What kind of a God do you want to know?

29 04 2019

1-adam-and-eve-at-creation-barkley-simpson

The most devastating lie ever foisted on the human race was Satan’s statement in the garden about God (Gen.3:5). It has had untold negative ramifications on humanity ever since. Satan deceitfully convinced the first couple the fruit of the tree of knowledge would open their eyes to see a hidden fact of about God. It was a ruse. That secret fact was actually an alternate view of God, one that saw Him as an autocratic being, a judge, and they under His judgment. Their eyes were indeed opened to an aspect of God that He did not intend for them to have. Yes, God knows all things and can judge even the intents of the heart (Ps. 44:21), but was man intended to see himself and God this way? (Gen. 3:22,23). Why else was he excused from the garden?

The devastating impact of this view set up an illusive barrier between man and God. They were now seeing through the eyes of death or as separated from God. Whereas before eating the fruit they had enjoyed unbroken fellowship and union with God, now their view of themselves and God had changed. By knowing “good and evil”, Adam saw himself as “naked” and “afraid”. Consequently, he had to hide. It is clear from God’s questioning of Adam that God wasn’t the one who had revealed this to him (Gen.3:11). Adam’s view of himself, and God, through his eyes of death was a mean trick of the enemy. What you eat is what you become. Read the rest of this entry »





What is God like?

4 04 2019

Son of God 6

My theological training and understanding of God was that He was super holy, a consuming fire, lived in heaven, and could not stand sin. I was told I needed to “fear” Him because of what He could do to me. Jesus was sent by God to earth to be His “appeaser” on my behalf by being the kind and subservient person who willingly died for my sins. God, full of anger at the sin in my life, was satisfied by the death of His Son so I could escape going to Hell. However, I couldn’t take His mercy for granted. I still needed to show God that I deserved the “grace card” by pleasing Him or I would wind up losing the deal and fall back into God’s judgment.

Today, I see God in a new light, largely due to seeing Jesus differently. For example, if Jesus was the perfect revelation of the Father (as God’s Word says) then what should that tell me about God? Furthermore, Jesus said to His followers, “If you see me you see the Father”(Jn.14:9), and, “I and the Father are one”(Jn.10:30). If Jesus and the Father were one in being and appearance then could He be who the Father God really is? Could there be any aspect or a side of the Father that wasn’t revealed by Jesus?

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What were you thinking?

3 03 2019
man wearing a jacket sitting on brown wooden crate

Photo by Martin Péchy on Pexels.com

What is the difference between someone whose life is being transformed by Christ and someone who is not? It is the difference in their thinking. The Word says that it’s possible to be thinking one way while the heart believes another (Prv. 23:7). Our minds have the ability to so determine our behavior that even a “reborn” person can be kept in a destructive lifestyle. It is why God says that the mind must be renewed or changed in order to see transformation in our lives (Rom. 12:2). How we think is critical to living as God intended. What, then, is involved in changing our thinking?

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Who is a “real” man

8 01 2019

 

Several years ago a good friend gave me a t-shirt printed with the graphic “Man up”. The inference is that men need to be confident, tough, courageous, true warriors for good. Efforts are made through Christian teaching to help “weak” men become who they should be using Christ as the model.

But in his letter to the believers in Corinth Paul gives us another understanding of what makes a real man. In addressing the issues that had developed in this fellowship he makes the interesting claim that he “could not speak to them as spiritual people”… Instead, he calls them “carnal”, “babes in Christ”(1 Cor. 3:1). Rather than acting like the “sanctified”, “saints” “enriched”, gifted, Christ associates they really were (1:2-7) they were displaying “envy, strife”, and divisiveness. They were acting like “mere men”.

Who is a “mere” man? Read the rest of this entry »





Was Jesus just a “saver”

9 12 2018

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For there is born to you this day…a savior, who is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11

The most common understanding of the Christmas story is that Jesus came to be our “saver”, one who would rescue us from going to hell instead of heaven. But the idea that we have been rescued for heaven is largely a man made concept. The real reason Jesus came into the world was not to be a “ticket to heaven” but to be our “reconciler”, to rescue us back to the Father, to our original union with God (2 Cor. 5.18-21).

