Study # 5
September 28, 2003
Lincolnton, N.C.

Thesis: Attempting to relate to God on the foundations of merit has two negative consequences: first, it messes up the good theology that has to settle in for fear to turn into love; and, second, it blocks the development of the soul into a healthy, fearless, love-driven guide. Introduction: Have you ever wondered why believers, even those who try their best to live right, are such emotional wrecks when the surprises of life come along? Has the thought ever crossed your mind that a primary reason for the growth of the present day emotionally loaded religious practices is the poverty of men's souls -- that people are so emotionally impoverished that they are naturally attracted to the things that bring emotion to the surface? Have you ever given any thought to the fact that it is always the thirsty that are the most fixated upon getting a drink of water? One more question: do you think it is a good thing to be thirsty? What is thirst but an indication that we are dying? If thirst is a good thing, why did Jesus promise that the one who drank of the water He would give would never thirst again? And, in the best tradition of lying preachers, let me raise yet another question: What does any of this have to do with Luke's record of the birth of John the Baptizer? There are two huge ambiguities with God as men attempt to relate: one is His justice because it raises the question of whether I have done enough to satisfy Him; and the other is His grace because it, by definition, is sovereignly bestowed blessing and if it is sovereignly bestowed there is nothing a man can do to make sure he gets it! The problem is not the ambiguities; rather, it is man's terror in the face of them! The lack of love that refuses to relax in the presence of the unknown is the problem as it raises the reality of man's self-centered focus.