There's no need for over-complicating our lives. What it comes down to for the Christian is whether or not we will believe in Christ in everyday life. Not to determine whether you go to heaven or escape hell, of course, but if you want your life to be pleasing to God. Christ's blood removed every sin of every Israelite. His resurrection set us free from the power of death. Our main concern is how we use the opportunities we have in this life to believe.
If you want to know what someone really believes, just look for where their words and actions come together in their daily life, especially how they treat others in the midst of trials. Believing isn't something we do to gain things from God. Ultimately, the primary motivation for believing is to give God what He wants from us- our faith. Faith is the culmination of all He wants from us: our obedience, worship, loyalty, and love. Personal, heart-felt faith is the evidence we have come to life for Christ.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. 15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. 16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
"Believe?! Believe in what?!" the Disciples may have wondered. Christ had heard from the family about the sickness of Lazarus days ahead of time and did nothing. He then informed them that they would return to Judaea where hostile enemies could be waiting to stone Him. For it appeared that He would risk it all to pay His respects to Lazarus, reflected by how Thomas responded. IT SEEMS SOME ARE MORE READY TO DIE, THAN TO JUST BELIEVE.
Now let's be realistic, how is Christ NOT healing Lazarus and letting him die supposed to increase their faith? It would seem survival by avoiding the jews would make more sense and should take priority over this faith business anyway, right? How ridiculous is it to go back to Judaea now, when nothing can be done except risking their lives. Those who may have once believed in Him there probably have their doubts after He didn't show up to heal Lazarus. The family might not even be too pleased to see Him show up now. 'WHAT AN IMPOSSIBLE SITUATION- EXACTLY.
So the Disciples didn't get the whole "Lazarus sleepeth" thing. But Christ loved them enough to want to build up their faith. CHRIST MAKES FAITH THE FOCUS FOR THOSE HE WANTS TO USE FOR HIS GLORY. To those who want to be used and blessed of God faith becomes a main issue. The more we trust in Christ, the more valuable we become in carrying out His will and the furtherance of His kingdom and glory.
THOUGH IT MAY BE DIFFICULT TO SEE, THE WHOLE PURPOSE IN CHRIST ORCHESTRATING THIS DRAMA IS "TO THE INTENT YE MAY BELIEVE". Faith, the voluntary opportunity and privilege to believe, is the essence of freedom and liberty as a Christian. Just as love, Christ wants our faith to be free and full. For when one loves and believes in Christ because they simply want to, that Israelite is fulfilling their role as a believer.
Those who seek to minimize the importance of Biblical faith deny the spiritual and supernatural quality of the Scriptures. How could the God-breathed Bible only be one dimensional?! We must seek to understand the historic, literal aspect of the Bible, but not at the expense of the spiritual; both truth and Spirit are necessary. Without even getting into the issues of faith and sanctification, there is much confusion when one attempts to interpret everything in the Scriptures literally for instance, even when it comes to eschatology or the study of last things.
So if the Bible isn't a spiritual Book, then in a practical sense, what is the significance of the Scriptures being only for those who have the indwelling Spirit, the white Adamic race? To one who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, it becomes apparent that the purpose of the Bible is not only to accurately relate what has happened in the past, but how we are to live today. Church men and scholars alike have always attempted to use intellectual arguments and even lies to try and deter God's people from thinking and living under God for themselves. YET THOSE WHO WANT TO FULFILL GOD'S FULLEST INTENT FOR THEIR LIVES WILL NOT BE SWAYED.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
The more we hear about this, the more impossible it seems! There's no doubt Lazarus is dead; he's been buried for "four days already." This would be considered the 'reality' of the situation, that he was long passed healing or any type of restoration. This of course was no surprise to Christ and it didn't really make any difference. The point is, "Jesus came" which meant things were fixing to pick up.
CHRIST SETS THE EXAMPLE OF HOW TO VIEW SITUATIONS LIKE THIS, WHICH IS THE OPPOSITE WAY EVERYONE ELSE SEES THEM. The death of Lazarus appeared to be proof enough that Christ had failed them. Yet faith ignores the outward circumstances and (as you will see) even unpleasant words, to embrace the expectancy of God's supernatural intervention.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: 19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. 20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house. 21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee. 23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again. 24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
What we see developing is the gathering of everyone's interest to Christ's teaching them faith, as they make their way closer to the miracle taking place. Quite the crowd of witnesses are gathering. Martha has a few words for the late-arriving Jesus as Mary remains "still". Martha comes out with it, telling Jesus just how she feels. She calls Him "Lord" while reminding Him that He didn't show up when they needed Him to. Whether she is conscious of it or not, she only wants to focus on what He didn't do, though we cannot tell just how disappointed and upset she may have been. She did her duty in sending word to Christ way ahead of time and He shows up after Lazarus is dead. Not the ideal situation in her mind.
