Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

     Some readers might wonder why I am driving home the reality of God. The reason is simple, many people hold to other so-called “realities” besides God. Granted, there are many who tack God on to their various adopted “realities” to try to confront the unpredictable challenges of life and their need for some type of religion, but the character and ways of God is not the test of their perceived reality. It seems obvious that many individuals are trying to escape the harsh reality of the world in which we live. Some escape through such things as alcohol, drugs, pornography, sports, entertainment, books, mind-altering techniques, excessive exercise, and so forth. Clearly the list goes on.

      Thanks to the constant use of internet, IPads, Facebook, and Twitter as a way to communicate with others, people can easily become divorced from reality. It is becoming increasingly apparent that they want to either control or completely escape the reality of this present world by creating a different reality more acceptable to their taste. Let’s be honest, the environment that is firmly in place in America has conditioned people to prefer some type of fantasy to reality, but a growing number of Americans are becoming dissatisfied with such an empty diet of ridiculous fluff.

      Originally entertainment was so people could escape reality for a short time, but now it is reversed. People must now search for reality in order to escape from the emptiness of their fantasies and pursuits. Even though some of the most popular TV shows deal with so-called “reality,” their presentations are controlled in the editing room as to how much of it is real. The closest you are going to get to reality on TV are documentaries, but even they can be slanted. The dichotomy is that people want reality because there is no substance in fantasy, and yet they fear and rage against reality because they cannot control it. They are discovering that every ascent up the pinnacle of make-believe with its orchestrated tension and its false hope of elusive happiness ultimately leaves a person hanging in unfulfilled suspension.

      The sad truth is that each “reality” outside of what is truly real leads to an insane world that proves to be untrustworthy. Sadly, these insane presentations often cause vulnerable people to become divorced from any real hope of realistically confronting the challenges they face, whether it has to do with relationships, or the state of family, country, or church.

      The problem with ignoring real challenges is that they will produce a tsunami effect which eventually leaves those in its wake utterly devastated. The tragedy of this scenario is that there are certain individuals in high places who desire to see the “tsunami” hit this nation so that they can come in and “save” it. However, they have no intention of saving anything, but instead their plan is to enslave the masses and conform them to their ideology.

      This elite group of world planners has various entangling, hideous branches that come from the same source. The so-called “secrets” of this group have been passed down from generation to generation, and find its roots going back to the Tower of Babel. To conceal its evil plan, it hides behind various fronts, promoting the social gospel of “good deeds,” but when you follow its trunk down to the root system, you realize it has been part of the “mystery of iniquity” (Genesis 11:1-9; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9).

      The delusion driving this secretive group is that it sees itself as being enlightened by the true light, but the Bible is clear that anything that does not line up to the Word of God is a gross darkness. Granted, these people have seen a light, but it is a false, seductive light. The Bible reveals the essence of this light when it warns that Satan comes as an angel of light and his ministers as ministers of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:3-15). The goal of this secret group has been, and continues to be the same: to bring all the systems of the world, including the religious system, under the leadership of one leader. This world leader will serve as nothing more than a front for the god of this age, Satan (2 Corinthians 2:2-4).

      As blood-bought saints, we know who wins in the end: The One who the Apostle Paul refers to in 1 Timothy 6:15 as the “blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords,” In Titus 2:13, he made this statement, “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Emphasis added.) When Jesus comes, it will be as the Judge of all. Those who oppose Him will cry for the rocks to fall on them and hide them from the wrath of the Lamb of God (Revelation 6:14-17). Jesus will take an axe to the root of this wicked tree and bring it down to utter destruction, and He will bind Satan for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-4).

      We know that Jesus Christ served as the visible revelation of God in physical form. He is the only way to truth and life (John 14:6; Colossians 2:9). Outside of Who He is—His works, examples, and teachings, there is no truth. Without the truth the way becomes obscure to the lost and the promise of eternal life eludes the spiritually blind and deaf.

