Cultural Engagement Series
The Good, the Bad and the Kingdom
You will remember how in the last teaching, I made an important observation as to how the politics of the nations are built on the knowledge of good and evil, while the kingdom of God is built on the knowledge of God which yields eternal life (Jn. 17:3). We also said that promoting eternal life must be the purposeful goal of God's people amidst human politics, both in intercession and through whatever degree we may be directly involved with human government, for this is how the
operates among the nations until it is ready to come to manifestation through a glorified people. kingdomof God
In line with this, we noted how that intercession is more powerful than direct governmental involvement (such as campaigning, voting etc.) because it is God who ultimately raises and deposes human leaders, not the people. Those elevations and deposings are all designed around His ultimate kingdom purposes pertaining to His kingdom people among the nations (which I will elaborate a bit more on today). This is as true when He "elects" bad leaders as it is when He "elects" good leaders. Our job in intercession is to support God's election, even if it contravenes our personal interests in "good" government. Intercession is not about getting God to "elect" good government as we desire it per se. This is an important distinction yet to be made in the heart of the prophetic / intercessory movement.
(That's a basic recap of all I said last time.)
So let's once again go back to the beginning. We have two principles of existence: Eternal life through the knowledge of God; and the maintenance of human life through the implementation of the knowledge of good over the knowledge of evil. That's it. Its that simple. All of existence revolves about the interactive dynamic between these two principles. These two life principles are opposed, yet the lesser is designed to serve the superior. Within the lesser itself, the knowledge of good and evil, is an internal struggle between the two (good and evil) which is divinely designed to serve the superior purpose that leads to the victory of the knowledge of God over the knowledge of both good and evil. God is always superintending that purpose on every level, from the struggle in the heart of the individual child to the clash of arms between the mightiest of nations.
The micro struggle between good and evil within that lesser knowledge and the macro struggle of the knowledge of good and evil against the superior knowledge of God is played out in multiple theaters of life existence every day. It is played out in economics. It is played out in politics (ie, government). It is played out in sociology (ie, human relations), and so on. So:
There is good economics and bad economics. And then there is kingdom economics.
There is good politics and bad politics. And then there is kingdom "politics."
There is good morality and bad morality (immorality). And then there is kingdom "morality."
[There is also good worship (religious practices) and bad worship (idolatry.) And then there is kingdom "worship in Spirit and in Truth."]
All law is sourced in the knowledge of good and evil. All grace that transcends law is found in the knowledge of God.
So there is economic law, and economic grace.
There is governmental law and governmental grace.
There is moral law and moral grace.
[And there is religious law and spiritual grace.]
And again then, it is important to discern the micro struggle from the macro struggle.
There is the micro struggle between law and the outlaw. Then there is the macro struggle between both of these and the Grace of God.
Good economics (sowing and reaping / investing) struggles against bad economics (stealing). Both struggle against Grace economics (stewardship salvation).
Good polity (freedom through responsibility) struggles against bad polity (slavery through entitlement). Both struggle against Grace polity (eternal sonship).
Morality struggles against immorality. Both struggle against the "righteousness by grace through faith."
And so on...
I hope you can see these clearly. They really are that simple. All of human life is about the immediate struggle between the good and the bad in all of these realms. (Jesus calls this the realm of the "flesh.") But the divine kingdom purpose is about the greater struggle between the polarized flesh realm and the higher realm of eternal life grace brought through Jesus Christ to the world (ie, the realm of the "Spirit.")
If you can see this, then you have the grid through which to properly perceive and evaluate everything you hear discussed in the world every day about anything.
All you have to perceive is, in such and such discussion, which is the good position according to God's higher earthly intent, which is the bad position opposed to God's higher intent (maybe there is some of both on each side), and then, what is God's highest intent according to the principles of eternal life through the knowledge of God?
What I have just shared with you is the sum of true "kingdom thinking." As God's people become astute and skilled in the perception of this, they fulfil their destined role to rule and reign with Christ at His manifest coming. As rulers in training, God's people are to be now excelling in perceiving between good and evil in every sphere of life, and then going beyond this to discover and live out the superior truths of eternal life by the Spirit.
