Jesus Christ: Savior of the world – Part Four

“When anyone steps out of the system and tells the truth, lives the truth, that person enables everyone else to peer behind the curtain too.” (Walter Wink, Engaging the Powers, Kindle loc. 1460)

We’ve been pulling back the curtain on the Beast. This is part four of my Easter series, “Jesus Christ: Savior of the World.” Today, we will finish up on the first question, “What does the New Testament mean by “world?”

The Fallen World mindset

As I’ve said many times before, when Adam and Eve ate from the wrong tree, something terrible happened. As C. Baxter Kruger put it: “they painted God’s face with Diablos’ brush.” Here are some of the symptoms:

  • View of God based in fear. Man separates himself from God.
  • Humankind becomes judge of right and wrong (good and evil)
  • God is seen as angry and distant
  • God must be appeased with sacrifice (transactional rather than relational)
  • Love is conditional, performance based
  • We create “fig leaf” religions to hide our shame and avoid intimacy with God
  • It’s an orphan mindset (God’s not living in me. He’s “up in heaven”)
  • We are enemies in our mind with Godalienating ourselves from Him (Col. 1:21)
  • We see God’s justice as retributive (revenge-driven, eye for an eye, “myth of redemptive violence”) rather than restorative (reconciliatory).

This, again, is the paradigm of all world religions, subsumed within the system matrix, or what Watchman Nee called “the mind behind the system“(Love Not The World).

Immediate impact of the Fall

So, what was the immediate impact of this alienated mindset with Adam’s progeny? Here’s a summation of the first six chapters of Genesis after the fall:

  • Cain and Abel think they need to sacrifice in order to appease God (nowhere does it say God required this of them)
  • Cain becomes jealous and kills Abel (first murder is religiously motivated)
  • From there, cities and nations form, violence and corruption intensifies until it fill the whole (known) earth.

After this, God continues to deal with humankind (with Israel as the covenantal model), not as He actually is but, because of love, acquiescing to their corrupted mindset that eats from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil until Christ could come and free us all from this system. He begins this long deconstruction project with Abraham (see Gen.12:1-3).

If we’re going to look behind the curtain and understand this insidious beast, it’s important right now to know that this is the “corruption that is in the world” we’re to have escaped from (see 2 Pet.1:4).

It’s not talking about this planet, people, or even the “Seven Mountain” societal construct itself, but escaping what has made all of this its victim.

The book of Revelation makes this case. Walter Wink says this about it:

“Never has a more withering political and economic criticism of empire been penned. The author sees with clairvoyant exactitude the bestiality of Rome, and behind it to the satanic spirit undergirding it. (Engaging The Powers, Kindle loc. 1472)

In Revelation 17-18, we see a clear picture of this Harlot who “sits” (controls) on the Seven Mountains. Keep in mind, these are spiritual metaphors:

“Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. (Rev.17:1-3 *)

15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. (Rev.17:13 *)

For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.” (Rev.18:3 *)

In describing the final judgment on this Harlot, those who have loved “this world” lament:

11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 12 merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. (Rev, 18:11-13 *)

Of course, this is all highly symbolic but, hopefully, you get the picture. It’s a world ideology manifested through fear, greed, power, control, murder, revenge, theft, misogyny, rape, racial prejudice, and human enslavement in all its forms.

But that’s not the end of the story! This false construct, with the Roman Empire as its first century archetype, will one day completely crumble and then “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” (Rev.11:15)

 Before we move on, it’s important we understand that the perpetrators in this false system are also victims. This is why we’re not to judge; we’re told to love our enemies for they’re also trapped in its evil grip. Indeed, we ourselves have unwittingly taken part in it so we’re in no position to judge (Matt.5:38-48; 7:1-5; Rom.2:1).

Name that fruit!

To see which tree we’re eating from, let’s look at Paul’s two lists (not exhaustive) in Galatians chapter five. I will highlight the ones we religious folk think are okay [brackets are further explanation]:

Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (the “flesh”):

19 The wrong things the sinful self does are clear: committing sexual sin, being morally bad, doing all kinds of shameful things, 20 worshiping false gods, taking part in witchcraft [includes control, manipulation], hating people, causing trouble, being jealous, angry or selfish, causing people to argue and divide into separate groups, 21 being filled with envy, getting drunk, having wild parties, and doing other things like this.  (Gal. 5:19-21 ERV *)

Tree of Life (life in Christ):

22 But the fruit that the Spirit produces in a person’s life is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these kinds of things.  (Gal. 5:22-23 ERV *)

So, let’s play, “Name that fruit!” It’s easy to play, and important for understanding which “world” we’ve been getting our life flow from. We just need to conduct an open and honest inspection of what’s been manifesting in our lives, then we’ll be able to embrace the truth that makes us free (John 8:31-32).