      As the father of lies, it is clear that in Satan’s world there will only be false narratives that will seduce many into an insane reality that has no absolute truth, moral values, or righteous standards (John 8:44). Even though we like to believe that what we hear in this age is true, we dare not trust it because most of it is propaganda. Although we like to know that what we see is a sure thing, we must recognize that at best it is an image that hides a vacuum of emptiness, and at worse it is a false light that is hiding the presence of pending destruction. We like to know that what we touch and smell is clean and pure, but most of what we encounter has been tainted in some way.

      Due to the various shaky realities of this present world, people have been able to swing from the branches of wicked, insane ideologies that not only have proven to fail in the past, but offer a false hope to others who are attempting to grab hold of their unrealistic promises of a Godless utopia, without righteousness, and accountability. These people believe the lie because it feeds their preferred reality.

      The question is where is the Church in America in all of this? Has the body of Christ remained distinct from the world’s attitude, methods, and ways (2 Corinthians 2:14-18; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17)? Has it maintained a separation from the influence of the spirit of the world or has it become like the church of Laodicea that believed it was rich when in fact it was considered poor? The only way to gage the condition of the visible Church is by its fruits (John 7:16, 20; Revelations 3:14-19).

      I have said this before, but I fear that as Jonah was sleeping in the hull of the ship, many in the church have been lulled to sleep by the influence of the world. Christians who are happily asleep in their pews are unaware of those around them that are perishing while the winds of judgment are about to leave the land around them in a state of devastation. Even though there are grave spiritual storms challenging our nation, societies and homes, with “gale winds” bombarding the churches, there are those who seem oblivious to what is happening. As a result, such people will be unprepared for the challenges that threaten to follow on the heels of the present storms.

      If we are to properly confront the reality that we now face in order to be prepared to walk through dark days ahead, we need to ensure that our reality of God is correct, and that it is nurtured, sustained, and kept in check by His Word. This means we must always begin with who God is, continue on according to His Word, and choose to remember that His unchanging promises yet await to be inherited by His saints. However, it is natural for people to start out with what they know about God, continue on with what they assume about Him, and end with their own theology about God that will prove to be void of the right spirit and life.

      Let me ask the reader a question, has your understanding of God been influenced by others, or by what you have read in books? Or, has your reality of God been unveiled to your spirit as the Holy Spirit illuminated truths about Him in His Word? It is clear that only the Holy Spirit can lead us into all truth about God. Only the Spirit can make the truths about Him real, and it is only by the Holy Spirit that we can know the true God in a personal way (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:10-14; 1 John 2:27).

      This brings me another very important question, from where did you get most of your information when it comes to who God is? There is only one reliable source when it comes to the reality of God, and that is His Word, but it is the Holy Spirit who brings life to His Word, making it a heart reality and not a logical notion or concept. It is for this reason that I am going to now let His Word speak about what we should meditate upon and know about God. In Exodus 33, when Moses beseeched the Lord to show him His glory, the Lord said this, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live” (Exodus 33:19).

      The question is what did the Lord want Moses to know about Him? The first thing He wanted Moses to know was His goodness. Today some Christians emphasize God’s love so as to present Him in a tolerant light. Some only talk about His grace as a means to overshadow the various warnings and judgments found in His Word directed at those who walk in unbelief and disobedience towards Him. Some try to bring a realistic picture of His holiness in light of judgment, while others emphasize the end day events. However, the Lord did not emphasize these aspects of His nature or works in Moses’ case. He spoke of His goodness passing before the patriarch.

      According to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, the word “goodness” has to do with the best in relationship to beauty. When we see beauty, what is our natural reaction to it? Most would agree that any type of beauty is associated with that which is pleasant to look at, which brings gladness and enjoyment to our senses. Beauty is also connected with the welfare of something. In essence, it serves as a mirror into the inner character and health of something. Such beauty is not surface deep like the beauty that is often promoted by the world; rather, it is pure, allowing the inward character of something to be clearly seen.

      Clearly, the Lord wanted to show Moses His best when it came to His very attributes. His best translated into His goodness. When you study God’s goodness in the Scripture, a clear picture emerges about what this particular virtue looks like and how it conducts itself. The picture mirrors the beauty of God’s goodness, the character and fruits behind all that He does.

