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“They serve at a sanctuary that is a copy and shadow of what is in heaven. This is why Moses was warned when he was about to build the tabernacle: ‘See to it that you make everything according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.'” Hebrews 8:5
A copy is never identical to the original. But it is clearer and more accurate than subsequent copies. Meaning, if someone were to make a photocopy, then make a photocopy from that copy and so on, each copy becomes hazier and less accurate than the first.
It’s the same way with our understanding of and patterning after God. We are called to be like Christ [1 John 3:2]. If we are in Christ, our hearts are being built into a living tabernacle, acceptable to God [1 Peter 2:5]. We ourselves are to be a copy of the original.
God made us in His image at the Creation. Christ makes us anew and the Holy Spirit reforms the Father’s image in us, but only if we pattern ourselves after Him.
God is good. While our goodness can never save us, in Christ by faith we do the good works God intended us to do from the Creation [Ephesians 2:10]. Without God, how would even know what good is?
Many, however, accept hand-me-down faith. They attend church from childhood and become a copy of the people in the church. Maybe the pastor is a great man of God. Maybe the choir leader has a great heart for worshiping God. Maybe our teachers genuinely know and love God. Maybe our parents and grandparents are people of true faith. These are all good things. And these people are all good role models.
However, their lives–like ours–ultimately fall short of the glory of God [Romans 3:23]. They themselves are still in the process of being transformed by the renewing of their minds [Romans 12:2]. Patterning ourselves after any one of them will make us an untrue version of another person rather than a genuine copy of Christ.
God is good and we are the light of His goodness to the world around us. Are you patterning your life after the original through prayer and Bible study? Or are you living as a copy of a copy?
“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.” Romans 12:2
God made human beings in His image [Genesis 1:26-27]. Being wisdom, He endowed us with a portion of understanding that our finite minds could contain. And when sin entered the world, it fractured both our already limited wisdom and our ability to perceive the truth.
Scriptures teach that when we fear the Lord–that is reverence Him according to who He truly is–this is the beginning of wisdom rooting in our finite minds once more [Proverbs 9:10; Psalm 111:10]. On the other hand, when we reject God and dismiss His truth then God allows us to do so and to receive the natural consequence of such self-destructive thinking [Romans 1:28]. When we don’t heed God, we sin against Him and this sin separates us from God both in this life and in the eternity to come.
Again, God says that He will lead us out of our spiritual blindness–if we allow Him to. He will turn darkness to light right before our very eyes if we will honor Him and seek Him first [Isaiah 42:16]. But He warns that if we allow ourselves to be led by others who are spiritually blind, then both the leader and the follower are likely to fall into the troubles of life [Matthew 15:14; Luke 6:39]. And, without faith in God, they’ll certainly fall into the bitterness of eternal punishment.
Though we live in a world where the majority have rejected God and been given over to their futile thinking, we have been called to come out from their patterns of understanding. God will renew our understanding when we revere Him and seek His kingdom first. He is true wisdom, and all truth and knowledge are found in Him alone.
Have you started down the path of wisdom? Do you seek God while He may be found [Isaiah 55:6]? Do you regard God with the respect due Him alone?
“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].
“(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.
“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Philippians 2:13
God is self-sufficient.
He does not need human beings, nor any of His creation. But He loves–an act of will–His Creation. He chooses us as His own. And He doesn’t discriminate among us or show favoritism.
Let’s take a moment here to address the misunderstanding of predestination in the Bible [Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:5 & 11].
Predestination does not mean that God selects some people for salvation while disregarding others. Though there are Bible believing churches that teach such things. But if you read these scriptures carefully in the context of the culture, history and the whole scope of God’s plan of redemption in the Bible we are all predestined. God does not desire that anyone should perish [2 Peter 3:9].
Romans 8:29 says that those He foreknew–aka everybody–are predestined. And therefore called [Romans 8:30]–enter cultural understanding that everyone who is called [which again is everyone] can be justified and if they accept this justification, then they will be glorified. It’s a condition. A heart-will condition. God doesn’t need us. We need Him.
And if we come to Him, it is for our good that God works through us to bring the light of His good news to the world around us. He can and does bring people to a saving knowledge of Him without us, but how much more does He love when we choose to share in the work with Him? How much more are we blessed when we sync our will with His and live out His all-consuming zeal for the lost and dying people all around us?
God is self-sufficient. He doesn’t need us. His mercy is freely given to all who call on His name [Romans 10:14]. But how can they call on the one they have not believed in?–not because He hasn’t shown Himself to them, but because they rejected Him when He did. And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard?–not because no one has told them about God and His good news, but because speech falls short when the light of Christian lives don’t equal the measure of their words. And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?–as Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words.”
Our lives synced with God’s will. Our love the overflow of His love for us. Our salvation–not the result of anything we do and yet it ought to bring us to a place of humble obedience that can’t contain the sweet story of salvation. It ought to change the very fabric of our everyday lives. Not because God needs us to do anything to spread the Word. But because His Word ought to spread like wild fire in our own souls.
Are you synced with God through prayer and studying the Word? Are you overflowing with love for all? Does your salvation burn within you?