[Note: here is something more for perspective. The macro struggle between the "fleshings" of good and evil and the kingdom of eternal life is a struggle of "birth." It is the "birth struggle" to eternal life, or as Jesus called it, "born again." Let this give you a new kingdom window on the meaning of a core phrase of our faith that has become clich--ed to death over the generations. To be "born again" is not about making a decision for Christ. Birth is not a decision. A decision is based in knowledge of good and evil. Nobody is born to eternal life by making a decision. To be born again is to be born out of the realm of making decisions--out of the realm of the fleshly polarity between the knowledges of good and evil--into the realm of the truly living knowing of God through Jesus Christ--by the will of God (Jn. 1:13). Beyond this, there is a sense in which we are as believers are being reborn daily in some way as God matures us toward eternal sonship in the knowledge of God. This is what Paul means by saying Christ is formed in you (Gal. 4:19). OK. Enough rabbit trailing...]
So far, I have outlined just the very basics. And if you grasp them, you will be well on your way to charted stability in the recognition of spiritual reality relative to all argumentation that is around you. But there are a few more principles necessary to grasp so that you do not become deceived in some areas about these things. Let me outline these briefly as well.
The Abuse of Good.
First is to perceive the internal clash within the knowledge of good and evil over the "abuse of good." Its important to realize that under the knowledge of good and evil, only death results. Abiding by the knowledge of good has no staying power or ability to produce life. Because this is so, no matter how long or how hard one tries to live by the knowledge of good, the devotee of good will fail. The pursuit of good only finally reveals one's own inherent sinfulness. "There is none that is good but God." What we call "good" is but a mirror of the true goodness of eternal life. But it has no power of life. No standard of goodness, no moral or ethical law of any kind, has the power to produce life. It has only the power to expose sin. (See Romans 7.)
This means that eventually all followers of a form of goodness fail at it. And the stronger the case for good one advocates, the stronger his fall from it or even his succumbing to the abusing of it. Now you need to see this in light of all the life areas already mentioned. Those who live by the standards of good economics eventually abuse it, succumbing to thievery. Those who live by standards of good governmental polity eventually give in to illegal activity. Those who proclaim morality the loudest eventually fall into immorality. And so on. And we see this every day in the news. Those who champion the highest form or good economy, polity and morality, however well intentioned as they may begin, eventually yield to secretly abusing it or to falling from the standard of that which they championed.
This in turn sets up an interminable clash between the "good-ists" and the "bad-ists" in which the failures of the "good-ists" to live by their own standards justifies to the "bad-ists" their lawless ways. The abuse of good becomes the excuse for the abolition of good and the defense of evil. This is critically important to perceive. Again, it is seen every day in the news. All men sin. But when those who advocate "good-ism" sin, it draws the most attention, the most ridicule. We witness this every time a proponent of morality is caught in sin, every time an advocate of good polity is caught in a legal ethics violation, every time an backer of good investment economics is caught stealing from his own company and feeding his greed at the expense of others.
Without the staying power of eternal life human tendency is to sin. Therefore good-ists always have an uphill battle in their battle against bad-ists and lawlessness. Good-ism is perpetually ridiculed in the flesh world because of the intentional abuse and hypocrisy or the unintentional failure of its supporters to live up to its standards in all walks of life. God's eternal kingdom people must have the discernment not to be conned into supporting any form of bad-ism or the abolition of what is good because of the abuse of good-ism. (The classic historic and ongoing specimen of this struggle in the economic realm is the communist call for the abolition of the greedy affluent bourgeoisie class.)
God's Support of Good
Although God's standard of righteousness is findable only in the transcending grace of eternal life, God is nevertheless the author of human goodness and of the earthly principles in every field of life that make for what is good. Though He leads toward an eternal life beyond it, God is not against the knowledge of good. This too is important to see. Jesus said, "I came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil it." Said differently, He could have said, "I came not to destroy the knowledge of Good, but to fulfil it."
This is important to illustrate directly from His life. It is easy to get from the gospels the sense that because Jesus was against the Pharisees' hypocrisy that He was also against the fundamentals of what they believed. The Pharisees were "good-ists" who at best failed at keeping the Law and at worst practiced deceit and wickedness under the cover of it. It was necessary for Jesus to expose and major on this in order to point to the Eternal Truth of Who He Is beyond the Law and the knowledge of good.
