A DEFT SURGEON
It's been made clear, in my own life experience, and I suspect in others such as my blogging friend Paul, that during our life since professing trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ, that God progressively interacts with us in an ever-changing, and intensifying manner.
He begins very gently, almost imperceptibly, yet never-the-less unrelentingly, as He surgically operates on all our claims of faith and practice, our belief systems which we have been taught as authoritative.
He uses His scalpel to reveal the audacious pre-conceptions which prevent us from making any objective evaluation about the pretensions about ourselves and others.
He gets down to the depths of the delusions and falsehoods we perpetuate about ourselves and others, as well as the habitual practices our traditions have spawned, as well as the ugly formalism about which I have previously posted.
What He does is nothing to do with some ritual, or religious ceremony, in which we have become so adept.
Our Sovereign God, by the working of His Spirit, does what amounts to a quiet surgical exploration into our innermost being.
Who are the recipients of this work of God?
The Apostle Paul had caught a grasp of the answer to that question:
Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. (1Cor. 2:12-13 ESV)
The answer of course is, only those who are members of God's Family by the convincing, convicting power of the Holy Spirit of God!
Membership in a chosen religious institution/denomination/order will never qualify us to receive the privilege of God's great surgical work. As members of the human race all will receive of His wider grace, but will never fully understand the full measure of His saving grace, and the ongoing deeper work of His Spirit.
We can sweat and strain to follow religious customs, traditions and laws, and He will graciously allow us our fantasy, exercising His great grace when we fail.
Those who are truly His will find that His ongoing exploration of our innermost being will continue revealing many surprises about what we thought we are, and knew.
What He reveals He already knows, but like our growing children, we simply do not know everything that Father knows, even though we might think we do.
Like all operations, there is discomfort afterwards, and a period of recovery. Like all operations, we learn something about ourselves we didn't want to know.
We also learn something precious about our loving Father!