Are we really poor miserable sinners?
How should we think about God?
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Let us consider this God of ours, this wonderful, loving, holy, supreme and sovereign God of ours.
Here He is, the Creator of everything in the Universe, from the amoeba to the supernova. He decides that, out of all Creation, only the human race is going to experience fellowship with Him. Not all are going to want to do so, but He wants to give all a chance, so He unfolds a plan. He allots every human being a time span on Earth, unique in length and circumstance, and, in ways known only to Him, gives everyone a chance to receive Him or reject Him. Those who receive Him are granted fellowship with Him forever, allowed to avoid the inescapable consequence of rejecting His love.
Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
So when we weigh up our finite lifetimes of pain and struggle on Earth against an eternity of life with God, any real tragedies we experience here are a tiny blip in the complete story and may even have been allowed to happen simply to nudge us onto the right path.
The Hebraic understanding of God is one of reverence and respect. It is of acceptance of His majesty and greatness and seeks to please Him, for no other reason than He is the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. The Greek mind is not completely satisfied by this and wants to know how God ticks. It seeks to know the unknowable, understand the un-understandable (that’s a new word!). To the Greek mind, the intellect must be exercised, even if this exercise is futile. This is why there have been wars over doctrine. They haven’t been wars about God Himself, but about competing understandings of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The Israelites of the Old Testament fought their wars either as instructed by God or in defiance of Him. Victory depended on which of these options they took. If they acknowledged God and did what He asked, then He gave them victory in battle.
For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory. (Deuteronomy 20:4)
Christians of the medieval Church era and onwards fought their wars not over God Himself, but over interpretations of their beliefs in God. They were doctrine wars, not “holy” wars. This is not to diminish the importance of sound doctrine of course, but many times these disputes were over conflicting views, neither of which were sound doctrine!
Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. (Jude 1:3)
Christians, it is time for us to get real with our God, our Creator and our Father. Let’s never forget, the Greek mindset puts man at the centre of things, the Hebraic mindset puts God there. So we need to put God firmly into the centre of our lives. I again ask, how do we actually do this?
Some suggestions will be provided next week …
A Lib Dem candidate who was due to stand in the upcoming election...