Marked by Loyalty...but How?

In the earlier post titled, "By Loyalty We are United to Jesus Christ, He is Our Unity" I wrote about making the charitable assumption that the real spiritual union of the body of Christ belongs to those marked by loyalty to, and loyal acknowledgment of, Jesus Christ.

One question that I received in a thoughtful e-mail was:  "...wondering, what is the mark of loyal acknowledgment of Jesus?  Do you mean the verbal confession of that acknowledgment or some other discernible mark?"

Yes, the loyal acknowledgment toward Jesus Christ of which I am speaking is generally expressed verbally. This is what we see through out the Gospel of Matthew, for example.  This loyalty or loyal acknowledgment  is not something that others are responsible to have an absolute, and ultimate, proof of; rather, others are to make the charitable assumption of the genuineness of such statements.  Our responsibility is to strengthen any feebleness in those who are loyal. And we are to do this as fellow sojourners not as completed judges.  Loyalty, as well as loyal-acknowledgment, must prove to be of a nature that will finish the course. That is part of what makes loyalty loyalty. But, may it be far from me to put a stumbling block before one of His little ones. God is the one who ultimately sees "the circumcision of the heart" even though,  as Jesus has taught especially with reference to preachers, we can judge a tree by its fruit (see Matthew 7:15-21).  Obviously more can be explained here.  When tempted to be in a position of judging, rather than strengthening, we should have the humility that Paul exhibited when he wrote to the Philippians:

...and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith [loyalty] in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith [loyalty], that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you (Php 3:9-15).
On the other hand, when it comes to assurance that we have taken the right step in becoming a part of that remnant who are willing to be defined by nothing more, and nothing less, than loyalty to Jesus; we have many passages in the new testament meant to bolster the assurance of a spiritually united group, defined in just such a way. In my next post I should look at a few of those passages meant to reassure the faithful.  While looking at those passages it may be helpful to note a distinction between their intended assurance and what has become a modern evangelical tendency toward a mere confidence in the confidence of a supposed, invisible, metamorphosis...as if that confidence was the true mark.
I am convinced that the better that we stand under the prophetic scriptures of the New Testament, the more clearly we will see that, in the time of the New Testament, and now, the real challenge will be to maintain loyalty to Jesus.  The tendency  to shift away from loyalty to Jesus, if it is like the error seen in the New Testament, will propose a gospel which misdirects loyalty. And This erroneous gospel will introduce strange obstacles against Christ's accessibility for sinners and mistakenly provide a place of proud perfection for the religious. That kind of false Gospel became  more attractive for many a natural man than the true mark: "loyalty to Jesus". We could go on to discuss how increased loyalty to Jesus is only appropriately expressed through an enhanced submission to "the law of Christ" -the Gospel.

But before we go on to think about our next post let me try to answer the e-mail question in this way:  The mark IS faith, or loyalty, and that is what marks the people of God.  It is as "entrance-friendly" as a confessed loyal acknowledgment of Jesus, and it is as "accomplished-friendly" as a co-crucifixion in communing loyalty with Jesus.  Let all who loyally acknowledge Jesus Christ know that they will never be disappointed.

Therefore thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed (Isa 28:16).


"Doctrine" means "Teaching": and we have one Teacher, even Christ

It is not a good thing to stand aloof to the word of Christ and think of ourselves as doctrinally accomplished. The doctrine that makes one clean is the the teaching of Christ. Jesus said, "You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you" (John 15:3). There is a tendency to give great weight to the teachings of men at the expense of the word of God.   This tendency was addressed by Jesus when he said, "You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: 'THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS, BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME. 'BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME, TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN (Mat 15:7-9).'"  Is it man's nature to prefer his own word over God's?  Think of how so many "doctrinal" arguments play out. Rather than maintain a focus on the word of God while exemplifying an attitude of submission and pliableness under that word, many proudly submit themselves to nothing more than humanly-distilled "doctrinal" positions. Many people are being taught by this approach, but they are being taught something less than loyalty to Jesus Christ, and something less than love of the brethren.


"If anyone serves me let him follow me" -Jesus

Is this word from Jesus not part of our Gospel?   Is embracing this word from Jesus not part of our believing in Him?

And Jesus answered them, saying, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. "He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal. "If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.  (Joh 12:23-26)

Jesus was perfectly loyal to God and perfect in self-sacrificial love for fellow man.  Aren't you glad that God calls you to follow no one less?