A Prayer of Jesus I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
OIL AND WATER
(JESUS AND CHRISTIANITY)
By Edgar Jones
Oil and water. This is only a metaphor for two things that don't mix. Well, actually, they do mix a little but not much. Take a glass half full of water, add oil until it is almost full. Then mix them thoroughly. Really, it would be better if you use a glass flask of some sort, like they have in laboratories, that can be stoppered. Then you can shake them vigorously together until it seems that they should be thoroughly mixed. But, if you stop shaking, you find it was all in vain, for, presto, the water settles out of the oil, or the oil rises out of the water, and you have two layers of liquid exactly as in the beginning. Well, not exactly. You can't see it, of course, but there will be a little bit – a very little bit – of the oil dissolved in the water, and there will be a little bit -- a very little bit -- of the water dissolved in the oil. They will be, what you called, saturated, the oil with the water, and the water with the oil.
Let's bring in another word here: the word "contaminated" seems appropriate. When you place them in immediate contact like that, shaking them vigorously to produce a lot of turbulence and violent mixing, you are contaminating the water with the oil, and you are contaminating the oil with the water. But, apart from a little contamination, the two are basically the same after they have again separated into their distinct liquid phases . Should you attempt to separate them by decanting the oil from the water or by draining the water from under the oil, you will end up with essentially the same thing you had at the beginning, before they were mixed, except, of course, a little water was dissolved in the oil, and now contaminates it; likewise a little oil remains dissolved in the water, and thus contaminates the water. If you sniff it you can probably smell the oil in it and unless you happen to like the oil (and you might, depending on what kind it is -- olive oil, cylinder oil, etc.) you would not want to drink the water, now contaminated with the dissolved oil. The oil, however, is another thing. The small amount of water dissolved within it would not likely have any harmful effect, whether it were olive oil or cylinder oil, provided it was thoroughly dissolved so that there was absolutely no liquid water phase. As olive oil, you could certainly cook with it, even if there were a little liquid water; and as cylinder oil, well, the heat in your engine will very soon drive the dissolved water out of the oil anyway, so no harm is done. Of course, there are some cases in which the dissolved contaminants, even though slight, are absolutely unacceptable. Your guest asks for a glass of drinking water. Here, the water must not be contaminated with anything whatsoever. Offer your guests water containing dissolved cylinder oil, wholly invisible to be sure, and they will reject it and may turn hostile. They will taste it; they will smell it; then they will think, "Is my host trying to poison me? What's going on here?" No, this is not the way to refresh your guests! There are some cases in which even a very small amount of dissolved contaminant renders a substance absolutely useless – indeed, worse than useless.
That's the story of oil and water. As I said at the beginning, they only constitute a metaphor for things that don't mix, but nevertheless contaminate one or the other, or both. Thus it is also with religion. Not just any religion. With many religions, as with many liquids, there is no problem with a little contaminant. But here we want to consider one religion in particular and with that one religion a little contamination is disastrous; it renders it smelly, distasteful, positively unacceptable. I am not even speaking of the Christian religion, so called. It makes out handsomely though laden with all kinds of contaminants; indeed, it may be that contaminants are an essential element. Take, for example, money. If we removed all the money from the Christian religion, so called, what would be left? The preachers would lose their wages; the congregations would lose their "physical plants;" the seminaries would lose their professors; indeed, everything would go down the drain in short order if the collection plate were no longer passed on Sunday mornings.
Shouldn't we consider money a contaminant in the Christian religion? We are told that it is the root of all kinds of evil, and the Christian religion exists to combat evil, does it not? Money must, therefore, be a contaminant – yea, even a little bit, just a little dissolved in the mass, might contaminate the whole. But again, in the case of the Christian religion, it makes out quite nicely though contaminated, and might collapse entirely if this contaminant were removed. We might even be justified in saying that the contaminant is a necessary evil! So, then, we are not going to discuss the Christian religion here, except of course to point out how well it advances in the world with the help of a little contamination.
No, lets select something more basic, purer, uncompromised. Let's select the religion of Jesus. Yes, Jesus and the world – these are the oil and water that do not mix, not even a little bit. But when men seek nevertheless to mix them, they produce something entirely different, in both cases. The religion of Jesus has been supplanted by the Christian religion, and the western world has become Christendom. The Christian religion is not the religion of Jesus; it is the absolute antithesis of the religion of Jesus, the one thing removed a vast distance from the religion of Jesus, a distance vaster than any other thing is or can ever be removed, a religion that is not the religion of Jesus but nevertheless thinks it is the religion of Jesus. It presents itself as the religion of Jesus, but it cannot be the religion of Jesus because this latter is pure, but the Christian religion has become contaminated with the world – and not just a little bit contaminated, either. No, the Christian religion has become more world than religion, and so Christendom, the world of the Christian religion, has been removed as far as it is possible for anything to be removed from Jesus. Indeed, there is really no religion, and no world, in Christendom, where the Christian religion and the world are not one hundred percent miscible. This is a new word that means, simply, that the two mix with one another readily in any proportions whatsoever. Stir them; shake them; neither is necessary because they mix so readily, and instead of having two persistent liquid layers separated by a meniscus, we get only one layer, one liquid. And that's Christendom, for in Christendom, no one knows where the religion ends and the world begins! They mix so thoroughly and readily, and may even make a heady brew, delicious all around! And of course, once you get them mixed, there is no decanting one from the other – both have disappeared and in their place is a single conglomerate – Christendom, which is the world alloyed with the Christian religion.
