THESIS #47 of 95 - In describing infants presented to Him as "little ones who believe in Me", Jesus was alluding to an internal witness of the light of Christ reflected in their God-given spirits/consciences, guaranteed in their case not (yet) to have been obscured or distorted by the lusts of the flesh or impurities of the mind
Mt18:2-6 Jesus called a little child and set him among them, saying “Truly I say to you, unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. So, whoever will humble himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever receives one such little child in My name, receives Me. But whoever causes one of these LITTLE ONES WHO BELIEVE IN ME to sin, it is better for him that a heavy millstone be hung around his neck, and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea.
Mt6:22-23 The (mind’s) eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light.But if your (mind’s) eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. So, if the light that is in you is darkness, how great the darkness!
Rom2:14-15 For when Gentiles who do not have the Law instinctively perform the requirements of the Law, these, though not having the Law are a law for themselves in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience testifying and their thoughts either accusing or else defending (particular actions)
Jn6:44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day
1Tim2:4 God our Saviour wishes for all people to be saved and to come to a recognition of the truth
Rom7:9 I was alive without the law at one time; but when the commandment (i.e. an awareness of right and wrong) came, sin came to life, and I died
This thesis is allied to the subject of the post before last on “common faith” – a concept alien to many Christians today but not to the earliest (pre-Augustinian) Church Fathers. The Christian’s “object of faith” is (or should be) the God of the bible, especially as He has been revealed through Jesus Christ. But as I have been at pains to point out, knowing Jesus Christ in a personal, saving manner is the province of those whom God the Father chooses to draw to Him (Jn6:44). [With respect to the previous post, that is something Calvin got right]. Yet that same Creator wishes all men, women and children to be healed and come to knowledge of the truth (1Tim2:4). That is why the light of Christ has been provided in the human spirit and conscience that all possess from birth (Jn1:9KJV; Rom2:15). So, at the universal level the object of faith is something innate. Yet it is still associated with Christ – as Logos. It is the inward eye of the spirit (Mt6:22-23 strictly NASB – see note #1). That inward eye is referenced by the conscience, by which those who do not know the Law of God as a creed become a law for themselves (Rom2:15)
In terms of our thesis, the above should provide a clue as to why Jesus described the little children who were brought to Him as “little ones who believe in Me”. I have included the preceding verses in the Mt6 citation, for the context makes it absolutely clear that Jesus is not on this occasion referring to His adult disciples that He also sometimes describes in such a way. Nor was He anticipating those infants who would go on to “receive Jesus as their personal Saviour” or become baptized Catholics. It was an inclusive observation concerning all young children who were placed into His loving embrace. Remember also that at that time his own chosen disciples scarcely understood Who Jesus was, still less would little children have known Him to be the Son of God and Saviour of the world. Their simple “belief” in Jesus refers to what is innate and instinctive to all very young lives – the internal witness of the light of Christ (the Word/Reason – Logos) through Whom their souls were created. It is guaranteed in their case not (yet) to have been obscured or distorted by the lusts of the flesh or impurities of the mind, which when combined with a growing awareness of transgressing God’s law defiles the conscience and extinguishes Life (Rom7:9).
#1 re-Mt6:23 – “How great is the darkness” not “that darkness” (most translations). They obscure the fact that divine light is provided innately (aka natural law). Yet it still leaving man in a measure of darkness unless further aided by celestial grace. Then there is a third category whose mind’s spiritual eye is evil. Such are, like Cain, the children of the devil who have extinguished that light provided to all men (Jn1:9KJV) so as to be in total darkness – devoid of sound reason, conscience and integrity.
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