But what is overlooked is that Jesus was nevertheless a supporter and believer in that which was good and true within the context of Jewish life, culture, history and theology. For example, Jesus was a "conservative" theologian, not a "liberal." He supported the Pharisees in their theological debate with the Sadducees regarding the truth of the resurrection from the dead. The Sadducees were theological "bad-ists" in this regard. And Jesus contradicted them outright.
A similar example is seen in His encounter with the Samaritan woman. From the position of Jewish purity which God authored in the beginning, the Samaritans had an illegitimate claim to stewarding the worship and priesthood of
. This stemmed all the way back to when Jereboam split the northern kingdom away from Israel Judahand set up his own idolatrous worship center in . Then still later those people were carried off and replaced by a mixed people of other heritages. From these came the Samaritans, all for which cause the Jewish leadership did not acknowledge their legitimacy as part of Samaria . Israel
In Jesus' encounter with the woman at the well, what is usually highlighted is His willingness to cross racial and gender lines to reach someone with the message of eternal life beyond the conflict of "good-ist" Judaism and "bad-ist" Samaritanism. "Believe me," He says, "an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in
will you worship the Father." But oft overlooked is that Jesus nevertheless affirmed the correctness of the "good-ist" Jewish position. Said He to her immediately following, "You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews." Jerusalem
In other words, Jesus was not afraid to take a "right" position on an earthly matter even though it was not the truest point according in the knowledge of God.
The Misuse of Grace to Justify "Bad-ism"
These illustrations are important because--in the same way "bad-ists" often use the abuse of "good-ism" to justify "bad-ist" positions, they also misuse the truths of eternal grace to the same end. For instance, in the case at hand, "bad-ists" would use Jesus' message of transnational worship to say then that Samaritan worship is "just as valid" as Jewish worship--when it was not!
Likewise, "bad-ists" oft appeal to grace positions based in eternal life to justify their positions relative to the things of this life. Immoralists will appeal to the scriptural evidences of God's eternal grace to say "we are no longer under any moral law." Paul decried this mis-appeal to grace in his letter to the Romans (3). Exemplified in today's discussions in world affairs, political and economic "bad-ists" will point to the spiritually authored eternal life principles of giving and communal sharing seen in Acts 4:32 to justify governmental and economic theft from the productive to redistribute to the non-productive, contrary to the good-ist political and economic principles of human responsibility and investment God has sown into the earth.
In short, the transcendent righteousness of the knowledge of God pertaining to economics, polity and sociology can never rightly be applied to abolish the principles of goodness God has designed into human polity, economy and social relationship. It's untrue to believe that Jesus would not today affirm any political and economic positions based in the knowledge of good. He indeed would affirm them. He would for example affirm the "right to life" for the unborn. He would affirm the principles of capitalist investment (as in Mt. 25:14-29) while decrying the abuse of them (as in Jms. 5:1-6). He would not affirm socialism and certainly not communism. Yet at the same time, He would affirm something greater beyond that which is "right" and "good" in these realms. Even when He returns, men will still be subject to the knowledge of good and evil and His edicts will speak to that weakness.(Much more to come in future teachings on stewardship salvation.)
Applying Kingdom Discernment between Goodness and Grace
This brings us to discussing the discerning role God's kingdom people must have in wending our way toward final manifestation. As co-rulers with Christ in training, we are called to understand and rightly divide the truth between the knowledge of good and evil and in turn between fleshly knowledge and the superior realm of the eternally living spirit knowledge of God in Christ. We must know what is good from what is bad, and we must know what is grace beyond both. We must then discern the true from the false applications of these among one another. And we must do so in every realm of life to which we are exposed and called, not being ignorant of the affairs around us.
By all this we're ordained as kingdom ambassadors to lead the lost sheep at every level into this same place of eternal life ahead of the demise of this world's systems and the manifest kingdom at Christ's appearing. We are to stand now before kings and governors as well as before the impoverished and homeless and outcast. We are expected to know good from bad, affirm the good, then transcend it toward the place where true life alone is found. We are expected to rebuke the hypocrisy and abuse of the good without affirming what is contrary to God. We are also to affirm transcendent grace without affirming the bad.
