!  Who has bewitched you?  Before whose eyes Jesus Christ was publicly portrayed [as] crucified?  This is the only thing I want to find out from you;    Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?      Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?                                                                                      Gal. 3:1-3

ii.  Christ Knowing Us

The previous article was entitled; The Gospel Spirituality, and studied the mystery of God that is revealed via the sanctification of the Church.  The true Gospel spirituality constitutes the true worship of God and leads the Church into the true knowledge of God.  There is also a principle which constitutes the converse-mystery to sanctification.  This is the mystery of iniquity, also known as reprobation.  This is the apostasy arising from ultimately drawing away from God after having been called unto salvation and having been offered the power of deliverance from the bondage to this world.  Paul writes to the Thessalonians concerning the final apostasy:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;    only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.       II Thess. 2:7

Paul uses the Greek-word an-om-ee’-ah,[3] which means iniquity or illegality.  This word is first used in the Lord’s sermon on the mount where He foretells of many who will even perform miracles in His name, and yet be rejected as workers of iniquity.  The Lord said:

Not every one that saith unto Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven.  Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name?  and in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?’  And then I will profess unto them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, yet that work iniquity.”                                                          Matt. 7:21-23

These are rejected as never having been known by Christ; an allusion to the knowledge of God.  Recall that Paul framed the principle of knowing God as more accurately expressed as God knowing us.  He writes to the Galatians:

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God . . .                                                                                      Gal. 4:9

Paul re-frames the principle of the knowledge of God, given that in a truer sense we lack the capacity to know God.  On the other hand, we are given the knowledge of God.  The distinction is straightforward.  We might say we drank from the river.  We would not say we drank the river.  This is the same principle Paul is clarifying in the ninth verse.  Only Christ truly knows God as God’s eternal, expressed image.  God is unknowable to a man.  Therefore Jesus said:

Not that any man has seen the Father, save He which is of God, He has seen the Father.                                                                                    John 6:46

As His body, the Church may receive of the mind of Christ.[4]  Through the agency of the Holy Spirit, an infinite reservoir of the Divine mind is accessible.  Therefore Paul writes:  Almanor 01

O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom & knowledge of God!    How unsearchable are His judgments, & His ways past finding out!                                                                                       Rom 11:33

These “depths of God” constitute spiritual knowledge from the mind of Christ through the agency of His Holy Spirit.  But this access to the mind of Christ is itself revelation that God must open to us in His time and minister to us according to His purposes.  Thus Paul prays for the Ephesian saints that they might receive of this knowledge.  He exults in the prospect they . . .

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  and to know the love of Christ, which passes knowledge,  that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.                   Eph 3:18-19

Spiritual knowledge is not a knowledge of the mind, but is a knowledge that bears upon the spirit so as to eternally change the man in spirit, in soul, and in body.  The knowledge of God is not the static factual information we typically mean when we use the word “knowledge.”  The knowledge of God is living and active.  Blue Gild 04He is a Person, Whose purposes include revealing the eternal things of heaven; the things beyond knowledge so-called.  This is the Person of the Holy Spirit.   As we receive His witness, He may freely communicate the love and power of God that is Christ, to our inner being.  If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are filled with the love of God, that is the mind of Christ.  The revelation we receive is the knowledge of God.  Not that we can know God, but we drink from the knowledge of His love that is Christ.  We become vessels filled with His Holy Spirit.  In this way, we love God; not through any strength or agency of our own, but through the strength and agency of Jesus Christ.  Only through the agency of Christ can we touch God and drink of His love.  Therefore the love of God and the knowledge of Christ are practically mutual terms.  As Christ Himself is unknowable except in measure, the knowledge of God is expressed in these words:

But if anyone loves God, he is known by Him.              I Cor. 8:1-3

iii.  Reprobation by Resistance to Knowledge

In the continual abiding within and procurement of this knowledge, we mature in the truth of Christ.  Wheat 01The Lord described this maturation in His parable of the growing wheat, when He said, “First the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.”[5]  This procurement of the knowledge of God is our sanctification. It is the gift of God’s own holy nature,[6] and a treasure Whose value we lack capacity to comprehend.

