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“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though once we regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
God is just, and He made us in His image. We are to act justly, as our gracious heavenly Father does. That is, we are to behave according to what is morally right and fair.
Who determines what is morally right and fair? Our just God–Creator of all that is. His character is our standard of morality. His person defines what is good and separates it from what is bad.
So how can we, as sinful human beings–prone to doing wrong–know what is good and right?
We develop a personal relationship with God through prayer and studying His Word [Hebrews 4:12]. We meditate on those things that His Word defines as good, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praiseworthy [Philippians 4:8]. We allow the Holy Spirit to prick our consciences and to counsel us in God’s wisdom [John 14:26; Acts 2:37].
Yet while God is just and has charged us to live justly, justice–like vengeance–is not ours to mete out [Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19]. That does not mean that we are not to establish courts of law or punish criminals. On the contrary, upholding impartial criminal justice is a part of living justly. But we are not to judge others [Matthew 7:1-6; Luke 6:37].
When we judge how others are or are not measuring up to God’s Word, we invite that same judgment back on ourselves. Even Jesus did not come to judge the world, but to save the world through Him [John 12:47]. He proclaimed that God the Father would be the ultimate judge in the last day, and because of this, He would not retaliate for the wrongs suffered at the hands of men [John 12:48].
We can get so busy being judgmental of others and the sinfulness all around us. We can be so bound up getting revenge on those who wrong us, that we miss the fact that we ourselves fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]. If it weren’t for God’s grace in my life and in your life, we would be nothing more than unforgiven sinners just like any other unbelieving person [1 Corinthians 15:10].
And God is just, but He is also gracious, merciful, loving and compassionate. He forgave us our sins and spared us our death penalty [Matthew 26:28; John 3:16; Romans 5:12-21 & 6:23].
Knowing this, how can we possibly stand in judgment on any other human being? Not that our condemnations will last past this life. And not that our judgments of them matter in light of their eternity anyway. Instead, the role that God has called us to play in His justice is simply this: to be an ambassador of His reconciliation message.
Do you play judge of the world? Or do you live justly, a light guiding others to a saving knowledge of Jesus?
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.’ Where is the wise person? Where is the teacher of the law? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1 Corinthians 1:18-20
Wisdom is the ability to apply knowledge [understanding gained from experience] to make good judgments in any given situation. God is wisdom, and He is infinite.
Therefore, God is the ultimate sound judgment applied in any and every situation we face.
He Himself possesses all wisdom because He is the all-knowing [omniscient], sovereign Creator of all. He is the eternal who can see every minutia from the beginning to the end of human history and consider it all at once. He is the infinite, unbound by the limitations that cause us to need the wisdom that He is.
But long ago, Satan, the adversary of God and the antithesis of wisdom, peddled a shrewd lie–you can be your own god. You can decide your own right and wrong. You need only to look inside yourself for all the wisdom you need.
Paul is writing to the Corinthians that Satan’s lie has been exposed! People created so many schools of thought to try to quantify this world we live in, to predict the uncertainties life holds and even to try to come out “on top,” so to speak.
But academics, without God, are just foolishness. Business savvy, with eyes fixed only on the temporal, is futility. People and emotional smarts are only helpful for the here and now. At the end of it all, only what was done for Christ will last [Matthew 6:19-21; 1 Corinthians 3:11-13].
All science [knowing] comes from the all-knowing. All philosophy [love of wisdom] belongs to the One who is all love and all wisdom. All true understanding comes from He who was, and is, and is to come [Revelation 1:8]. Earthly wisdom is nothing more than shrewdness, finite judgment, limited in scope and applicability.
Do you need wisdom? Get into God’s Word [Psalm 19 & 121]. Do you need wisdom? Ask God [James 1:5]. Do you need wisdom? Believe on Christ and fear the Lord [Proverbs 9:10; Psalms 111:10; 1 Corinthians 1:30].
“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purposes that prevail.” Proverbs 19:21
If predestination is not an actual thing, then how can God’s purposes prevail over mans plans and man still have free will?
All of our plans concern the temporal, or time-bound world in which we live. From a young age, we dream and scheme about our future–houses, cars, jobs, vacations, having lots of money, getting married and having children or not. We love to plan about what we will do with our time, talent and money when we are old enough to choose for ourselves.
But God’s purposes exist outside of our time parameters. For His purpose is one, to redeem His Creation to Himself. None of the earthly effects that we gain or achieve will last, for none of them can pass with us into eternity. But many of them will bind up our hearts and minds in this life so that we lose sight of what we were truly made for.
Look at the life of Samson. Before he was born, an angel of the Lord announced the purpose of Samson’s life to his parents. He would deliver the Israelites from the oppression of the Philistines [Judges 13:1-5]. Did that mean that Samson wasn’t free to choose his own way?
