What Is That to You?

by Mike Ratliff

20 Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” John 21:20-22 (NASB)

Part of my makeup that God molded into my character is the ability to observe, take note, and analyze as part of Him directing what I study and pray about in order to obediently minister in my writing and teaching. What do I observe? Everything! I take note of my fellow Christians when they interact on this blog and others. I see the patterns of what is hot and what is not. I have seen people come at me or one of my friends with vehement viciousness over doctrinal differences. What have I learned? I have learned that humans have a huge problem in wanting to control other people.

Those of us who write for CRN are often called “Watchbloggers” by those who believe that we go too far in comparing what is really going on doctrinally in the church in our time to what should be going on. Much of what is “wrong” in the Church in our time is a drive to reform it into “man-centered” relevancy. When we reveal the very words of those leaders doing this then out come those accusing us of being “over the top” or “arrogant” or “backward” or “legalistic” even “heretical” because we obediently reveal what is said in comparison with what the Bible says.

Since the adherents of “relevancy” are mired in their man-centered worldview, they insist that Biblical truth to that level is unknowable. For instance, they say that the Doctrines of Grace are heretical. For us to say that God is Sovereign in election and saves His people whom He chose before the foundation of the world, then we are heretics even though we teach exactly what the Bible says.

After observing this level of Biblical hypocrisy among more and more people I began to seek the truth about it and what I should do. It is right to say that we are simply humans who have no good thing in us and are dead in our trespasses and sins unless God miraculously saves us by His grace. However, it is wrong to say that those whom God regenerates, justifies, adopts, sanctifies, and glorifies cannot know the truth. Why? God gave us His Word, the Bible, which contains His revealed will. He gave those whom He saves the Holy Spirit. With a regenerated heart and the Holy Spirit we can understand the Word of God. We will never understand God’s secret will, but we can know His revealed will as He shows it to us.

2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. 6 But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. 7 For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, 8 being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:2-8 (NASB) 

This passage is very clear that God will use our circumstances as trials to mature us. Part of that process is to ask God for wisdom and it is promised that He will give it to us generously if we ask with faith. Therefore, we must ask God to reveal His mysteries to us. He will show us the truth as we need it and as we believe Him. When we learn the truth we must not lord it over anyone. We must not demand that everyone conform to the truth we have. Instead, we must pray for them to be shown the truth. We must stop interfering in other believer’s sanctification. We have no idea at what place God has other believers. I contend that we don’t even have a good understanding of where God has us either. However, the truth is the truth. That must not be compromised and we must contend for it vigorously and Biblically. For a believer to call other believers heretics who have clear Biblical proof that they aren’t, proves his or her self to be a hypocrite.

Why is it okay for us to be adamant that the Bible says that God is Sovereign in election while it is not okay for others to say He isn’t? It is Biblical! When man’s values or feelings or beliefs are held up against the clear teaching of scripture then scripture wins. To say that it is impossible to know the truth is to parrot Satan. On the other hand, Jesus said that if we believe in Him and abide in His Word then we are His disciples who will know the truth and the truth and will set us free.

30 As He spoke these things, many came to believe in Him.
31 So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:30-32 (NASB) 

Therefore, we must continue to stand for the truth, but we must not cross the line trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit in other peoples hearts and their beliefs. No one believes the truth unless God gives it to him or her by opening his or her heart to receive it. Below is a devotional by Oswald Chambers from My Utmost for His Highest titled “What is that to thee?”

“What is that to thee?”

by Oswald Chambers

20 Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, “Lord, who is the one who betrays You?” 21 So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, “Lord, and what about this man?” 22 Jesus *said to him, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!” John 21:20-22 (NASB)

One of the hardest lessons to learn comes from our stubborn refusal to refrain from interfering in other people’s lives. It takes a long time to realize the danger of being an amateur providence, that is, interfering with God’s plan for others. You see someone suffering and say, “He will not suffer, and I will make sure that he doesn’t.” You put your hand right in front of God’s permissive will to stop it, and then God says, “What is that to you?” Is there stagnation in your spiritual life? Don’t allow it to continue, but get into God’s presence and find out the reason for it. You will possibly find it is because you have been interfering in the life of another— proposing things you had no right to propose, or advising when you had no right to advise. When you do have to give advice to another person, God will advise through you with the direct understanding of His Spirit. Your part is to maintain the right relationship with God so that His discernment can come through you continually for the purpose of blessing someone else.

Most of us live only within the level of consciousness— consciously serving and consciously devoted to God. This shows immaturity and the fact that we’re not yet living the real Christian life. Maturity is produced in the life of a child of God on the unconscious level, until we become so totally surrendered to God that we are not even aware of being used by Him. When we are consciously aware of being used as broken bread and poured-out wine, we have yet another level to reach— a level where all awareness of ourselves and of what God is doing through us is completely eliminated. A saint is never consciously a saint— a saint is consciously dependent on God.

We must obey God. We must do things He has given us to do. Since many of us have been given discernment and wisdom then we must not hide under a rock what He gives us . We must do as Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Paul, Peter, John, and all those great, long dead saints who preceded us did in telling the truth as God gave it to them. God’s will for His people is their sanctification. (1 Thessalonians 4:3) Holiness is what is called for. If Christianity is contaminated with world relevancy or man-focused patterns and programs then it is compromised. It is polluted and must be cleansed. Our job is to expose these things and we must do it boldly and prayerfully. That means simply telling the truth then allowing the Holy Spirit to do His work in men’s hearts. We don’t have His role and I am glad.

Soli Deo Gloria!

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