Gods Way of Entering His Kingdom

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

A few days ago, I saw a young boy crying as he waited in a car at the entrance of the hospital where I work. I asked him what was wrong.

Sobbing, he said, “My father is bringing my mother here for a few weeks. She drinks too much.”

I can’t tell you what sympathy I felt for this crying boy. He dearly loved his mother, but she was an alcoholic.

I identify closely with that boy, because my Mother, the pseudo-religious church of Christ, is a spiritual alcoholic. The children of Mother Church are shattered by what has happened to her. We love this Mother, deeply and tenderly. But our Mother is drunk. It hurts terribly to say that. We hate to hear our own words. There was a time, perhaps, when we lashed out at her in judgment and anger, but no longer. It is too late for that. Our love forbids it. All we can now feel is pity and pain.

The children of Mother Church, however, are doubly desolate. Our human father, psychological science, while promising to help us with our deepest life-problems, has also failed us. Our human father has defaulted in his responsibility to lead us to God, the source of true help. At other times, this father has given us advice and counsel which sent us down roads which led nowhere. Worst of all, our psychiatrist father has harmed us by such things as encouraging us in egocentric living, the avoidance of problems through medication, and a pseudo-neutrality regarding moral conduct.

Our human parents have forsaken us. A long time ago a man said, “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up” (Psalm 27:10), yet we ask—how? How are we to find a way into the Kingdom of God if not through these venerable parents? Who will instruct us if not they? Who will teach us the deep secrets of life if not the theologians and the behavioral scientists?

Well, first of all, be assured that God has not abandoned His children. There is a way into the Kingdom of God—into that Kingdom where God will bring us into an undreamed of liberation from our
23bondages and additionally, give us the blessings of peace of mind and joy of spirit.

Who will teach us the way to enter into and live in the Kingdom of God?

God’s way of entering the Kingdom of God is being taught us today, it seems to me, by the Kingdom-people whose shattered lives are being renewed by the power of God. If we may for a moment speak of these people as the “winners,” then we may say, “Seek out the winners and receive instruction from these amazing people as to how to enter the Kingdom of God.”

Seek the instruction of the winners not the glib talkers whose smooth words are offered only to impress us.

Seek the instruction of the winners—not the sophisticated intellectual whose eight-cylinder brain still has not found a way to get his stalled life into gear.
Seek the instruction of the winners—not those busybodies whose activism leaves nothing for God to do except stand on the sidelines of their lives and applaud at appropriate intervals.

Seek the instruction of the winners—not that company of experts who are so quick to hand you their untested solutions, knowing full well they will never need to live with the results.

Seek the instruction of the winners—not the play-actors who look so pious and so sincere in hopes that this will permit them to test their ideas in your life. Who, then, are these winners?

They are people whose lives were broken, wasted, shattered—but people whose lives, by the power of God, are now mending, healing, and growing.

That cannot be faked. Knowledge can be faked. Feelings can be faked. Intentions can be faked. But a resurrection from the dead cannot be faked. Either one is alive and growing in freedom, peace, and joy, or one is dead, entombed in various bondages and existing (but not living) in a pervasive mood of sadness, depression, and conflict.

Right now I’m thinking of two winners from among several hundred that I could choose.
Let me briefly describe Nanette first. She is a twentyfour-year-old woman who was drug addicted, spent time in jail on several occasions, and then took up residence in a mental hospital because of her emotional problems. When I saw her on the hospital ward, she was chaos personified. What particularly struck me was the hard, tough look on her face. Her one redeeming feature was a good figure, but her face was not attractive. Home life consisted of a continual war with her father. Nanette was a loser any way you looked at her.

Upon discharge from the hospital, Nanette was referred into the hands of Christine who had had a marvelous experience of spiritual renewal. And that’s when it all happened. Christine excitedly told Nanette what had happened to her. The spiritual needs of Nanette were so great that she surrendered to Christ. Within a few weeks, we began to see the beginning of a dramatic life-change. Nanette came into the Kingdom of God.

It is now a year and a half since Nanette’s discharge. She is a renewed person. How do we know? Well, first of all, look at her face: She’s beautiful now. She could hardly fake that. She is also off of drugs. How do we know? Because she associates with other recovering drug addicts, and if she was using drugs, they would spot it immediately. Finally, her father speaks with utter amazement about the new Nanette and their close relationship. These realities could hardly be faked by Nanette.