Perceiving God's Righteousness When It Looks Bad
Within and among the issues of the good, the bad and the kingdom, God has a purpose toward an eternal people He is birthing from the depths of condemned humanity. This purpose is transnational, cross-generational and has been in development for many centuries. It has many ups and downs just as it was in ancient
. Accordingly, God has to minister and administer differently among the nations according to the state of His people's development in their midst. Israel
This means we need to understand God's discipline inside the grace of His purposes--something we natively experience negatively and consider as "bad." In turn we need to side with God when for such purposes He appoints oppressors and times of economic distress rather than leaders and conditions we know to be good by the principles He has sown into the world. God appoints "bad" dictators and elects "bad" presidents and prime ministers when it is necessary to highlight the perilousness of mans plight ahead of hell, and when God's people in their midst are not maturing as designed but are holding up the kingdom.
The Books of Judges and the Kings repeatedly tell of how God raised up enemies and oppressors to rule over
. The oppressors did not come to power by themselves, by their might. God raised them up and gave them lordship over Israel as punishment for unfaithfulness. Once the oppression reached its height and brought Israel Israelto repentance, God then raised up a judge or a king by whom He could then deliver . No prophet foretelling these things wanted to. No prophet wanted foreign invaders and oppressive kings to be raised up. But foretell them they did. They could not prophesy to their freedom and deliverance just because freedom is normally good, slavery is normally bad--and "good" is what God ideally wanted for them. In the cases of these bad appointments, a greater good beyond human knowledge was at stake, and the prophets were expected to recognize it, side with it and voice it. Israel
According to recent prophetic words of Terry Bennett,
is under such discipline now. Actually, most if not all of the world is under discipline. A time is coming when God will raise up a single man and system to oppress and terrorize the world ahead of hell. No true prophet now delights in any of this. Prophesying hell on earth certainly is not the fulfillment of the Lord's Prayer. Prophets have to live with the oppressors and famines like everyone else. But a true prophet will side with God's higher eternal goodness to proclaim what is otherwise bad and contrary to God's good earthly principles for the world's people to experience. It is to that higher eternal goodness which God's people must orient under otherwise bad times--bad government, bad economy, and a pathologic sociology. America
God's Demand for Desperation
After a recent time of worship and intercession here at Covenant House, the Lord brought forth two penetrating words. In the first, He said that He had a hidden word to unearth and reveal to His People--a new word and realm of truth His People are groping for, praying for, but cannot find. Later, this second word came forth, "When the desire for truth in My People exceeds the desire of the world to suppress My truth in unrighteousness, then will I come and reveal to them the hidden Truth I have promised and deliver them from the oppressors."
God is looking for a certain level of desperation in the church before He comes to rescue the nations among which we dwell from their calamities. There is a hidden seed in the earth scattered throughout every walk of life which God is moving to birth from out of societal darkness. But it requires intercession that is desperate. Through the Passionist prayer movement God has prepared an intercessory people, but little truth. The truth that sets free the living from societal darkness and brings to light the yet unborn prisoners remains hidden. God wants desperation for truth in the hearts of the Passionist prophets and intercessors and worshippers in our lands. Enough already of Passionist pabulum and "sons of Samuel" that produce oppressive "Sauls." God wants a church that will endure sound doctrine and will respond to discipline. And He requires within that forthcoming but as yet unborn seed the same desperation that will bring them to birth, and to the complete light of Christ.
Then, as the church responds, and the desire for Truth swells, and the light of conviction of sin, righteousness and judgment makes its mark in the unborn seed, the hand of God will raise up new deliverers and will remove the oppressor. Goodness as we know it--in government, in economy, in society--will flourish again. God will raise up "good" leaders according to the "good" principles of polity He has instituted into the earth.
Not With Observation
And yet when any such restoration happens, it will be to a still higher societal level of good. In fact, a time is coming when, unlike now when the eternal people are subject to the rulers of this life under the knowledge of good, the table will be turned and the rulers of this life according to the knowledge of good will be subject to the eternal people under the knowledge of God. This is the time when "they shall all know me, from the least...to the greatest..." (Jer. 31:34). The knowledge of good and evil will still be with the world, but the world's relationship to the eternal people who live totally by the knowing of Christ will be flipped upside down. By this you will know the manifest kingdom has come.
