The Product of Warnings Ignored

It is a rare breed that would deny that our nation (and the world) is in dramatic decline. Certainly there would be massive disagreement over what constitutes that decline, as well as the solution. But one thing rings true no matter what: Morally and Spiritually, America is likely at its lowest point in her almost 250 years of formal existence. Indeed, I will argue that while the relative moralism of chattel slavery of our first 100-ish years of existence were horrifically wrong, the overall moral and spiritual condition of this nation is actually worse today, and this is directly attributable, not to “Leftist and Liberals who hate God and hate what America stands for” (though this is a real condition), but to those who claim Jesus Christ, yet have willfully shut their mouths or refused to engage the culture for decades, or have lived in a state of denial in spite of the “remnant” who have sounded the alarm and been shunned and demonized as divisive or even evil.

Indeed, I lay this at the feet of the current state of The Church. Now – let me deal with some definitions so that we have no misunderstandings. When I use the term The Church, I am using it in the very limited context of Paul’s writing to the Ephesian congregation (Ephesians 5:25), or in the form that Jesus Himself used the term in Matthew 16:18. The singular term is the minority use of ἐκκλησία (called out assembly). In this world, The Church is actually manifested, not in some invisible, hypothetical giant umbrella, but as the physical, local, New Testament Church. I reject the generic “universal church” of all professed believers – as all believers are commanded to be joined with and assemble together, not in some mass body (that is reserved for the final days), but with the LOCAL CHURCH (think of the salutations of the New Testament epistles – “to the church at ______” or “to the saints at______”.

But for the sake of this post, I am referring to the larger umbrella of churches that claim to be OF Jesus – or maybe better I could use the equally deceptive and generic “Christianity” (with a particular focus on more contemporary “Big Evangelicalism”, but that quickly devolves to an entirely other discussion).

But my point here is this – the root tool or mechanism that has lead to the incredible spiritual and moral decay in this nation is the very institutions that Christ instituted to be models and champions OF His Word and foundations. Just as Israel of the Old Testament was called out and set apart as a witness to the pagan world of God and His character, we who are genuinely regenerated believers today are to be a “peculiar people” (1 Peter 2:9) – and this doesn’t mean simply to put on a front, but to live out and speak out the truth as the early Apostles did, and indeed as our perfect example – Jesus Christ – did.

Who would have thought just a few decades back that some of the biggest denominations in Christianity would not just endorse homosexuality, but certify same-sex “marriages” as valid? How many saw coming supposed Christian leaders fueling racial and ethnic division via promotion of certifiably-anti Christian and anti-Gospel products of the Frankfurt school’s blatant Marxism as the “solution” to society’s claimed woes? Jesus came to BE the solution to the woes of this nation and the world. That woe is spelled SIN. The woe that enabled and promoted chattel slavery for so long was the sinful and unchanged hearts of mankind. The fuel for radical skin-color based discrimination and hateful actions for many years following the formal end of said slavery (and even the remnant of that today) is not “anti-racism” or a “Social Justice Gospel” as perpetuated more and more by supposed churches. The answer to any and ALL is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which directly crushes Social Justice, it shreds such Marxist concepts as Critical Race Theory. It is the gospel that actually erases lines between ethnicities, skin color, nationality, socio-economic status, and every other division. Galtians clearly states this in no uncertain terms –

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Colossians 3:28

And while we are battling senselessly over these massive derailments, heresies, and those “going apostate”, we have also witnessed professed believers behaving as scared lemmings, literally bowing in homage and worshipful adoration of supposed government experts who have now perpetuated a grand power-grab using a human-engineered virus (aka – a bioweapon) to exercise a whole new wave of humanity-manipulating evil. And how has this been done, even to masses of professed “Christians”? Because so many fear death more than they fear Hell itself.

