Orthodoxy or “right belief” is about alignment. We believe rightly when we align ourselves with those we are indebted to for that belief. We know what we know because of the faithfulness of the writers of the Scriptures. Those writers were faithful to God’s revelation of Himself to them. And because that revelation is from God, we can trust in the experience of those Scripture-Saints and the words that the Holy Spirit had written down concerning God.
We are not only indebted to these writers, but we are BOUND by their testimony of God. What we know comes from them and everything flows from that testimony. There’s a reason why John penned in Revelation 22:18-19,
“I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”
John understood the great severity of receiving such a revelation and correspondence from the ascended Jesus. And John’s words correlate with every other piece of Scripture, from Genesis to his own letter. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are the litmus test as to what can be considered reliable and trustworthy. Any thing we read—be it poetry, journals, biographies—must align with the Scriptures or else they fail the litmus test of correctly revealing God as He chose to be revealed in the Scriptures.
Today, we struggle with the God of the Scriptures. The testimony of God, especially His moral character, doesn’t align with how we feel about ourselves—how we see ourselves in the mirror, feel in our skin and bodies, or feel after certain experiences. But what we forget is that we are broken. Whether we are married or single, gay or straight, male or female, Muslim or Buddhist, it all must be given to Most High God for redemption.
The 1950s all American woman and man, married with 2 kids, dog and cat, with a white picket fence home in the suburbs must put God first and ask the Holy Spirit to purify their hearts and life, so that their lives would conform to the revealed character of the God of the Scriptures. No one is excluded from laying their lives before the cross of Jesus Christ and letting God put them back together. And remember, God will put them back together in a way that is holy and righteous, in a way that is consistent with His revelation of Himself in the Scriptures. This is not to say that God is predictable or that we have a cookie cutter mold. But it is to say that we can align ourselves with God and know very much what He expects.
Orthodoxy calls us to check our alignment constantly. We can know (and often DO know) what life should look like as a follower of the God of Israel. If we find that our beliefs are wrong or “unorthodox” we know that we have gotten out of alignment with God and His word. It is Jesus who has died to re-align us with God. It is the Holy Spirit who checks that alignment, calls us back to right belief, and is the power to live in correlation with God and His word.
So who controls orthodoxy? God does, especially through His Holy Scriptures. God has revealed Himself and provides the power to lay down our burdens, our sins, our lifestyles, and sacrifice everything that is out of alignment with Him so that we can be re-aligned with Him for His sake (not ours). Orthodoxy is about God and God alone. If we make orthodoxy about us, then we’re out of alignment.
I’ll have more to say about this in the future, but for now know that the power of the Holy Spirit is anxious to work within you—to change you, save you, re-align you, no matter your side, point-of-view, worldview or persuasion.
21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-
22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,
25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.