Just look at how his story ends. He chose to carouse with a Philistine woman. He chose to indulge her and tell the secret of his strength. He chose to then fall asleep while trusting her after she’d already proved herself untrustworthy on three previous occasions. And as a result of Samson’s choices–made in his own free will–Samson gets captured, put in prison and his eyes gouged out by his enemies [Judges 16:1-22].
God didn’t desire any of that for him! But He did purpose that Samson would deliver Israel.
One day in prison, he remembered his purpose and, finding that his strength had returned, chose to fulfill what God had called him to do. Because of his previous choices, it cost Samson his life [Judges 16:23-30]. But even this was Samson’s choice. God didn’t make him decide to fulfill his purpose in this time and in this way. But God had always known how Samson would choose.
The thing about God is that, we are made in His image. And we were made to hope. The scriptures show us that God hopes too [Deuteronomy 5:29]. And just as our hope is in Him, His hope is in us. He knows that He knows that He knows what we will choose. But He hopes and He hopes and He hopes that we will choose life and to have it to the full [John 10:10]. Because He loves us.
Will you take a lesson from Samson? No doubt your plans are many, but God has a purpose for your life. Do you know what it is? Are you living out your purpose? Or are your choices all the things you want to do because you can?
“(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” Romans 2:14-15
In a world where conscience has become synonymous with being true to self, which in turn equates to self-as-god, let us return to the root meaning.
And as Christians, we can take this one step closer to the reality of eternity and understand that conscience is living with THE Knowing One.
God is omniscient–all-knowing. The fear of the Him is the beginning of knowledge and wisdom [Proverbs 1:7 & 9:10; Psalm 111:10]. Does that mean that we need to be afraid of God? Actually, the phrase the fear of the Lord refers to our reverence for God. If we respect Him to the fullness that He deserves, then we are on the road to true knowledge and wisdom.
He Himself becomes our wisdom [1 Corinthians 1:30]. Because–while we can never plumb the depths of the mind of God [Isaiah 40:13; Romans 11:34]–we have received the mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16]. Therefore, we can tap into the wisdom from on high in any situation we face.
We have His Holy Spirit to remind us of everything that God, the Father and Creator, has spoken to us [John 14:26]. His Word is alive and active, judging every thought and attitude of our hearts [Hebrews 4:12], shaping us–as we allow Him–into the image of Christ.
When we live conscientiously or with THE Knowing One, then we have direct access to the truth of our situation. We do not live reactively. We do not live in fear. We do not live in slavery to our doubt, anger, sinful desires or anything else.
Our conscience, that is our God With Us, counsels us. It’s how we can rejoice always, even in troubled times [1 Thessalonians 5:16]. It’s how we can pray without ceasing while walking through our everyday life [1 Thessalonians 5:17]. It’s how we can give thanks to God regardless of our circumstance [1 Thessalonians 5:18]. And it is precisely God’s will for us [1 Thessalonians 5:18].
Do you live with The All-Knowing One? Or is your conscience synonymous with self-as-supreme authority? Are you on the path to true knowledge and wisdom?
“Who can fathom the Spirit of the Lord, or instruct the Lord as His counselor? Whom did the Lord consult to enlighten Him, and who taught Him the right way? Who was it that taught Him knowledge, or showed Him the path of understanding?” Isaiah 40:13-14
God is omniscient–omni means all; and scient means knowing. It’s the same root from which we derive science. Science is the field concerned with knowing, learning about the created world through observable facts and testing to confirm that our conclusions about the observations are correct.
God, however, is all-knowing. He has always, does and will always possess all knowledge about every thing and every one. There is nothing hidden from His understanding or unknown to Him. He created all of this in perfect understanding.
Presidents, kings and all earthly authorities have counselors–fellow created beings who are experts in some area that the ruler himself is not. These advisers instruct their authority so that he may make a better informed decision. These advisers learned from teachers and, at the first, from their own parents and maybe even grandparents. In this day and age, these advisers probably google data from which to provide counsel.
But God has never had a counselor [Romans 11:34]. His authority never comes under the advisement of another. He has no need of googling data to keep abreast of situations. Nothing takes Him by surprise. And nothing has ever occurred to Him.
God just knows. And He knows perfectly.
That’s why, as faithful believers, He is to be our counsel [John 14:26]. Our lives should come under His advisement. Though we can never fully know God’s mind, we have been given the mind of Christ [1 Corinthians 2:16] and by His Spirit we can google the deep things of God [1 Corinthians 2:10]. And those who have made careful study of His Word, have known many scientific discoveries thousand of years in advance of the actual human discovery.
