Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3:3-4....."Are we closing the mouths of the scoffers? We'll not do it by the truth we hold, teach, or interpret, but we can do it by what we are. By being in possession of 'the goods.' We're to embody the rest, peace, strength, and presence of Christ." T. Austin-Sparks
Scoffers, mockers, doubters of the Truth the people of God confess to holding to are everywhere. They always have been and always will be....until He returns and closes the mouths of all of them. But here is a reality for all of us; we don't have to wait until then to see it take place. It can happen now, through us, by our living in the "power of a life that cannot be destroyed." By our living in His resurrection life, which is not just some far off experience in eternity, but offered freely to all of us right now. No, we won't experience all the fullness of such life on this side of eternity, but we can experience it to the fullest extent possible in the present. It is done not by our talking about His rest, His peace, His strength, His joy, and His presence. It's done by our living to the full in all of those characteristics and more. Yet so few of us do, and the lack of the very characteristics of Christ in our own lives feeds the words and mocking of the scoffers. Why is this so? More, how can this be so? Scripture abounds with the promise that we have been given "all things in Christ." Yet in practice, in the living of our lives, so few of them show forth.
In my prayer journal, I have some other words spoken by Sparks. He said that God "is out for the manifestation of the Truth, not just its theory." Our great failing has been that we more often present to a watching world the theory of Christ and His resurrection life, and not the reality. Vance Havner said that our churches are filled with believers, but not disciples. There's a difference, and it's razor sharp. Believers accept and receive the truth of who He is. That truth lodges in their minds, but doesn't reach into their heart and soul. They believe the Truth, but that Truth has little effect upon their day to day living. So they continue to live in their own strength, dealing with life in dependence upon themselves. The result is a stressed out, anxiety ridden, weary, beaten down people. They believe in the peace, strength, joy, and presence of Christ, but they experience little if any of that in their daily lives. Why? What's missing? I believe that they've never been to the altar of God, and that altar is always found at the foot of the cross. It's there, in our surrender of our will to His, that all the power of the lies we've believed is broken by His Almighty Truth. We exchange the lie and the death it brings, for His Truth and the abundant Life He gives. It's a spiritual transaction, but too few of us are willing to make it. As a result, we never progress past the "believing stage."
Sparks says that God takes the view that, "He cannot go on with us until we are absolutely out in the open with Him. Until we have come to the place where we are perfectly honest." I remember a wonderful Scottish professor from my Bible College days, Dr.T.C. Mitchell, often admonishing his students in their walk with Him to, "Stop lying to God." We can only begin to embody His life when we stop lying to Him, running from Him, avoiding confrontation with Him.That can only end at the cross. At the cross, that all stops, and His Truth, His Life, and all that He manifests in us through that life begins. Are we ready for it to (finally) begin is us?
When we stop our lying, running, and avoiding, we will enter into a life that shows forth the wonders of His presence. A life that closes the mouths of the scoffers. Those who possess "the goods" will silence them. Have you and I the goods?