The Contrast Between Two Types of Believer’s – Part 3


Pastor A. W. Weckeman  2013

A Tale of Two Kings
(Contrast between Solomon and David)

Solomon, the Compromising King

The life of Solomon could be titled “A man who began right and ended up wrong.” As a young man, his dependency upon the Lord is expressed in (1 Kings 3:9) when he requests of God “an understanding heart to judge thy people…”

Solomon’s prayer, upon the dedication of the Temple (1 Kings 8:22-62), is one of the most beautiful and moving prayers in the entire Bible, revealing a heartfelt desire to love, obey and serve his God.

However, the opening verses of 1 Kings chapter eleven reveal a weakness in Solomon’s heart, “But king Solomon loved many strange women…” (vs.1); the wisest king unwisely yielded to his flesh, beginning a downward spiral. Prosperity, power, and pride led to promiscuity, vanity, and vexation of spirit.”

The road to compromise is not a sudden steep dip but rather a gradual decline beginning with “Admiration,” which leads to “Association,” resulting in “Relationship” and finally “Involvement.” Such was the case of Solomon’s obsession with women and the things of this world (1 Kings 11:1-8).

Consider Solomon’s attitude toward the temporal things of this world in the latter stages of his estrangement from the Lord:

“And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.” (Eccl. 2:10).

“Then I looked upon all the works that my hands had wrought and all the labour that I had labored to do: and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” (Eccl. 2:11).

There were three things that Israel’s Kings were commanded not to do (Deut.17:16-17), and one thing they were to do every day (Deut. 17:19). Solomon disobeyed all four!

“There is that maketh himself rich, yet hath nothing…” (Prov.13:7) Solomon.

Solomon violated the first and greatest of all God’s commandments, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. (Matt.22:37). He had everything except that which is essential, an abiding relationship with God. Although he had all the world’s riches, he was “…not rich toward God.” (Luke 12:21).

Take Heed
“For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning…”

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and are written for OUR ADMONITION, upon whom the ends of the world are come. Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth TAKE HEED lest he fall.” (1 Cor.10:11-12). [Emphasis mine].

The fact that the wisest man that ever lived was overtaken by his flesh should be an ample warning that we are to “have no confidence in the flesh” (Phil. 3:3). “…the battle is the LORD’S” (1 Sam.17:47); beyond “the power that worketh in us” (Eph.3:20), we are helpless to live the Christian life.

Solomon’s heart was not right toward God; he didn’t fear the LORD as did his father, David. But Job 28:8 states, “…the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”

Solomon’s understanding didn’t exempt him from deception and error; even though he was aware of his sin, unlike his father, he lacked “godly sorrow” and failed “to depart from evil.” Lack of “the fear of the Lord” was the blind spot in Solomon’s wisdom; so then, so now. Solomon’s attitude typifies the carnal Christian, the “thorny ground” in the “Parable of the Sower.” He is a perfect type of believer who knows what he should do yet doesn’t do it. (James 4:17).

Guard your Heart

“And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word. And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, CHOKE THE WORD, and it becometh unfruitful.”(Mark 4:18-19) [Emphasis mine].

Our natural inclination is to desire things outside God’s will, whether “the lusts of the flesh,” “the lust of the eyes” or “the pride of life” all that is of “this present evil world” “is not of the Father.” (1 John 2:16).

These self-destructive desires are often camouflaged by self-deceit, especially when they involve personal ambition and self-glorification. Often, what we desire is not what God wants for us; when we finally get it, we find that it has enslaved us. As a result, we end up serving it instead of God, to our great loss. ANYTHING that keeps us away from God becomes an “idol” in the heart. (Ezek.14:1-5).

David, a King after God’s own Heart.

Compare David’s heart attitude with Solomon’s: “Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness. Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.” (Ps.119:36-37).

“O how I love thy law! It is my meditation all the day.”(Ps.119:97).

“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!”(Ps.119:103).

“Thy testimonies have I taken as an heritage for ever: for they are the rejoicing of my heart.” (Ps.119:111).

“The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver.” (Ps.119:72).

Fortunate to have misfortune

“That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire…” (1 Peter 1:7).

While Solomon was the privileged son of a great king who only knew peace and prosperity, David was hunted like an animal and relentlessly persecuted by Saul and others (Ps.56:1, 57:1, 59:1, 55:5, 102:1). David suffered and yet remained faithful; he was tried and proven (Ps.119:67, 71, & 75). Patient endurance during hardship and suffering is a normal part of the Christian life, the cost of following Christ, our example.

Hebrews 2:10 states that Jesus was made “perfect through sufferings” compare (Heb.5:8-9) “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered…” Therefore, the Christian who suffers nothing learns nothing.

“We are never closer to Christ than when we are suffering for His sake.” (Phip.3:9-10).

“David is an example of one who many times failed at personal holiness, yet constantly strove to be right with God (Ps.51). This attitude is what set him apart from so many others, including his own son Solomon.” David typifies the “spiritual believer”…“the good ground” (“a good and honest heart”) in the “Parable of the Sower.”

David’s heart attitude toward God and His word defined his life; due to this attribute, David is referred to as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22).

When anything other than God and His word has our hearts, we fall out of fellowship with Him; a separation occurs, and communication and illumination cease, leaving us to the darkness of our own ways, our own thoughts, and hearts. As a result, our sorrows are multiplied.

“Whatever we are afraid to release possesses us.” Chapin

Some of life’s profound regrets stem from shortsighted priorities, and misplaced affections. When we finally obtain our worldly desires or realize our ambitions, we find them empty and unfulfilling. “And he gave them their request; but sent leanness into their soul.” (Ps.106:15).

Regret is intensified by realizing that we sacrificed the eternal (that which really matters) in pursuing the temporal). Therefore, we must be cautious that today’s priorities don’t become tomorrow’s regrets.

Growth Pains, the Struggle of Letting Go.

We have all heard the famous expression among bodybuilders, “No pain, no gain.” The fundamental principle behind bodybuilding involves stretching the muscles by pushing against measured resistance, overcoming the constraints and protests of the flesh.

The same applies to spiritual growth: “In order to gain something worthwhile in the future, you must expend or sacrifice something in the present.”

One of the primary growing pains of Christianity is not so much physical but psychological, an internal struggle involving two diverse natures.

The mind is the battlefield, and the death of self-life is God’s objective. Self-sacrifice (putting God and others first); is something that grates the “old man” to no end. Because the center of the natural man is “self,” he will immediately rebel against any form of self-denial and strongly resist self-discipline.

Surrender is another difficult aspect of spiritual development, which the flesh dramatically abhors. Letting go, that is, renouncing and refraining from any pleasure, pursuit, or ambition which interferes with our personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. This submission is one area where balance won’t do; the heart scale must decidedly and consistently tilt in favor of the things of the Lord.

The word of God is unequivocal on this point, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on earth.” (Col.3:2).

“No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matt.6:24).

The great Laodicean deception of the day declares the believer’s right to have the best of both worlds. (Come to Jesus, and you will have health, wealth, and happiness).

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” (Luke 9:23).

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15).

“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart…” (Matt.22:37).

It is impossible to “…be a vessel unto honor, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use” while having one foot in this world and the other in heaven; make no mistake about it; God will NOT tolerate divided affections! “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” (James 1:8).

