Not All Talk

Don’t be overtaken by spiritual schizophrenia.

by Derrel Emmerson

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” 1 John 1:6

John lived in a time when teachers were ten for a dollar. Most of them were misguided and made their living refuting the Biblical teachings of morality. They were called Gnostics by today’s accounting. In short, they were spiritual schizophrenics. That is, they separated the spiritual from the actual.

All of the Gnostics believed that spirituality was a matter of knowing “spiritual” things. Some believed that they had to keep themselves free of certain foods and participated in exclusive rituals. Others believed it didn’t matter how one lived but that their spiritual knowledge was something that lifted them above the common man. They believed they were so far down the road of understanding that laws, morality and doing good had no meaning at all to them. Fundamentally, the Gnostics were people who lived mentally in a world of ideas with their own version of reality. On the surface they were very religious.

John is speaking to a church that is drifting into a spiritual disconnect. The church is listening to the Gnostics and beginning to separate covenant living from spiritual truth. In that context John says,“If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth.” In other words, truth is not only thinking but it is walking according to the truth. It is not just talk it is living according to the standard of Christ. Spirituality is walking in the light of Christ’s truth so that what we do is dictated by His manner of living. It is becoming like Him.

It is very possible for intellectual footing and moral failure to co-exist. The Truth that is Christ energizes the whole personality and every activity. The believer needs to know that belief and morality cannot be separated. What we say in the Christian community must be lived out in that community. What we do in the Christian community must be lived out in every arena of our lives.

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