Let’s pause for a moment and look at ourselves in the light of these things. Beloved, the fruit doesn’t lie (Matt.7:17-18).

Am I unforgiving, hateful, want revenge? Name that fruit! Ungracious, abusive? Name that fruit! Politically or relationally divisive? Name that fruit! Kind, joyful,  peace-maker? Name the fruit…see how easy it is.

I hope you’re getting a glimpse into how insidious and ubiquitous this false construct is. We’re now ready to answer the second question. Next time…

* Unless otherwise noted, New King James Bible translation. All emphasis mine.
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About Mel Wild

God's favorite (and so are you), a son and a father, happily married to the same beautiful woman for 36 years. We have three incredible adult children. My passion is pursuing the Father's heart in Christ and giving it away to others. My favorite pastime is being iconoclastic and trailblazing the depths of God's grace. I'm also senior pastor of Cornerstone Church in Wisconsin.
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7 Responses to Jesus Christ: Savior of the world – Part Four

  1. Well said. Something that makes me crazy, we’re actually not still in that garden under a curse. We have been restored, redeemed. So the world is a mess, we are a mess, but that is not our system anymore because Jesus Christ came. It is finished. We could so easily just slip our hand back into our Father’s and be walking in that perfect garden in the cool of the evenings again. If we all did that, we’d be living in something that resembles paradise once again.

    I really don’t wrestle with why God allows evil, but I still wrestle with why we as people chose it, chase it, and pursue it. It doesn’t have to be like that, we have been set free. Of course, I too still struggle with making better choices and seeking God, so I understand it on some level.

    • Mel Wild says:

      “We could so easily just slip our hand back into our Father’s and be walking in that perfect garden in the cool of the evenings again.”

      Amen. Yes! We act like a distant God “from a galaxy far, far away” sent Jesus to fix a problem He had with us…then Jesus left… and now we’re left to wait for some distant land, far, far away when we will walk with God….STOP! Open your eyes…or heart…He’s IN you! Yup, that drives me crazy, too.
      And, yes, we’re not powerless victims. We have the freedom to choose. Nobody is putting a gun to our head (most of the time).

      If we spent as much time communing with God, being aware of His presence wherever we go, partnering with Him in the world, as we do wanting to evacuate the planet, imagine how much we would change for the better…and how much the world would benefit. But as you said…we all fall short…I need to calm down and have grace… 🙂

      Thanks, IB. Blessings.

  2. Anonymous says:

    https://www.amazon.com/Pontius-Pilate-Paul-L-Maier/dp/0825443563 you have to read this book. It is amazing. A semi fictional account from the roman perspective.

  3. Cindy Powell says:

    So much good stuff in here. Abel’s death being religiously motivated – seems so obvious, but I can’t say I ever thought of it in such simple but accurate terms. Totally makes sense (and is totally sad)! And I really liked this: “Before we move on, it’s important we understand that the perpetrators in this false system are also victims.” So critical and yet one of the easiest things for us to forget. Especially since it applies to all those trapped in bondage, religious or otherwise (although the religious folks are among the most difficult to show mercy to :/ ). I remember hearing the testimony of a former trafficker (in the move “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls”) and he made the most simple but profound statement: “She (the girls he trafficked) was one kind of captive, but I was another kind of captive.” I’ve never forgotten that. Same applies to those who sincerely think they are “doing God’s work” but in reality are keeping people (including themselves) from Him. Gotta keep checking that fruit!

    • Mel Wild says:

      “I remember hearing the testimony of a former trafficker (in the move “Nefarious: Merchant of Souls”) and he made the most simple but profound statement: “She (the girls he trafficked) was one kind of captive, but I was another kind of captive.”

      Yes, that’s usually the case. It doesn’t justify evil, but it helps us show mercy instead of judgment. This reminds me of the scene in The Shack where Mack is in the cave with Sofia when she showed him a boy being abused by his father and asked if he should be judged. He said, “No!” Then Mack finds out it’s his own father (who abused him). It poignantly shows us why we shouldn’t judge. Why we can love our enemies. We don’t know the full story, even though we think we do.

      Yup…keep checking that fruit and see if anything smells bad… 🙂
      Thanks Cindy. Blessings.

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