“…choose you this day whom ye will serve” (Joshua 24:15)

“Our greatest enemy is the one we fail to understand.”

The Contrast Between Two Types of Believer’s – Part 2


The Contrast Between Two Types of Believers (Part 2)

Pastor A. W. Weckeman  2013

“AWAKE thou that sleepest and arise from the dead”

The contrast between the two types of believers is strikingly illustrated by the use of the words “awake” and “dead” [In reference to believers] found in (Rom.13:11, 1 Cor.15:34, and Eph.5:14-16). Consider [All emphasis mine]

11.“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to AWAKE out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed 12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…” (Rom.13:11-12).

  1. 34. “AWAKE to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.”(1 Cor.15:34).
  2. “Wherefore he saith, AWAKE thou that sleepest, and arise from the DEAD, and Christ shall give thee light.15. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 16. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” (Eph.5:14-16).

It is evident from the context that all three verses are addressed to “born again” BELIEVERS who are out of fellowship with the Lord.

In Rom. 13:12, we see that this stern exhortation has application to the end of the “Church Age” in which we live. “…knowing the time”… “The night is far spent, the day is at hand…”

The warning to, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the DEAD…” found in (Eph.5:14) is a sobering wake-up call to CHRISTIANS living in the “last days” of the Church Age, during which “perilous times shall come.” (2 Tim.3:1).

In God’s eyes, those who are in a “spiritual slumber,” “backslidden,” living after the flesh, are DEAD!

Not “dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph.2:2) as they were before salvation nor “dead in Christ,” referring to their positional standing “in Christ” upon baptism into His death at Calvary (Rom.6:3) but dead in the sense that they “live after the flesh.”

The darkness before salvation was due to inherited blindness (Rom.5:17). Likewise, darkness after salvation is the result of continual disobedience. “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” (1 John 1:6-7).

“Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is DEAD while she liveth.” (1 Tim.5:5-6).

Back to the illustration of the “Thorns” in the parable of the Sower

Those who have unwittingly become entangled “with the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches and, the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word…” (Mark 4:19). “…choke the word”, thereby “grieving” and “quenching” the Holy Spirit, living in sin.

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” (Isa.59:2).

Carnal believers (who are not new “in Christ”) abiding in this “separated” condition are considered by God to be “asleep” [euphemism for death].

Consider the “Prodigal son”:
“For this my son was DEAD, and is alive again…”
 (Luke 15:24). So the prodigal son was very much alive throughout the whole story; he was dead in the sense that he was separated (by disobedience) from his father.

To live out of fellowship with the Lord is to dwell in darkness concerning the things of God! “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth…”(1 John 1:6).

Hence the warning to BELIEVERS in (Rom.13:12-14), “ …let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light…But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.”

“The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single [single in its affections], thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil [Prov.28:22], thy body also is full of darkness. Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness. If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.” (Luke 11:34-36).

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Gal.5:25).

The Contrast Between Two Types of Believer’s – Part 1


Pastor A. W. Weckeman – December 2013

The Carnal & the Spiritual

Paul addresses carnality among the believers at Corinth.
In Paul’s epistle to the Corinthians, he divides all Christians into two categories, the spiritual and the fleshly or carnal; consider:

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (1 Cor 3:1-3).

The above verses portray two types of believers; the spiritual and the carnal.

Spiritual believers are “those who by reason of use [application] have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” (Heb.5:12-14). They have progressed beyond the “first principles, having the eyes of their understanding enlightened regarding their standing “in Christ.” They, through trial and error, have learned the meaning of Romans 6:11, “…reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Babes in Christ can be young or old believers. The carnal believer is still dominated by his flesh; he hasn’t yet learned to recognize and resist “the old man.” His knowledge regarding the purpose of the refining process, involving the struggle between the new and old nature, is insufficient to produce change. He has yet to learn that “the flesh profiteth nothing” (John 6:63); therefore, he is unable to “Walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:16).

It is quite natural for young believers to be carnal or fleshly; spiritual maturity doesn’t happen overnight. Growth requires time and opportunity; however, the nature of Paul’s admonition reveals that he felt the believers at Corinth should have grown by the time of his writing. Those at Corinth who were genuinely saved had sufficient time and opportunity to grow, yet they had failed to do so; they hadn’t experienced normal spiritual growth and were still walking in the flesh. So “then,” So “now”

The tragic situation which occasioned Paul’s rebuke to the Church at Corinth is similar to the contemporary crisis facing the “body of Christ” in these “last days.”

The Holy Spirit uses four primary methods of teaching.

There are four primary methods of teaching: contrast, association, repetition, and correction.

The two categories of believers contrasted in (1 Cor. 3:1-4) “for our learning” is only one example of many throughout the Bible. In the “Epistles,” the contrast is most apparent wherever we find the phrases “new man” and “old man,” “inward man” versus “outward man,” or the “Spirit” versus the “flesh.”

In the “Gospels,” Jesus used parables and analogies to illustrate the contrast. The terms darkness and light are used liberally throughout the “New Testament” to point out essential distinctions.

“Parable of the Sower”
In the three accounts of the “Parable of the Sower”: (Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8), the Holy Spirit contrasts four diverse types of soil upon which the seed is sown. The complete picture of this highly instructive parable comes into focus upon placing them side by side, paying careful attention to the distinctions, and noting the differences.

I believe that the first two groups of soil (hearers), “the wayside” and “the stony places,” represent the unsaved, while the last two, “the thorns” and “the good ground,” picture the saved.

I am persuaded the last two soils represent two types of believers (the carnal and the spiritual); they are the ones I’d like to focus on, primarily the third soil, “the thorny soil.”

Let’s take a close look at the four soils and the types of people they represent.

The Parable of the Sower

(Side by side comparison; Matthew, Mark & Luke)

Matt. 13:18 “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower.”

Mark 4:14 “The sower soweth the word.”

Luke 8:11 “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.”

The Four different types of Soil


Matt. 13:19 “When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.”

Mark 4:15 “And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts.”

Luke 8:12 “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”


Matt. 13:20 “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it;

Matt. 13:21 Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended”.

Mark 4:16 “And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness;

Mark 4:17 And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word’s sake, immediately they are offended.”

Luke 8:13 “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”


Matt. 13:22 “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.”

Mark 4:18 “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

Mark 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

Luke 8:14 “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.”


Matt. 13:23 “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”

Mark 4:20 “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.”

Luke 8:15 “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.”


Way side
In the case of the first soil “way side” the seed (word), due to a heart problem (Matt. 13:15), the word was not understood and therefore quickly snatched away by the devil.

Stony Places
The seed received by the “stony places” represents those who hear the word and understand it; however, their comprehension is limited to head knowledge only; their hearts have not experienced the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Because the seed does not take root, their faith is superficial; all rely upon the circumstance, not genuine profession without possession; therefore, no CONTINUANCE; “dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” Compare (1 John 2:19 & James 1:25).

The description of the third soil, which was covered with “thorns,” twice uses the phrase, “becometh unfruitful.” The word “become” is defined by the Noah Webster 1828 dictionary as follows: “To pass from one state to another; to enter into some state or condition, by a change from another state or condition.”

