@3dearlabs Great thoughts I think what is missing from your analysis is the gap between the head and the heart, which I believe is bridged by obedience to God. If you look at Scripture, lots of passages talk about how we must mature in our faith, from babies who live on the milk of the Gospel to grown up Christians who understand and recognize righteousness.
I don’t think that process of maturing as a Christian is immediate or merely a matter of understanding theology. No doubt correct theology may be a necessary foundation to right living, but learning to live out what we believe and to know God is something that comes from walking with the Lord. I don’t think it’s the kind of thing we can just know automatically. 2 Peter 1 is a great example - Peter says that yes, we have all we need to live a godly life, but then he goes on to say we must make every effort to grow in knowledge, godliness, and love.
We also must not forget that we all have different upbringings, different experiences, different stories… Some of us had more stable lives and better examples than others. Others of us are basically out there on our own trying to live this Christian life with almost no examples and coming from a painful past. And some people have deep scars that will not be fully healed until the resurrection. As C. S. Lewis points out (quote below), we are all made of different raw material.
“Obedience is the great opener of eyes.” George MacDonald
2 Peter 1:3-9 - His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.
Romans 12:1-2 - Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Hebrews 5:11-14 - We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
C. S. Lewis - Different Raw Material
Lewis makes the point that one person may have been taught to behave properly, not exposed to many temptations and generally be healthy - and for them it is far easier to behave in a way that appears moral than for someone who was brought up in a broken family, exposed to lots of temptations and has other psychological issues. In that sense, it is what we do with the raw material we have, rather than the raw material, that is what truly sets us apart.
The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, that is very important. Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing does dome tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.
It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.