Why? How? Because “we” (Christians/The Church) have grown far from proclaiming the realities of Hell, even among our own congregations, much less in this lost world. Being labeled as “judgmental” is more concerning to our ears than the desire to hear “well done my good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). Churches that have decided to become massive corporate entities instead of refuges and barracks for training and equipping Christ’s local armies (churches). Instead, “churches” have trained up apologetically-weak, worldly “Christians”. Many bemoan the huge majority of supposed “Christians” among our young people who go off to college and functionally walk away from their faith. When Jesus said (Matthew 10:16) “behold, I send you as sheep among wolves”, He wasn’t tossing unequipped, helpless pawns as cannon fodder, but sending soldiers who were to take up the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Instead, “The Church” has become a bunch of country clubs that are more concerned with tickling ears and building up not a warrior class of believers serving and living life in unity, but in self-centered, fleshly soup of debauchery disguised with church-ish practices and vocabulary. Meanwhile abortion continues practically unabated (thank you Texas for taking meaningful steps to protect the unborn). Though the actions of a few black-robed dictators with an agenda (some of which claim to be Christians), every state in this nation must issue certificates and recognize same-sex “marriage” as legitimate. We have legislations and court decisions opening the door to chemical and surgical mutilation of children as young as 5 to “change their gender” (what happened to genetic “science” we are suppose to “pay attention to”?

I could continue to bloviate about the “woes” of modern Christianity, but it all circles back to the view of Scripture in the professed believers heart. Either the Bible is the wholly-inspired, inherent, and sufficient Word of God, or it is not. No human has the authority or wisdom to pick-and-choose, do deprecate some parts and elevate others. It is beyond time for those who truly know Christ to set aside their worldly worries, fear of death, and stand for God’s Word.

Sadly – there are those who have taken a stand throughout biblical history. The Old Testament prophets were often hated and reviled as troublemakers and even were put to death. Those who sounded the alarm have historically been among the most harshly persecuted. In our own day, many have been attacked, shunned, condemned as hateful and wicked men, mostly because of the tone of their “polemics”. Organizations like Pulpit & Pen, Reformation Charlotte, Protestia, and guys like Jordan Hall, Seth Dunn, Cody Libolt, and a bit later – SovereignNations (and it’s leader Michael O’Fallon) have been calling out Christian figures, pastors, and false teachers for years, and their reward (in this world) has been vilification and marking – yet the woes of today’s “Church” are nearly all fulfillments of the very things they have been sounding the alarm about for all this time. And only recently have other figures finally begun singing the same song and realizing the utter futility of worrying more about tone and feelings over the brutal truth.

What is truly needful? For all who profess Christ to follow the same root model that the aforementioned men and organizations follow (regardless of the “tone” used) – the very same methodology that the Lord affirmed through Luke’s record of the early church and Paul’s ministry: Be Bereans! (Acts 17:11). Question everything. Open up the Word of God and actually compare what you hear and see to what God has already clearly said. The Bible isn’t outdated. No problem or woe faced today lacks an answer in the Word of God – and literally, everything can still be measured and discerned when compared to what the Bible says. Sins may have been redefined. Some so-called “preachers” may have said we need to “unhitch from the Old Testament” (just one of a mountain of heretical false-teachings of this man who is more concerned with pleasing man over God), or to simply stop judging people (clue – it isn’t US judging, God has ALREADY judged everything we are proclaiming). Indeed – if a toddler were to jet across your parking lot and towards a busy road, would you be worried about offending the child with your “tone” as you attempt to keep him or her from running to their violent and bloody end in that road? I pray not! And until we fully see that EVERY soul we encounter regardless of their choices of sin, is running willfully, blissfully, and blindly towards an eternity of condemnation and utter suffering for their unrepentant and unregenerate hearts – we will sit idly by in our inward-focused, sugar-coated, and disobedient cruise ship churches and just watch people, like lemmings, gleefully follow these heretical anti-christ types right through the gates of Hell. I might rightly ask – how can anyone who truly knows Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for the payment of our sin debt and reconciliation – sit and watch?

A Tale of Two Offerings

I’m revisiting a familiar passage from Genesis this afternoon – the history of Cain and Abel, and a situation that has cause me some confusion as I’ve tried to understand it – and has I have heard and read many opinions that I really cannot agree with.

Two Offerings

Scripture (Genesis 4) records these two sons of Adam, Cain and Abel, making an “offering” to the LORD. Abel brought “of the firstlings of his flock, including the fat”, while Cain brought an offering “of the fruit of the ground”. The passage goes on to say that God had no regard for Cain’s offering (rejected), while God “had regard” for what Abel offered. We know the rest of the story – and the anger and jealousy (theoretically) led Cain to murder his brother Abel. But the question that begs: Why was one accepted, the other rejected?”

