Friday, 29 September 2017

Earthly Wealth is Not a Sign of God's Favour. It is to Truly be Satisfied in Christ and Christ Alone that One is Truly Blessed.

Many in the modern western Church think that they are more blessed than others by having more material wealth or possession is a sign that God's favours them more than others. They think that earthly wealth is a measure of God's blessings, that is, favour. A person who has less earthly wealth is therefore less blessed by God. Such is a despicable abominable doctrine of demons.

What is so abominable about this doctrine you may ask? What makes it truly abomination is that it perverts the very meaning of what it means to be favoured by God. 

To be blessed by God is to be favoured by God. The Greek word for blessed is 'makarios' meaning happy because God's grace has come upon a person and favour. It is the word used in the Beattitudes in Matthew 5. 

The Beattitudes tell us the God favours the poor in spirit, those that mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, and those who are reviled because of Christ (Matthew 5:1-11). They are blessed because "for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you" (Matthew 5:12). 

This indicates that true blessing are heavenly blessings, not earthly "blessings" of wealth, or other things that wealth can buy, nor even good earthly things like a good health, family or marriage. Plenty of people who are unsaved have much wealth, good health, good marriages and a loving family. Yet, they are not blessed by God in that He favours them. Rather, His kindness to the unsaved is intended to draw them unto repentance (Romans 2:4). Such kindness is not his favour, being his approval of them at all. To say such things are His blessings to the unsaved, or for that matter, the saved, is to deny that God's favour is truly only manifested in heavenly riches. 

Hence, Matthew 5:12 says that those who are blessed by God are blessed because great is their reward in Heaven. There is no reference to so-called earthly "blessings" at all. Furthermore, it is only through persecution for the sake of Christ that can gain such blessings:

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
(Matthew 5:11-12).

The Greek word for persecution in Matthew 5:11 is 'diokos' which means to harass or trouble in the specific context of Matthew 5:11. Such persecution may come in many forms. It may be less extreme such as the loss of friendship with the unsaved, isolation by unsaved family members, denial of a job or promotion, having one's employment terminated, to have one's business boycotted, being taken to court for preaching the Gospel publicly, or taking a stance on an issue because of one's faith, being attacked on social media, or be publicly ridiculed, all because of one's faith in Christ. Persecution may be more extreme, taking the form of being made stateless by a government, tortured, raped or murdered because one is a follower of Christ. 

Indeed, 2 Timothy 3:12 makes very clear: "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." All who live a truly godly life will, not might be, by will be persecuted. It is a guarantee by Christ Himself. It is only those who are persecuted for  Christ who are truly blessed. Their blessings are Heavenly, and not earthly.

God favours the righteous and holy for their righteousness and holiness. He cares not that they may be poor, needy, friendless, ill or despised by the world, or rich in the eyes of the world. The righteous and holy poor, needy, friendless, ill, or those despised by the world are favoured by God. However,  caution must be exercised in speaking of whether poor or rich person is blessed. Most of those truly favoured by God would be despised by the world, as not many of those who God chooses to be truly saved are respectable in the eyes of the world:

For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
That no flesh should glory in his presence.
(1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Yet, so many professing Christians think that God blesses them because they are rich or favoured by the world in being able to have much power, respect or any type of earthly thing which satisfies oneself. What foolishness!

No where in the New Testament does it ever say that a person is blessed because of his wealth, or other earthly comfort. No where! In fact, it says that those who are blessed are those who are persecuted. Their reward is not found in any earthly treasure at all, whatsoever. 

Clearly, having material riches or earthly comfort or security is not a sign of blessing, no matter what anyone tells you. Do not think that only prosperity preachers think that riches are a sign of blessing. Many people in the conservative, evangelical, orthodox modern western Church have such thinking, that the more wealth one has, the more blessed by God one is. So, what makes you who think the same and boast in hating prosperity preachers so different from such preachers who you hate? Not much at all.

The book of Job makes it very clear that suffering is not a sign of God's curse, or disfavour against such a person. Job suffered immensely. Yet, God was with Him all the while, and favoured Him. The three friends who rebuked Job, and simply assumed that he was not 'blessed' by God because he had no more earthly comfort or security were rebuked by God:

And it was so, that after the Lord had spoken these words unto Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the Lord commanded them: the Lord also accepted Job. 
(Job 42:7-9).

God had vindicated Job by His rebuke of his three friends who in blaming him, and assuming that he was not blessed because of his suffering (Job 42:9-17). God's restoration of Job's riches could not be read as indicative that riches in themselves are God's favour in the sense of approval of a person. For God had not ever through the book of Job punished him for his sin. Yet, he was impoverished, ill, deserted, and constantly falsely accused of being cursed by God, for much of the duration of the entire book. Rather, his restoration of riches is more likely to be symbolic of Job's eternal rewards, as opposed to being blessings for Job in themselves. 

Regardless of the true meaning of the restoration of Job's earthly riches, it cannot be denied that suffering, be it the impoverishment, illness, desertion or abandonment by one's family, or constant false accusations, are not a sign of God's disfavour against a person. 

Indeed, in the context of New Testament, a person who is righteous, though suffering, is blessed by God:

And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

(1 Peter 3:13-14).

The NKJV says "But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled” at 1 Peter 3:14.  Indeed, the Christian who obeys God is always blessed, even when he or she is suffering for righteousness' sake. He is blessed all the days of his life, whether he be impoverished, starving, imprisoned for the sake of Christ, tortured, threatened, ill, abandoned by God, made a slave, or murdered. 

For God never abandons those who truly trust and obey in Him: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).

To be blessed is to have God. That is the whole of the matter. It is not to have both God and money, God and health, God and pleasure, God and family, or God and marriage, or God and a job, that one is blessed. It is to have God and God alone. He is sufficient. As long as one has God, one is blessed, for one has God. 

Nothing else is a blessing, but to have God with one wherever one goes, in whatever one does, all the days of one's life. What makes one truly blessed is whether one is truly satisfied in Christ and Christ alone, serving Him single-mindedly, and wholeheartedly with joy, all the days of one's life. That is the source and only source of God's blessing.