I think it's fair to say, that the world we currently live in is coming
apart at the seams rather suddenly. No reasonably sane person can look
at our current situation and say with a straight face, that the things
are getting better. Wars, economic turmoil, political corruption,
earthquakes, pestilences, crime, and apostasy are part of everyday life
here in the 21st century. We happen to find ourselves in a situation
where numerous problems are turning into crises, and then piling
themselves up rather haphazardly one atop the other...as if we were some
expanding, global house of cards, just begging to be knocked over.
At the heart of the problem, are not the problems themselves necessarily, but in man's inability (and refusal) to come to the knowledge of the truth. That truth is, that God exists, and we either live by the constraints and limitations He has put in place, or we suffer the consequences.
In the letter to the Roman's, chapter 1, verses 18-32, Paul speaks to a form of wrath that God allows to happen, on account of man's sinful and rebellious nature. Three times he mentions that God 'gave them over' (them = sinful, unrepentant man) to; uncleanness, vile passions, and to a debased mind. These are they who Paul also writes about in that they are always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:8)
Wrath is not always about fire and brimstone raining down, although, that has and will happen as God deems fit. But the 'giving over' by God, is a form of wrath by abandonment, and is one of the most frightening. Think about it this way; the God who spoke the universe into existence and then loved the world enough to become a Man, and then willingly and knowingly allowed His own creation to beat, whip, curse, spit on, and crucify Him, all so that He could die in our place....gives you over to your sin.
What follows is a sequential progression that dooms said unrepentant human, by a process of hardening. Generally speaking, this is a process that transpires over a set period of time, sometimes quicker and sometimes longer depending upon the individual. That hardening begins in the heart, and then transfers itself neurologically to the mind, so that no amount of warnings, pleadings, reasoning's, or anything else, could persuade you otherwise. There is also a system coming which will expedite this hardening process to a moment in time...but more on that later. Many, many, many people will proudly and adamantly march into hell's wide mouth, never to be seen again.
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 2 Timothy 3:1-8
I have come to understand as I have matured in the faith that my sinfulness, and/or my righteousness, are equally worthless in regards to whether they qualify or disqualify me for eternal salvation. I am not saved, because of my behaviour. I am not saved because I go to church every Sunday, or that I am baptized, or that I routinely take communion, or give generously to the poor. I am not saved because my parents were, nor am I saved because I read my Bible and always try to act in the best interests of others. All of these are commendable things, and might make me a good person, but they are not what saves me.
I am saved solely on the belief that I have in my heart that Christ died for my sins, and was buried, and rose again on the third day. He died in my place, because I am incapable of paying for my own sins. That ability to believe, resides first in the brain of the recipient, and then is transferred to the heart of a person. Either the knowledge of our own spiritual ineptness breaks the heart, or it hardens it. The mind then acts as the gateway by which salvific truth can first be understood.
At the root of it, I recognize that at my very best, my very best would never be good enough to measure up to God's impossible standards for righteousness. Thus, I have willingly accepted the perfect and sinless sacrifice that Christ already paid for on Calvary's cross. Saying all that, I understand that since I couldn't earn my salvation through my own efforts, neither can I undo my salvation through my own efforts.
Salvation is a onetime event, at which several things occur
1. The believer becomes born-again (John 3:5-6)
2. The believer is sealed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:11-14)
3. The believer becomes a 'new creation' (2 Cor. 5:17)
4. The believer is joined into the 'body of Christ' (1 Cor. 12:12-14)
5. The believer is given the 'righteousness of God' (2 Cor. 5:21)
6. The believer becomes family to God (Gal. 4:7)
With that said, even as born-again believers, we are still sinners because we still live in our human bodies. As a born again believer, we take on two natures in one body, the regenerated spiritual man, and the fleshly physical man. Scripture makes clear that we will sin, and those who profess not to sin anymore, are liars (which is a sin). (1 John 1:8-9) We sin because we remain trapped in our 'tents of flesh' which are predisposed to sin. It is our default mode we turn too given our own inclinations.
Is it possible that when a person becomes born-again, that the very act of salvation itself triggers a neurological change in an individual? I believe it does and it 'closes the loop' if you will, between the three-natures a person has within them. In effect, we become what we were intended to become.
