If all the reasons for division among Christians can be summarized into one thing, I think it will be this: moving away from a God-centred position to a man-centred position.
In fact, if there could be a neat categorization of Christians into two groups, it will probably be:
- Those who are moving closer to a God or Christ-centred position in their thinking, reading of Scriptures, practise of the church life and everyday living.
- Those who are moving closer to a man centred position in their thinking, reading of Scriptures, practise of church life and everyday living.
It is this one matter that is the deciding issue in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, among God’s people. In Revelations chapters 2, 3 & 12, there is a distinct group of God’s elect called the Overcomers. These, we can say, are those who stayed true to a God-centred movement all their lives while the rest were those who were trapped in a man-centred movement, no matter how pious they seem to be to men. In Matthew 25, where we have the story of the 10 virgins (although a parable, a story used to illustrate a spiritual principle), the 5 wise represents the Overcomers while the 5 foolish represents the Compromisers.
What principle is guiding your life & work?
When the Holy Ghost began to speak about how we will be judged as Christians at the Judgment seat of Christ, He listed the 3 building materials necessary to build a life and work that will abide (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). As you will observe, Gold, Silver and Precious stones are materials deep down beneath the surface of the earth. As a principle, they speak of that which has passed through death and has experienced resurrection. This the summary of the New Creation Life in Christ Jesus.
The other 3 materials mentioned are wood, hay and stubble. And you will agree with me that these are things commonly available to man regardless of his spiritual condition. These are found almost without any effort. The principle here is the “earthwardness” or “mancentredness” that is the controlling principle of behaviour among all people. An illustration will suffice here: The philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel (after they had tasted the wrath of God) by putting it on a calf driven cart and it was okay, but when the Israelites copied that “strategy” and placed the Ark on a new cart, they saw the wrath of God (1 Samuel 6:11, 2 Samuel 6:3, 6-7).
Consequences of Mancentredness
Just as righteousness is a direct result of a Godcentred/Heavenward position, sin is a result of a Mancentred/earthward position. Everyone comes short of the glory of God at birth because their source (Adam) became centred in man in Genesis 3, therefore they can only produce sin, even with good deeds. The only way out is Christ. That’s why you have the term “in Christ” repeated severally in the New Testament. It means coming out of mancentredness into Godcentredness.
What are the consequences of remaining mancentred? Israel suffered the terrible consequence of the death of Uzzah because they moved away from the Godcentred position. They became centred in man, and they ignored the right way to move the Ark by adopting a more efficient way, albeit wrong. God had designated the Levites to carry the Ark and not to put it on a cart driven by a calf or something (Deut 10:8, Joshua 3:3).
When Ananias & Sapphira decided to introduce the leaven of hypocrisy, by giving reluctantly (or how do you explain, giving a part of what you have and declare it’s all you have?) or not wanting to be seen as not giving, they died suddenly. Death was the means of removing that strange introduction of mancentredness into a Godcentred movement.
David was offended for a time because God was just being who He is – righteous & just (2 Samuel 6:8). He eventually admitted his error “…that we sought him not after the due order.” in 1 Chronicles 15 (1-2, 11-13). This is the courage we need to see today, first in ourselves. We must admit that we are wrong when the LORD queries us, whether by running into a wall (stalemate) or suffering great loss. If we claim to see no loss among us, what about the loss of spiritual value when we gather together, when the Word is preached, when we pray? Should this not break our pride? What greater sign of God’s judgment do we need than the conspicuous absence of His presence from among us? Ichabod!
Why God hates mancentredness?
Man was not made to be centred in himself. The image and likeness upon him was God’s. That in itself already presupposes the right centre for man. In Genesis 2:16-17, God told man to eat of all trees of the garden (including the Tree of Life) but forbade him from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating out of this tree will remove man from his right foundation, being God (Rock), and place him on another foundation, which is himself (sand).
Eating of that forbidden tree became the promise that Satan was going to make man (the apex of God’s creation) a “competitor” with God, another trinity, so that that which he was not able to achieve in his cosmic rebellion to God, he will use the very creature made in God’s image to achieve it. That’s why the temptations of Genesis 3 and Matthew 4 are Satan’s attempt to raise a satanic trinity twice. He succeeded with Adam, but he failed with our Lord Jesus.
The number of man is 6 because man was created on the 6th day. And the antichrist which was made possible by the sin in Genesis 3 has the numbers 666. This number shows that rather than man been finally filled with God and emptied of himself, he is filled by the devil and emptied of God. This is why all who follow Jesus cannot but be dead to themselves so that Christ can be all in all in them. But those who retain the self, the Compromisers, are gradually becoming like the antichrist because their souls and spirits is taking the shape of the man of sin. This is reversed transformation.
The Final Separation
Did I hear you say why are we not seeing God dealing with mancentredness again? Let`s check Matthew 13:25-30. Just as we see in Matthew 25 that a great slumber came upon the 10 virgins, so also, we see here that “…while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”(v.25) The servants suggested to the Master that the tares be removed but He said no. “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (v.30)
God is sovereign. His ways are not our ways. It is clear from the Scripture we read that at the season of the end, God will allow both the Overcomers and Compromisers to grow together. He will separate them at the end. In 1 Corinthians 3, at the judgment seat of Christ, there is a fire there that will test every man’s work of what sort it is. Those who have built with wood, hay and stubble will have their works burnt, and their passage into Heaven will be like missing eternal damnation with an air’s breadth.
“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). That way is not a dead tradition; it is a living way. It costs much to walk on that way following the Master. But what could be more important than being an Overcomer if others around you choose to settle in a Compromising position? Mancentredness is the glorification of man and is the necessary preparation to usher in the antichrist while Godcentredness is the glorification of God and is the necessary preparation for the catching away of the saints and the approaching Day of the LORD. Which of these two groups are you a part of?
A Prayer: LORD, I refuse every tendency within me to prefer myself over you. I refuse to be a part of those whose lives are ushering in the antichrist. I choose to be an Overcomer, to watch and pray lest I fall into temptation. I choose to die daily to myself so that Christ can be exalted in me. I choose to be a part of those whose lives are hastening the return of my LORD Jesus Christ. AMEN. Maranatha!
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