I believe those who received the seed among the thorns represent those who are genuinely saved, but “the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.”

Unlike the first two soils, the “seed” had to have germinated (taken root) in the heart of the hearer to have the potential to produce fruit. Notice the wording, “other things entering IN, choke the word…” (Mark 4:19). The careful reader will notice the negative influences entered within where the word had taken root; in the heart! It stands to reason that for them to become unfruitful, they had to have the ability to bring forth fruit in the first place.

In Luke’s account of the “thorns,” we find the most substantial evidence in the revealing phrase, “bring no fruit to perfection.” (Luke 8:14).

For the statement to be true, they had to have the ability to produce fruit; therefore, I conclude that the third soil pictures unfruitful, carnal believers.

Good Ground
“…the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” These have repentant, truth-seeking hearts; they are not forgetful hearers; they keep the word near their hearts (John 14:21 & 23). These represent the spiritual believers who maintain a disciplined “abiding” relationship with God and His word, thereby insulating themselves from the influence of “this present evil world.” (Gal. 1:4).

The Power That Worketh In Us


The Power that Worketh in Us

Pastor A. W. Weckeman – August 2012

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” (Eph.3:20).

Transformation is the result of realization, that is, when we realize that it’s not about us, that we are powerless to love, serve and obey God when we finally learn that we cannot do God’s work by self-effort and self-wisdom, then, and only then, can we, “be strong in the Lord and the power of his might” (Eph.6:10) [Emphasis mine] 

“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of his good pleasure.” (Phil.2:13) [Emphasis mine]

Notice that it says “work out” not work for; something must be put in before working its way out. Upon trusting Christ for salvation, we receive His power: “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Col.1:27) “Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature…” (2 Cor. 5:17). Our work is to recognize and “yield”  to the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit:  “Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. (Rom.6:13).

Our primary function is receptivity, to be continually attuned to and dependent upon Another. To be sensitive to God’s Spirit: “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.” (Isa.30:21); which upon salvation, has permanently joined to our spirit:      “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. (1 Cor.6:17). The task is to acknowledge our inadequacy and learn to defer to His power and control.

The “new man” within is the One who inspires genuine prayer, praise, worship, and service. He is the One who motivates our minds to right thoughts and enables our hearts to manifest the love of Christ in our lives. In reality, we are His means of expressing Himself, “To reveal his Son in me…” (Gal.1:16). Consider the  Apostle Paul’s exhortation in Romans 12:1, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. (Rom.12:1 ) Also see, (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

“A Christian worker is good, a worker in Christ is better, but the best of all is Christ in a worker doing the living.”


“O God Whose Will Conquers All,

There is no comfort in anything apart from enjoying thee and being engaged in thy service;

Thou art All in all, and all enjoyments are what to me thou makest them, and no more.

I am well pleased with thy will, whatever it is, or should be in all respects,

And if thou bidst me decide for myself in any affair, I would choose to refer all to thee, for thou art infinitely wise and cannot do amiss, as I am in danger of doing.

I rejoice to think that all things are at thy disposal, and it delights me to leave them there.

Then prayer turns wholly into praise, and all I can do is to adore and bless thee.

What shall I give thee for all thy benefits?  I am in a strait betwixt two, knowing not what to do;

I long to make some return, but have nothing to offer, and can only rejoice that thou doest all, that none in heaven or on earth shares thy honour;

I can of myself do nothing to glorify thy blessed name, but I can through grace cheerfully surrender soul and body to thee,

I know that thou art the author and finisher of faith, that the whole work of redemption is thine alone, that every good work or thought found in me is the effect of thy power and grace, that thy sole motive in working in me to will and to do is for thy good pleasure.

O God, it is amazing that men can talk so much about man’s creaturely power and goodness, when, if thou didst not hold us back every moment, we should be devils incarnate.

This, by bitter experience, thou hast taught me concerning myself.

The Valley of Vision

A collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions

Why I Believe the King James Bible to be the Preserved Word of God


Why I Believe the King James Bible to be the Preserved Word of God

Pastor A. W. Weckeman    Sept. 2002

There are two ways of approaching the subject of preservation regarding the Scriptures:

First, from a technical perspective, the science of textual criticism. The textual critic approaches the Bible as he would any other literary work of antiquity in which the original autographs are no longer available. The premise is that since the original copies have long since perished and that which has survived consists of questionable, conflicting copies, it is, therefore, impossible to have a pure Bible.

Textual criticism is then the science by which biblical scholars seek to restore or reconstruct the indefinite (lost) text of the Bible as close as possible to its original form by a detailed analysis of the various manuscripts.  The standard criterion of reliability is age, assuming the older the manuscript, the closer it must be to the original. Unfortunately, this approach fails to consider that most Bible corruption took place in the first few centuries (2 Cor.2:17, 2 Peter 3:16).

As with any branch of academia, there are different schools of thought among textual critics.  Disagreements abound and take many forms. Each group of scholars defends its own set of criteria and presuppositions for evaluating the superiority of one text type over another (textual disputes) or one family of manuscripts over another.

Then there are translation disputes, and disagreements over how to understand and translate the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek texts (original languages of the Bible) into English.  For example, the Greek word “logismos,” found in 2 Corinthians 10:5, can mean; reasoning, imagination, or thought.  According to Greek, any one of these three definitions would be correct. The question then arises, how do we determine the precise word (meaning) that the Holy Spirit initially intended?  Who gets to make the determination, and on what basis, by what authority?

When you consider all the complexities and variables of textual criticism, not to mention the differences between the Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, and English languages, it should be apparent that without supernatural intervention, it would be impossible to reconstruct the original text of the Scriptures, even if it had been lost.  In reality, textual criticism is no more than theoretical guesswork, an academic exercise in futility and unbelief.  The Bible sums up the science of textual criticism in 2 Tim.3:7 “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

False doctrine originates with the acceptance of a false premise; deception is born out of failure to recognize truth, “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die… (Gen.3:4).  The beginning of the end came when Satan interjected a false thought into Eve’s mind.  A bold lie that sounded logical, even though it was contrary to what God had said, but tragically, Eve accepted it.  Why was Eve so easily deceived?

It has been wisely stated that the heart of every problem is a problem in the heart.  Eve was beguiled because she questioned what God had said.  So then, so now,  And the serpent said unto the “biblical scholar,” God hath not preserved His Word.  The clever lie that God’s words perished along with the papyri or vellum on which they were written initially has been broadly propagated and widely accepted, even though it is contrary to what God has said.  Papyri and vellum are physical, material, and temporal. God’s Word is spiritual (John 6:63) and eternal (1 Peter 1:21).  The students of the school of modern textual criticism have little, if any, faith in God’s ability to preserve His own words.  In effect, their position accuses God of negligence.

The false doctrine of non-preservation is a doctrine that lacks any basis in the Word of God other than “Yea, hath God said…” (Gen.3:1).  It is, in fact, nothing more than a theory constructed upon a flawed foundation that assumes inspiration was limited to the original autographs. A method strikingly similar to “Darwin’s theory of evolution” also founded on a lie.  Textual criticism and evolution are similar in that both utilize man’s wisdom to refute God’s Word; both replace certainty with uncertainty.  The common goal is the destruction of absolutes (one of the primary objectives of secular humanism).