While the Gospel is good news indeed, we must be mindful the apostles preached words of watchfulness as much as they preached of glory. These unbounded promises come with strict words of warning.  One form of apostolic caution was the warning against misperceiving the promises of God as somehow optional, when they are not.  We are called unto this eternal inheritance.[7]  If we have been called unto the knowledge of God, it is the knowledge of God we are to receive.  Recall Paul’s words:

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.           Rom. 11:29

There is no turning back from the knowledge of God in the day of salvation.  To withdraw from the knowledge of God at such time His knowledge is offered, is to sleight the Spirit of Grace and to bring upon ourselves the principle of perdition.

But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition;  but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.          Heb. 10:39

By faith, we may begin to perceive that what God has promised, He will do.  We begin to perceive that God is faithful.  But there is a counter mystery to the glorious mystery.  Who are those that “draw back unto perdition” but those that came near unto the promises, yet turned away in faithlessness, and ultimately became hostile to the Person and purposes of God?  Such were those who had been called.  This was true in the first century and remains true in the twenty-first. We have the example of the Jewish nation within which the Messiah manifested Himself in the flesh.  A bright light appeared to them, and was not received.  Lampstand - 2nd Temple PeriodThus despite their standing as children of the kingdom, “to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises,”[8] many of the Jews were cast off as reprobate.

Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.                      Jer. 6:30

In rejection of the true knowledge of God, they became hostile in spirit to the true nature and purposes of God in Christ.  Therefore in the apostolic writings we find frequent allusions to this contrary spirit:

For there are many unruly & vain talkers & deceivers, specially they of the circumcision:                                                                                    Titus 1:10

Just as Israel of the old covenant fell for the want of faith, so Israel of the new covenant may fail for want of faith.  Israel of the new covenant is the Church,[9] those having been called unto sanctification by the Spirit of God.[10]

Reprobation arises from the rejection of the knowledge of God, and itself constitutes God’s rejection.  Therefore the prophecy of Hosea states, “Because thou has rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee.”  The knowledge of God is the very life of the Church.  Paul scolds the Corinthians because some there did not have the knowledge of God.  He writes:

Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God.   I speak this to your shame.        I Cor. 15:34

Paul’s context is the resurrection from the dead; a resurrection that is not experienced apart from the knowledge of God.[11]  Therefore the knowledge of God is that vital principle to the Church, and is the very purpose of the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The absence of the knowledge of God is the absence of true life; the life that Jesus came to give to men “abundantly”.[12]  Therefore God declares:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.         Hos. 4:6

The Hebrew word translated “destroyed” is the same word used in the previous verse (v.5) where it says; “I will destroy your mother”.[13]  There is a cause-effect relationship stated.  The particular cause for the effect of the destruction of God’s people is cited as; “lack of knowledge”.  The “lack of knowledge” of what?  As stated in v. 1; the lack of the “knowledge of God.”  Hosea prophesies:

Listen to the word of the Lord, O sons of Israel, For the Lord has a case against the inhabitants of the land, because there is no faithfulness or kindness or knowledge of God in the land.                       Hos. 4:1

iv.  Christ as God’s Image Communicated to the Church

How is the knowledge of God obtained?  Through the image of Christ as He is shone forth by the Holy Spirit.Lake Steam 11

For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.                                                                                      II Cor. 4:6

The knowledge of God is even a place we abide through means of the Holy Ghost, having our affections set upon Christ . . .

Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.                                                                                      I Thess. 5:10

The Church must be rightly oriented toward the object of its faith that it may benefit from the work of the Holy Spirit in shining forth the light that is Christ upon it. Through beholding the image of Christ, the Church itself is transformed via sanctification.

But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,  are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.                                                                                      II Cor. 3:18

Therefore we seek the face of God in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, and this is why the Psalmist exhorts us to:

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.       Ps. 105:4

Why would God tell us it is not a vain thing to seek Him?  Not only is there is a rich reward in so doing, but it is God’s desire.  He wants “sons of God” to be birthed into His eternal-kingdom.  Jesus said:

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.                Luke 12:32

If; “this is the will of God, even your sanctification”,[14] then are not even “all things” poised to bring this result?   Not only is it God’s will that we be born into, and mature in His kingdom, it is His “good pleasure”.  We are told to “look to the Holy One of Israel”.[15]  This is because Jesus Christ is, in fact, our own holiness.[16]  Holiness is the image of God communicated to the Church.

