Monday, March 18, 2013

Shadow spirituality

The Polish astronomer Copernicus, through his writings and education, changed the concepts of what men think about the universe and how the universe runs. He was a brilliant man. But when Copernicus came to die, he did not see himself as an astronomer but as a sinner in need of forgiveness. He asked that this epitaph be inscribed on his gravestone: “Lord, I do not ask the kindness Thou didst show to Peter. I do not dare ask the grace Thou didst grant to Paul; but, Lord, the mercy Thou didst show to the dying robber, that mercy show to me. That earnestly I pray.”

When the apostle Paul addressed the men of Athens, he said, "I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: 'To an Unknown God.' This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I'm telling you about" (Acts 17:22–23).

Have you ever tried to witness to someone who responded, "I don't need church or religion—I'm a very spiritual person." Maybe they try to fill their spiritual void with tarot cards, astrology, meditation, philosophy, or yoga. But without Christ as their Savior, their efforts to feed their spiritual hunger are in vain. We all were born in a spiritual vacuum, craving wholeness and peace. We may try to satisfy our hearts and souls with temporary fixes, but only God can permanently and completely fill that longing inside of us.

We must set our faces like flints against everything which is contrary to God and His holiness: purity being in our souls a settled matter, we can go on to peaceableness. Not less does the verse that follows seem to have been put there on purpose. However peaceable we may be in this world, yet we shall be misrepresented and misunderstood: and no marvel, for even the Prince of Peace, by His very peacefulness, brought fire upon the earth. He Himself, though He loved mankind, and did no ill, was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.”

God is the only source of true spiritual fulfillment. Anything else is temporary and false. It is a shadow of the real spirituality of God. Shadow spirituality is any form of spirituality that does not acknowledge Jesus Christ as the only Lord of life. Shadow spirituality refuses to acknowledge the sovereign power and authority of God. Shadow spirituality dismisses the Bible as the Word of God.

Even churches are not immune from shadow spirituality. Many churches are wrongly preaching that Christ is merely one of many ways to God. They preach in direct opposition to God's Word and plan of salvation. Jesus warned, "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves" (Matthew 7:15).

The story of redemptive history that culminates in Jesus Christ has its origins in the Old Testament. The Bible may have two testaments, but it tells one essential story. The creation, the fall, the election of Israel, the promise of a coming Savior, the birth of Jesus, his supernatural ministry, his redeeming death, his victorious resurrection, his establishing of God’s kingdom, and his glorious return are all part of a continuous narrative that runs from Genesis through Revelation.

The same God who began to speak in the Old Testament has now spoken fully and finally in Jesus Christ and the New Testament that testifies of him (Hebrews 1:1, 2). 

Taking their cue from Jesus himself, the authors of the New Testament believed the Old Testament to be nothing less than the word of God (Mark 12:36; Acts 1:16; Romans 3:2). The writers used the Old Testament in their histories, sermons, letters, and even their prayers. They used it when addressing Jews and Gentiles, churches and individuals, new converts and veteran believers. They used it to prove that Jesus was the Messiah, to offer ethical instruction, and to argue a theological point. The Old Testament was the primary authority they cited in their declaration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

The God Who created nature is the same God Who is the Author of the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16). Since God cannot lie (Titus 1:2), He will not give us two sources of information (science and the Bible) that contradict one another. Every human being has the right to expect the Bible, as an inspired revelation from God, to be accurate scientifically. It is not shadow spirutuality. He is the true, real, wonderful, trustworthy, everlasting God and we know him as Jesus Christ.  

One final thought......

Trust.  Can we trust in God?  Is the Lord faithful?  While we may wish to have been alive when Jesus walked the earth or Jeremiah spoke fearlessly God's hard truth, we are  especially blessed to be alive today.  We stand at the end of an incredible stream of God work and know him to be profoundly faithful to his people. We can launch out into the future with boldness because we know, as Psalm 139 says, God is there!



Raj Kosaraju

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