Absolute truth is the foundation of morality that holds man accountable; therefore, his fallen nature dictates that he challenge, resist, and deny it, especially where it applies to his conduct.  In a sense, evolution got rid of God, and textual criticism got rid of His words.  The so-called “scholars” begin with absolute inerrancy (the original lost autographs) and end up with relative inerrancy (hundreds of “relatively pure” albeit conflicting versions of the Bible).

The crux of textual criticism concerning the Bible isn’t restoring lost truth; the real issue is the final authority.  The whole process lacks any Scriptural justification and is inconsistent with the nature of God. How can we explain the Sovereignty of a God who relies on the mind of fallen man to discern, decide, and declare what is and isn’t true? The truth of God’s Word needs to be resurrected by man’s wisdom lacks underlying support within the Bible. When we examine the Scriptures, we find just the opposite.  Jesus Himself stated, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35).  That God’s words would be lost is contrary to His nature as revealed in Scripture; if God is pure, perfect, holy, and eternal (and He is), then it stands to reason, so must His Word be. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb .13:8).

Textual critics have accomplished much if uncertainty is better than certainty, if confusion is more desirable than clarity, and if impurity is superior to purity.  As a direct result of the modern school of textual criticism, we have more than two hundred different versions of the Bible today, all of which disagree in one form or another (to satisfy copyright laws, among other things).  As a result, Bible publishing has become a lucrative enterprise.

The resulting confusion within the Body of Christ is yet another confirmation that the whole process is not from God ” For God is not the author of confusion…” (1 Cor. 14:33).  In reality, the science of modern textual criticism has proven to be a “Pandora’s box,” a contemporary form of “Yea, hath God said…” resulting in continuous controversy and significant divisions within the Body of Christ. “As if it weren’t enough for proud men to doubt God’s Holy Word, in their folly they imagine they could somehow resurrect it!” Humility is hardly the hallmark of supposed higher learning.

The second means by which to approach the subject of Bible preservation:

Scriptural perspective: Upon close examination of what God’s Word says about itself, it becomes evident that preservation and purity never have, nor ever could be, subject to man. The fundamental error of textual criticism, which assumes God’s Word to be lost, can be refuted by studying the internal evidence of the Scriptures regarding preservation. Secondly, consider the Holy Spirit’s indictment of “man’s wisdom” (1 Cor.1:19-20 & 3:18-21). Regarding spiritual realities, man’s wisdom is inherently flawed and therefore inadequate. The powers of human intellect are limited to apprehending spiritual truth. “…Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” (Matt.11:25). “…be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble” (1 Peter 5:5).

Therefore, having” no confidence in the flesh” (Phil.3:3), we can, “by faith” (Heb.11:6), rely on what God has historically stated in His Word. Instead of accepting an unscriptural premise and proceeding by so-called “scientific means” contrived in the finite mind of man, we can look to the host of internal evidence that assures us that God has indeed preserved His precious Word.

Consider the Nature of God’s Word: 

 “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt PRESERVE them from this generation FOR EVER” (Ps.12:6-7) [emphasis added].

“Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.” (Ps.119:140).

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that trusteth in him.” (Prov.30:5). Therefore, if we don’t have the pure Words of God, then it stands to reason that what we have is impure.

“For the word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12) [emphasis added].

“It is the spirit that quickeneth [imparts life]; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” Jesus Christ (John 6:63) [emphasis added].

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever .” (1 Peter 1:23).

The above Scripture reveals the nature of God’s Word: Pure, living, breathing, incorruptible, eternal spirit words. Why would God supernaturally inspire and promise to preserve scriptures that He did not intend us to have? If He promised to keep them pure and then failed to do so, He would have lied.

“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar…” (Rom. 3:4).

The obvious conclusion is that the only means by which God could keep His promise to preserve His Word for every generation would be “infallible preservation.”

Jesus and the Word

 The Scriptures state that Jesus and the Word are one (John 1:1, Rev. 19:13). Therefore, everything that Jesus is, the Word must be. God’s attributes and character must be perfectly reflected in His Word. If God is absolute, the same must be true of His Word… “thy word is truth.” (John 17:17); the truth is never relative…it is absolute!

Examples of comparisons between Jesus and the Word of God:

Salvation is found in Christ (John 14:6, Acts 4:12) and “For by grace are ye saved through faith….” (Eph.2:8) and “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Rom.10:17).

Jesus had the power to give life (John 11:43-44). Therefore, he is referred to as “the Word of life” (1 John 1:1).

The same is true of His words; they give life, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63), also consider, (James 1:21, Acts 11:14, 2 Tim.3:15).

The power lies not in our ability to explain the Word but in the Word itself! Everlasting life is revealed in a Book, believing and trusting God’s Word imparts eternal life, “…thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

“God is light…” (1 John 1:5.) Not light or the light, He is pure light, “and in him is no darkness at all.” (Darkness constitutes error, Eph.4:17-19). “Every word of God is pure…” (Prov.30:5). That is the absolute truth (John 17:17). It functions as pure light, revealing all imperfections, errors, and motives (Eph.5:13).

In its presence, nothing can remain hidden, “For the Word of God is quick, [alive] and powerful…and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” (Heb.4:12) [emphasis mine]. Also consider, (John 3:19-21, Ps.119:105 & 130).

Just as Jesus has the supernatural ability to see into man’s heart and read his mind (Matt.9:3-4 cf. 2 Chron.6:30) also, (John 4:16-19 & 29, Jer.17:9-10), the same is true of the Word of God as we saw in (Heb.4:12). Also, consider (1 Cor. 14:24-25.) In reality, as we read God’s Word, we are being read by God. His living Word simultaneously convicts the conscience, discerns our thoughts, and reveals our hearts.

The Doctrine of Inspiration

The science of textual criticism is based upon three fundamentally false premises: First, God has allowed His Word to be lost. Second: It is man’s responsibility to preserve God’s Word. Third: Inspiration is limited to the first century and the original autographs.

First of all, we must remember that the Holy Spirit is the source of inspiration, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21).

The thing that sets God’s Word above all other words is that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Tim.3:16). The purpose of divine inspiration is to place a supernatural signature on the Bible to validate the Scriptures as the very words of God.

How logical or reasonable is it to believe that God supernaturally inspired His life-giving Word and then allowed it to be lost? Without the doctrine of preservation, the doctrine of inspiration is irrelevant; what value are pure God-breathed words, that man has carelessly lost, and therefore no longer obtainable? If God failed to preserve His Word (which He didn’t), how could we be sure He can preserve our souls?

Consider the Bible’s use of the term “scripture.”

“And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness…” (2 Tim.3:15-16).

Would anyone in their right mind believe that Timothy’s mother and grandmother (2 Tim.1:5) possessed a copy of the original Hebrew autographs?

The Scriptures which Paul was referring to were copies of the Old Testament. Faithful copies of copies of the originals, which had not only been inspired but preserved! The prevailing view among “Bible scholars” is that “holy scriptures” in (2 Tim.3:15) refer to imperfect copies of God’s Word; however, in verse 16 (same context), they refer to the word “scripture” as the inspired, infallible originals.

