Interlude (A Spiritual Theonomy part 3)

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee?…” (Joshua 1:9-10a)

This verse used to trouble me so much. As a kid, I’d read the words “day and night” and think I had no freedom of mind at all. That I’d have to be reciting the word of God, saying it over and over in my head barring all other thoughts, all the livelong day. Can you imagine thinking this was fun and, not only that, the “proper” way to do the whole mental thing?

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” (Matthew 6:7)

Then again, prayer was likewise a similar torment. If I had all these thoughts, all the time, to somehow supplant and then fill in with the Word of God (i.e. “the book of the law”), I couldn’t begin to dig beyond my shallow wants (which themselves slowly began to feel like sin) to truly get to the bottom of prayer–God’s way. The answer is this: childlikeness. I believe Jesus aims to bring us back to childlikeness with every action and thought and moment. Life is simple for a child.

“And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 18:3)

But first, a little more elucidation on the whole “Theonomy” thing.

The idea intrigues me because simply distilled, it’s a hivemind as facilitated by the Holy Spirit. At least that’s my interpretation. You could easily cast this into the sea of subjectivity. But if you know the same Holy Spirit as do I, you’ll see what I’m saying. “If we walk in the light” says John “as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another…” (1 John 1:7) This is the whole point of what Jesus came to earth to do. To unite us under the overarching banner of God’s love. To (re)make us into the children of the Most High that we’d fallen from grace from. And then have us go about our business. It all sounds like so much dystopian conspiracy. Or, it could be the most fun you could ever have on this earth. I feel, feel it’s the latter.

But before one can “feel” it, you must know the words.

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Oeuvre & Canon (A Spiritual Theonomy part 2)

“Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the father: for my Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it come to pass, that, when it is come to pass, ye might believe.” (John 14:28-29)

So, theonomy is one of those words from your Theology textbook. A lesser known cousin by virtue of its prefix, it is essentially a watered-down theocracy. I will attempt to define it under the context of the free-form and organic “Body of Christ”. Because until Christ returns, as He mentions above, we only have the Holy Spirit to guide our actions and thoughts in and among one another–even as we walk in our own autonomy. Our own autonomy, provided we don’t hurt one another. And this is where, for us to truly live as a coherent Body, we need the Holy Spirit.

“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

I can see it now. Critics to a theocratic way of life might cite the straw-man example of your garden variety polyester three-piece suit clad preacher taking the stage and mouthing words and then rifling through your pocketbook. The trouble with this kind of pointed thinking is that this person genuinely does exist, they most-likely are indeed born again, and are just as in need of forgiveness and love and prayer as any brother or sister in Christ. A “spiritually theonomic” (forgive me for coining this phrase) mindset takes into account that the only person from whom we take all our instruction–is Jesus Himself. And when believers in Christ truly don’t know Him (this is a thing), pandemonium ensues and the collusion and confusion alluded to in the previous part will fill in like a flood. Ready for someone to take the stage and sort if all out. But!

“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against Him. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth…” (Isaiah 59:19-21a)

Concordat (A Spiritual Theonomy part 1)

“He hath remembered His covenant for ever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations. Which covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac.” (Psalm 105:8-9)

The “covenant” to which the psalmist refers happens in the fifteenth chapter of Genesis. What do you think of when you see the “covenant of God”? A binding contract between God and His people? That’s essentially what it is. Though it has somewhat been redefined from the Old Testament to include the theological understanding of what Christ has done for us on the cross. I must confess that, coupled with my own tenuous observation of the “rules and regulations” that apply to me by virtue of being one of God’s children, I also forget that God is not going anywhere. What I mean is, I have long had this notion that God has all the other stuff to do as well as look after me. And if I wasn’t “obeying just so”, it’s those things to which I might lose Him somewhere in the universe.

“Being confident of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)

Without a doubt, there’s a lot going on under God’s purview. But don’t get your attention off Jesus. Because Jesus is human, so are we. In Him, the Covenant was “made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). This is why, as all-encompassing a thing as the imagination can be, it cannot supersede the knowledge of Christ. “In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Colossians 2:3) And this is why we need Him. We must have a structure in which we fill and live. When I say that God’s not going anywhere, what I mean is, He’s here for us. Neglecting all the things (assuming you believe in things you can’t see with your eyes but feel with your heart and soul) going on outside that He could be doing, He’s looking at you and loving you. There is a place (a whole world) reserved for just you and He. Walking in this world necessarily requires that we know Jesus and, tantamount to that, His word. We need to know what God has spoken out regarding us. As Jesus is the Living Word, the same rules and “spiritual grammar” apply to us as a spirit. And it’s these rules–the Covenant of God–that keeps this from sounding like some diluted (and deluded) and ultimately detrimental reinterpretation of the spiritual realm. Something around which we cannot wrap our minds.

“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:26-27)

Knowing Jesus silences confusion. His word is available–like low-hanging fruit–for you to draw upon and receive guidance from.