Turning from rebellion

magic-461280_640Ezekiel 12:2: “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.

Without the law there is no sin, without commandment there can be no rebellion, without an established order, there can be no disorder.

The kingdom of God is about his laws, his commandment and order. After the sin of man in the Garden of Eden, man entered a state of disobedience, state of rebellion. And because that is the seed that we inherited from the Adam, Jesus said we need to repent (change on the inside) to function in the kingdom of God (Matthew 4:17).

Another thing he said qualifies us to experience the kingdom of God is that we should be converted and be like children (Matthew 18:3). One characteristic of being a child is openness, readiness to believe and embrace things, quickness of change, and abundant possibility for growth. They are less primed to be rebellious, to hold malice.

When it comes to malice Paul said we should be like children (1Corinthians 14:20). Being children means we have a lot to learn, realising that we do not know everything. They do not fixate on things. Being children also means we readily receive help, receive provision, we expect to be looked after, to be guide, to be led. The Bible says that as many as are led by the Holy Spirit they are the sons of God (Romans 8:9).

The children are in need for development, and the kingdom is all about development, it is about growth, it is something you grow into, because of its infinite dimension, because it is about God who is eternal.

We can be rebellious without knowing that we are.  Paul while persecuting the church was in rebellion against God, but he actually thought that he was doing God a favour (Galatians 1:12-14).

He probably saw what happened in the Old Testament when the children of Israel went into error while Moses was for many days on top of a mountain, and they turned to idols (Exodus 32:1-30).

Moses said to the people (when he got back and was furious because of what happened): who is on the Lord’s side? When the tribe of Levi responded, Moses asked them to kill some of those who were involved in the idol worship (which was everybody) and specifically those who were closest to them.

God had ruled that those who encourage the worship of other gods other than Jehovah must be stoned to death (Deuteronomy 14:1-11). Therefore Paul decided that he was going to deal ruthlessly with the Christians based on his reading of scriptures and because he was very sure that anyone calling Jesus Lord as the Christians were doing were advocating idol worship.

As far as he was concerned, they have disobeyed one of the 10 commandments which is: thou shall have no other god before me (Exodus 20:3). Therefore, he thought he needed to persecute the church to please God.

He not only imprisoned them, but he felt he was doing the right thing because he was authorised by the high priest and Pharisee. Are they not those seating on the seat of Moses (Matthew 23:2)? And wasn’t Moses a top-notch prophet (Numbers 12:6-8)?

He got the shock of his life when he realised that times have changed, Moses is history and Jesus is the centre of God’s activity on the earth now (Matthew 17:1-5). He spoke to the fathers by the prophet but now he has spoken to us in his son.

Paul at his initial encounter with the ascended Christ was blinded and be led by hand to the town (Acts 9:1-25). He was turned to a child, his whole macho-ness. That is a picture of becoming a child to come into the kingdom of God.

As a grown man by natural standards, he had to abandon most of the conclusions he had come to, in order to be in obedience to Jesus. He stopped his rebellion and chose to follow. He stopped following whatever he thought was the right path, whatever he was taught but his elite teachers. He stopped being moved by zeal in the wrong direction and got shaped with the right knowledge.

He learnt that zeal does not means “right,” passion does not mean the presence of God. Later he wrote concerning the Jews, with whom he shared some ideologies which he later abandoned, that they have zeal for God but not according to knowledge (Romans 10:1-10).

And that while righteousness is now by faith, they go about trying to establish their own righteousness which is by works, when God has moved the terms of human engagement with him.

It is now based on his son and not on any written code, because over time, it has been shown that humans, even if they fully obeyed the law, i.e. the letter of it, cannot not obey the spirit (the divine motivation) and so will always fall short. It was not possible for man, infected with sin, to output anything else.

The path is for change on the inside. There is no other way to change the fruit other than changing the tree and that will take a miracle and it was that miracle Jesus became a symbol of, when he died on the cross and was raised up from the dead, joined with him, we were dead in trespasses and sin and have now been raised up with Jesus Christ.

Jesus was buried in weakness and was raised in power. That same change which occurred to him, also happened to us (Colossians 2:12). We were spiritually dead, and in Jesus we are raised in power (1Corinthians 15:4). We are no longer overcome but we become overcomers (1John 4:4), we are no longer sinners but we become saints, no longer poor but we become rich, no longer buried but raised up, no longer bound but are set free.

We gained the freedom on account of Jesus, who comes to deliver us, by releasing his light to our darkness, by breaking us free from the prison of sin, sickness and death.

Matthew puts it this way, quoting an Old Testament prophet: the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light (Matthew 4:16). Before, we were chained, we were limited, but now we have eternal life, help has come from above, we are free.

God decided to turn the page of favour to us, redefining our lot. We are not of those who perish but those who believe to the saving of the soul.

Therefore, the real rebellion now is to reject the salvation in Jesus. The writer of the book of Hebrews asked: how shall be free of punishment if we neglect so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3)?

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One thought on “Turning from rebellion

  1. Still too many Christians do not want to accept that Jesus was a man of flesh and blood who really succeeded in only doing the will of his heavenly Father. Their neglecting the manship of the sent one from God they devalue the works of Christ and rebel against God Who has sent His only begotten beloved son.

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