“And no longer shall each one teach his neighbour and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (Jeremiah 31:34) (ESV).
The prophet Jeremiah was not talking about knowing God according to the Trinitarian diagnosis, which is a concept conjured in the physical world. The prophet was projecting a time in future, when grace would have come upon humanity. There is no-one of this world who can claim to know God, except the one who came from God, Jesus Christ.
“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:17-18) (KJV). This declaration was fulfilled through the Son of Man, Jesus Christ.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24) (ESV). The same apostle John ratifies what Jesus said: “No one has ever seen God; If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12) (ESV).
To know Jesus is to know the Father, thereby leading to the fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophesy. It is a question of believing or not believing in Jesus. Those who believe in Jesus are in the level of Jesus, so that they precisely know the Father, just as Jesus precisely knew the Father. See [Believing in Jesus is different from having faith in Jesus].
Jesus came to introduce God the Father, so that humanity could also know Him. However, not everyone would know God, just as not everyone could know God in Jesus’ time. Having left the scene, Jesus, the Son of Man, ensured His followers that a comforter would remain with them.
But that comforter represents Jesus who promised to be with His disciples: “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor to be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17) (NIV).
Jesus, as Son of Man—seen by everyone—lived for thirty-three and a half years on this planet. He was killed on the cross. Yet in that Son of Man, was the same counsellor who the world could not accept, because it neither saw him, nor knew Him. But the disciples knew him—according to Matthew 16:16.
However, the Son of Man, who the world could see, left the scene, after having been resurrected: “…Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11) (KJV).
In Scriptures like Matthew 24:36-44 Jesus talked about the secrecy of the day when the Son of Man would come again. This Son of Man is different from the Son of the Living God, who would manifest Himself in the lives of His disciples, as another Counsellor, the Spirit of Truth.
The Son of the Living God is the one who the world cannot accept, as it neither sees him nor knows him (John 14:16-17) (NIV). The difference lies in that the Son of the Living God could not be seen physically, while the Son of Man could be seen by everyone (Matthew 16:17).
The Counsellor that Jesus attributes to, is no different from the Son of the Living God, who Jesus said flesh and blood could not reveal to Peter (Matthew 16:17). The details of the Son of the living God, are specifically given in Isaiah 9:6, in whose name the Wonderful Counsellor is included.
As far as the disciples of Jesus were concerned, the Son of the Living God did not leave the scene, just as Jesus declared: “….And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).
The disciples comprise the people, who Jeremiah was talking about (Jeremiah 31:34) (ESV). These cannot be duped into believing the concept of Trinity. This reality is clarified further in the book of John:
“I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:18-21) (ESV).
What Jesus says here, must surely confuse the Trinitarians? “In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you” (Verse 20). If Jesus is a member of Trinity, where does this leave the disciples, in whom the Father and Jesus would dwell? Would the concept of Trinity then, be redesigned? See [Simplified analysis to eradicate Trinitarian confusion].
After Jesus, the Son of Man had left the scene, the world could not see Him anymore. But while the world would not see Him, His disciples would see Him as that which flesh and blood could not reveal (Matthew 16:17).
John declared that it is impossible for anyone to claim to love God, whom he has not seen, if one cannot love his brother whom he has seen (1 John 4:20). Therefore, the only proof that God dwells in humanity, is displayed in loving one another: “No one has ever seen God; If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us” (1 John 4:12) (ESV).
“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers” (1 John 3:16) (ESV).
Who is my brother? As an example, if I am caught up in a Muslim religion, I have an obligation to lay down my life for those Muslims. I do not, necessarily, have to move out of that group, because I now hold a different belief.
I become a light, among my fellow Muslim brothers—without necessarily having to brew animosity against them. I may, actually, practice Christianity, without criticizing the Koran, for instance.
This calls for wisdom. Paul says he became everything to everyone, for the sake of the gospel (1 Corinthians 9:19-21). This agrees with how Jesus also advised: “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16) (ESV).
But everything goes according to the inspiration, as Christ would be the one working in a Christian’s life. The principle is to love the fellow Muslim brothers, in the same manner that one would like to be loved. This is possible when one fully understands those Muslims.
Prayer, therefore, becomes one’s favorite hobby—while discretely doing Bible studies. If persecution comes, it would be treated as part of the package and graciously handled. Implicitly, that would be laying down one’s life for one’s brothers.
What does it mean, to lay down our lives for our brothers? This may virtually, mean submitting to being killed, like in the case of Paul and the rest of the early apostles. If exposed to death, because of one’s Christian activities, in a Muslim country—one would graciously do so, as following in the footsteps of Jesus.
But persecutions do not necessarily always have to come from other religions. But from among Christian groupings as well. Persecutions come in diversified measures. Jesus was not received among His own people.
Even those people with whom you fellowship, could also seek to disown you, as you allow Christ to work in you. They would suppose to be invalidating a person they know, as the son of man. But, in reality, they would be invalidating Jesus—Son of the living God, whom the world cannot see.