The answer to this might be far simpler than most popular explanations given, and can be understood from the very best source of interpreting Scripture: Scripture!

So lets begin:

What’s The Difference?

One common theory as to why Abel’s offering was accepted, while Cain’s rejected is based on WHAT was given: Abel gave oof the firstlings and the fat of his flock implying death and the shedding of blood. While Cain’s offering was “of the fruit of the ground”. If we were to retroactively try to apply the Mosaic law (given many generations later), we might could make a case for the lack of blood in Cain’s sacrifice to be a reason for God’s rejection. But that would be eisegesis, or forcing our opinion on the text. We actually have no record of what had been taught or commanded of these brothers. In fact, outside of God killing animals as a covering for Adam and Eve, we don’t even have any other examples of killing until this point. But of even more interest is that the term translated here as “offering” (מנחה- or minchâh) means just that – offering or gift. It is nowhere translated as a “sacrifice”. But even if we were to use that terminology – the Mosaic law refers to grain offerings as well – so this is not likely to explain the difference.

Another theory revolves around the perceived quality of the offering. After all, Abel gave of the FIRSTlings of his flock with the fat – this would have been the most valuable (even in those earliest of days), and truly meaningful to the one giving them. And it so nicely foreshadows the giving of “firstfruits” to the LORD. At the same time, Cain’s offering was “of the fruit of the ground”. Again, the law later includes sacrifices given of grain (fruit of the ground), but was this just “some of what he had”? The problem we have, is that we still have no recorded instructions for what was “appropriate” to be given to the LORD in that context. Yes, our New Testament mindset ought to be that we desire to give of our very best – that is our view imposed on that historical event with nothing more than speculation. BUT…

A Symptom of the Bigger Problem?

The very best tool for interpreting Scripture will always be: Scripture! And sure enough, the New Testament gives us a great deal of help, beginning with explaining WHY Abel’s gift (now interestingly identified as a sacrifice) was accepted:

By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he was approved as being righteous⁠—God approving his gifts⁠—and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.

Hebrews 11:4

The writer of Hebrews identifies Abel’s offering (now also called a sacrifice, interestingly enough) as “better”. Why? “BY FAITH”. Abel’s offering to the LORD was given because of and with FAITH that it would be accepted. In fact, the “approval” in this verse might just as easily be understood as “demonstrated by”. The offering, made in faith, demonstrated that faith or “proved” it. This aligns well with James and what he penned regarding showing faith BY works. Works of/from genuine faith – which is what is expected (even without a single command given).

John recorded a bit that gives the contrast to Abel’s righteousness/faith –

For this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another; not as Cain, who was of the evil one and slew his brother. And for what reason did he slay him? Because his deeds were evil, and his brother’s were righteous.

1 John 3:11-12
Cain slew Abel

Cain harbored hate in his heart. His jealousy and rage over Abel’s offering being accepted by God was just another symptom of this heart corruption. Indeed, John here identifies Cain as literally “of the evil one” – aka Satan! So in reality, it didn’t matter what Cain brought as an offering to the LORD, it would not have been acceptable because it was not out of righteous faith. It was not with the right motives, and indeed – this is exactly what has always been the case. God knows the inner thoughts and motives of the heart. He knows why we do what we do. His murdering of brother Abel was just the logical escalation of his wicked and reprobate heart.

What does that mean for me?

But this should then bring us to a very serious position. What are you offering the LORD? Certainly it ought to be “of our very best”. Indeed, we are commanded in Romans 12:1 to offer ourselves as a living, holy and acceptable sacrifice unto the LORD. We are further commanded to do all things (that is – our work, our play, our speech, our walk) “as unto the LORD” (Colossians 3:23). If you genuinely love the LORD, if you truly desire to live a life that is pleasing to Him – then you are not encumbered by worry what others have given or do. You are not trying to figure out how to “get by with the minimum”. You will give generously to the LORD’s work (this isn’t just a financial comment, but of your time, your efforts, and your very heart). And you will give in and through faith, without an expectation of some kind of reward or accolade, or as some kind of “seed so God can bless you back 10-fold”. No – we simply are to give our best because He already gave His very best in the Perfect Lamb, Jesus Christ, who died as the complete payment in our place, to redeem us from our unplayable debt of sin. But if your giving is for the sake of getting – what kind of motive is that?