Nanette is a winner. She has answers which are validated in her life. She is the kind of person from whom we can safely receive good instruction about life. “I can sum it all up,” she says, “in one word—God.”

Max is another person I can present as a winner. He was a walking disaster—drugs, alcohol, sexual perversion, marital discord, trouble with the law. One day, a broken, tired Max gave up and surrendered his life to God. Today, he is winning over these problems. They are arrested. A week ago, a severely crippled neurotic told me how Max had been the means unto his recovery. This, again, could not be faked. Max is a winner. His new way of life proves that he knows the way into the Kingdom of God. Max is there.

If you need more examples, go to the thousands who have found God through the testimony of the Billy Graham Crusades, Campus Crusades for Christ, many evangelical churches, the Jesus People, Alcoholics Anonymous, and most recently, the growing company of charismatic Christians. People whose changed lives prove that they are in the Kingdom of God are the people who deserve commendation to us as safe guides into the Kingdom. Distrust all others.

I have tried to be a student of these winners since my own entrance into the Kingdom of God about twelve years ago. What constantly impresses me is the similarity and unity of the case histories. True, each person’s problems are different as to detail, but not as to the fundamental nature of the problem. This is because the problem is one problem, not many. All problems seem to be reducible to one problem, and its nature is basically spiritual. It follows that if there is only one fundamental problem, then we need look for only one solution. In this, we follow the ancient wisdom of the Bible which defines one human problem (sin) and announces one solution to that problem (God in Christ).

The point I wish to make now, however, is that we can discern certain definite stages which the winners go through as they go from the problem to its solution. Consider the following stages in the journey from the Kingdom of Self into the Kingdom of God:

Stage 1—The Long Period of Unendurable Pain. The egocentric world we construct becomes increasingly hellish. We go out of control. Our world also goes out of control. The pain produced by this kind of suffering is so unproductive. It accomplishes nothing but fatigue.

Stage 2—The Losing Struggle Against Inner Bondage. This struggle goes on concurrently with the long Period of Unendurable Pain. A continuing attempt is made to gain mastery over ourselves and our world. It is assumed that man has the power, if only he decides to be strong and use his I-will-power. Increasingly, it becomes apparent that the battle is being lost. We continue to lose ground.

Stage 3—
24Naming and Accepting the Bondage. The lives of the winners reveal that this is the earliest step in the direction of a change. No one moves toward change until he names, admits, and then accepts his bondage(s). This stage is usually reached only because the evidence of bondage is so overwhelming and damning that a denial of the evidence can be maintained only at the risk of being called insane. Not wishing to have such a label tacked on us, we choose the lesser evil of accepting a problem. The lives of the winners show that it usually takes years before a person comes to this Level.

Stage 4—The Agonizing Choice. One can both admit and accept his bondage but nonetheless choose to continue in it. Many people dearly love their bondage. Try curing all the imagined illnesses of a hypochondriac and see what an unhappy person you have on your hands.

If one has, however, reached the sickening point and sincerely wishes to be free, an agonizing choice now opens up to the person. Either he can choose the Kingdom of Self and remain in bondage, or he can come into the Kingdom of God and be set free.

Stage 5—The Act of Surrendering One’s Will to God. Kingdom-people may not always have a clear recollection of that point in their lives when finally they ended their war with God, but that they surrendered is clearly understood by them. As Dag Hammarskjold said:

I don’t know Who—or what—put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t even remember answering. But at some moment I did answer YES to Someone—or Something—and from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.*
*Dag Hammarskjold, Markings (New York: Knopf, 1965] p. 205.
The initial act of surrender must be followed by a continuing surrender of one’s will and one’s life. Our surrender is done by degrees. It is a tedious process. Certain areas of our lives we will give up, but not others. King Self will at times surrender something and then immediately reclaim it. Christ our King is infinitely patient with us as we procrastinate and yield, cooperate and rebel, relinquish and take back. All the old tricks which King Self learned in his earliest years are dragged out for yet another boring recital. How dull—and fruitless!

Stage 6—The Act of Confession. Suddenly, upon surrender, the conscience becomes quickened. The presence of God in one’s life makes this unavoidable. It is a mark of good training and real character to feel guilt not only over wrongdoing, but particularly for the way in which we denied a place for God in our lives. Confession is simply becoming reconciled to God by means of real honesty and a dependency upon God’s mercy. It seems that the winners in the Kingdom of God all have this healing act in their case histories in one form or another.

