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THE PRACTICALITY OF GOD
Man has always been the religious one, and God has always been the practical one. When God created Adam in his own image, that means when God looked at Adam, he saw himself. He saw the life of God in Adam. When Adam sinned, the life of God (a spiritual life) departed. Because the life of God was lost in Adam, any man born after Adam was not born in the image of God. He was born in the image of his father before him (Gen 5:3). The original intent of God for man, was that God was to reside in man in order for man to be a normal functioning human being. Take a few minutes to think of the significance of what that has to mean in explaining human history. If you want an answer as to why; there it is. Adam and Eve were created with God living in them and Jesus was born with God living in him. All the rest of us were born without God. All the rest of us are abnormal. It puts a whole new light on the meaning of Jesus' statement: 'you must be born again.' We think of this statement in terms of how to get into heaven. You know, religious stuff.
True, being born again does get you into heaven; but until that happens, being born again is needed in a more practical sense. It is needed in order to function, as God intended for you to function. Think of all the things in our physical world that we have no control over, and are absolutely dependent upon for life to go on. We are dependent upon oxygen being available. We are dependent upon the sun to continue to remain at just the right distance from the earth. We are dependent upon food and water to sustain our physical bodies that have thirst and hunger urges. We were created not as independent creatures, but as dependent creatures.
Because of the way we are made with a body, soul and spirit, our greatest dependency is a spiritual one, because our greatest need is a spirirual one. The greatest need of man is be loved unconditionally. This is what ultimately sets him lose in the world to bring glory to an invisible God. No one can argue that our purpose here is to bring glory to God. The lost can argue, and they will, and they do; but that is why they are lost. The spiritual God loves us unconditionally; but the only way we can know and experience this is by having his Spirit reside in our human spirit. Adam lost God's Spirit at the fall. However, we can get it back (because of Jesus) by becoming born again. God who is defined as love, and who loves us unconditionally, wants to be loved back. This cannot be forced, otherwise it would not be love. This spiritual dynamic is put in motion through free will. This is why God gave Adam and Eve the option of the tree not to eat from. Their choosing not to eat of that tree was a demonstration of their love for God. And it was also a demonstration of their trust in God. They knew to trust in the one who created them and to trust in the one who determines what right and wrong is. God was invisible to them just like he is to us today. Their trust in God was their faith in God. Their faith in God was their dependency upon God.
We are dependent creatures, and God created us to be dependent upon him. However, if we choose not to be dependent upon God, then we will find something else in this world, that we will depend upon, that will bring purpose and meaning to our life. We will find a substitute for God. And whatever it is that we find that will bring purpose and meaning to our life, is what will control our life (2 Pet. 2:19). And this is what we have today. Everything and anything controls people's lives except God who was meant to control their lives. The things that have been substituted for God that bring purpose and meaning to our lives are: occupations, family, religions, reputations, appearances, addictions. All these aren't necessarily bad things, but they don't have to be. All they have to be is a distraction from the real thing; and that is what Satan is after.
When after Adam fell, and God first spoke to him; Adam's responce was that he was afraid (Gen 3:10). The Bible says that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). Adam experienced something that he never experienced before, and it was because perfect love had departed from him. He was left with fear. A very unnatural thing for him, but what would become a very natural thing for all those coming after him. Romans 8:15 says that unsaved man is a slave to fear. Think of all the ways that fear is manisfested in people's lives. Fear is at the root of everything: anger, depression, anxiety, hopelessness. All the different forms of insecurity come from fear. Webster defines the word secure as: free from fear. This fear is a direct result of man's spirit being void of God's Spirit.
This would probably explain the motivation behind man's insatiable appetite to be religious. Always searching for meaning in something in order to acquire peace of mind. Jesus knowing that man is motivated by fear, and wanting to remedy that, tells us in John 14:27: "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful." When you don't have the truth or know the truth and you go out on a quest to find purpose and meaning in life, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to fall right into what is a perfect setup for Satan. This is why we have all these religions in the world. I'm sure they all claim to have spiritual experiences; and they do; but these experiences are not coming from the Spirit of Truth.
The reason why Christianity is so hated in the world is because Satan knows that it holds the truth. He has attacked it, not by trying to destroy it, but by trying to make a mockery of it. Within Christendom itself we have Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses and the like, that evoke the name of Jesus, but when you start getting into their actual doctrine; you might as well be reading a comic book. Satan has been successful with lumping Christianity with all the other religions of the world. It's not at all perceived as the truth, but as just another religion. The lost are so confused that if you mention anything having to do with the truth of God, their knee jerk reaction is to immediately compartmentalize that subject into the category of religion. In their mind, that category has nothing to do with what is practical. And they are right. Religion has nothing to do with what is practical. But the truth has everything to do with what is practical.
Truth is a person. Truth is God manisfested in human form. In fact Jesus is the only person to have been born spiritually alive. Col. 1:18 says: he is 'the firstborn from among the dead.' Jesus is among his kindred us, who are spiritually dead. When he was born, he was not spiritually dead. And he is the first and the only human to be born like that. Adam was created like that. Jesus is God and he has always been God; but while he was here on earth, he did not act in the capacity of God (Phillip 2:6). Jesus relinquished his diety while on earth. But, then you say: 'what about the miracles?' Jesus did not perform any miracles. God the Father performed the miracles through him (John 5:17-20; 10:32-38; 14:9-11). Do you see what God the Father has given us in Christ? Christ is the example and the demonstration to the world, of a normal functioning human being, as the Father had originally intended for man. The Bible says that 'whatever is not from faith is sin' (Rom. 14:23). We all know that Jesus never sinned. Therefore, everything he said and everything he did was a result of him being completely dependent upon the Father; a result of him always excercising faith in the Father who lived in him. Now that Jesus lives in us today; we too are to do with him, as he did with the Father then.
The Father may not perform the miracles through us as he did through Jesus. Those miracles then were to get people's attention as to who Jesus was. They got people's attention and then they listened to what he had to say. What he had to say was more important than the miracles, because 'the words he spoke were spirit and they were life' (John 6:63). Those who believed his words would receive life; exactly what they needed. The Father is not performing the same miracles today as he did then, because he has accomplished establishing his word. It's up to man now to respond to his word. It's up to man now to decide what he is going to do with the Living Word. That's not to say that the same miracles aren't happening today, because God can run his universe however he chooses. Besides that, the greatest miracle of all is happening everyday. I don't know what can be more miraculous than the all powerful infinite God choosing our bodies as his temple to reside in. This is something we certainly have taken for granted.
Webster defines the word practical as: concerned with the application of knowledge to useful ends. Wow! if that is not a perfect description of the intent and the work of God, then I don't know what is. Because God loves us so much, he is concerned with how we are going to apply the knowledge of his Son, that can end in something being very useful to us.
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