The Religion of Jesus
Not so with Jesus and the world. They are immiscible; they are insoluble the one in the other. And when put in close proximity – well, look what happened, the violence of the crucifixion! And his disciples, all those who followed him in Truth – imprisoned, crucified, beheaded, enslaved, and otherwise abused wherever they were found in this world. This went on for a very long time – indeed, it still sometimes happens that a true disciple of Jesus comes into close proximity with the world, always with the same result, for the world cannot abide Jesus, and he will never accommodate to the world.
To review briefly, we have to deal with a dialectic involving two independent entities, the religion of Jesus and the religion of the world, that are utterly incompatible, the one being the antithesis of the other. There is no synthesis of the two. They will not, like oil and water, mix even a very little bit, one dissolving in the other. This is not understood because we are confronted in this world with a second, bastard religious entity called the Christian religion that mixes readily with the world to produce Christendom, which is the synthesis of the two. They are not like oil and water either, however, because they are readily miscible the one in the other. Neither the Christian religion nor the world could survive without the other. It is a marriage made, not in heaven, but in hell, because it obscures, confuses, compromises, and distorts every effort to introduce the religion of Jesus into the world through its claim to be the religion of Jesus, and the multitudes in Christendom have accepted the claim!
Does my reader think this is a little harsh, that we are being a little too hard on the Christian religion? Maybe a lot to hard? No, really, I deny the charge; it is impossible to be too hard on an impostor, one who is not what he pretends to be, and especially so if that one pretends to be the sole dispenser to the world of eternal salvation and succeeds, generation after generation, in leading a host of lambs to the slaughter, in the name of Jesus, of Jesus who is perfectly heterogeneous to this world. But the deceiver readily homogenizes with the world and all that is in it – with money and politics and nationalism and materialism and – well, you know, the whole bag.
The religion of Jesus accepts absolutely no contaminants. It is impossible that men can contaminate it with anything whatsoever, and this of course includes the world. When one sets out in an effort to accommodate the religion of Jesus to the world, this effort to contaminate the religion of Jesus only results in a new religion, the Christian religion, that has no resemblance to the religion of Jesus except in name. The name of Jesus has been blasphemously applied to the Christian religion. The moment one attempts to contaminate the religion of Jesus, to adulterate it in any way whatsoever, it ceases to be the religion of Jesus and becomes a worldly religion, the Christian religion, that is readily miscible with the world, while the religion of Jesus is absolutely immiscible with the world.
A Pure Religion
We must clarify something else also: the religion of Jesus is absolutely immiscible with the Christian religion. Since the latter is contaminated by the world, the religion of Jesus knows it not, refuses any association whatsoever with it, and every effort to introduce more of the religion of Jesus into the Christian religion only produces more Christian religion which is not the religion of Jesus.
Now, I have made many serious assertions about oil and water, and about the religion of Jesus and the world, the Christian religion and the world, and the religion of Jesus and the Christian religion. I turn now to illustrate the basis of these assertions, by examining the one most fundamental doctrine of the religion of Jesus and of the Christian religion, that relating to eternal salvation. The question is: What must I do to be saved? Or, what must I do to inherit eternal life? I call this the most fundamental doctrine because, were it not for man's quest for an eternal happiness, or eternal salvation and eternal life, there would be no religion of Jesus, nor Christian religion either. We could make out quite nicely in this world without them. But we have eternity in our hearts, and therefore we are driven to seek an eternal happiness, which is precisely what Jesus came to provide.
The Salvation Question
Jesus answered this question without equivocation. He said:He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life (John 12:25).There was also a lawyer who questioned him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? When Jesus asked him what was written in the law, he responded, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and you neighbor as yourself. Then Jesus responded:You have answered right; do this, and you will live (Luke 10:25-28).This second answer is in different terms, yet both are the same as we realize when we focus on the Great Commandment. For to love God is to have a bond that binds one to God because it is love that binds all things together. Simply put, when we really love God, with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength, and with all our minds, we want to go to him, where he is, becoming one with him in his eternal glory. However, we can't go to him while we yet have this life in the world, so that if we really love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our strength, and with all our minds, we will not want to continue in this life, which continuation maintains our separation from God in his heavenly glory. We want to leave this life, to be separated from it, to put it away from us, or, on other words, the words of Jesus, we will hate life in this world, and that will be our salvation. This also explains why it is so hard, as Jesus said elsewhere, even harder than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, which is another way of referring to the inheritance of eternal life, or eternal salvation. The rich man who values his wealth is not about to hate his life in this world, for that is to turn from worldly values, which he is unable to do.