Stage 7—The Act of Prayer. It is interesting but sad that people outside the Kingdom of God often have great difficulty speaking to God. Small wonder!He is the hated enemy. We usually give God the silent treatment until we make peace with Him. Finally our sealed lips begin to speak a few words—perhaps a request—perhaps a word of gratitude—to the One who, we now realize, has always loved us. That is prayer. Prayer becomes increasingly spontaneous on the lips of winners.

Stage 8—The Act of Taking Things Back. Sometimes this means restoring stolen goods to the rightful owner. It may also mean taking back cruel words we have spoken about another. This would be done through an apology. My files are filled with instances where new citizens of the Kingdom of God have taken things back.

One man, as a youth, stole a gear from a tanning factory. Twenty years later, he wished to apologize and make restitution. The factory had moved to a new location, but he tracked them down and sent them a note of apology with twenty-five dollars. The tanning company was so surprised to find this kind of honesty still alive that they sent him one of their nicest sheepskins.

Stage 9—The Act of Continually Caring for Oneself. This is where so many of God’s people fall flat on their faces. We often fail to really keep our lives under control because we feel no need for a continual program of nurture in the spiritual way of life. Yet we know that no matter how dramatic one’s entrance into the Kingdom of God, if a person fails to keep his life under Authority as it is mediated to him by other people under Authority, the return to bondage will not be long in coming. Surrender to God is not a once-for-all-time event. It must be repeatedly acted out with a spiritual adviser.

Stage 10—
25The Act of Thanking God for the Bondages. This goes beyond even that climactic act of Pierre D’Harcourt when he kissed his chains while a prisoner. That act indicated acceptance and brought him deep peace. Thanking God for our bondage assumes an acceptance of our bondages but then goes on to realize that they have become a great blessing to us. What we thought was a bitter lemon has been turned into lemonade! I hear the winners say—“I thank God I am a recovering neurotic.” “I had to become an alcoholic to learn the lessons I needed to learn.” “Thank God I went to jail where else would I take time to think?”

Stage 11—The Act of Reaching Out to Others. At this point, the winner reaches out to others who need his help. He waits to help, lends assistance when it is requested, and probably most importantly, shares his life-story with the person in need. Such testimonies have a truthful ring to them. They are authentic. These witnesses carry a kind of authority with which it is difficult to argue.

Such reaching out to others will always be free from the charge of do-goodism because this action is basically done to help oneself. This is not egoism. It is the essence of kingdom living when two people care equally for each other under God.

You noticed, I am sure, that at every stage except the first and second, the winners go into action. This is a crucial point. We act out of our problems. It is folly to think our way out. No one ever comes into the Kingdom of God who is bogged down in a think-trap, asking the impossible-to-answer questions Why? and How? The way out of the think-trap—and let us add, the feeling-trap—is to go into action.

About a dozen years ago, when the bottom was dropping out of my life, it got through to me that if I was to be saved from the torture of my own think-traps and feeling-traps, I must act. Act, that is, obediently to God. But how?

My recovering alcoholic parishioners offered an answer to that question: “What we do is get ourselves a sponsor; we begin to make the meetings; we work the program. That’s how we go into action.”

Fine. Fine for alcoholics, but I didn’t have the right qualifications for membership in AA.

I guess God knew the guidance I needed, because a plan began to form in my mind. Perhaps I could ask a close friend to be my spiritual adviser. I might be helped if I sat down regularly with him and worked along the lines of the twelve steps of AA. And why would it not work to ask this brother for advice and counsel both as to what I had done, what I am now doing, and what I plan to do? The idea grew, thanks to the Holy Spirit and my quiet desperation.

I’ve already described the basic need in all of us for a relationship with a spiritual adviser. I have a few more thoughts to add because a spiritual adviser is nothing less than a key directly into the Kingdom of God.

The first few rides with my spiritual guide were quite bumpy. He felt my ideas were much too Roman Catholic, particularly this business of speaking a confession to God in his presence. I must admit that the first time I did this, I felt my Protestant gears grinding. But now I have come to have a deep conviction that we Protestants made a tragic and costly mistake four hundred years ago when we stopped using the confessional. The winners I know use it.