The Greek Word for Scripture is “graphe” which occurs 51 times in the New Testament. The following provides a small sample:

In Acts 17, Paul came to Thessalonica, where he “reasoned with them out of the scriptures…” (vs.2). Later in that same chapter, Paul went to Berea and preached Christ to the Bereans, who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (vs.11).

In Luke 24:45, Jesus opened the eyes of the apostles so that “they might understand the scriptures.” Jesus read from Scripture in the synagogue at Nazareth Luke 4:21. These were not the originals He was reading; they were “infallibly preserved” copies of copies, which the Bible refers to as Holy Writ, graphe.

What evidence do Christians rely on to prove that the Bible is divinely inspired? We rest on the testimony of the Scriptures to confirm the Authorship of the Word.

The Internal Evidence that Supports Inspiration:

(All Scripture is from the King James Bible unless otherwise noted)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God…” (2 Tim.3:16). Notice, “All Scripture is given, not was given.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

“For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God…” (1 Thess. 2:13).

“Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord…” (Heb.10:15-16). Notice that the author of Hebrews doesn’t attribute Jeremiah 31:33 to the prophet Jeremiah but to the Holy Spirit. Men did not write the Bible but God worked through them.

“And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” (Exodus 32:16).

“The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” (2 Sam.23:2).

“Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.” (Jerm.1:9).

How can we be sure that God not only inspired His Word but also preserved it? By following the same method and reasoning regarding inspiration, simply, by faith, believing what the Word of God says about itself.

The Alteration of Internal Evidence which Supports Preservation

“Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Matt. 24:35). [That is unless you refer to the “New International Version” or one of the other modern perversions]. Contrast Jesus’ words in Matt.23:14 (K.J.B) with (N.I.V.)

Notice the devious verse deletion in Acts chapter 8 verses 35,36,38. Verse 37 “passed away” along with Matt.17:21, Matt.18:11, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 23:17, John 5:4, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29 and Rom.16:24 to name a few.

Also, compare (Ps.12:6-7 K.J.B.)

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt PRESERVE them from this generation for ever” (Ps.12:6-7) [Emphasis mine]. Compare these crucial verses as rendered in the N.I.V. below:

“And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times. O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.” N.I.V.

A comparison of the above “proof-text” (regarding preservation) in the modern versions (N.I.V., N.A.S.B., etc.) provides critical insight concerning the corruption of God’s Word at the hands of  liberal, so-called “biblical scholars.” Remember, initially, the alleged reasoning behind making a new version was to update the archaic language of the K.J.B simply.

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a MORE SURE WORD of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts…” (2 Peter 1:17-19) [Emphasis mine].

The words of the Lord are “MORE SURE” than the actual voice of God! (Compare the above verse in the N.A.S.B. & N.I.V. and notice how the wording attempts to confuse the meaning).

“Every word of God is pure…” (Prov. 30:5). The N.A.S.B. replaces “pure with “tested” (same as N.A.B, Catholic Bible) N.I.V. replaces “pure” with “flawless.”

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and thy truth: for thou hast MAGNIFIED THY WORD ABOVE THY NAME.” (Ps.138:2) [Emphasis mine].

The N.A.S.B. changes “above” to “according” N.I.V. re-words the entire verse, totally distorting it.

* Note: By pointing out that most of these critical verses concerning the doctrines of inspiration and preservation are also found in the modern versions (albeit altered), it disarms the charge that those who hold to the K.J.B. follow circular reasoning (assuming the K.J.B. to be pure) in defending their position.

At this point, some may ask the logical question, “Aren’t you assuming the K.J.B. to be absolute? Why should I accept it as a standard by which to judge?” But, to answer the question with an equally logical question, why should I believe that there is no standard even though God plainly states in His Word that there is? Should we place our faith in what God has said or the speculation of “professional theologians”?

“Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man…..” “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” (Jerm.17:5 & 7).

Consider the following insightful quote by A.W. Tozer:

“I know all the arguments against the King James Version, but answer me this: If it is as bad as some scholars tell us, why has God blessed it so much? More people have come into the Kingdom of God through this blessed translation than any other. It has been translated into more languages than any other version, perhaps more than all the rest put together.”

“Does it not seem strange that the generation with the most advanced technology and the easiest-to-read Bible translations is the weakest generation of Christians in the history of our country?”

“It is my observation that the natural man does not understand spiritual principles. The problem has never been the translation. The problem has never been academic. The problem has always been spiritual.” – A.W.Tozer, “The Crucified Life.”

“Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever” (Ps.119:160).

The Crucified Life

co-crucifixion-brownPastor A. W. Weckeman   Nov. 2013

“God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)

“They were living to themselves; self with its hopes, and promises and dreams, still had hold of them; but the Lord began to fulfill their prayers. They had asked for contrition and had surrendered for it to be given them at any cost, and He sent them sorrow; they had asked for purity, and He sent them thrilling anguish; they had asked to be meek, and He had broken their hearts; they had asked to be dead to the world, and He slew all their living hopes; they had asked to be made like unto Him, and He placed them in the furnace, sitting by “as a refiner and purifier of silver,” until they should reflect His image; they had asked to lay hold of His cross, and when He had reached it to them, it lacerated their hands.

They had asked they knew not what, nor how, but He had taken them at their word, and granted them all their petitions. They were hardly willing to follow Him so far, or to draw so nigh to Him. They had upon them an awe and fear, as Jacob at Bethel, or Eliphaz in the night visions, or as the apostles when they thought that they had seen a spirit, and knew not that it was Jesus. They could almost pray Him to depart from them, or to hide His awfulness. They found it easier to obey than to suffer, to do than to give up, to bear the cross than to hang upon it. But they cannot go back, for they have come too near the unseen cross, and its virtues have pierced too deeply within them. He is fulfilling to them His promise, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32).

But now, at last, their turn has come. Before, they had only heard of the mystery, but now they feel it. He has fastened on them His look of love, as He did on Mary and Peter, and they can but choose to follow.

Little by little, from time to time, by flitting gleams, the mystery of His cross shines out upon them. They behold Him lifted up, they gaze on the glory which rays from the wounds of His holy passion; and as they gaze, they advance, and are changed into His likeness, and His name shines out through them, for He dwells in them. They live alone with Him above, in unspeakable fellowship; willing to lack what others own (and what they might have had), and to be unlike all, so that they are only like Him.

Such are they in all ages, “who follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth.”

Had they chosen for themselves, or had their friends chosen for them, they would have chosen otherwise. They would have been brighter here, but less glorious in His kingdom. They would have had Lot’s portion, not Abraham’s. If they had halted anywhere…if God had taken off His hand and let then stray back…what would they not have lost? What forfeits in the resurrection?

But He stayed them up, even against themselves. Many a time their foot had well nigh slipped; but He in mercy held them up. Now, even in this life, they know that all He did was done well. It was good to suffer here, that they might reign hereafter; to bear the cross below, for they shall wear the crown above; and that not their will but His was done on them and in them.” – Anonymous

Alone With God

Alone With God

Pastor A. W. Weckeman  May 2005

“And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.” (Mark 1:35).

“Into a solitary place…” What a wonderful example for us. If the Lord of glory found it necessary to withdraw to a place of solitude to commune with His Father, how much more should we?

Seclusion is more than aloneness, more than the absence of sound. Seclusion also indicates peace and quiet; pure silence is a thing of the soul. So it must be with us when we seek to be alone with the Lord. Not just a quiet environment but the inner peace of a stilled mind. Listen and silent use the same letters.  

