If you’ve read Forgotten Hope and the post “If I Wanted You Dead…” (and I know you have), then you know that I have been “in search of the C-Monster,” on “cancer alert,” since 2015. In the standard “you are now 50” screening, a particular test result came out a little high. Now, 25 tests and 8 years later, that result continues to go up. What that has meant is 6 MRIs, 4 biopsies (100+ samples), 2 genetic tests, and more. For 8 years I have had no symptoms of a problem, and the doctors, with all their efforts, could not find a problem. So, by all accounts except one, I did not have a problem. Now, after 8 years of warnings, 8 years of oversight, 8 years of doctors not shrinking from their conviction that this one negative sign comes from somewhere, they have found it. After 8 years of hiding, being too small to find, the truth has been revealed. I have a 2 mm, Gleason 6 (least aggressive) “adenocarcinoma.” 2 mm, 0.078 inches, or the thickness of a nickel for those who remember what coins are.
In reflecting on these 8 years, some questions arose:
- When I turned 50, do I wish that the doctor would have just taken my outward appearance as the whole truth and not looked for supporting evidence?
After all, I was a healthy 50-year-old. A 50-year-old who passed his stress test way above average. A 50-year-old who could outwork most people half his age.
- Do I wish that the specialist who did my first biopsy would have taken “No” (he does not have cancer) for an answer?
After all, the doctor took 15 tissue samples, and all produced supporting evidence.
- Do I wish that the next specialist who ordered my first MRI and did another biopsy would have just taken “the win”?
After all, that’s another 15 tissue samples with an actual image that showed “I do not have cancer!”
- When this same specialist said, “I want to try this new genetic test,” and it too came out negative, do I wish he had kept his “new test” to himself, or again, at least taken “No” for an answer?
- When the specialist and I agreed to consult a top medical university doctor for a second (third) opinion, do I wish he had not suggested a more targeted test, an MRI guided biopsy, which would take another 18 tissue samples?
- When those 18 samples also showed “No” cancer and I attained a new specialist back home, do I wish he would have just accepted all of these test results and ignored that one increasingly negative test result?
- When this new doctor said, “You are just too young to let this go,” do I wish he would have just let the conviction to protect my life go?
- When he took my case to a board of specialists who could not explain the conflicting evidence either but said there must be something there to produce this evidence, do I wish he had not shown so much concern?
- In the years and multiple negative tests that passed between then and today, do I wish that the doctors, the caretakers, the overseers, would have just stopped looking?
After all, over those same years, I read countless online articles that said I should just stop looking.
Over those same years, my family and I had countless conversations about continuing, the risks that accompanied the various tests, how uncomfortable EVERY test was, how costly it was EVERY year, and so on. But… that one piece of evidence!
- Over the last year, I have had an MRI, a Saturation Biopsy (50+ tissue samples), a confirming MRI, and another trip before the board of specialists. The board looked over the last year and the 7 years that preceded it to decide, “Is this little 2 mm thing the root of the negative evidence?” Do I wish that they had just said, “This is just too small an evil to concern ourselves with”?
After all, all of the other evidence spanning 8 years points to the contrary!
- Do I wish I didn’t know I have a 2 mm, Gleason 6 “adenocarcinoma” that threatens my existence?
What would your answers be?
As to my perspective (fear, doubt, etc.) over these 8 years and looking forward, read Forgotten Hope and the post “If I Wanted You Dead…”
As for my answers:
- I am so glad the overseers/doctors cared enough about my life to continue to look for the Truth.
- I am so thankful that my family worried more about my longevity than making me momentarily happy with answers that “felt better.”
- Finally, I am blessed that God had taught me a humility that set my “Self-will” aside and would welcome the questions, the tests, and ultimately, the negative Truth.
Why this very personal health update?
Because, as we pursue the Pursuit of Character ministry and, more particularly, the “Going Out,” we hit the very obstacles this represents. While these obstacles are thrown at us from the world, it is the churches and their members, who have adopted their Social/Secular Religion (SSR), that throw them the hardest.
Most prolifically we get “Once saved always saved!” To which we respond, “But…! What is ‘saved’ in your understanding of the Manual?” The answers vary. Well, “Just get saved,” or “Just believe,” and others of the sort. So, when we press for more, or suggest that evidence will be present and we should care enough about our professed sibling… and God, to look for it, or to consider negative evidence, the walls go up and the knives come out. In defense of “not judging,” they JUDGE us very harshly.