We can’t begin to know and understand all of the creation, let alone our Creator God. But we can live a life with our all-knowing heavenly father. And what a blessed life it will be when we walk with the One who is all-knowing and who imparts His knowing to those who seek Him above all things.
Have you googled the mind of God lately? What is He counseling you to do? How is He advising you to live?
“This is what the Lord says, He who appoints the sun to shine by day, who decrees the moon and stars to shine by night, who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar–the Lord Almighty is His name: ‘Only if these decrees vanish from my sight,’ declares the Lord, ‘will Israel ever cease being a nation before me,’ declares the Lord. This is what the Lord says: ‘Only if the heavens above can be measured and the foundations of the earth below be searched out will I reject all the descendants of Israel because of all they have done,” Jeremiah 31:35-37
God never changes.
Though many have come to believe that the God portrayed in the Old Testament possesses a wholly different character than the God portrayed in the New Testament. Let scripture assure you, that the God of the Bible is one and the same [Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29].
He created the sun, moon and stars to govern the light [Genesis 1:16 & 18; Psalm 136:9]. They mark out seasons, days and years for us. They have since the fourth day of Creation and they will until the earth shall be no more [Genesis 8:22]. We know this is true, because God promised us in His Word and His Word is truth [John 17:17]. His promises have never failed. And the governing light that He established will never fail.
In Jeremiah, we read that if in fact these bodies of light did fail, then God would no longer recognize Israel as His chosen, holy nation. And if human beings could actually measure heaven and plumb the depths of the earth, then God would hold all of the descendants of Israel responsible for their sins and reject them, rather than forgive them.
So is this evidence of the harshly hateful Old Testament God who is seemingly contradictory to the loving God of the New Testament? Not at all!
God declares this impossible circumstance to illustrate that He is unchanging and His love faithful despite our sinful shortcomings. The sun, moon and stars will continue as long as the first Creation. The seas will remain. And even in the end times when God’s wrath is visited upon the earth, mercifully only one third of the sun, moon and stars are blotted out, and only one third of the sea rendered useless [Revelation 8:8-12]. Even then, God’s love for His chosen people and all people will stay His hand and extend His forgiveness.
But in the new heaven and the new earth neither sun nor moon, neither stars nor seas will exist [Revelation 21:1 & 22:5]. Here Israel will cease to be a nation before God’s face–not because God has rejected His people–but because all the faithful in heaven will be one nation belonging to God. No people groups will be separate. Everyone will be citizens of one kingdom belonging to Jesus Christ.
Can you see God’s unchanging nature throughout scripture? If not, pray and read. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes and reveal to you the truth of who God is.
“After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I heard first speaking to me like a trumpet said, ‘Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.’ At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and ruby. A rainbow that shone like an emerald encircled the throne.” Revelation 4:1-3
The entire book of Revelation predicates the understanding of the triune Godhead. All three persons in one accord are present throughout the letter. Right from the first line and chapter defining this piece of scripture as–1) the revelation of Jesus Christ; 2) given by God the Father; and 3) received in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day when Jesus spoke to John [Revelation 1:1 & 10-18].
The baptism of the Holy Spirit was the promised gift of God the Father to comfort and empower believers in Jesus’ physical absence from the earth [John 14:16 & 26, & 16:7; Acts 1:4-5 & 8]. This is important to us, because during the time of the Law of Moses in the Old Testament the Israelites couldn’t bring their sacrifices directly to God, they couldn’t stand in His presence because of the sin in their lives. Only the High Priest one day a year could come before God in the Holy of Holies to make the atonement sacrifice for the sins of the people [Hebrews 9:7].
When Jesus came to the earth as a physical human being, people could approach Him without fear of their sins. He mediated between God and man, freely forgiving all who asked and healing and providing and performing many other miracles as well. At His death, the Temple veil miraculously tore in two pieces, showing that Jesus had once again opened the way to God the Father for all mankind. But when He ascended into heaven, God the Spirit was sent in His stead. Through Him we continually have access to and communion with God the Father and God the Son.
All scripture is God-breathed [2 Timothy 3:16], and the book of Revelation was a timely message as well. Jesus had left the earth. The promised Spirit was at work–but not physically visible. The apostles were writing letters to the many New Testament churches, letters which were inspired of God and were canonized as God’s Word. But in Revelation Jesus spoke directly through the Spirit of God to the churches–His Word was final.
After John records the specific messages to each of the seven churches of Asia Minor, Jesus speaks to him and the Spirit descends on him again, together they usher John into the throne room of heaven and the presence of God the Father.
Without question, the Trinity of God is a very real, very divine phenomena. All three persons in perfect accord with each other, and all three persons eternal, having existed before the Creation and continuing forever after the first Creation comes to an end.
Do you commune with God the Father and Son through the Spirit in prayer, praise, Bible study and the like?