We know from Scripture, that man is made in God's image, (Gen. 1:26-27) and that image we live in, inhabit both in time and space, and exists in three parts; body, soul, and spirit. (1 Thess. 5:23; Hebrews 4:12-13)
The body is the flesh we currently inhabit. It grows and ages and
eventually, wears out and then we die. Both Peter and Paul refer to the
body as flimsy as a 'tent'. (2 Cor. 5:4; 2 Peter 1:12-14) This by the
way, is why the Rapture happens, so that we will one day put on a body
that is immortal and capable of existing in God's presence forever.
The soul is that 'seat of consciousness' that makes us, us. If a person were physically alive, and the soul died or went inactive, we would still be physically alive, but mentally in a coma, or some form of vegetative state.
The spirit, is that God shaped section of our being that we have at birth, but lose when we reach the 'age of accountability'. It is this writer's belief that that part of us dies when we come to the full understanding of right and wrong. (See Romans 7, particularly verse 9) I don't believe there is a specific age associated with it necessarily, although the Israelites did not consider someone an adult until they reached the age of 20 and older. (See ex. Numbers 14:26-35; Exodus 30:11-16)
In review, when a person is born-again, as explained by Christ in John 3, he/she is not physically born again from their mother's womb, but is spiritually regenerated. I liken it to someone being woken up from a deep sleep and are now cognizant of the hopeless state that they are in as compared to an all-powerful divine Being such as Jehovah God. When God gives someone over to their sin, they are no longer able to have that light-switch come on in their understanding anymore. This is the point of blindness or hardening that makes eternal salvation next to impossible to receive, without dramatic divine interference. A good example of this, is Saul/Paul and his divine interference on the road to Damascus. (See Acts 9:1-22)
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess. 2:9-12
The US government, along with many federal and private agencies have teamed up and are investing hundreds of millions of dollars and a lot of energy to unlock the mystery of the human mind, with the "The Brain Initiative". Why is DARPA (whose founding creed is to create vast future weapon's systems) and the White House (Obamacare anyone?) investing so much time, energy, and money trying to unlock the brain? Annie Jacobsen in her new book, The Pentagon's Brain, explores this along with other issues surrounding the secretive group called DARPA, and results are startling. If we strip away all the noble pretences that government and other forces have for wanting to do good by (i.e....curing TBI, Alzheimer's, depression, Dementia, etc.), the potential for great evil still exists. We know that at some future point, this technology will be used against mankind as the ultimate form of mind control.
According to Scripture, there is coming a man who singularly controls ALL the buying and selling around the world. In order to do this, he would have to possess a tool(s) to be able to enforce this. This was only made possible this past century with the invention of the Internet, which has essentially tied the world together in a gigantic spider web, aka, the World Wide Web. Furthermore, participation in this coming system isn't optional. Either you take the 'mark of the beast' which is embedded either into the hand or the forehead of the wearer, or you lose your life. Is there a correlation between the 'mark' and what DARPA and government entities are now trying to uncover with the Brain Initiative? Absolutely. When you figure out what they are trying to do in regards to hardwiring technology into the human brain, things get a little freaky.
While the potential to help restore memory or block out bad memories exists, the ethical dilemmas arise as to who controls the information either given to, or blocked from, said brain. Would mind control be possible? Absolutely.
Even though we are looking through the glass darkly, the form and shape of things to come are materializing into a more recognizable pattern. The picture is forming and things are beginning to make sense. For instance, it makes sense that the 'mark of the beast' dooms the wearer to Hell, because it blocks the wearer from ever being able to come to the knowledge of the truth. We don't know exactly how this technology works, but we can see the world rapidly embracing the potential it presents.
Furthermore, it makes sense that Satan even has to resort to that system, seeing as spiritual hardening is process that usually takes a long period of time...and time is something that Satan doesn't have much left of. Although it is unsettling to see the world turning so quickly to embrace their own demise, we should be encouraged because if we are seeing these things come to light in our own day, we know that we don't have much time left here either.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth (Psalm 96:13)