Christ, Our Righteousness, Part 9
I have to apologize because I got up very early today because it seemed to me the Lord wanted me to do some writing. I’ve lost count how many installments of this series I’ve written today. I supposed I could look, but it doesn’t matter. Unfortunately, I was writing two at a time and in my haste (tiredness?), I wound up publishing part 6 before part 5 and part 8 before part 7. Because of that, a few are not in the correct order. I’m sure you’ll figure it out if you can count. (smile)
At any rate, in our last installment, we began discussing the need for continued fellowship with God. Because we are heirs of salvation, it is our salvation itself that gains us access to God in fellowship. You cannot have fellowship with God without first having salvation. That is the requirement. Fear not, because God truly wants you to have fellowship with Him and that means for you to have salvation first.
We talked a bit about Martin Luther – the original Martin Luther of the Reformation – last time and it was not my intent to drag Luther over the coals or to denigrate him in any way. God knows my heart, truly. My only goal was to point out how even devout individuals can lose sight of truth and be drawn away from fellowship with God. I find it very difficult to believe that, considering Luther’s attitude toward Jews later in life that he was in true fellowship with God. He certainly may have been and there is clearly a good deal of which I am not aware – again, God knows my heart; you don’t (smile) – but he serves as an example for us. If Luther can fall, so can we. If King David can fall, so can we. If Abraham can make a severe mistake that the Jews are still paying for today, then so can you…and I. I used Luther as an example, that’s all.
I also discussed the fact that in our human relationships, we can arrive to a point of not even caring anymore. We do so normally because we allow temptation to sidetrack us, then we start focusing on things we should not focus on. Those areas grow in our interest while the important areas that should take precedence and absorb our interest and emotions fade. We know that’s wrong, but all too often, we just let it happen.
Once we have access to fellowship with our God – the very God of the entire universe and beyond – we need to work at keeping it active on our part. God will do what it takes to ensure that He is heavily invested in us, but we need to do the same thing. Imagine what it would be like if every day you woke up with excitement at the new day and started talking with your spouse. You asked them question, talked about the possibilities in their day ahead, and essentially showed them how much you cared. Their response? Nothing. They don’t even look your way or if they do, it’s a quick nod, then they hide themselves behind the newspaper. In effect, they are tuning you out. How do you think that feels? I doubt you have to work hard at imagining it. You get the idea.
We do this to God because we are fallen creatures who run largely on emotion. When our emotions aren’t there, it becomes difficult to push through to success. If you’re like me, it’s even harder because of the emotional upheavals I’ve experienced in my life since a kid. That’s not an excuse, by the way. I, and I alone am responsible for the way I treat God, the way I act toward Him and the complete lack of consistency on my part at times where He’s concerned. I cannot blame that on my mother, my father, my parents’ divorce, my sister’s untimely death, my mom’s death, my dad’s death, or the fact that my father never came to see me play a game of Little League baseball. I throw that last one it for grins and giggles. He was never into sports. He was a hunter and he spent lots of time taking me hunting. (smile)
In short, there is nothing perfect about our lives except God. Nothing. We had best stay in fellowship once we literally open that door to Him, which gains for us salvation (Revelation 3:20). Remember, He knocks on that door. We respond to His knock and if we respond by opening the door to Him, He will come in and fellowship with us.
But how does actual fellowship occur? As I mentioned previously, it occurs as we get to know God. How do we do that? There are two ways that God has revealed Himself, generally speaking. He has revealed Himself in nature. This is a very general “I AM God and Creator” way of revealing Himself. The Creation itself broadcasts God’s power, His design, and the fact that He holds all things together (Colossians 1). The first chapter of Genesis says “In the beginning, God created…” John 1:1-5 tells us without apology the following:
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. 2 The Word was with God in the beginning. 3 All things were created by him, and apart from him not one thing was created that has been created. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. 5 And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.
The above information is simply presented as fact. Yet, it is patently clear that people can look at the same Creation with some saying, “Wow, God is absolutely awesome,” while others will proclaim, “Isn’t evolution amazing?”
Creation is God’s more general way of saying “I AM God” (cf. Romans 1).
But there is another revelation that God has given us and it is via His Son, whom, as we understand from the John 1 passage above, was the Word and the Word was with God because the Word was (is, present-tense) God. While Jesus is still alive today, we cannot see Him. We might come to a point of sensing His Presence through the indwelling nature of the Holy Spirit, but that is limited, purposefully limited by God Himself.
God’s Word – the Bible – is His final revelation to humanity (and this includes the revelation through His Son because the Bible represents that written record of Christ’s life, miracles, and redemptive work). It’s something He began writing through Moses and didn’t stop until all the “t’s” were crossed and “i’s” dotted by the apostle John. In that volume – the Bible – is what God wants us to know about Him. Is it all there is to know about God? Absolutely not, but it is all that God believes we need to know now, while we are in this life.
Raise your hand if you have the entire Bible memorized. No? Then why are you worrying about whether or not there is “more” that we don’t know about God? He is eternal, all-powerful, and all-knowing, just to name a few attributes. Focus on what you know He has revealed first, which will take the rest of your life.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been married nearly 30 years, but started to get to know my wife before we married. But here we are 30 years later and I’m still surprised to learn that there are things I don’t know or never knew about her. She still surprises me and I hope I do toward her as well.
With our next installment, we’re going to focus on the whys, wherefores, and hows we need to avail ourselves of the Bible as well as why too often, we don’t want to do that. Satan wants us to think it’s boring and for those of us who are visual learners like me, I would agree that it can be a bit…tedious. That’s not a good enough excuse though to not read and study His Word. We have no other option for getting to know our Creator than via the way in which He has deliberately chosen to reveal Himself.
It’s not really that overwhelming. God does not expect you to know all of His Word by tomorrow. He simply asks that we learn something from Him every day. We’ll be back and until then I pray that God will open your eyes to show you how blessed you are in Him!
By the way, I have a lot of audio messages up over at Sermon Audio. If you’d prefer to hear these rather than read them, I eventually turn most of these into audio messages there, lasting about 15 to 20 minutes each. There are apps for your smart phone (iPhone and Android) you can also download that are specific to my page at Sermon Audio. Like my blog here, there is nothing you have to pay for. The apps are free or you can listen online free (once you get on the ‘Net, that is). They are there should you choose to avail yourself of them. In fact, I need to go record another one now, but I’ll return here with more installments in this series. Thanks for hanging out with me. I appreciate it.