The voice of God is only heard by those who have learned the subtle secret of a stilled mind.

“And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and break in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earth quake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it…” (1 Kings 19:11-13).

A word of caution, Satan counterfeits the workings of the Lord, including spiritual communication. The devil’s imitations come in the form of Eastern meditative techniques such as contemplative prayer”, “contemplative spirituality,” and other forms of mysticism. These practices involve specific breathing techniques and repetition of words or phrases (mantra).

The goal is a self-induced trance that leads to an altered state of consciousness, the silence of all thought. These “New Age” forms of spirituality are subtle occult rituals wrapped in Christian terminology which open the mind to “seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.”  (1 Tim. 4:1). Nowhere does the Bible encourage the emptying of the mind. On the contrary, Jesus said, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.” (Matt. 22:37).

My intention is not to encourage believers to seek some “mystical silence” or altered state of consciousness but to meditate on the word of God (Josh. 1:8) to “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you…” (James 4:8).  The point is to realize that God’s Spirit communicates with man’s spirit in a soundless language, a still small voice heard only by a quieted spirit. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10). “How rare to find a soul still enough to hear God speak.” Fenelon

Jesus said: “…true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24).

“A man worships God in spirit, when, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, he brings all his affections, appetites and desires to the throne of God; and worships Him in truth.”   Adam Clarke

Through the blood of Jesus Christ, every born-again believer has access to the Holiest of all, in the true Tabernacle,

“Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.” Hebrews 10:19-22.

Those who desire intimacy with the Lord must learn to “…dwelleth in the secret place of the most High” (Psalm 91:1).

The Potential for Intimate Fellowship
Although Jesus is a living Being, we cannot at this time experience His physical presence; however, due to the spiritual union between His Spirit and our spirit, there is great potential for spiritual intimacy. Therefore, it is essential to our spiritual well-being and growth that we take advantage of this opportunity.

Day by day, we must seek fellowship with Him, “Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.” (James 4:8). We must cultivate this closeness to Christ, learning the power of tranquility, discovering the path of quietness that leads to a living awareness of God’s presence within.

Comprehending the potential and power of nearness is something the  hymnists of old understood:

“There is a place of quiet rest, near to the heart of God, A place where sin cannot molest, Near to the heart of God.

O Jesus, blest Redeemer, Sent from the heart of God, Hold us who wait before Thee Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God, A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God. Chorus

There is a place of full release, Near to the heart of God, A place where all is joy and peace, Near to the heart of God. Chorus”

Intimate, silent fellowship with the Lord is the essential counterbalance that provides sanity in an insane world. A person can only work so many hours; then, he must rest. The same is true of spiritual life; following exposure to the noisy world, with all its spiritual wickedness, sin, temptations, and trials, we must daily retreat to our refuge. The necessity of reviving our hearts by learning to be still with our Savior is a simple yet profound reality.

Silent Lessons

Troubled, I went up into the mountain to be alone with the Lord, sitting in silence on a mesa in the shadow of a huge saguaro cactus taking in the spectacular view of the valley below. The peace and quiet of the beautiful surroundings failed to calm the inner man; for some reason, the stillness couldn’t reach my soul and spirit. Even though I prayed and prayed, the sea of my mind, the waves of anxiety refused to be stilled. As in the story of Mary & Martha (Luke 10:41-42), “troubled about many things” I descended the mountain feeling the same.

A few days later, while sitting out front of the house in the Arizona morning sun, reading the Word, I experienced an incredible peace. This time, my surroundings’ silent beauty and peacefulness reached into my mind, penetrated and refreshed my spirit.

It was then the amazing experience of the night before came to mind. In some way, I had been made aware of the Lord’s touch, hard to describe; somehow, His Spirit strengthened the inner man, initiating an impulse to worship God. Even in sleep, my spirit sang songs of praise, and I awoke with the sense that everything was going to be OK, even if it wasn’t OK.

When I opened my Bible that morning, Isa.26:3 was one of the first verses I saw: “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” Again, the Lord was speaking to my heart. Indeed, much to my shame, I hadn’t truly trusted the Lord with my trying situation.

I had been leaning on my own understanding, giving in to a spirit of despair, and allowing my circumstances and emotions to overwhelm me. I thought I knew better; I thought I had learned the futility of such things. Yet, even though, once again, I had failed, the Lord, in His mercy, strengthened me, restoring peace within my heart; what a wonderful God!

“When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?” (Job 34:29).

For additional information on this subject, see the companion article entitled: “Man’s Relationship with God”

Man’s Relationship with God


Man’s Relationship with God        Pastor A.W. Weckeman

Man was designed with the inherent ability to know God, relate to his Creator, and enjoy intimate fellowship with Him. Before the Fall, God and man walked together in the garden (Gen.3:8).

“God didn’t just create subjects to rule over; He intended closeness between Himself and the creature made in His image. So fellowship was something God desired right from the beginning.”

Unfortunately, Adam chose to disobey his Creator, ending the joyous relationship, separating man and God physically and spiritually. Furthermore, Adam’s disobedience ended the opportunity for eternal life, and death became man’s inheritance (Romans 5:12).

Yet, thanks be to God, this tragedy would not be final, for, in God’s pronouncement of judgment against Satan, there was a prophecy containing the promise of a Saviour. The seed of a woman would eventually destroy the devil (Gen.3:15) and provide redemption for humanity.

“For if through the offense of one [Adam] many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift of grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.” (Rom. 5:15).

 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” (1 Cor. 15:22).

In Christ [last Adam], the human race would have a second chance… “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross…” (Col. 1:20).

The complete restoration of a personal relationship between God and man is at the heart of salvation. By God’s grace, through “the faith of Jesus Christ” (Gal. 2:16 & 20), peace and fellowship with God would be fully restored to all who believe; the gift of eternal life would be available to humanity. The spiritual union between God and man, that vital life relationship would be restored. Once again, the creature would have the opportunity to enjoy intimate fellowship with his Creator.

The Relational Aspects of Christianity. 

Upon salvation, we enter into a whole new relationship with God; we are spiritually baptized into the Body of Christ; supernaturally removed from Adam’s family, and placed into God’s family (1 Cor. 12:13).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature…” (2 Cor.5:17). Notice the relational terms used in the following verses: (John 1:12, 1 John 3:1, Romans 8:16, Gal.4:6, 2 Cor.6:16-18) Consider: “I will dwell IN them, and walk IN them…” [Emphasis mine].

On a personal level, you know what makes the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob so unique, so superior to any other god; our God died for us and lives in us! The “second birth” involves “spiritual regeneration” (Titus 3: 5). All who trust Christ are “sealed” with the Holy Spirit (2 Cor.1:22). Permanently united to the Lord, “… he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” (1 Cor.6:17).

The potential for Intimate Fellowship

Although Jesus is a living being, we cannot, at this time, experience His physical presence; however, due to the spiritual union between His Spirit and our spirit, there is great potential for intimate fellowship. Even though we cannot rise to Him, He, through stillness and simplicity, takes us in spirit and raises us to Himself. Therefore, it is essential to our spiritual well-being and growth that we take advantage of this opportunity.

