"Since by your obedience to the truth you have purified yourselves so that you can experience the genuine love of brothers, love each other intensely from the heart." 1Peter1,22
Jesus made a point of letting us know he is the truth (John14,6), the answer to our human problem of sin and death.
He is the one we turn to in repentance and an adult faither's baptism (born again of water and the Spirit John 3,5).
By our obedience to these introductory truths we now share one faith, and one Spirit, and become brothers and sisters in the one family of God.
But our obedience to biblical truth is not a one time thing, but rather an ongoing call on our lives, unto heaven and the reign of God from Zion (Revelation 14,1).
When the Hebrew priests of old became priests they agreed to conduct the sacred rites of the tent and temple throughout their lives (Psalm61,8). For us Christians (a universal priesthood- Jesus and the Apostles didn't ordain priests), our unspoken baptismal "vow" is picking up our cross and following Him.
In contrast to this life-long sense of obedience, the world also offers its own version of "truth", which is an ever changing, situational, and usually a partial and opportunistic short cut, and sometimes incidental to a larger message of deception.
This is Pontius Pilate's version. What is truth he asked?
Whatever works at the time.
And as we know from scripture and experience, the devil, the world and the flesh can also quote scripture, and turn and twist it in an attempt to lead God's people away from lifelong obedience to the truth.
It's interesting that Jesus chose the image of a yoke when it came to serving him:
"put on my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble-hearted and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to wear, and my load is light." (Matthew 11,29)
Why did he not give us the image of some cosmic space and time travel cap that allows us to become supermen and superwomen?
Well I figure he knew His yoke would keep us close, within an obedience range.
In other words, we are free indeed, but remain yoked to him and his tugging and nudging.
There's always been a great temptation to otherwise yoke ourselves, say to churches and pastors and buildings and styles rather than Jesus.
Perhaps we have all seen a share of bullies or compromisers or careerists (or some combination thereof) that seek to yoke people to them and a false gospel. But such non Jesus yokes are not just the exclusive purview of the blantantly erring.
They have a way of infiltrating all Christian experience, even some that begin well and thrives.
I was out in New Mexico recently and I was in a dairy corral and the cowboys had seprated the ones with eye infections for antibiotic treatment.
Oh the sight of the needle.
But this vaquero del norte was up to the task.
One by one the other cowboys in the holding pen led a sick cow into an inner pen, and then into a gated head harness that looked- to the cow- like freedom, but then the cowboy with the needle shut the head gate.
One head clank up, one head clank down, a brief and ponderous protest.
Then the full portion of antibiotic went into their head just above the infected eye.
This gated head harness was a perfect yoke for these cows, but what have you seen used on God's herd:
1. Infant baptism- might as well take care of your salvation, so early so easy!
2. Pastorianity- your pastor is the story!
3. The Church, tradition, and priests mediate Jesus (who needs the word or the Spirit, prophets, Apostles and evangelists and all the rest?)
4. Health and wealth is the thing! Aren't you rich and healthy yet?
5. Spectators and tithers wanted, but not empowered!
6. Prophecy hated, or timed out after original apostles.
(Perhaps I missed one or two that you would like to add.)
Would that we were unshackled!
You might say I'm being dramatic and overstating the matter of being yoked to biblical truth or manmade harnesses.
Isaiah chapters 65 and 66 might help us clarify the import of who and what we're yoked to.
These chapters speak of those who will reign and serve in the Kingdom of God from Israel.
In that day "Whoever blesses himself on earth will bless himself by the God of truth." (Isaiah 65,16)
Isaiah recognizes that we human beings can and will try and bless ourselves with all the things we want here and now on earth, but when the kingdom comes to our new earth, the only blessings that will have been answered and will be answered are those that have been made in accord with Jesus, the truth.
In other words, the God of 1Peter 1,22, the God of truth expects our full obedience in this earthly life and will reward our rightful and obedient service by allowing us to serve him forever and answering all our truthful longings.
He even will give us a blessed and new name which, and wouldn't you know, it is related to our obedient service and witness to Jesus, the way, the life and the truth (Isaiah 65,15, Revelation 2,17).
So in the end his NAME and our new and final name is related to the truth, in HIM, WITH HIM AND THROUGH HIM.
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Tobin Hitt is the founder of the Zion Pentecost Mission. He is open to gospel partnership with all, and identifies with Paul's description of our mission as ambassadors for our king, Jesus, urging all to reconcile with God (2Cor.20-21). He resides in Cheshire, Connecticut.read more...