v.  The Work of Christ Resulted in No More Cover in Death

Sanctification is the consuming of Death itself in the death of Christ.  While faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ constitutes the vital engine of the Church’s sanctification, His sacrifice overthrew Death regardless of whether one believes it or not.  Therefore what is done in the body, men shall be called upon to give an account for before the judgment seat of Christ.  Therefore Jesus said there is a resurrection even unto damnation:Graveyard 09

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming,  in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, & shall come forth;  they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life;  & they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.            John 5:28-29 

Death has no more power over humanity except what unbelief gives it.  Because Death has no more power, neither does Sin, as they are one-in-the-same principle; the principle of “the law of sin and death”.[17]  Therefore Paul explains that it is because of this fearsome principle – ie. that all will appear before the judgment seat of Christ to “receive the things done in the body”[18] – that men must be persuaded of the truth . . .

. . . because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.          II Cor. 5:14-15

vi.  The Rejection of the Called Due to the Rejection of Knowledge

Why is it necessary the church apprehend the overthrow of Death through the work of Jesus Christ?  For the same reason the world must be persuaded of the Gospel.  The reason His work on the cross must be apprehended is that the body itself might be brought into subjection to Christ that it escape wrath via the knowledge of God.  For the want of belief in Christ, men continue in sin – and so continue in Death – perishing therein for want of the knowledge of God.  Yet more vital still, is that the Church apprehend this truth given it stands the peculiar peril of rejecting the work of the Holy Ghost.  Thus Hosea prophesies:

because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me:          Hos. 4:6

Hosea’s prophecy alludes to the rejection of a Church in rejection of the knowledge of God.  For the priesthood of God is the Church:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show forth the praises of him who had called you out of darkness  into his marvelous light:                      I Peter 2:9

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father;  to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever Amen.                          Rev. 1:6

The prophetic rejection of God’s people as His priests (ie. “thou shalt be no priest to me”) is not an excusal from His calling.  The basis of their rejection as priests is their having rejected the knowledge of God through rejecting the Holy Spirit’s work to raise up, manifest, and to glorify Christ.  Suddenly Paul’s rebuke of the Corinthians makes sense!

Awake to righteousness and sin not, for some have not the knowledge of God.           I speak this to your shame.         I Cor. 15:34

The failure of the Corinthians to themselves abide in that place of sanctification with their eyes firmly fixed in heaven upon Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit bears witness, was a failure – as priests of God – to manifest and to glorify Christ amongst their assembly.  This worked a terrible disservice to those desperately in need of the knowledge of God, but whose hearts had never seen.  Such as these could not be chastised for neglecting something they had never seen.  Therefore Paul’s chastisement is directed toward those having known the Divine Light, and yet neglecting its influences through an occupation upon this world; earthly rather than heavenly things.

The rejection of Christ’s revelation may be conversely stated as the revelation of rejection; ie. being found as outside the faith of Abraham.  This is because the rejection of Light runs adverse to the principle of a justification by faith.

vii.  Rejection of Knowledge as Antithetical to Justification by Faith

The knowledge of God is a matter of Divine revelation.  The rejection of the Divine revelation of God that is Christ, operates as the rejection of salvation given its adversative relation to a justification based in faith.  Consider what is probably the best example of new revelation in the context of justification by faith; the account of Cornelius:

He saw in a vision evidently about the 9th hour of the day an angel of God  coming in to him, & saying unto him, “Cornelius”.  & when he looked on him, he was afraid, & said, “What is it, Lord?”   & he said unto him, “Thy prayers & thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.  & now send men to Joppa, & call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:             Acts 10:3-5 

Cornelius was about to receive a new revelation of God.  He was not a “Christian”, and yet he was to receive a new revelation that God was approachable through the name of “Jesus Christ”.  As well, Cornelius held no particular doctrinal assumptions as to how God should effectuate His covenant.  He was a “blank slate” in this regard.   He was a man of good works which demonstrated . . . . faith.  At this point we may ask the question; Was Cornelius justified by “faith” or by “works”?  Here is where James’ doctrine comes into view:

Even so faith, if it has not works is dead, being alone.   Yea, a man may say, “You have faith, & I have works;  show me your faith without your works, & I will show you my faith by my works.                           James 2:17-18

The point James makes is this; What sense does it make to talk about one having faith if there is nothing else to demonstrate its existence?  Cornelius demonstrated his faith through works of righteousness.  But what prompted God to attend to the salvation of Cornelius’ household?  A disposition of faith toward God.  The works served as a testament to a faith unseen.  God knew that He could approach Cornelius and that Cornelius would believe.  God knew that His approach unto Cornelius would not result in the man drawing away unto perdition.  And once the truth was spoken to the ears of Cornelius, God could seal his justification with the Spirit’s baptism:

Even as Abraham believed God, & it was accounted to him for righteousness.                                                                                      Gal 3:6

Cornelius’ works of righteousness demonstrated a true inward-disposition of faith in God.   Was he justified by these works of righteousness?  Only in the sense that God considered him worthy amongst men to hear the gospel.   But he was not justified unto eternal life thereby. Therefore it was necessary that God’s salvation be brought to him, that his faith apprehend its true object; the object of all righteousness, which is Jesus Christ.  This is because salvation does not derive from works of righteousness, as works of righteousness are only the evidence of the proper inward orientation toward God.  Therefore Paul writes that we are saved:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration,& renewing of the Holy Ghost;                                                                          Titus 3:5

What if Peter had preached the gospel to Cornelius, and Cornelius had rejected the gospel of Christ?  Would he have been “justified”?  Of course, the answer is “No”.  Why not?  Such would have constituted a rejection of Light (a far worse condition than that of darkness).  Cornelius would not have been merely rejecting the word of man concerning Christ, he would have been rejecting the Holy Spirit’s approach unto him in his day of salvation.  Peter’s words came with the power of the Holy Spirit on that day.  The rejection of true doctrine is not the same thing as the rejection of light, however when it is God’s Spirit delivering the doctrine, this is a much different circumstance.

And it is the Spirit that bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.     I John 5:6

Not men’s doctrine, nor their aptly spoken words, but the Spirit of God is the Truth.  It is not the rejection of correct doctrine that condemns, but the rejection of Truth because Truth is even the Spirit of God.Bronze Gilding 02

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.                                                                                        John 3:19

But some may argue that it would not have been possible for Cornelius to reject the Gospel, because his deeds were not evil.  But this would contradict the writings of Paul, who wrote:

For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;                                                                                        Rom 3:23

Therefore not one of us will be justified outside from the vicarious atonement made by Jesus Christ.  Cornelius’ good works had no power to save him.  Therefore there remains three orientations toward Truth.  We have either:

–  seen the Light (that is Christ) and believed it unto eternal life, (or we have)

–  seen the Light and disbelieved unto perdition, (or we)

–  remain in darkness awaiting a day of reckoning by that same Light.

But as for Cornelius and his household, the doctrine and herald of the Light was brought to them by Peter, who operated in the capacity of “Elijah”, preparing the way for the Lord to reveal Himself at the proper time.  Cornelius received the Light when it was brought; a confirmation of the faith evident in his works.  Cornelius began by faith, received the Holy Spirit by faith, and therefore we can trust that he persevered in the witness God would continue to provide that is the revelation of Jesus Christ.  Cornelius was not among those to “draw back unto perdition.”  

 


[1] Hebrews 11:39

[2] Galatians 5:4

[3] G458 anomia   an-om-ee’-ah  From G459; illegality, that is, violation of law or (generally) wickedness: – iniquity, X transgress (-ion of) the law, unrighteousness.

[4] I Corinthians 2:16

[5] Mark 4:28

[6] II Peter 1:4

[7] Hebrews 9:15

[8] Romans 9:4-8

[9] Galatians 6:16, Ephesians 2:12, Hebrews 8:8

[10] Hebrews 12:23

[11] Hebrews 12:14, I John 3:2-3

[12] John 10:10

[13] See commentary on Hosea 4:5  “I will destroy your mother” for examination of this word.

[14] I Thessalonians 4:3

[15] Isaiah 31:1

[16] See commentary on Isaiah 43:15  “your Holy One”

[17] Romans 8:2

[18] II Corinthians 5:10-11

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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