Why is it so important that I have a spiritual adviser listen as I confess my sins to God? There are many good reasons* but I will mention only one. Once one really discloses his life to God, there is need to receive counsel as to how to go into action on taking things back (which we already discussed under Stage 8). I cannot overstate the damage one does if he advises himself after confession. Such a person will either be overly punitive, or make needless efforts at self-atonement, or possibly autosuggest absurd attempts at apology or restitution. The one who advises himself cannot escape unconsciously using his egocentric perspective which, though it is disguised as the epitome of reason and good logic, is full of folly.
*The author has discussed the benefits of auricular confession more fully in his book The God Players (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1970), pp. 111-114.
The reason we abhor the counsel of a spiritual adviser is clear and understandable: we do not want anyone crossing our wills. We do not want anyone getting in our way and messing up our plans. Confirmation and support we always accept, but not anything which counters our wills. Not only will we decide what to do, but the idea must originate with us.

So no matter how pious the penitent, if he insists on still going his own way, he is still playing god and has evicted God from his world. It’s that simple. If I advise myself, I am no longer under the will of God. I am under my own will, no matter how many times I mumble, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”

After I have tried to be open and honest to God in the presence of my spiritual adviser, the first thing he does is speak on behalf of Christ. In Christ’s name, he forgives my sins. Is not that what we are supposed to do? “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven” (John 20:23), said Jesus. And how can anyone speak that word of forgiveness to me unless he hears what I have confessed? I can’t tell you how much I need to hear my brother say to me, “Earl, Christ forgives you. Now let go of it. It’s finished business. Let it rest. Be assured of God’s pardon.”

It is right at this point that I stand in need of counsel. My guilt has been pardoned, but there may still need to be some further steps to take in the direction of restoring what I have wrongfully taken or apologizing for what I have said, or becoming reconciled to people with whom I am at odds—to mention just a few of the things which need to be done. I am the world’s poorest judge of what I now ought to do, because I am the blindest person in the world when it comes to my own egoism. Let me give an example.

I once confessed to a resentment toward a certain person to whom I am distantly related. I had always kept plenty of distance between us for a number of what I now realize were foolish, petty reasons. My opinion of this person had always been rather low, and this I now felt was an unjustified judgment. I told my spiritual adviser that I intended to write a letter of apology to this person.

My adviser questioned me closely on several points and then asked if he might make a suggestion. I asked for it. He gave it to me—and it went like this: “I disagree with you about sending a letter. You told me that this other person feels no need for an apology as far as you know. (This was true.) Secondly, what this person needs is a visit at your first opportunity, not a piece of paper. Also, you sound a little over-scrupulous to me, so check yourself for your old problem of moral perfectionism. Finally, I suggest we both think this matter over a bit more and look at it again at our next visit. Meanwhile, I suggest you do nothing.”

My will, you see, had been countered. My counselor made no decisions for me—he only differed, giving me the freedom to choose any course. Either way, he would still accept and love me.

After eight years of living under this kind of spiritual discipline, I have learned to follow the suggestions of my adviser unless what he suggests is absolutely immoral or obviously indecent—which it never is. Most times I happen to agree with his advice, but even in those cases where I disagree with it, I usually still act on his suggestions because: (1) my perception of reality is screened by my egoism; (2) he has my best interests at heart; (3) this arrangement provides a concrete way for me to actualize the will of God in my life; and (4) I like very much the results I see in my life as a result of the path of obedience.

Of course, all of this takes time. My spiritual guide and I get together on a regular basis—never longer than three-week intervals between appointments. We use the phone and meet by special arrangement in between regular appointments. Future appointments must always be set by the time I leave my adviser, else I find that my egoism prevails, and months go by in which I am flying solo—straight for the side of a mountain.

One day, not too long after I had begun the practice of confession, I asked my spiritual adviser who he went to for confession and spiritual advice. “I confess my sins to God but have no one from whom I seek advice.” This was honest, if not commendable. I sensed immediately that from this theological view of the world, things ended with him. Others like myself might need spiritual discipline, but he was above that. He was, I imagined, some kind of a pope to whom others would come for help, but there was no one to whom he would go for help.

Well, we talked about this matter. He seemed surprised when I told him that the current pope in Rome goes to confession every week, using a bishop as his spiritual adviser. Finally, in this devious way, I got to my question: Was he ready for a spiritual adviser in his life? I asked this out of concern for him but also for myself. There were real doubts in my mind about anything other than an intellectual submission to Christ on his part if there was no concrete human person through whom to become obedient. I was concerned for myself as well. If he were to continue to respond to my request for counsel out of the “wisdom” of his own egocentric life, I knew we could not continue, for he would return me to the bondage of Earl.