It cannot be said Martha ever denied His power and maybe that's what was so frustrating for her. This is where a huge misconception lies on the part of most of us. We do not doubt God's Sovereignty and Omnipotence; that He is Yahweh God Almighty Who created the universe and has full power and control over it. Where we fall short is we just can't seem to get ahold of why God would ever want to do something great for us. In our minds what it comes down to is, "Do I believe God would intervene in my situation?" STOP PUTTING OFF YOUR CHRISTIAN RESPONSIBILTY TO BELIEVE. For here we only see Christ challenging them to believe while building up their faith.
IT IS ALWAYS GOD'S WILL FOR YOU TO PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM. Martha says, "I know, that EVEN NOW, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee." Here she has His full attention. God in the flesh is standing right in front of her, yet it doesn't seem like she believes whatsoever SHE would ask of Him, He would give to her. We cannot put off our responsibility to believe, even on Christ. HE EVEN TELLS HER HE WILL GIVE HER THE VERY DESIRE OF HER HEART, BUT NO FAITH IS IN HER TO ASK FOR IT. He tells her plainly, "Thy brother shall rise again" which at this point is beyond her depth, as she dismisses it with a quick statement. Even when He tells her plainly what He will do, she anxiously processes His words in her mind into a mere doctrinal statement, completely side-stepping her responsiblity of faith as a believer. FOR CHRIST DIDN'T JUST SHOW UP HERE TO TEACH THEOLOGY, BUT TO RAISE HER BROTHER FROM THE DEAD. The only way anyone could recognize what was about happen here was by faith.
Though Martha was sound and sincere, her great knowledge was a subtle barrier between her and Christ. She minimized the meaning of His words thru an obscure, theological lens, rather than taking it to heart in an immediate, personal sense. This conversation illustrates how being a Christian isn't just about 'memorizing all the lines' as many of us did in our denominational experience. Surely now, as Identity Christians, we are mature enough not to fall into that same ditch. BIBLICAL CHRISTIANITY IS ULTIMATELY ABOUT ASSUMING THE ROLE OF BELIEVER "EVEN NOW".
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
The issue isn't over beliefs, but believing. The issue here isn't just what He can do, but Who Christ is. It makes no difference what we say our beliefs are or even how convincingly we think we can convey them; it's about whether or not you "believeth in" Him with your all. Fear is what keeps people from living by faith. People have many fears. Most people's greatest fear is death. But what if you knew no matter what happened to you, even death, that ultimately nothing can end your life or existence? The only way you can know this now is by coming to life thru assuming the role as a believer in Christ. IF YOU BELIEVE CHRIST IS THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR.
CHRIST IS IDENTIFYING HIMSELF TO THEM IN A MUCH DEEPER WAY THAN EVER BEFORE AT THIS POINT. He wasn't just claiming He could perform resurrection, or that He could bring life, but He "said unto her, I AM the resurrection, and the life". CHRIST IS DECLARING WHO HE IS AND THE ONLY ONES WHO WILL GET IT ARE THOSE WHO BELIEVE. He is the Source and Never-Ending Supply of Life. The way God has designed for us to connect with Him on this level is by faith thru assuming our role as a believer. The way we truly identify with Christ is as a believer; there must be something on the line. It won't happen just thru intellectual ascent, or (as we will see) just thru emotions. It takes our heart, soul, mind, and strength- everything within us and we only get there by believing. This is the true essence of obeying the First and Greatest Commandment.
Christ is not just claiming to be God Almighty, Yahweh in the flesh; He is declaring it. Note the present tense: "I am the resurrection, and the life". This underlines how our faith in Him is always in the NOW, as He is the Ever-Present I AM. Her mind is on how her brother was sick and Christ didn't show up- all in the past. CHRIST IS LETTING US KNOW THE EVER-PRESENT I AM HAS NOW ARRIVED TO DO SOMETHING FAR MORE GLORIOUS THAN SHE COULD HAVE EVER IMAGINED. The moment we may think it's just too late, the Ever-Present I AM shows up right on time.
What we must understand is that it's not about thinking we are right on everything. It's about living with full trust in Christ. HIS RESPONSE TO ALL THE THEOLOGY IS- "I AM". It may not please everyone else, but the way to respond to Christ in the way which pleases Him is by faith.