This also explains those statements in which Jesus makes believing in him essential to salvation and eternal life. To believe in him means to believe every word he said, and therefore to hate one's life in this world, as essential to eternal life. Our salvation and eternal life is wholly dependent on our love of God and the consequent hatred for life in this world, which Jesus taught and which we must therefore believe if we are to be saved.
Believing in Jesus
The hatred of life is in this regard correlative to the love of God. One may hate life without loving God, but one cannot love God apart from the hatred of life, and so one's attitude to life is the essence of salvation. If we do not believe that, we do not believe Jesus who so taught and we do not believe in Jesus – it is no matter what we say or think. Furthermore, if we hate this life out of the love of God, we will not save it – such would be inconsistent with our will and the love of God. The sole exception here is to have the true conviction that one has not finished the work the Father has assigned in this life. Jesus did not leave this world until he recognized that "the hour has come." If we want to save it, we do not hate it, we do not love God, and we have no salvation or eternal happiness. No one who loves life, loves God. Indeed, all who love life do not want to go to God, and therefore can truly be said to hate God. Yes, all who love life hate God, and are guilty of the eternal sin. Therefore, the love of life is the essence of sin, and to repent of sin is to repent of the love of life. This is the way it is in the religion of Jesus.
The Christian religion is different. It is in fact so different that it comes out as the exact opposite of the religion of Jesus. In Christendom, we are also taught to believe in Jesus, it is true, but here belief in Jesus, or faith in Christ as it is sometimes stated, comes out very different. We are not directed to his words, to believe what he said, but we are directed to something he did, or that was done to him: i.e., to his crucifixion, which is interpreted in the Christian religion as a sacrifice for sin, in accord with the apostles and certain prophetic passages in the Old Testament.
In this formula, nothing is said about my attitude to life, whether I love or hate it. Rather, I am urged to believe that the death of Jesus on the cross was an atoning sacrifice, a substitutionary atonement, a propitiation for sin. There, Jesus took my licks in my stead, with his stripes we are healed, his blood cleanses us from sin, provided, and only provided, we believe it and accept him as our personal savior. We are asked to commit our lives to Jesus, but not to hate them. Rather, in the euphoria of this religious experience and so free a salvation, we are urged to focus on our lives as something to be highly valued, as something that we must spend wisely for Jesus' sake. We are invited to appropriate the many blessings by which this faith enriches life. And when we come to depart this world and the pastor delivers our eulogy, the highest praise he can think to utter for any of us is that we "loved life and lived it to the fullest."
Or, perhaps, he says "She left this world a better place." This business of making this world better is integral to the love of life, and the call to work for changes in the world goes hand in glove with it. With all this, the Christian religion claims the high ground, as the force working for the enhancement of life in this world, all compatible with love for that life, but thoroughly incompatible with the hatred of life, which only wants to leave it behind on the way to the Father. In their love for life in this world, the adherents of the Christian religion earnestly pray the Father to send the kingdom, which they understand to be the renovation and perfection of this world, of life in the world, and of human society. So, in the end, those who begin by believing that Jesus died a sacrifice for their sins, end by hating Jesus, who taught so clearly that the love of life is the essence of sin. Oil and water!
Changing the World
One man in our generation stands as the foremost representative of the Christian religion, the man designated "America's premier evangelist" by U.S. News & World Report (May 13, 1996), the man who has "preached the gospel" in more places and to more people than any other person in the history of Christendom, the Rev. Dr. Billy Graham! Come! Come!
The Premier Representative
Come! Again and again he has issued the invitation, "Come confess your sins, and commit your life to Jesus believing that he has suffered on the cross the just penalty of your transgressions. Thus you will be saved and will inherit eternal life!" They have come literally by the millions, responding to his invitations, delivered during his "crusades" around the globe. He is so highly esteemed among men as to have received many honors and awards. The U. S. legislature's highest honor, the Congressional Gold Medal, has just been awarded him and his wife, Ruth, for their contributions "to morality, racial equality, family, philanthropy and religion." We are told by U.S. News and World Report that "No other clergyman has received the medal, which was first presented to George Washington in 1794." How about them apples!
Billy Graham, premier evangelist, highly esteemed by men, recipient of many, many honors, including perhaps the highest honor that men can give, the Congressional Gold Medal. That's the Christian religion, that's Christendom. But the religion of Jesus says, with Jesus,
Whatsoever is highly esteemed among men is an abomination to God (Luke 16:15).Furthermore, Jesus also said, I receive not honor from men (John 5:41).Think about it. Oil and water!
Return to List of Papers E-mail email@example.com Return to Home Page