Doing the work of God involves allowing Christ to work in one’s life. This is why—to a Christian—prayer sounds like granting God some license to do God’s will in one’s life. What is generally known as the Lord’s Prayer, is actually an outline, or some guideline to one’s prayer to God.
The most important aspect to take note of is that we cannot practice our Christian activities, mechanically. It is not a question of following examples of other Christians—having gone through similar experiences, as shown in Scriptures.
Christianity is a matter of submission to the Spirit, and allowing Christ, in that Spirit to work according to the person’s calling. Christ would be the one working in the life of that person—though ordinary people see an ordinary person. This is in accordance with how Christians are spiritually gifted to produce fruits, differently. (1 Corinthians 12:4-31 and Romans 12:3-11)
This principle takes away the confusion of competing against one another, in Christianity. There is no need to be jealous because a brother is gifted in some area, which I would not be gifted in, for instance. Instead, I would praise God, for what I see being done by a brother, as heralding the power of God.
The gifts of the Spirit have got nothing to do with individual works, whose wages is death. Those Christians simply allow Christ to work in their lives. Those gifts would be to do with Jesus, in the lives of each of them. See [Should I submit to Jesus or join any Church organization?].
Love enables brethren to tolerate one another. They carry one another’s burdens, without condemning one another—as they avoid expecting everyone to behave similarly. One with an ability or gift that others do not have, becomes everyone’s blessing, as Christ works in that person.
There is nothing a Christian can be expected to do, except to submit to Christ. Jesus worked as a person—during His thirty three and a half years on this planet. The same Christ now seeks to use those who are willing to be used by Him.
The most important datum is knowing that most of what currently goes on, as labelled ‘Christianity’ is not, necessarily, Christianity. A Christian does not need to listen to fellow human beings, but to Christ, who communicates in Spirit and also in His word.
But studying the Word is even more important, as to be able to discern, whether any course of action would be inspired by God or not. However, what would be wrong is doing it under the obligation, or doing it in order to attract appreciation from fellow humans.
Christians are not expected to glorify one another, but to glorify God (John 5:44). Glory belongs to Christ, because it is Christ working in a Christian’s life. See [Christianity serves to invalidate God’s Kingdom].
This is why Jesus said Christians should not practice their righteousness before other men—to be seen by them (Matthew 6:1-4). When here, Jesus fully appreciated the idea of being willing to experience anything but causing only that which other people would be able to experience.
This is why Jesus also preached in parables (Mark 4:10-12). Doing so was to ensure that none would be drawn to accept the gospel—being influenced by another person—without counting the costs (Luke 14:25-33). God uses willing people, not those influenced by others, or coming to join Christianity with ulterior motives.
Jesus did not seek to cram his principles into other people’s throats. However, in Jesus’ case, the exception was with the twelve, whom Jesus directly called to follow Him—at the initial stages of His ministry. I suppose Jesus needed to do so, as the foundation of the Church had to start somewhere.
The twelve may have been predestined, accordingly. This is why at one stage Jesus showed the methodology of preaching the gospel—as being what was to be demonstrated—as instructed to the early disciples:
“And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay” (Matthew 10:7-8) (ESV).
The aspect of preaching the Kingdom of Heaven involves serving the community according to their needs. However, this does not necessarily mean following the same pattern, as was used then. At any given time, Jesus works according to His discretion.
Jesus could do it similarly, even now—but that does not mean He could not do it differently—if He so chooses. The most important thing is that Jesus would be providing service to ordinary people and such service would be unconditional. Being used by Jesus is just a privilege that invites no boasting by those concerned.
As mentioned earlier, there is no need for comparisons or consideration of what took place in the first century. It would be Christ working, just as it was Christ working in the first century. Each Christian needs only to focus on what each would have been called to do, in serving their Master.
According to Jeremiah, Christians would know God, as not desiring to be told to know God, because they would know Him. He dwells in each and every one of those Christians. This is why Christians are specifically instructed not to judge, just as this is the tendency with most people in this world (Matthew 7:1-4).
Those who desire to be supervisors of other people on Christian matters, ought to know that they would be interfering where they would not be invited to do so. Jesus, who works in those people’s lives, is self-sufficient (Matthew 23:8-12).
All Christians would do well if committed to doing unto others as they would like others to do unto them. Jesus Himself did not even seek to counsel a man whom He knew to be the one who would betray Him. He allowed Judas Iscariot to be himself—even though behaving unacceptably.
Counselling other people is necessary, but only where one is requested for that service. What is unacceptable is providing unsolicited advice—as if assuming to be more informed than the other person.
When highlighting the fact that there is confusion in Christianity, the idea is to help those desiring to be guided out of confusion. However, those finding comfort in being associated with that confusion—they are also free to remain as such.
There is nothing new, as Jesus also highlighted the fact that there would be confusion in Christianity: “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:13-14) (ESV).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
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