Monday, April 06, 2015

That you might know - 1 John 5:13

"These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." (1 John 5:13)
John writes, not only to our spirit, but also to our rational mind that he might inform us and convince us of the truth. Sometimes, in our pursuit of things spiritual, we learn to disdain the things of the intellect. We forget that, as being made in His image, we were made rational beings with the ability to think, know, and reason. Many of the early church writers understood this and wrote passionately to the rational mind that we might understand and learn to reason right.

It concerns me that, at least in some of the circles I move in, it is more important that people feel right than it is that they learn to think right. God is a rational being and when He sent His Son to Earth, He sent Him as His Logos. The early Greek philosophers understood the Logos to be that faculty of mankind that reasons and is rational. They understood that, in sending His Logos to Earth, Jesus represented the thought, message, and reasoning of God. In Jesus they could see what and how God thought and reasoned about the world He created. Even Christ's message was an expression of the thoughts and reasons of God's mind towards us. Clement of Alexandria put it best.
"Everything that is contrary to right reason is sin. Accordingly, therefore, the philosophers think fit to define the most generic passions thus: lust, as desire disobedient to reason; fear, as weakness disobedient to reason; pleasure, as an elation of the spirit disobedient to reason. If, then, disobedience in reference to reason is the generating cause of sin, how shall we escape the conclusion, that obedience to reason—the Word—which we call faith, will of necessity be the efficacious cause of duty? For virtue itself is a state of the soul rendered harmonious by reason in respect to the whole life. Nay, to crown all, philosophy itself is pronounced to be the cultivation of right reason; so that, necessarily, whatever is done through error of reason is transgression, and is rightly called, sin. 
And Christian conduct is the operation of the rational soul in accordance with a correct judgment and aspiration after the truth, which attains its destined end through the body, the soul’s consort and ally. Virtue is a will in conformity to God and Christ in life, rightly adjusted to life everlasting. For the life of Christians, in which we are now trained, is a system of reasonable actions—that is, of those things taught by the Word—an unfailing energy which we have called faith." (Clement of Alexandria, The Instructor, Book 1, Chapter 13)
In trying to be spiritual, we must also learn to be rational. God has given us our mind to contemplate things both spiritual and natural. It is through our mind that we come to understand and know God, to receive wisdom and guidance from Him, and to learn the lessons of living godly lives in a world that is anything but. When feeding you spirit, don't forget to feed your mind. Our minds are important and are meant to encounter God both directly through His Spirit and directly through the written Word. Open your minds as you open your hearts and receive God as a whole person in Christ.

David Robison

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