My good brother thought over my question and said he was ready. With that, I suggested we experiment with being spiritual advisers to each other, each using forty-five minutes at our regular meetings. The experiment is now finished. We are convinced that this is a marvelously effective way for human beings to live and care for themselves. We are a micro-church experiencing the macro-life of God as we are safely guided from one exciting day to the next.

Even though Mother Church and Father Behavioral Science have forsaken us, it is still possible for any of us children to enter into the Kingdom of God. The winners show us the Way. I have tried their Way, once I had abandoned all other ways, and found that this Way could straighten out my life. I have seen God do this same miracle in the lives of hundreds of troubled, anxious, despairing people who had reached The End and were finally ready for God. He wants us all to enter the Kingdom of God. God has given us the keys to His Kingdom. I would like to make a few simple suggestions as to concrete steps anyone can take to enter into this Kingdom which is eternal.

1. Name your bondage. Complete this sentence: “
26I am a __________________ .” By such a statement, we confess our sin. For more detailed instructions, consult Chapter 4, part 2—“The Bondage of the Self to Self.”

2. Surrender your will and your life to God. I urge you, if you have not yet asked God to be your King, to take this decisive step right now. Place your life under a New Manager with this prayer:
Father in Heaven:
I will resist you no longer. I give up. You take over my life and run it according to Your will.
By Your divine power, straighten out my life and lead me into freedom.
I submit myself to Your divine authority. If at any time in the future I fall into sin, or begin to doubt, or even deny You—disregard my rebellion.
Let the covenant we are making now stand eternally.
In the Name of Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

3. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to a spiritual adviser. Not just anyone, as you can well imagine, will do as a spiritual adviser. I think I speak the mind of the Holy Spirit in pointing out four things to avoid in selecting this person:
A. Avoid a brand-new convert, because he lacks foundation in the faith.
B. Avoid having many spiritual advisers, because we will use one against the other.
C. Avoid using a spouse as a spiritual adviser, because it is confusing for a marriage partner to play a number of different roles with us. There are times, to be sure, when we will turn to a spouse for spiritual advice, but normally this role is better carried by another Christian.
D. Avoid having a spiritual adviser from the opposite sex, because you have enough troubles without asking for more.
I refer you, however, to the leading of the Holy Spirit in this matter. When we ask Him to guide us to a spiritual adviser, He will not mislead us, for it is a good thing which we ask.

4.When you have been guided to a particular person, I suggest you begin along these lines:
A. Ask him to read this chapter and ascertain whether he is in general agreement with its contents.
B. Tell him that you have taken steps 1, 2, and 3 above. Spell out each one. This is very important. In this public disclosure of your relationship to God, you are sealing an understanding at which you and God have arrived privately. All this has the greatest present and eternal significance.
C. Invite your friend to form a triangle, each being a spiritual adviser to the other. God is at the apex of the triangle. By this simple arrangement, you give up your egocentric status.

5. Begin spoken confession to God with your spiritual adviser regarding past actions, present involvements, and future plans. Agree to have a confidential relationship. This gives you complete freedom to speak the truth. Having been honest with God and your adviser, you are now ready to receive counsel from God through your mentor.

6. Pray together. It is time we begin talking to the One we have opposed so long. Time also to call Him by His unique Name—Lord Jesus Christ. It is past time to give thanks for all He has done for us. It is time to let our requests be known to Him. It is time.

7. Come to agreements between yourselves in God’s presence. Accept the advice and counsel of your spiritual adviser. Come to agreements between yourselves, for these contracts are the keys into the Kingdom of God. God has given us these keys. They are binding agreements arrived at between you and your spiritual adviser in the presence of God.

8. Be open to the guidance of God in your life through the following means:
A. “Our general guidance is the life and character and teaching of Jesus Christ . . .”
B. “God guides through the counsel of good people.”
C. “God guides through an opening providence.”
D. “God guides through your heightened moral intelligence.”
E. “God guides through the inner voice.”*
*The foregoing “means” are taken from E. Stanley Jones, song of Ascents (New York: Abingdon 1968), p. 188-189.
It is important that you do not try to 27figure out the will of God. It is God’s problem to get through to you, so stop trying to do His work. He uses the above means usually in the order given. Egocentrics use the last means first.

9. Meet with your spiritual adviser by appointment on a regular basis. Only by this means can we avoid the greatest pitfall of those who finally find God. It is possible to find God and then lose Him. We lose Him when, failing to invite a discipline to function over us, we revert back to playing god. God is immediately dead to us when we choose the path of disobedience to His will.