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
Answering the call to follow Christ is assuming our role as believers. Christ has set the stage by gathering all the witnesses; those who want to believe, and those who do not. Those who hang on His every Word, and those who explain them away. Regardless, the intent of this is to build up their faith and glorify God. He isn't doing this for the sake of theological discussion, as to how it can or cannot happen. HE SIMPLY WANTS YOU TO BELIEVE. Our part is to believe, that's all.
Only the white race can "liveth and believeth in" Christ, particularly Israelites. Not every Israelite professes to be a Christian and not every white person who does is practicing Christianity the way Christ taught it. PRACTICING CHRISTIANITY ALL COMES DOWN TO WHETHER OR NOT YOU WANT TO LIVE AND BELIEVE IN HIM. It doesn't matter what we think we know or how well we can communicate it if it does not contribute to us living and believing in Christ. Just like talking about how much we love God while turning around and showing hatred for a brother, even one we claim we once loved. If we could know all there is to know about the white race, while still treating our own family members like garbage, we are not living and believing in Christ and have no real mandate to tell anyone else how to live or believe.
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
Traditionally, it was taught and believed that "the Christ" or the Messiah would come. They had been taught about it from the Old Testament scrolls. Martha is professing that Jesus is that "Son of God, which should come into the world." Christ has just declared His Deity as the Great "I AM the resurrection and the life" Himself. This reaches to the deepest question, "Do you believe He is God in the flesh and that He can do the impossible in your life?!"
Christ was speaking to her on a whole other plain and all she's concerned with is Him knowing her orthodoxy. HAVING BELIEFS ABOUT CHRIST IS DIFFERENT THAN BELIEVING IN CHRIST. God doesn't need a theology lesson when we speak to Him; He wants our faith. Having the knowledge of Christ, even if it is right, isn't the same as believing in Christ with your whole heart.
Martha was a good lady. She loved her brother and was concerned that Christ didn't showed up to heal him. He then directly informs her that her "brother shall rise again". Her response however proves she isn't looking for Christ to do something for her NOW. Here is Christ looking her in the eye telling her that Lazarus is going to be brought back from the dead and her mind immediately goes to eschatology. Now she had the right doctrine on this as Christ had taught in this same Gospel, chapter 6. BUT SHE ALLOWED HER THEOLOGY ABOUT THE FUTURE, WHICH SHE HAD HEARD IN THE PAST, TO SUPERSEDE WHAT CHRIST WAS TELLING HER HE WAS ABOUT TO DO FOR HER FAMILY RIGHT NOW.
What each of us in Christian Identity must sort out for ourselves, is if thinking we have all the right answers is enough. Christ is telling this sincere woman that He is getting ready to raise up her brother, but she doesn't get it; because her beliefs (though they are true) are somehow more to her than her faith in Christ. We must find a balance. We must not allow beliefs to keep us from having a child-like faith. Ultimately, if our beliefs do not contribute to us having more faith in Christ, they are only in our head and have not penetrated our heart. Those who want to mischaracterize living by faith as being overly zealous, sadly do not understand that being Christian is more than being theologically sound, but loving your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving your kin as yourself. Christ said this encompasses our whole duty as Christians, given in the law and the prophets. The law of God wasn't intended to just be obeyed externally as the Pharisees did, but with all that is within us.
Though someone says all the right things about Christ, doesn't mean they have assumed their role as a believer in Christ. What good does it do to say we believe God has all power if we refuse to believe God could one day display it thru our lives? BEING A CHRISTIAN ISN'T JUST ABOUT THINKING WE HAVE ALL THE RIGHT ANSWERS, BUT THAT CHRIST IS THE ONLY ANSWER- "I AM THE RESURRECTION AND THE LIFE"- IS HE YOUR LIFE?
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee. 29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him. 30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
It says, after Martha said these things to Christ, "she went her way". 'Not meaning to pick on Martha too much, but this is the way alot of our people approach God: they speak their mind to Him, then go their own way. WHY WOULD ANYBODY BE IN SUCH A HURRY TO GET AWAY FROM CHRIST? So she came to Christ on her terms and she left Him on her terms. Do you really believe this is assuming her role as a believer?
Mary, however, was waiting for Christ to "calleth for" her. Though we may just be learning about what it means to assume our role as a believer, a good place to begin is illustrated by Mary. When "she heard that" Christ called for her, "she rose quickly, and came unto him." Through Martha we see what happens to us when we get ahead of God, which only leads to dissappointment and frustration. One can try to force things by taking matters into our own hands, even when we think we have all the right answers. But all it will amount to is more frustration. Assuming our role as a believer begins by simply waiting on God.