Years ago, a friend of mine told me the first week or two after he was saved, he thought he was losing his mind because he couldn’t stop thinking about Jesus. That’s how it is in the beginning, “…old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor.5:17). Jesus becomes the center of our existence; a whole new life brings a new awareness and joy; everything is exciting.

Then suddenly, we discover that we are still susceptible to temptation and quite capable of sinning; ever so gradually, “this present evil world” starts to creep back in. And so begins the continuous struggle between two contrary natures, the inner conflict between the “old man” and the “new man.”

Even though He is in us, and we in Him, unfortunately, we are prone to wander (Ps.119:10), which explains Jesus’ command, “Abide in me…” (John 15:4).

The Marriage Relationship

The most difficult challenges of marriage begin after the honeymoon period fades when the initial excitement subsides. The difficult thing is to prevent the relationship from becoming stagnant, commonplace. To avoid this pitfall, the couple must stay close, sensitive, and open to one another so that the relationship deepens and love matures.

The same is true regarding our relationship with the Lord. One of the most significant challenges for the child of God is to resist the natural tendency of allowing the joyous experience of salvation and nearness to fade away.

Every believer has a personal responsibility to maintain the relationship, to counteract the tendency to backslide. Therefore, we must cultivate a continuous closeness to Christ, seeking to remain sensitive to His presence within. “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” (Jer.29:13).

Quietness, the Path to Closeness

“…sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus…” (Eph.2:6).

Notice: “sit together,” sitting down inwardly; residing in the refuge of silent fellowship…alone with the Lord.

A quieted spirit is the pathway to “heavenly places.” Concerning our relationship with the Lord, stillness leads to closeness. Not just a quiet environment but the inner peace of a stilled mind.

God communicates with man’s spirit in a soundless language, a still small voice heard only by a quieted spirit. “Be still, and know that I am God…” (Ps.46:10).

Fellowship with the Lord in the setting of heavenly places should not be occasional and fleeting but a continuous, a daily occurrence, “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” (Prov.8:34) [Emphasis mine].

Silent Fellowship

We must take care not to allow the necessities of everyday life, work, raising families, and such, to eclipse our relationship with the Lord, nor crowd out His presence. Even in the most distracting and challenging times, our mindfulness of Christ’s presence should be just below the surface, never silenced or withdrawn.

“It is not necessary to be always speaking to God or always hearing from God, to have communion with Him; there is an inarticulate fellowship sweeter than words. The little child can sit all day long besides his busy mother and, although few words are spoken on either side, and both are busy, the one at his absorbing play, the other at her engrossing work, yet both are in perfect fellowship. He knows that she is there, and she knows that he is alright. So the saint and the Saviour can go on for hours in the silent fellowship of love, and he be busy about the most common things, and yet conscious that every little thing he does is touched with the complexion of His presence, and the sense of His approval and blessing.”

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. (Isa.26:3) [Emphasis mine].

This predominating awareness forms an attitude, “…WHATSOEVER ye do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Col.3:17) [Emphasis mine].

“And WHATSOEVER ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men…” (Col. 3:23).

In reality, whether you realize it or not, from the time you wake up in the morning until you close your eyes at night, Jesus is there, WHERESOEVER you go, WHATSOEVER you do, He is present:

“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thoughts afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Ps.139:1-7).

The goal is to become sensitive to the reality of the above verse, attuned to the Lord’s inward presence. Our relationship with the Lord is similar to the closeness enjoyed between best friends who go everywhere and do everything together. Jesus is “…a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” (Prov.18:24). He promised, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb.13:5).

“For sixty-two years and five months I had a beloved wife, and now, in my ninety-second year, I am left alone. But I turn to the ever-present Jesus, as I walk up and down in my room, and say, “Lord Jesus, I am alone, and yet not alone…Thou art with me, Thou art my Friend. Now, Lord, comfort me, strengthen me, give to Thy poor servant everything Thou seest he needs.”  And we should not be satisfied till we are brought to this, that we know the Lord Jesus Christ experimentally, habitually to be our Friend: at all times, and under all circumstances, ready to prove Himself to be our Friend.”   George Mueller 

The Fruit of Abiding

As we daily spend time alone with God, allowing the word of Christ to dwell in us richly, we become increasingly attuned to His Presence within. This extraordinary awareness manifests itself in various experiential forms:

The leading of the Holy Spirit, “When thou goest, it shall lead thee; when thou sleepest, it shall keep thee; and when thou awakest, it shall talk with thee.” (Prov.6:22). The soundless voice of the inner man, “And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it…”(Isa.30:21).

The heart song, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” (Col. 3:16).

Inexplicable peace, even in the worst of circumstances, “…the peace of God, which passeth all understanding” (Phil.4:7).

Undeniable answers to a specific prayer, “Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things which thou knowest not.” (Jer. 33:3).

Increased conviction and loathing of sin, self, and the flesh, “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing…” (Rom.7:24).

The chastening hand of God, “For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” (Prov. 3:12).

Supernatural protection, “The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.”(Ps. 34:7).

Deliverance, endless mercy, and unfailing grace confirm not only our salvation but also the reality of the Lord’s constant working in our lives as a loving Father with His children. (Rom. 8:16).

Until we come to the point where we see Jesus in all our everyday circumstances (be it sorrow or joy), recognizing His power, protection, and correction in our lives, sensing and surrendering to His control, closeness remains elusive.

It is by these means, through this seeking, that we come to experience His presence and learn receptiveness to the Holy Spirit’s leading, “I being in the way, the LORD led me..”.(Gen.24:27). This nearness is what Jesus meant when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).

The Heart of the Whole Matter

Remember, the heart attitude (Prov.4:23) is the crucial factor that determines the depth of our personal relationship with the Lord. Although, as with all interpersonal relationships, it will require time and effort for the relationship to deepen and grow, desire and consistency are essential.

“Spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9) is the by-product of abiding in Christ, the fruit of an intimate relationship. Concerning our walk with Christ, closeness leads to conformity; it is the factor that enables us “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man…” (Eph.3:16) and is, therefore, a vital component of the sanctification process.

“God alone is Holy, and it is our nearness to Him that makes us truly holy.” So spiritual development isn’t a matter of I.Q.; it’s a matter of closeness to God...not aptitude but heart attitude.

“When thou saidest, Seek ye my face; my HEART said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Ps.27:8). [Emphasis mine]

The Power of Paradox


The Power of Paradox

Pastor A. W. Weckeman – July 2020

Seeing Things God’s Way

“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.” (John 3:1-2).

Nicodemus had been an eyewitness to Jesus’ miracles and realized that such things could only be accomplished by the power of God (v.2). Concerned about being seen with Jesus by his peers, he comes by the cover of night (v.2).

During Nicodemus’ acknowledgment of the nature of His miracles, Jesus goes right to the heart of the matter, telling him to see the “kingdom of God,” he must “be born again” (v.3).

Nicodemus’ response reveals his total ignorance regarding the necessity of a second birth: Jesus’ startling revelation contradicted everything Nicodemus thought he knew; all his theological knowledge and wisdom were of no avail. Even after the Lord explained (vs.5-8), this highly educated religious leader could only answer, “How can these things be?” (v.9).