To reconcile something means to make it harmonious or compatible to something else (Web definition). God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself (v.19), not to a place, but to a Person. We are reunited to a harmonious life with the Person of God Himself.

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Are you a Pretender?

12 11 2018

Tony

God says I died with Christ and that I no longer live (Gal.2:20). That means when Jesus died on the cross He didn’t die by Himself for me or instead of me (Rom. 6:6). He had become me, identifying with my old self so that His death could change my life whether I knew it or not (2 Cor.5:21).

God also says that all humanity died in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). That means all humanity has died to the old self. Christ, the second Adam, replaced all the progeny of the first Adam when He died and rose again with a new race of humanity (Rom.5:19). All mankind has had their lives changed through His death but unfortunately most, even believers, don’t realize it or prefer not to believe it. If they don’t believe it, it will not benefit them. They still live in or battle their sinful condition until they accept fully what Christ has done.

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“You are not acting like Christ.”

18 10 2018

Broken_Vessel_The most common response to someone who professes that Christ is his life is, “Well, you sure don’t act like Him”. The assumption is that if Christ lives in you, as you, then everything you do has to be perfect since Christ presumedly cannot be imperfect. While this seems logical, God says that our lives are earthen vessels (2 Cor. 4:7). Clay vessels are imperfect and full of cracks. So, if we are really imperfect vessels is it ever possible to show perfection?

Christianity has claimed that perfection has to come first before Jesus. In other words, sinful man must find perfection before he can ever be found in Christ. But again, what does God say? He says, “All things in Christ are made brand new” (2 Cor. 5:17) and “We are complete (perfect) in Christ.”(Col.2:10). He is not talking about just a part of us or He would have made that distinction. He is claiming that we are perfect – body, soul, and spirit in Christ who is “ALL in all” (Col. 3:11).

But, still, how can God be OK with our seeming imperfections? It’s because Christ took on my defects in the garden when He drank the cup of my sinfulness (2 Cor.5:21). He accepted it and covered it with His blood and death, swallowing it up in His life. Jesus has become me so that I could become Him. And, if Jesus has become me then He has become ALL that I am.

So, what is God’s view of perfection? It’s Him showing up in human weakness. It is not in my perfection (which I can never achieve anyway!), it is in my mistakes and failures that God chooses to show Himself and His grace. Paul said, “when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:10). He said to the churches in Galatia that it even though he was known as a persecutor people “glorified Christ in me” (1:24). How did these people overlook the imperfect, negatives in Paul and see Jesus?

The Law says that I must strive to be perfect because I am not there yet. Grace says that even though I am not “seen” as perfect in my flesh, I am in my spirit (I Jn 3:9). And it’s when the Spirit comes out of that weak flesh Christ is seen. It’s the matching of my negative to His positive. It’s watching death being swallowed up with life. It’s showing that I am human but something, someone is shining through my humanness. It’s why Paul also said that even though he was “dying” (showing weakness and imperfection) the “life of Jesus” was also being manifested in his body ( 2 Cor. 4:10). If Jesus is going to be real to you and me then we must know Him in our weakness. In fact, God prefers to show up in the foolish things of this world rather than in the perfect (wise) (1 Cor.1:27).

Here’s the bottom line. If God lives in me and I am His life then He takes full responsibility for my imperfection. If He can’t, then He really isn’t God. The next time someone reminds you that you aren’t acting like Jesus just say, “Thank you for pointing out an opportunity for Jesus to show Himself in my life”. If I never make a mistake (which is impossible) is that evidence of Christ living in me? Someone could say that I have that ability or discipline but they would be fooling themselves. But, if I do make a mistake, recognize it and accept it, isn’t that more evidence of the grace of Christ?

Be unashamedly Jesus in ALL that you are.








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