      The first mention of God’s goodness had to do with deliverance. We are told in Exodus 18:8 that Moses shared with his father-in-law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel’s sake in order to deliver them. Exodus 18:9 tells us how Jethro responded, “And Jethro rejoiced for all the goodness which the LORD had done to Israel whom he had delivered out of the hand of the Egyptians.”

      In the case of the people of Israel, God showed His goodness towards them by first judging Egypt in order to deliver them out of oppressive bondage. This first example reveals that God’s foremost desire because of His goodness is to always deliver His people from oppressive tyrants, but there is also a reason for such deliverance: so that His people have the freedom to worship and serve Him in order to develop godly qualities in their own inner being.

      This should be an encouragement to Christians. The whole purpose of Jesus’ death on the cross was to provide a way of salvation. This shows the goodness of God, the actual beauty of His character and the clarity of His honorable intentions towards us. However, we must not forget our responsibility: to have the faith that ends in worshipping God in spirit and truth.

      In Exodus 34:6, we are told about His abundant goodness. It is identified with such characteristics as mercy, grace, and longsuffering, as well as linked with truth. God shows His goodness in mercy and the beauty of it through His grace, and the character of it through His longsuffering. The transparency that is found in His goodness is because of the light of truth being present in all matters.

      Psalm 25:8 tells us that the Lord is good and upright; therefore He will teach sinners in the way. Everything that is extended towards us from heaven can find its source in the goodness of the Lord. Goodness clearly serves as God’s natural bent when it comes to man. Such goodness will always be expressed in upright or honorable ways.

      This brings me to another question. We often sing about how good God is, but how many of us believe that God is constantly extending that goodness towards us? Every time He forgives us we are being a recipient of His goodness. Each time He extends grace towards us, we are experiencing His goodness. In those times when He is being patient with us in our struggles and failures, it is because He is completely, utterly GOOD.

      Psalm 33:5 tells us that the earth is full of the goodness of the LORD. Can we not see the beauty of His goodness in creation? Can we not see the care of His goodness in the creatures around us? Can we not see the commitment of His goodness in His pity towards us and the salvation He so freely offers each of us? Can we not see these things and with all confidence declare GOD IS GOOD?

      In Psalm 34:8, we read one of the most quoted Scriptures when it comes to God’s goodness, “O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” How do we taste the goodness of the Lord: through His many blessings. How do we see the goodness of the Lord: through His constant intervention on our behalf. And, what is the purpose for allowing us to taste and see His goodness? It is because He wants us to choose to trust Him. He is worthy of it, deserves it, and will ensure in the end that we will never regret putting our complete faith in Him.

      Nahum 1:7 gives us this promise in relationship to God’s goodness, “The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” It is because the Lord is good, that He becomes that trustworthy stronghold, a hiding place to us. He does not withhold His protection or His abiding faithfulness towards us.

      Romans 2:4 gives this insight about God’s goodness, “Or despiseth thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” God’s goodness towards us is rich. Those who walk in unbelief and rebellion show utter contempt towards this attribute of God. The Bible refers to such individuals as fools. Since they refuse to believe and acknowledge God’s goodness, they will see no need to repent and receive His salvation, and Romans 2:5-6 tells us the end of these individuals, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds.”

      Clearly, a person’s true response towards God’s goodness would be that of repentance, an about face from any unbelief and disobedience. It should also be a natural response of a Christian to walk in the reality of God’s goodness in faith and obedience.

      Romans 11 speaks of Gentiles being grafted into the olive tree. It goes on to warn them of not becoming cocky because some of the original branches of the olive tree (Jews) were cut off because of unbelief. This exhortation is given in Romans 11:22, “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness; otherwise thou also shalt be cut off.”

      As believers we must never take God’s goodness for granted. We must not try to exploit it by walking in unbelief towards His Word or provoke it with disobedience towards that which we know is right. We must not repay His goodness with disdain and mock it in arrogance because we do not believe God is God or trust His character and intentions. We must allow the goodness of God to humble us, its beauty to create worship in us, and its workings to bring us to a place of unfeigned faith towards Him and obedience to His Word. We must keep our reality of God in a proper perspective, ever remembering that it is His goodness that allows us to be partakers of all of heaven’s riches.