Invisible God – Visible Jesus

Romans 1:20

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

This particular verse always resonates with me … when I think of the “apologetics” we have available in the Scriptures to speak with others about God.  Paul explains that we can KNOW God exists from creation itself … that His eternal power and divine nature are UNDERSTOOD from creation.  I delight in God every night when I look out into the universe … study the stars, their positions, and their ordered movements.  I think about ancient people who gazed on the same constellations and their parades across the night skies over the seasons of time.  It reminds me that God is faithful and steadfast … His mercies endure forever … His love is everlasting!

Likewise, when I think about living creatures and the complexities of all life forms, I cannot help but be amazed at the diversity of life. I contemplate how no plant, animal, or human being had any choice, power, or control in being brought forth into existence here on earth.  Our time here had already been determined (ordained) without our knowledge or consent. Everything that exists is by the will of God the Father … and we would do well to embrace His loving will that we have been created in His image … created in Christ Jesus to do good works with God prepared in advance for us to do. (Cf. Ephesians 2:10) There have been no accidents or mistakes.  Every person (soul) is precious to God.  That is why He commands us to love one another as He has loved us. (Cf. John 13:34-35)

We will not ever know or comprehend the unsearchable things of God (Cf. Romans 11:33), but I believe there are two truths that God has given us the capacity to understand:

God is Spirit              (John 4:24)

God is Love                (1 John 4:8; 4:16)

And both of these invisible aspects of His divine nature can be understood through His visible creation.  But even more, God has granted us to see Him through someone more tangible and visible: Jesus – His Son!

John 14:1-11 (NIV)

Jesus said, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me.My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know Him and have seen Him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing His work. 11 Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.

The Son is the image of the invisible God … the firstborn over all creation.  (Colossians 1:15) When we come to the conviction of His majesty and glory, then we will humble ourselves and fear Him with all the reverence and honor due His name.  Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  Amen. (1 Timothy 1:17)

So Now You Know….

Have a Blessed Day!

My Life Verse

Romans 8:28

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.

This is one of my favorite verses of all … like my “life verse” to keep me grounded with this “pillar” of faith.  Since I use it often in my commentaries, I will just send it along as a quick reminder to everyone that whatever you have gone through … are going through … or will go through in life … God is watching over you and will cause ALL things to work together for your good … because you love Him and have been called according to His purpose.  Amen! 

So Now You Know….

Have a Blessed Day!

Verse of the Day – 02/22/19

1 John 4:18 (NIV)

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

There is no fear in love. What does this mean? Perfect love drives out fear. What does this mean? Yes, I can understand how fear is associated with punishment. So to be without fear is to love? Complete love drives away fear of punishment?

I first thought to read some commentaries of biblical scholars more learned than myself. I decided to peruse Matthew Henry, William Barclay, and Charles Spurgeon. And then I chose William Barclay who best put this verse into the broader context of 1 John 4: The love of God in Christ Jesus completed in us. So I have reprinted some of his commentary (public domain) to follow the theological theme that John develops in this epistle:

Love has its origin in God (1 John 4:7). It is from the God who is love that all love takes its source. As A. E. Brooke puts it: “Human love is a reflection of something in the divine nature itself.” We are never nearer to God than when we love. Clement of Alexandria said in a startling phrase that the real Christian “practices being God.” He who dwells in love dwells in God (1 John 4:16). Man is made in the image and the likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). God is love and, therefore, to be like God and be what he was created to be, man must also love.

Love has a double relationship to God. It is only by knowing God that we learn to love and it is only by loving that we learn to know God (1 John 4:7-8). Love comes from God, and love leads to God.

It is by love that God is known (1 John 4:12). We cannot see God, because He is Spirit; what we can see is His effect. We cannot see the wind, but we can see what it can do. We cannot see electricity, but we can see the effect it produces. The effect of God is love. It is when God comes into a person that s/he is clothed with the love of God and the love of others. God is known by His effect on that person. It has been said, “A saint is a person in whom Christ lives again” and the best demonstration of God comes not from argument but from a life of love.

God’s love is demonstrated in Jesus Christ (1 John 4:9). When we look at Jesus we see two things about the love of God. (a) It is a love which holds nothing back. God was prepared to give His only Son and make a sacrifice beyond which no sacrifice can possibly go in His love for us. (b) It is a totally undeserved love. It would be no wonder if we loved God, when we remember all the gifts He has given to us, even apart from Jesus Christ; the wonder is that He loves poor and disobedient creatures like us.

Human love is a response to divine love (1 John 1:19). We love because God loved us. It is the sight of His love which wakens in us the desire to love Him as He first loved us and to love others as He loves them.

