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Monday, October 29, 2007

'As a Child'.............Logical Conclusions

Jesus said that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven: one must enter it 'as a child'.

Taken literally; one could almost assume that, unless one believes ( comes to Christ ) when he is a child, he cannot enter the Kingdom ( be in Christ ). This, I think, is not a meaning that anyone in their right mind would ascribe to this saying of Jesus'. In the Gospel accounts of Mark and Luke; Jesus' statement is somewhat obscure, simply stating that 'Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.' ( Mark 10:15 & Luke 18:17 ), but Matthew is a bit clearer when he records our Lord as saying "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven." and "Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ( Matthew 18:3 & 4). Matthew's elaboration helps us to understand Jesus' meaning a little better, I think; because He tells us that unless one is converted ( changed ) and becomes as a child, trusting in his Father; he cannot enter the Kingdom ( become in Christ ).

I think that some mis-interpret Jesus' statement in the so-called 'Synoptic Gospels' to be speaking of a 'blind faith', or an illogical and senseless belief, but I think that Jesus makes it clear that we must be 'wise as serpents, and harmless as doves', in that we must humble ourselves before our almighty Father, acknowledging ( realizing ) that we cannot enter the Kingdom on our own ( 'not by human means' see also, Daniel 8:25 ), but that we must trust in His Righteousness ( 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life' ), in order to enter the Kingdom.

By saying this, I am not 'exalting' logic above it's station, but indeed; I believe that as the divine Logos ( Word ), Jesus wants us to be able to understand what we believe, and why we believe it.
I don't think that God wants us to believe something that doesn't make logical 'sense' to us.

If God didn't want 'us' ( Christians ) to understand what we believe, then why did He spend so much time painstakingly explaining, not only His parables, but His relationship with and to His Father? I think that Jesus made it abundantly clear why He spoke in parables, in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 ( see also Matthew 18:12-14, Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 10:30-37 ): He spoke in parables, some, if not most, hard to understand, that ' seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand................', and because, 'it has been given to you to know ( understand ) the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven..............'

I say all this, to say that we must come to a logical conclusion, speaking as a human being, which Paul often did ( II Corinthians 11:21 , Philippians 3:4 , Romans 6:19 ), in order to believe something. If something doesn't make sense to us, it goes against our God-given nature to believe it. Some may immediately throw out a 'red flag' when they read what I've just said, but really, when you think about it in the context of the Scriptures above; God obviously planned for us to make informed decisions, or else, why create the world at all: why decree His elect Church?

Even though John doesn't record this 'incident, per se, in his Gospel; Jesus' words to Nicodemus are somewhat to this effect, and actually, closer to the context in which John wrote. In John's Gospel: Jesus is recorded as saying
'unless one is born again, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God'. Note the uniformity, yet difference, between John's record of Christ's instructions on how we must enter the Kingdom, and Matthew's, Mark's, and Luke's.
Note too, that Nicodemus then further asks, showing his Pharisaical understanding of Jesus' words; 'How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?' ( see also Genesis 17:15-21 & Hebrews 11:11-12 ). Jesus, however, corrects his woodenly literal interpretation by telling him that the birth that He spoke of was not a physical, but rather, a spiritual one, which Paul, and others, speak of as the 'new creation'. Jesus, I think; strengthens and confirms through John's record, that it is only through the 'new birth' ( from God's Holy Spirit ) that we can enter God's Kingdom, not through any human means.

Getting 'back on track', here, and condensing what I've said already; Jesus, through the Gospel recorded by Matthew, makes it clear that we are to become as children, not in the sense of a blind, senseless faith, but in humility, acknowledging that God, as our Father, does indeed know best ( even though we sometimes DO exalt our logic above Him ), and acting on that knowledge, by trusting to the 'Logos'( John 1:1 ), rather than our own logic, for a saving 'knowledge ( understanding ) of 'the Truth', which is Jesus Christ!

These are just some thoughts that I had in regards to the seemingly traditional idea of a 'blind' faith and an ignorant, senseless, and woodenly literal interpretation of Scripture.

As always, I welcome criticism, and encourage my readers to 'search the Scriptures daily, to see if these things are so'.

'in' Christ, the 'Logos',
Charles Shank

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