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The Daily Word of Righteousness
The Manual and the Garden, continued
This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, (I John 4:2—NIV)
Why God has permitted this incorrect emphasis to continue for so long I am not prepared to say. It appears the philosophy of Gnosticism has played an important role in Christian thinking and does to the present hour. In fact, current Evangelical doctrine is to a significant extent a watered-down Gnosticism and not Christianity at all.
Gnosticism, a philosophy prevalent when the Christian Church came into existent, is heavily dualistic. Gnosticism maintains that the fleshly body contains sin and will continue to sin. Salvation, which in Gnostic terms means to return to Heaven, is for the spirit of man. Salvation is gained by holding to certain mystical secrets. The behavior of the body is inconsequential.
One can be perfectly ready for Heaven by belief in the secrets even though the body makes no attempt to keep God's commandments.
The Gnostics went so far as to claim Jesus Christ did not come in a body of flesh but only appeared to do so.
Sound familiar? Evangelical doctrine today points toward the spirit Heaven as our goal, maintaining that if we hold the correct doctrinal belief we will go to Heaven even though we sin in the body. The unscriptural doctrine of the pre-tribulation "rapture" of the believers is tainted with Gnosticism in that it ignores the fundamental importance of the resurrection of the body and stresses the ascent of the individual to the spirit realm, not caring whether we are in the body or not. The important thing is to get our spiritual nature into Heaven so we can live in the spirit Paradise forever. Who needs a physical body in the spirit Paradise? Thus the fleshly body is de-emphasized.
True Christian doctrine is the opposite of Gnosticism. True Christian doctrine emphasizes the behavior of the body and the coming of the Kingdom of God to the earth. The Kingdom of God consists of all the Glory of God and Heaven clothed in physical form, just as was true when Jesus of Nazareth came forth from the cave of Joseph of Arimathea.
The reason Christians do not keep God's commandments is they believe what we do in the body is not critical to our salvation. The New Testament teaches the opposite. The Apostle Paul maintained that if we sin in our body we will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
The Apostle Paul groaned for the redemption of his body, noting in Romans that if we continue to live after the flesh we will die—spiritually, that is (Romans 8:13).
The Judgment Seat of Christ reviews what we have done in our body, and we are given back in the Day of Resurrection what we have practiced in the body.
The Apostle Paul stressed the resurrection of the physical body to the point of stating if there were to be no resurrection from the dead we Christians are of all people most miserable.
Paul also claimed that those who are part of Christ will be made alive at His coming, implying that even though we have eternal life today by believing in Christ we do not actually come to life until the Day of Resurrection.
To be continued.