When love comes, fear goes (1 John 4:17-18). Fear is the characteristic emotion of someone who expects to be punished. So long as we regard God as the Judge, the King, the Law-giver, there can be nothing in our heart but fear for in face of such a God we can expect nothing but punishment. But once we know God’s true nature, fear is swallowed up in love. The fear that remains is the fear of grieving His love for us.

Love of God and love for one another are indissolubly connected (1 John 4:71 John 4:111 John 4:20-21). If God loves us, we are bound to love each other, because it is our destiny to reproduce the life of God in humanity and the life of eternity in time. John says, with almost crude bluntness, that a man who claims to love God and hates his brother is nothing more than a liar. The only way to prove that we love God is to love those whom God loves. The only way to prove that God is within our hearts is constantly to show love for others within our lives.

So the question becomes do we fear punishment when we stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ? Or will we have boldness and confidence when we appear before His throne? John indicates that knowing and competing the love of God will produce the latter in our consciences and hearts. As Barclay stated, “When love comes into our hearts … fear goes.” His perfect love casts out fear! And, “Yes,” we can know the love that God has for us. (Cf. 1 John 2:5; 1 John 3:14; 1 John 4:16; 1 John 5:2)

So Now You Know….

Have a Blessed Day!

Verse of the Day – 02/19/19

1 John 4:11-12

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and His love is made complete in us.

We’ve talked about this Verse of the Day in several commentaries over the past couple of weeks. The message God continues to speaking to us: Love one another as I have loved you…. Do we even know what that truly means? How can be possibly each other people as unconditionally … sacrificially … and completely as God has loved us through His Son, Christ Jesus? Yet, this is His command to us … so I think we need to think deeply about the implications for our walk with Christ as we minister to the needs of others in this world.

I am convinced the greatest need of people is to hear the message about Christ. I think the Prophet Amos declared this message:

Amos 8:11-12 (NKJV)

“Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord God, “That I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea,
and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, seeking the word of the Lord, but shall not find 
it.

The greatest love we can share with others is the Greatest Story Ever Told. God gave His Son to the world. I pray we will give Him the glory due His name and make Him known … in word and deed … in Spirit and in Truth. Amen!

So Now You Know….

Have a Blessed Day!

Verse of the Day – 02/17/19

Romans 8:35,37

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

When I first read this Verse of the Day, I just had to smile….  This is one of my “go-to” passages when I need affirmation … when I need to be reminded that the love of God in Christ Jesus is unconditional and everlasting.  In fact, to me, all of Romans Chapter 8 is uplifting.  It is here that I am told there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.  It is here that God affirms His Son met the righteous requirement of law for me and sent His Holy Spirit to live in me.  It is here that I come to understand how a life lived in the Spirit sets me free from the bondage of sin and unites me to God … and confirms to me that I am His child.  It is here that I find trust in the hand of God over my life … that He works all things for my good because I love Him and have been called according to His purpose.  Yes, it is here that God affirms that He is for me … that He loves me with an inseparable, unfailing love because He gave me to His Son….  I’m overwhelmed!

In Verse 35, Paul asks “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”  Well, another question might be, “Who joined us … who united us to His love?”  We have to understand that our relationship with God through His Son is totally 100% HIS work.  He is the initiator!  God loved us first! This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. (Cf. 1 John 4:10) His love was not a response to our goodness or righteousness.  His love was not merited or earned by any of us.  We were dead in our trespasses and sins! But God made us alive in Christ! He resurrected us in Christ! (Cf. Ephesians 2:1-10; Colossians 2:13-14) Why?  Because God, in Christ, was reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses against them. (Cf. 2 Corinthians 5:19) So if God has the will and power to join us to Himself; then the answer to the question of who can separate us from Him is ‘No one!”.  No one can separate us from His love!

Paul then moves on to the question: “What can separate us from the love of Christ?” “Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?”  In other words, we as Christians will have problems in this world.  But these troubles, trials, sufferings, nor afflictions of evil cannot separate us from God.  It is not possible.  Jesus affirms that promise:

John 10:27-30 (NKJV)

27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand30 I and My Father are one.”

So what is the implication of these assertions communicated to us through Paul?  Well, let’s read the conclusion Paul brings to us:

Romans 8:37-39 (NIV)

37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is this not the greatest news you could hear today?  God commends His love to us … He demonstrates His love in this:

Romans 5:6-8 (NKJV)

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

I pray you will never question the love that God has for you.  His love is not dependent upon your performance. It is not given based upon your perfection. His love is given because of your imperfection!  God simply wants you and me to come to Him through the way He has prepared for us to come to Him: Christ Jesus His Son!  And NOTHING can ever separate you from His love! Amen!

So Now You Know….

Have a Blessed Day!