Nicodemus’ words tell a story. A narrative of how religious tradition, doctrines of men (Matt.15:6-9), and ritual gradually replaced the Scriptures. Forming cataracts, rendering Israel’s leaders, and all who followed them, spiritually blind; “And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive” (Matt.13:14).

The Paradoxical Nature of Spiritual Truth
“For this people’s HEART is waxed 
[grown] gross [dense], and their ears are dull [insensitive] of hearing, and their eyes they have closed…” (Matt.13:15). [Emphasis mine].

It has been wisely stated: “The heart of every problem is a problem in the heart,” and so it was with Israel’s leaders. Even though they saw and heard, their failure to understand was because religious tradition and ritual had desensitized their hearts toward God. As a result, their hearts were blind to the paradoxical nature of spiritual realities.

“He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11).

So great the blindness they were unable to comprehend the words of their own Messiah as He walked amongst them, the paradoxical nature of spiritual truth was beyond their grasp and became a snare to their soul. Take heed, So then, so now.

The greatest hindrance to spiritual growth is the lack of spiritual understanding, and the greatest obstacle to spiritual understanding is that it is often expressed in the form of paradox. Spiritual realities are paradoxical (just the opposite of what we think).

The power of paradox is that it confounds human intellect while unveiling fundamental truths essential to “spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9), revealing the wisdom and power of God.

The critical difference between intellectual comprehension and spiritual understanding is that the latter, due to paradox, requires FAITH: That steadfast trust in God that endures beyond logic or reason. “…the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb.11:1)

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the DEEP THINGS OF GOD.” (1 Cor.2:10) [Emphasis mine].

A paradox is a two-edged sword; first, a laser-like scalpel to remove cataracts, opening the eyes, bringing into focus hid spiritual realities; secondly, a sword to “…destroy the wisdom of the wise …bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” (1 Cor.1:19).

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the POWER OF GOD.” (1 Cor.2:5) [Emphasis mine].

Lifes Perplexing Questions
The Christian life is filled with contradictions, “things hard to be understood.” Down through the ages, all those who chose to follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob experienced severe trials, tribulation, and affliction. The story of Job is one such account of the seemingly senseless suffering of a righteous man. Every believer who has faced the dilemma of inexplicable fiery trials, sooner or later, will ask, as did Job, “shew me wherefore thou contendest with me” (Job 10:2).

“How can these things be.”…how can we make sense of those trying circumstances that contradict our reality and shake our faith? How can we comprehend and accept that which seems so senseless, situations that defy reason?

The Refiner’s Fire
The answer is found in the fact that, like gold bound in ore, comprehension of paradoxical realities requires a refining process (Mal.3:3). Therefore, “…think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13).

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake…” (Phil.1:29). Suffering works death on the “old man,” shattering the myth of self-sufficiency. For this reason, God allows tailor-made trials, difficult circumstances, and situations to prove and strengthen our faith, teaching us dependency, gradually delivering us from our “own understanding,” “our ways,” and “our hearts.”

Surrender involves the liberating wisdom of ACCEPTANCE which provides, “a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor.10:13).

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto THINE OWN UNDERSTANDING” (Prov.3:5) [Emphasis mine].

“My son, attend unto MY WISDOM, and bow thine ear to MY UNDERSTANDING…” (Prov.5:1) [Emphasis mine].

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.” (Isa.55:8).

The above verses clearly state that God’s ways are not our ways, or His thoughts our thoughts; as a matter of fact, His ways are, more often than not, just the opposite of our ways.

Consider the paradoxical nature of the following spiritual realities:

Calvary, life from death, (John 12:24).

Surrender equals victory (Phil.4:11).

Weakness becomes strength (2 Cor.12:9).

Humility is power (1Peter 5:5).

Evil is overcome by good (Rom.12:21).

To lose your life means to save your life (Luke 9:23-24).

Fortunate to have misfortune, (Ps 119:67, 71, 75).

God uses the world’s foolish things to confound the wise (1 Cor. 1:27).

The Contrast between Spiritual Understanding and Intellectual Understanding
There are two types of understanding, “intellectual understanding” (Prov.3:5) and “spiritual understanding” (Col.1:9). There are also two types of knowledge. As we learned earlier, spiritual realities are paradoxical (just the opposite of what we think); therefore, many times, as was the case with Nicodemus, what we think we know isn’t so.

Have you ever assumed that you knew the meaning of a verse of Scripture only to find later that, in reality, you didn’t truly understand? Suddenly you discover that your mental comprehension is inadequate: herein lies the subtle danger of equating intellectual knowledge with spiritual understanding.

In the eyes of the unsaved world: “Knowledge is power” Sir Francis Bacon. The flesh seeks knowledge, even spiritual knowledge, to empower and exalt itself—the desire to know, so as to be known; self-centered motive (Prov.18:1-2).

While it is true (in a sense) that perception defines reality regarding spiritual truth, human perception derived from intellectual knowledge is wholly inadequate to answer the perplexities and mysteries of spiritual realities.

“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” (1Cor.10:12).

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become as fool, that he may be wise.” (1Cor.3:18).

“…Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.” (1 Cor. 8:2).

Also, (Rom.12:3, 1 Cor. 14:37, 2Cor. 3:5, Gal.6:3).

Storing up knowledge about God in our minds doesn’t necessarily translate into having more of God in our hearts and lives. Spiritual realities are not comprehended by human intellect, not aptitude but heart attitude. So, if you or I know anything about the Bible, it’s only because God has revealed it to us!

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven…” (Matt.16:17).

Consider, (Acts 4:13) “…they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.”

Our knowledge can’t transform us; only God can do that. It’s not that I know the Bible; it’s that the Bible knows me. The word of God, “…is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb.4:12). Anyone who boasts of “their Bible knowledge” reveals that they know nothing!

One of the most significant pitfalls regarding the study of God’s word is found in the fact that you can know the Book and not the Author, “…God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5). The power of paradox is a built-in bear trap for all who come to the Bible with a haughty heart; it will spring shut without a “love of the truth.”

“And for this cause GOD shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie…” (2 Thess.2:11) [Emphasis mine].

Another sure way to trip and break your spiritual neck is to approach the word of God with a preconceived notion or personal opinion seeking Scripture to line up with your thoughts or religious beliefs on a subject. But, again, the important thing about knowledge is how it is used.

The above reveals the pitfalls and vulnerabilities entangling many so-called “Christian scholars,” intellectuals, and professional theologians. “The more things a man seeks to master, the more mistakes he is going to make.”

Self-deception is the fruit of pride, the source of spiritual blindness. Pride produces men of high self-esteem; contemporary Pharisees and Sadducees who are ignorant of the truth found in (1 Cor.1:25-29). The recognized “spiritual authorities” who have fallen into the same trap as their secular cousins, believing that THEIR “knowledge is power,” unable to discern the power of paradox, which opens the eyes to distinguish between “intellectual knowledge” and “spiritual understanding.”

Who do you suppose would be more susceptible to pride (Obadiah 1:3), the common man or the intellectual? Humility is not exactly the hallmark of higher learning. It is my observation (over a lifetime) that intellectual types naturally tend to pride & elevate themselves in their knowledge and learning. I most admire those rare individuals who manage to remain humble despite their gifts–spiritual or intellectual.