Refining of the Individual
Refining of the Individual
This subject is vastly confused in the minds of individuals worldwide. The reason for this is, in the view of the writers, because of confused, conflicting and erroneous teachings from the different Churches, groups and cults, many having an hidden agenda to maintain!
Some at this point will object that to allude to an hidden agenda is preposterous and untrue. If that is the case, why are different Churches and groups so wary of openness in relation to their activities, and why will they not allow examination of these relative to what Scripture says?
What then could be the hidden agenda? Simply put, the answer is control! If the history of the oldest established “Christendom” Church is examined, the various Christian groups were at the time of its formation by Constantine and his mother Helena, under pain of death, forced to conform to the new “universal” rules; (universal = catholic). This move was, and has been ever since, reinforced by the “Papal system”, which has carte blanche. Their control for approx. 1700 years, has made them the largest and richest Christendom group in the world! Their methods of control are reinforced by the “priest” system, who is the only person that is allowed to pass down the “interpretations” of the Bible of Jerome, (the Latin Bible), commissioned by the Roman Church! Their many refined methods of control include; confession, absolution, transubstantiation, Mariology, Purgatory, baptism for Salvation, Papal infallibility, and many others; all of which are not confirmed in Scripture, and have made them the most powerful and most rich of all the Christendom groups. To list the full amount of their error and errors, is beyond the scope of these comments, but suffice to say that under Papal authority and approval, Popes have gone to war, have authorised torture, have held multiple mistresses in Rome, have sold pardons ahead of the sin, etc. (see; Why the Teaching of the Roman Catholic Church is not of God Almighty: ). This latter was the catalyst for Martin Luther’s rejection of the Roman system, and his early catalyst of the Reformation. When torture was used, it was to force people to recant the Reformation principle, i.e. control!
The Roman example is used above, as it is the most well-known. The myriad of groups now around the world who wish to control people has grown enormously, and many people are either unaware, or don’t want to know. One reason for that is the natural desire to belong to a group, but any aware Christian person would only want to belong to a group that was truthful and held The Truth!
Before going further on the “refining” subject, a brief word is needed here on groups that hold the Truth.
All True and healthy groups in a Christian context, encourage study of a good translation of the Bible. Questions as they arise must not be suppressed, but debated openly, and in a spirit of love, bearing in mind constantly that The Truth of Almighty God is being handled! In practice, although mostly good motives are intended, differences do arise, which is where a true test of The Spirit of Christ in a group is manifested, or otherwise. The group, or leaders should never demand obedience beyond normal good behaviour or manners. If claims or demands are made which do not appear to chime with reason, commonsense or the Bible, they should be challenged in open forum. The will of the individual should never be "subjected" to a person or group, except in openly approved, Christian "norms and principles" which are common to the group, and posted and known prior to joining. In such a Christ centred atmosphere, growth of group and individual will flourish, and the Holy Spirit, the Comforter will be in the midst in Truth!
The reason for all the forgoing, is that the opposite of the controlling methods shown above, is what Christ has promised in Himself. In John 1:14, the Holy Spirit describes Jesus. In John 1:17, the route of Truth is confirmed as Jesus. In John 8:32, Jesus confirms that the knowledge of Him sets people free! In John 14:6, Jesus confirms He is the only way of Life and Truth! All the attempts of groups which have an agenda other than the Truth of Christ, is to control in one way or another!
The refining process is therefore much harder if teaching is wrong, or if, as is the case with some groups, they say the Holy Spirit does the refining in His timing!
So what is the criterion for refining, and is it really necessary? Here reference to what Scripture says is necessary.
The great Apostle Paul was very aware of this subject, and also lamented his own shortcomings. The only place to start, is with the requirement of Christ, as shown in 2Cor. 5:10, “for we must all appear (be manifested) before the judgement seat of Christ; that every (each) one may receive the things done in (by means of) his body, according (with reference to) to that he hath done (practiced), whether it be good or bad (depraved)”, KJV. The brackets are from the original Grk. manuscripts. [Where “he” is read, the meaning is obviously male or female]. This is confirmed by Paul in Romans 14:10. The detail of how Christ deals with each individual’s undealt with areas is given in 1Cor. 3:10-17. The very interesting point is that a person at the stage of Salvation, is not left without their freewill! The same freewill that the person used to take the time and effort to study, strive, and pray before they gave their hearts to Christ, is still with them! However, there is a change of emphasis. Instead of self-serving actions and behaviour, the desire is changed to wanting to know more of Christ and Jehovah God, the mind changes to that of wanting to please the Lord, and to become more “Christ minded”.
We know from the account in the garden of Eden, that Adam and Eve had a choice, as to whether to eat of the fruit “of the knowledge of good and evil”. They used their God given freewill to both decide and to act, when Satan stirred them up. The consequences of that action had to be dealt with by Jesus on the Calvary Cross! In between those times, many used their God given freewill for better or for worse, with many accounts given in the Old Testament. Included in those, even some angelic beings!
It is clearly important in the plan of Jehovah God for freewill to be a crucial part of His redemption plan, against Satan, who used his freewill to challenge his Creator, and would now desire to take God’s place! Satan is at present using his freewill to try to usurp God, and the Drama has yet farther to go, see www.revelationsmessage.co.uk.
So, our freewill is still with us. It stays with us until we die. As Christians we will make many choices with our freewill, and some will not be Christ honouring. Those are the ones that will be burned away later, when we individually meet the Lord!
There are some groups that teach that the Holy Spirit will take away, or deal with this or that problem, in His timing, and that a person does not have to strive, or use their own will. This in the writers view is totally wrong. The truth is that just as Satan prods to sin, the Holy Spirit prods to refine, and it is an act of partnership between the will and the spirit, a decision by the person! Such teaching are common in Pentecostal and Charismatic groups, to name but two, but this teaching is also scattered throughout Christendom in many forms, particularly in women’s teaching groups. They often use such verses as Mal. 3:3, which has reference to the Jewish Priesthood, and the example used of the smelter holding the silver until the image is clear, is implied as the individual not being able to use their own will. Taking this out of the context of God’s dealing with His priesthood, is to deceive the individual, as the writers hope has been shown above! It is noteworthy that in the yet to be Millennial Reign of Christ, freewill still prevails in the human population! But that is another story!
For now, what is shown above is paramount, and it is worth remembering that Heavenly creation, of which we are unaware, are watching our progress, Eph. 3:10.
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