10. Give thought to enlarging your fellowship to include other needy people. As you invited one into fellowship with you, now both of you invite still another person. Share your experience with the newcomer and offer to be an adviser to him. Do not look for people who might enjoy this sort of thing. Never mind the comfortable people who say they have no problems. Rather, go to God’s suffering people. “Those that are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I came not to call the righteous, but sinners” (Mark 2:17). So call the sick sinners into your fellowship.

It is my belief that God is making known to us twentieth-century Christians a new (and yet, very first-century-ish) way of entering into and then being nurtured in the Kingdom of God. I am convinced that Alcoholics Anonymous is one group—although by no means the only group—who will have much to teach us about this way. There are now a half million of these people throughout the world who (1) have worked a spiritual program—the twelve steps—which leads them straight to God; (2) have found freedom from one of the very worst forms of human bondage; (3) have experienced a serenity and joy in living which is a proof of the presence of God in their lives; (4) are effectively reaching out to a large group of very needy people who have problems similar to their own; and (5) continue to grow in a way of life which is basically God-centered.

Why could not you and I, with our numerous nonalcoholic kinds of alcoholisms, also have such a program, such a fellowship, and such results in our lives? Where is that simple, effective organization which could be God’s saving instrument for that great multitude of people who right now are crying out for a true freedom from their bondage?

Let us, in these last moments together, hastily sketch a rough model of such a saving instrument.

I’m thinking of a fellowship of small groups. One would enter such a fellowship because of his suffering and need for renewal rather than because of intellectual assent to the guiding principles. The basic question would not be, Am I right? but rather, Do I want to get well and become a free person?

The only requirement for membership in such a gathering would be a desire to be free from one’s personal bondages and to help others to the same freedom.

A major aim of this group would be to draw people by attraction rather than promotion.

Honesty with oneself, openness to others, and a basic reliance upon God as the source of power would characterize the group life. Members would witness to their experience of God’s renewal of their lives rather than to a set of doctrinal teachings, valuable as they may be.

Such a fellowship would be well-advised to avoid owning property and handling money. These concerns always seem to have a way of diverting us from that single, simple purpose of coming into the Kingdom.

This group we are thinking about would not be allied with a particular denomination or sect but neither would it be in opposition to any. Indeed, this fellowship would function as a movement working cooperatively within many established bodies.

The group should be theocratic in its organization. Elected leaders would be servants of the Lord to the group. The elected leadership would understand that in their offices, they are privileged to serve God’s people rather than working for ego-satisfaction and the delights of using power upon people.

This group should be of one class, recognizing neither race, social status, professional standing, or previous reputation.

This fellowship would greatly profit from close contact with lay groups which already have a rich body of tradition and experience.

I believe God is at work today forming this kind of a fellowship for us. It is emerging. In the final chapter, of this book we’ll see that the shape of this “new thing” is already discernible. God is no longer waiting. He is giving us what we need.

And it seems, we are finally ready for what we need.

Read Chapter 9

23 Here Rev. Jabay contradicts his earlier position that there are no cures for our bondages (see Footnote 13). If one is indeed delivered from a bondage, then one must, necessarily, be cured of that bondage. If he is not cured, he is still under its power and is not delivered.

24 Nowhere in scripture does God tell us to accept our bondage, nor does he tell us to claim it as our own. God continually exhorts us to CONFESS our sin (in opposition to naming our bondage) and trust in him to deliver us from our oppressive bondage.

25 I challenge you to read the Bible through and find even a single instance of anyone thanking God for any type of bondage. It simply does not exist. The reason it does not exist is because God does not tell us to thank him for bondage but to thank him for deliverance from that bondage. We are to thank God for what HE has given to or done for us. We do NOT thank God for disaster we bring upon ourselves or for calamity introduced into our lives by Satan. A striking example of my point is discovered in accounts of healing in the Bible. If Rev. Jabay’s premise was sound, we would find people in the Bible giving God thanks for sickness, disease, and death. But in every account recorded in scripture, people reserved thanksgiving until a healing or cure had been accomplished.

26 (See Footnote 12)

27 Rev. Jabay’s counsel is accurate only if we add the words, “without God.” The Lord tells us in Isaiah, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18

God expects us to work at figuring things out by reasoning together with him. Not every issue in the Bible is as cut-and-dried as “thou shalt not kill.” Often we need to “work out our salvation with fear and trembling.” This verse uses fear and trembling as an idiomatic expression for a humble frame of mind (cf. 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 7:15; Ephesians 6:5).

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