Saturday, July 21, 2007

Only God

“And Jesus answered…Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” (Luke 4:8)

When a man or woman’s philosophy of life is pared down to its basic premise (and, rest assured, everyone has a personal philosophy), it has one of two reference points: God or me. We either trust what makes sense to us or what God has said. This is not to say that what God has said does not make sense. It only says that reasoning is always presuppositional, and some people reason horizontally, while others reason vertically, if you take my meaning. Those who choose to make their own reality apart from God, do so, not for intellectual reasons, but ethical ones. Their own way of life is more important to them than the Way of Life (Jno.14:6). Unfortunately, we’re not just talking about life; we’re talking about life and death (Pro.14:12). But all of this talk of choosing must be balanced with the very real truth that in any encounter between God and man, He will always be the Initiator and the Enabler, because He is the Superior. To put it another way:

I - Only God Can Reveal God

Jesus said in Matt. 11:27, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.” Not only is the Gospel of Jesus Christ an historical religion based on actual facts, it is a revealed religion based on personal corroboration by God to individuals. The two disciples walking on the Emmaus road, disheartened by the apparent loss of their Master, with all their reasoning, found no peace of heart till the risen Christ opened their eyes and revealed Himself to them. Then—and only then—did their hearts burn (Luke 24:13-22). The historical truth of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ should be shared with those we meet; but only God can turn facts into eternal, supernatural truths that affect the hearts—and minds—of men, women, and children.

II – Only God Can Please God

Isaiah 53:10 makes it abundantly plain that the only act that pleased God enough to allow you and me into Heaven was the sacrificial death of His Son on the Cross. God Himself, in the Person of Jesus Christ, is the only One with whom He was completely “well-pleased” (Matt.17:5). One of our dear friends, who is now with the Lord, used to remind believers that this same truth held in our struggle to live holy lives before God. Self-sanctification is an exercise in futility, before and after salvation. Nothing nullifies the fact that “they that are in the flesh cannot please God” (Rom.8:8). But though my flesh will never please God, my “body” can be offered daily in order for God to please Himself through my life (Rom.12:1).

III – Only God Can Be God

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” This is the first commandment God gave to His people, Israel. And Jesus Christ elaborates: “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.” The little saying, “Lord of all or not Lord at all” is a bona fide truism. Eve lost Eden because she succumbed to the devil’s lure: “Ye shall be as gods…” (Gen.3:5). Perhaps the worst idolater of all is not the heathen who worships a god made of stone, or some element of nature, but the man or woman who considers his or her own feelings or reasoning to be the final authority in matters of this life or the one to come. Self-sufficiency is not only an illusion, it is a religion. And it is reasonable to ask, “If Jesus Christ is not Lord, is He Savior?” (Acts 15:11; 16:31; Rom.10:9, etc.)

God can be seen in His world and in His Word, but only as He reveals Himself individually. Those of us who know Him in an intimate way through His Son, Jesus Christ, cannot boast of our intellect that discerned the fallacy of all other religions, nor our innate “longing for God.” In point of fact, God opens our minds and touches our hearts—in whatever order He chooses. The truth of God satisfies the keenest intellect and touches the hardest heart…if the Spirit of God chooses to reveal it. Every man or woman gets some kind of light (Jno.1:9), but light rejected brings greater darkness (Rom.1:19-22). On the other hand, “…the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day” (Prov.4:18).

Only God can reveal God; only God can please God; and only God can be God. Has He revealed Himself to you? Is He pleasing Himself through you? Is He the God of your life? These are questions only you can answer.

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