Have I ever gotten so far without a Scripture quote? Let’s fix that!
“…hear the word from My mouth and give them the warning from Me. If I say to the wicked, ‘O wicked man, you will surely die,’ but you do not speak out to dissuade him from his way, then that wicked man will die in his iniquity, yet I will hold you accountable for his blood. But if you warn the wicked man to turn from his way, and he does not turn from it, he will die in his iniquity, but you will have saved your life.” Ezekiel 33:7-9
No, that is not irrelevant Old Testament. As always, here is some New Testament confirmation:
“…I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and the entire flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:26-28 (Paul’s last parting comments and instructions to the Ephesians.)
Does the Manual plainly state what “saved” is?
“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved…” Acts 16:30-31
“…if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9
Are there examples of Positive Evidence of a “saved” person?
“Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not extinguish the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt, but test all things. Hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.” 1 Thessalonians 5:15-22 (“form” from “eidos,” or “Let no form of evil make an appearance in your life,” but this is a discussion for another post!)
And, of course, by this point, the big guns are pulled out… “You are teaching ‘salvation from works!’” No, we are teaching “works from salvation!”
“Truly, truly, I tell you, whoever believes in Me will also do the works that I am doing.” John 14:12
Christ Himself said, If you believe that I am your Lord (Acts16:31) and proclaim the same out loud (Romans 10:9) you will be saved, and from this salvation, you will do the works that I am doing (John 14:12).
D.L. Moody caught a lot of flack in his day for preaching “Free Grace,” or salvation without works. But what he actually taught was, “No apostle says so much against salvation by works before the cross, as Paul; and none says so much about works after the cross. He put works in their right place” Moody also said, “If a man tells me that he has been saved, and does not desire to work for the honor of God, I doubt his salvation. Laziness belongs to the old creation, not to the new.” (Sovereign Grace)
“…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 1 Corinthians 5:17
Moody took the Holy Spirit at His word, and so should we. Moody did not take on the authority of final judgment. He didn’t say, “He is condemned.” He said, “I doubt his salvation.” Because the Manual says that “If” we are “In” Christ, then that salvation “Will” manifest in “New” works, good works.
Here is a little, never mentioned note on the hypocrisy of that “do not judge” argument as it pertains to the “inner gate,” and it is represented here in Moody’s statement. He did not take on God’s Authority and “judge” final condemnation, and… here it comes… he also did not take on God’s Authority and “judge” final salvation. Only the “Sword of the Spirit” can divide that Truth!
You see, Moody understood something very important that we, in our desire to be liked, have “let go.”
“If we deliberately go on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no further sacrifice for sins remains, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume all adversaries.” Hebrews 10:26-27
If a person has heard and understood the Truth of Christ, e.g., birth, death, resurrection, and Lordship, but refuses any part, there is no other path, no other “Narrow Gate.” And because Moody Loved (agapē) all mankind, he did not overlook the evidence in favor of the “testimony.”
“Whoever has been born of God does not abide in sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. By this the children of God are distinguished from the children of the devil…” 1 John 3:9-10
Finally, here is where that “one bad test result” comes in. If that result had come and gone, quickly returning to normal, then it would have been declared an anomaly, a stumble, amongst the overwhelming evidence. But because it stayed, took up residence, made its “Abode,” it could not be overlooked. Every good and true overseer, every person who claimed to love me, could not sit by and smile while there was evidence that I lived with a little evil growing inside.
I think the difference is obvious, but just in case… temptation will continue to exist in this world, and the Manual says there are times when we might stumble to that temptation, we will have an anomaly in our evidence. But, if we take that sin in and embrace it, take up residence with it, then His seed is not in us; Christ does not share housing. What we must remember is that “all sin is the outward act (evidence) of an inward offense to God.” (Forgotten Hope) What this means is that those who love us, those on the outside, can only see the evidence. They cannot know if that one visible act is proof that sin has taken up residence in our Heart (Leb) spirit. And if they Love (agapē) us, they will “doubt,” they will say something.
If I truly want all that is not of God, all that does not honor Christ’s sacrifice, all that offends the Holy Spirit, out of my life, then I not only accept having “every form of evil” pointed out to me, I welcome and even pursue it! This is the standard held in medicine, and this is the standard laid out in the Manual!
I have cancer… and I continue to face the temptations of sin in this world. I am thankful that I have people who love me enough not to support me hiding from either Truth. I am also thankful that I know a God who offers me victory over both!
© Scott A Caughel 4/17/2023