Walking Lightly


I don’t know about you but the older I get, the darker the world seems to grow.  This may be because the farther along I walk with God, the more discerning of the world and its ways I am becoming.  Or, it could be just another indication that the long-awaited day of Jesus’ return is rapidly approaching.  Certainly, the conditions prevailing in our world today greatly resemble those described by Jesus in Matthew 24:4-8, when He answered His disciples’ request for a sign of His coming by saying…

See that no one leads you astray.  For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will lead many astray.  And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars.  See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet.  For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.  All these are but the beginning of birth pains.

If these conditions—the same ones that we are experiencing today—are but the “beginning of birth pains,” what can we expect to follow?  Jesus goes on to address this question in verses 9-14, when He declares…

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.  And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.  But the one who endures to the end shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

Undoubtedly, all of these things are taking place in our day and age, but the truth is that much of what has been described here has also taken place throughout most of human history.  In fact, with the exception of the gospel being proclaimed throughout the whole world, I think that every generation of believers has looked around at the events taking place in their particular era and seen a world growing darker as a result of sin, thinking surely that the end of the world would soon be upon them.

As an example of this, listen to what Jude, the brother of Jesus and James, had to say about the conditions in his world back in the first century AD…

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.  For certain people have crept in unnoticed who were long ago designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ…these people…defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones…blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understood instinctively.

While this is a pretty scathing indictment of his own times, Jude goes on to tell us about a time when the same kind of wickedness had saturated another, much earlier, society—and when another godly man arose to address the evils of the world around him then…

It was about these [the people referred to above] that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied, saying, ‘Behold the Lord comes with ten thousands of his holy ones, to execute judgment on all and to convict all the ungodly of all their deeds of ungodliness that they have committed in such an ungodly way and of all the harsh things that ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14-15).

Wow—such was the world in which Enoch lived!  And when was that?  It was, according to Genesis 5, about halfway between the creation of man and the Flood which took place in Noah’s day.  And what was the reason for the Flood?  It was the judgment upon all of the “ungodly sinners” about whom Enoch had prophesied.  Did Enoch live to see the fulfillment of his prophecy?  No, because, as we are told in Genesis 5:21-24…

When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah.  Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years.  Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him.

In other words, Enoch, after walking with God in the midst of his sin-saturated world, was “raptured” out of that world before the Tribulation of the Flood came upon it.

It was this very time to which Jesus referred when He continued in His reply to the question His disciples had asked in Matthew 24.  Likening it to the time preceding His own return, He said…

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man…Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming…you must also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect (vv. 39-39, 42, 44).

And how are we to make ourselves ready?

According to Jude, we…

…must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ.  They said to you, ‘In the last time, there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’  It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the spirit.

But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life.  And have mercy on those who doubt, save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

Or, as Jesus put it in Matthew 5: 14 &16…

You are the light of the world…let your light shine before others, so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

…which, in our world of rapidly escalating darkness, is just another way of saying that for us to able to find our way through the darkness, we all need to be walking lightly!

Walking Lightly in a Dark World

…But Why Couldn’t We Stay the Way We Were?


Testing for Sonship

During our last time together, we began a discussion designed to lead us to a better understanding of the age-old problem of why, when we want to obey God in the spirit, do we so often fail to follow through in the flesh?  It’s the old flesh-versus-spirit battle; a battle that we will need to learn to win if we are ever going to become overcomers like Jesus.

We began our search by going back to the beginning of time and looking at the first man God created, so we could see how he and we were originally designed to function.  What we learned was that when God created man, He first fashioned a physical body for him, then He breathed His Spirit into that body and when He did, the human soul came into being.  This set up the system of communication that God intended to use when He wanted to relate to the man whom He had created.  Once again, here is the way it worked:  God’s Spirit was to speak to man’s spirit, man’s spirit would speak to his soul, and then man’s soul would speak to his body—each part relaying to man the will of God that He wanted to be carried out on the earth on His behalf.

In the ordering of things in this way, God not only established a “top-down” system of communication, but He also put into place a “top-down” structure of authority (this will prove to be important later on, so pay attention), one that looked something like this:

  • God was in charge, but He delegated the management of His affairs on earth to Man;
  • Man, as the steward/administrator/manager of God’s creation, was under God’s authority, and would be held accountable for everything that went on under his administration;
  • Later, when the woman was created as man’s helper and partner in the stewardship, she was to come under his authority; then,
  • Finally, the animal kingdom and the entire natural realm were to be subject to the authority of both of God’s human agents.

Everything was bopping along like it was supposed to and everyone was happy—so why did it all have to change?  Why couldn’t things just stay that way forever?

That’s a good question but before we can answer it, there is another question that must be answered first, and that is, why did God create man in the first placejust what was His intention for man?  If all He wanted was more servants, He could have created a few more angels; but He didn’t do that, did He?  No, because God’s purpose in creating man was to provide Himself with Sons, not more servants.  As we learn in Ephesians 1: 3-14 (ESV):

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.  In love, he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. 

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making know to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. 

In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.   In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.

Family Has Always Been God’s Goal

From this passage, we learn that even before the foundation of the world, God had a plan in place that would provide Him with the “Sons,” or the family that He desired; a family upon whom He could lavish His love.  In pursuit of that family, God predestined—that is, He predesigned man (every man and woman) in such a way that he/she could:

      • Be legally adopted as His spiritual child;
      • Be conformed to the likeness of His Son; and,
      • Inherit all the riches of His glory.

Wow—is this mind-boggling, or what?  Almighty God designed and created him, and us, with every endowment we would need to become His children—every endowment with the exception of one:  righteousness. 

This brings us back to the question of why things couldn’t stay the way they were.  You see, although man was created with the capacity for holiness, he was not created holy.  At the time of his creation, he was living in a state of innocence, not in a state of righteousness or holiness.  In order for him to be found righteous by God and holy and blameless before him, he would first have to be tested to see if he would remain a faithful steward of God’s Word, maintaining his innocence throughout the test.

So, in Genesis 2: 16-17, we find a testing situation being set up when…

…the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’

God gave the man His Word (that is, He made known to him His will) concerning one of the trees that the man was responsible for tending, thus making the man the steward of that Word and responsible for its implementation.  Therefore, when tested, if man kept God’s Word, he would be found holy and blameless, declared righteous by God and be made a Son–then he could eat from the Tree of Life and live forever in the presence of God.  However, if he failed to keep God’s Word, his disobedience or sin would cut him off from the God who longed to make him His son, resulting in the immediate death of his spirit and the eventual death of his body.

Oh, the drama!  There is certainly a lot on the table here—life or death, heaven or hell, living as a Son of God or as a slave to sin and Satan–not only for the first man and woman, but for every one of the generations to come!  With so much at stake, how is it that they were so easily seduced into giving it all up?

Waiting in the Wings…

Once again…


 …………………………...this will be continued next time →  


 Smiley Face with Earphones2

Jason Gray singing, “The Sound of Our Breathing”…