Here we see Mary simply waiting for Him to show up, while Martha takes matters into her own hands. Martha hurriedly rushes to where He is and stops Him, long before He even gets on the scene and could speak to anyone. Mary did not move until she became aware of His presence. WILL YOU WAIT ON GOD, READY TO MOVE INTO ACTION WHEN HE CALLS? In your situation, it very well could be that the answer was on its way, but its arrival was interrupted by not being patient enough or just not being ready. Could it be faith is much more readily available to those who wait on the Lord, as opposed to running Him down and not really expecting anything to change? Knowledge puffeth up. Christ will only go so far with those who want to force things and think they know it all.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there. 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died. 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled. 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
What is it that moves Christ, that touches the heart of God? As proficient as Martha was at articulating the truth, it was the humble spirit and contrite heart of Mary that put the wheels in motion for this miracle to occur. Mary, being at the end of herself and laying it all at the Master's feet, was what touched the heart of God.
Mary spoke the exact same words to Him as Martha regarding Lazarus, but she said them from within her heart. OUR DEEPEST FEELINGS AND EMOTIONS MOVE THE HEART OF GOD. Martha confronted Christ with straight truth, but that didn't move Him. With Mary, however, Christ was moved, actually "he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled". Mary's brokenheartedness and humility made a spiritual connection with Christ that Martha's knowledge could not achieve. Possibly, Mary knew all the answers just like her sister. But the way she approached Christ was less from her head and more from her heart, and that's what touched Christ. IT WAS NOT NECESSARY FOR CHRIST TO COMMUNICATE THRU WORDS TO MARY AS HE COULD FEEL "IN THE SPIRIT" WHAT WAS GOING ON DEEP INSIDE HER. Mary's spiritual interaction with Christ moves Him as He had finally came across one who was willing to assume their role as a believer! A great mind can impress and even help others to learn, but it does not move God. It may even put things at a stand still. A worshipful heart is what God is looking for (John 4:19-26). Assuming our role as believers in Christ is thru coming to Him with our wants and needs.
So Christ was now making His way onto the scene. The time had finally come for everyone to see what He would do in the midst of all of this. Thru all the misunderstanding, gloom, and despair, the throng of eager onlookers would gather to witness the Resurrection and the Life Himself, face off against death:
35 Jesus wept.
How come? 'Because Lazarus was dead and it had finally hit Him that He should have been there days earlier to heal Lazarus and save everyone from such pain and heartbreak? Of course not. So why was He weeping? THERE WAS NO FAITH IN THEM. Though this is the most concise verse in all the Scriptures, it speaks volumes concerning God's acute awareness as to the spiritual atmosphere among His people, especially when it comes to faith. THERE IS SOMETHING WE MUST CHANGE WITHIN OURSELVES TO WIPE AWAY HIS TEARS. Are you willing to believe in Him no matter what, even when everything seems its darkest?
Even when comparing the ways the sisters approached Him, it's obvious He was moved by Mary's broken-heartedness. He had already told His Disciples in the beginning that there was a divine purpose involved in all this for the glory of God. He knew the end from the beginning; that Lazarus would die and be raised again. But it was experiencing their lack of faith in Him that brought Him to tears. What should this tell us? How very close to God's heart it is for us to learn about and have faith. When He got on the scene and considered their hearts, all He felt from them was disappoinment, worry, doubt, fear, and hopelessness. There was still no sign anyone could see beyond the clutches of death as the body of Lazarus lie cold in the grave. JESUS WEPT BECAUSE THEY DID NOT BELIEVE.
When someone tells you that faith or believing isn't that big a deal, or that you are being too overly zealous over certain parts of the Bible, remember why Jesus wept. Obviously it was God's will for Lazarus to be raised from the dead. But Christ's sorrow wasn't over them putting it in His hands, but that they did not believe. What will take away the tears is to assume our role as believers by coming to life in our faith.
What is it that makes you weep? Not getting your way or the way our people no longer see God for Who He is? The best way for us to encourage our people to come to Christ is thru living by faith. 'We can rattle off theology til we're blue in the face. We can criticize and pick one another apart, which only causes confusion and discouragement. Or we can seek God's undeniable power, which becomes evident in our own lives thru the love we have for one another and the faith we have in Him. Through this, our effectiveness will be unlimited.