But how does this happen, and how does it come? As Jesus said, "not with observation" (Lk. 17:20). Meaning? The kingdom will not come by any applied principle of good over evil. Rather it will come from the inner knowing of the Father. The
is not manufactured from without by principles of good law--not even by scriptural law (as today's Puritans and Reconstructionists believe). It grows from within by the eternal life birthed in the knowing of the Father. This growing up process will come to its own critical birthing point in the earth. This is the time of the birth pangs of tribulation (Mt. 24:8). The power from within the eternal Holy Ones will arise to transcend the power and authority of earthly government. The kingdoms of this world built on all their principles will not be able to stem or suppress it, any more than a concrete highway can stop grass from growing up through to crack it apart. This is how the "rock made without hands" breaks the statue of the kings, its witness sealed by Nebuchadnezzar's homage to Daniel (Dan. 2:45-49). kingdomof God
Counting the Birth Pangs
Right now, we do not know which "birth pang" we are at. The world is passing through another phase of discipline and oppression, alias judgment, since 2008. Will we see another interim short term delivery as we saw under Ronald Reagan when all appeared lost to the Soviets? Is the desperation ripe for that yet? Or are we headed straight into the great and final tribulation where we see the final oppressor and the eternal kingdom finally grows up to break through the concrete?
I'll tell you what I believe. As birth pangs progress, they become shorter and more numerous. I believe we are in for a period of short choppy alternations over the next 20 years between oppression and deliverance, a good president here, a worse one there, then another relatively good one, until the final bad man of the earth rises up. With each short release from the tension, there will have been desperate intercession applied, a little more ground gained in the eternal knowing of God, a little more deliverance from the knowledge of good. People of the earth will increasingly realize the emptiness of the knowledge of good--that it is incapable of bringing deliverance to government and economy. Awareness of spiritual things will heighten--but only to be followed by yet worse depression as complacency again sets in, the prophets and intercessors go back to worshipping America and its deliverer, and so a yet greater release of hell on earth from the abyss occurs, and even worse rulers yet arise. And so on...
The Light of the World
John tells us that Jesus is the light that lights every man that comes into the world (Jn. 1:9). A "creatorial imprint" is stamped on the human soul before it is born. It has the name of Jesus on it. It says, "made by Jesus, creator of the world." That stamp or imprint is a light--not an innate saving light as the Quakers taught--but a light of accountability, the basis on which every man is judged, whether he ever hears the gospel or not (Rom. 10:18). It is the presence of that light imprinted on the innermost human psyche that gives God the right to judge the world and hold it accountable to His creatorship for how it bears His image.
Despite that light, men repress this innermost truth in unrighteousness. Men constantly suppress that light in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18). Do you know why all men throughout the earth swear and curse in the name of Jesus? It's because of that imprinted light. They dont curse the name of Allah, or Buddha, though they may add another god from time to time ("Great Caesars ghost!...") But when Whites or Blacks or Asians or Hispanics, both young and old curse throughout the world, it is some form of the name of Jesus they curse. The Universal Cursing of Jesus proves His creatorship of all men. Though men try to smother that light in unrighteousness, they cant escape it, and so cursing the imprinted Name of creatorship on their souls is their only outlet.
Nevertheless the Father has another planting within those whom He has chosen throughout the earth (Mt. 15:13). Those with that planting have a bent toward the knowledge of Good rather than of Evil (Jn. 3:21), though they are imprisoned by sin--before the gospel ever gets to them. But their knowing of good only condemns them further, because they can't keep it--in politics, in business, in morality. Some are caught and go to jail before they meet the savior. But finally one way or another, the revelation of Christ through the gospel goes out to meet that planting of the Father and brings forth a harvest to new birth and eternal life in the finally saving knowing of God. That knowledge dethrones the knowledge of Good for the first time. There is a conversion from the knowledge of good, not a decision for Christ made by its power. And our numbers in the kingdom now are increased by one. And the angels rejoice.
But the next round of generational planting remains hidden as we have just heard. The light of accountability is there in the depths of these hearts. Their knowledge of good can't save them. They sin repeatedly and even get caught. They cheat and steal and murder, but want a saving light. But it is hidden from them. They must become desperate. And so must the already saved church above ground. We too must outgrow our latest level of dependence on the knowing and expectation of good in this world's kingdoms.
So it is that two birthings are on the way, one below ground into the first light of salvation, and one above ground into the first manifestation of glorified flesh. And it is over these things that the kingdom of eternal life is outgrowing the kingdoms of this world and principles of knowing good and evil.
And that is where we will stop for now. The good, the bad, and the kingdom...
New Meadow Neck, RI
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created May 25, 2012