Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

by Jeannette Haley

In the physical realm, everyone knows that there are two sides to every coin. The same concept can be applied to the non-physical realm as well. For example, “flat thinking,” or consistently operating with a one-dimensional viewpoint can result in a person becoming a veritable pinhead. The word “pinhead” came into being around the year 1593, and it means a very dull or stupid person—a fool, sort of like a dumb sheep, I suppose. To me, one contributing factor to being a pinhead is the failure to use what brains and common sense God gave in the first place. Critical thinking and the ability to reason needs to be encouraged and developed in people, starting at an early age, so that genuine hunger and thirst for godly wisdom is acquired. Without the wisdom from above, which is revealed in God’s Word, who or what can guarantee protection from the propaganda pitfalls, lairs of liars, and sinkholes of sin that are swallowing up the entire world?

While these statements may conjure up thoughts of crafty, half-crazed politicians, which is definitely applicable, we, nevertheless, need to seriously consider the spiritual dangers of “flat,” one-dimensional thinking. Let’s face it—the planet is literally crawling with religious pinheads, mindless and gutless sheep who are content to remain complacent in their changeless, comfortable little corner where their concept of God is all warm, fuzzy, futile, and fruitless. After all, they have Him all figured out, you know, and have even made “deals with God” that override the plan of salvation according to the Bible. There is no doubt about it, religious pinheads know one side of the coin very well when it comes to God, and it all boils down to the familiar God is love cliché. Technically, etched and deeply engraved on one side of the beautiful gold coin it indeed tells us that God is love. That much the wise can agree with—to a point and as long as there is a balance.

However, much to the chagrin of the “flat thinking” folks, just leave it to the critical thinkers to come along with their dimensional thinking and throw a monkey wrench into the mix by exposing the other side of the coin. On this side of the coin, just as elegantly engraved are the words, God is holy. One coin, two different facts about God. On the God is love side we can picture the beloved disciple, John, with his head resting on Jesus’ chest, while on the God is holy side we see this same disciple who fell “at his feet as dead” Revelation 1:17a.

Now, before anyone gets their fancy feathers ruffled, I am not saying that everyone who emphasizes thatGod is love is a pinhead. Far from it. But, if that is all a person emphasizes, then their theology is as warped and useless as a bottomless coffee cup. How many people are banking that they have a pass into heaven based on a counterfeit coin that proclaims, God is love on both sides? That type of thinking is as one-dimensional as a one-note song.

People who have been marinated only in the God is love philosophy, having never been properly discipled concerning God’s other attributes, such as His holiness, develop a spiritually weak, warped, and unbiblical belief system. This is perilous because it allows for a person to embrace a completely different Gospel, different Jesus, and different Spirit. The danger is, of course, that such erroneous conclusions blind even the most sincere person as to his or her own spiritual state, not to mention the damaging influence he or she has on the souls of others. Only God knows how many souls have been eternally lost because of wrongly concluding that God’s love automatically gave them a free pass into heaven with no admission of sin, genuine repentance, or obedience to God on their part. Such people reason that if God is love, then He wants them to be happy, healthy, and wealthy regardless of the means they use to achieve such goals. After all, because God loves them, His stamp of approval must surely be upon their lives even though they think like the world, live like the world, look like the world, and, in fact, love the world. Surely, because “God is love” then sin isn’t really such a big deal in our post-modern era.

Even Satan knows differently.

There is another side to the coin.

God says, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” James 4:4. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” 1 John 2:15. Does this mean, then, that we are to try and live in some joyless,  miserable, religious straightjacket, not appreciating God’s creation, or enjoying life at all? Of course not. Verse 16 brings clarity to this subject, “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” These three points are a study in and of themselves, but suffice it to say that temptation always comes along one, or a combination of, these lines. Thank God, He doesn’t leave us hanging in despair, for verse 17 gives us the key to hope and joy through obedience, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

Dimensional thinkers know that true faith demands real action; that is, turning away from the way you are going (repentance) to follow the Lord and do His will. The question is, what is the will of God? In writing to the church at Thessalonica, Paul instructed, “For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication” 1 Thessalonians 4:3 (Emphasis added.) “Sanctification” means being set apart—set apart to God and to holiness, regardless of the sin in question. One can almost hear the heart cry of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesian believers as recorded in Ephesians 5:1-6, “Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, (Greek: porneia from where we get the word pornography; includes harlotry, adultery, incest, and idolatry) and all uncleanness, (impurity, either physically or morally) or covetousness, (greed) let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient (proper): but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Emphasis added.) Jesus prayed for the sanctification of His own, for all who believe in Him, (including you and me) as recorded in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13 also gives us a picture of both sides of the coin where we are concerned. “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men . . . To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. (Emphasis added.) For those who desire to have the love of God perfected in them, John wrote, “But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him” 1 John 1:5. Therefore, we see that a one-dimensional, self-serving view of “love” doesn’t fit on the same coin as God’s love which is perfected in His own through obedience to His Word. Concerning the holiness side of the coin, Peter, writing by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, nails it down in his first epistle, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance (being a pinhead?): But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation (behavior); Because it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy” 1 Peter 1:14-16. (Additions added.)

Oswald Chambers (24 July 1874 – 15 November 1917) was truly gifted by God as a man with keen spiritual insight, and the ability to bring the proper balance and perspective to spiritual truths. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 1:30, “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption,” he wrote: “Jesus Christ did a twofold work for us and in us, technically calledjustification and sanctification. God justifies us as Christ was crucified and risen outside us; God sanctifies as Christ is crucified and risen within us. God glorifies in virtue of both, as Christ is enthroned in the fullness of power.

“We have justification as we are seen in Him. We have sanctification as He is seen in us. We have increasing glory and ultimate redemption as both of these divine works of grace combine in the sovereign purpose of God.

“The forgiveness of sins is not the sole purpose of the atonement; it is but the means to a redemptive purpose—namely, holiness. Justification is the road to holiness, and to stop spiritual progress at one without the other is to annul both. Our Lord’s work of grace produces the greatest fact on earth, a saint—i.e., a holy man or woman.

“Holiness, not love, is the greatest thing in the world; for holiness is the basis of love.” (From, Devotions for a Deeper Life, pg. 19.)

I don’t know about you, my friend, but I, for one, don’t want to be a pinhead when it comes to spiritual matters! Not to say that there haven’t been times and seasons in my life when I was a genuine, bonafide pinhead, complete with the T-shirt and hat to go with it. But, the truth is, God calls us to shake off our narrow-minded, dull, and dead status-quo state of snoozing under our spiritually flabby, warm, fuzzy “love blankie” of self-satisfaction so that we can follow Jesus to new heights of glory, power, and life in Him! Are you up to the challenge?