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

     We have been considering who God is. The Bible clearly says if you do not believe God is, you will never be able to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). Our faith towards God is not based on what He is able to do, but in who He is. Therefore, any old God will not do, and beliefs that humanize Him and attitudes that casually treat Him as being the “Man upstairs,” “the CEO,” “the big sugar Daddy in the sky,” and and so forth teeter close to blasphemy because they lack proper reverence and fear of God.

      Today there are many notions about God, various concepts, ideas, and presentations of God, but are they correct? Romans 1:20 tells us that everyone born into the human race possesses the knowledge that there is a God and there will be no excuse for unbelief on judgment day. It has been proven that if people’s conscience is not betrayed through rebellion and unbelief, seared by the influence of cultures, heretical religious beliefs, and worldly philosophies, that the ingrained sense that this God is moral, just, and holy is still present in such people’s minds. These individuals will be convicted when they are morally wrong without being told about God’s holy Law, and they also realize that lifestyles must adjust to the excellent character of God. (See the book Eternity In Their Hearts by missionary Don Richardson.)

      For me, my initial understanding of God was so vague that I had no concept as to who He was. To me He was some force located somewhere out in the universe. The reason for this vague notion is that my religion had subtly replaced God. Granted, it played off the moral code established by God, but the church became the only way to please God. You pleased God by serving it. Therefore, my association with my church was the source of my salvation, my good works were the means of my salvation, and an outward pious life was to be the seal of that salvation.

      Since the presentation of God was idolatrous, it created a spiritual vacuum in my understanding of who He is. My understanding took on the darkness of ignorance that operated according to superstition. The reason for this vacuum is because my former church was simply a demonically inspired, man-made organization that had no feeling or personal involvement with its members. Granted, there were leaders in the church, but members did not have personal knowledge of some supernatural living entity that could relate to their plight. They prayed to God, but if they understood the presentation of God according to the church, He had been humanized and was nothing more than some supernatural being that only amounted to being another god. The leaders could only promote or point to the established beliefs of the church. Committed members were often left with the burden of living some type of pious life without the power to do so. This pious life never really had the capacity to address or take care of wrong attitudes, fleshly desires, and hidden sins. As a result, teen suicides plague my former church, while practices of moral paganism are clearly present, but hidden behind a veneer of false glory and terminology.

      When I came face to face with my own inadequacies, I had to face the harsh reality of my sin. I was being condemned by a moral code that went deeper than outward practices touted by my church. I did not realize this moral code belonged to a righteous God, but I became aware that maybe my actions were not so bad, but my attitude was a disgrace. As the heavy hand of conviction brought me to the end of myself, I knew that only God could suffice my inner turmoil, but I was confused about who He was.

      There is only one way you can know God. There is only one true revelation of God, and there is only one source that will bring proper instruction about God, His Word. John 4:23-24 tells us that the One, True God is Spirit and truth. Therefore, the only way you can know God is through His Spirit. The Bible is clear that the Holy Spirit is the only way in which people can come to the knowledge of the true God (Matthew 16:15-17; John 16:13). In fact it is the Holy Spirit that brings life to the written Scriptures (John 6:63). Sadly, most people approach God through fleshly means such as intelligence and sentiment and through religious influences such as doctrine and theology. However, the flesh will produce another God and religion will cause truths about God to become dead-letter, ineffective, and a burdensome duty that demands works as a means to please God, and not faith towards God (Romans 7:6; 2 Corinthians 3:6; 10:3-5; 11:1-14; Galatians 3:1-16).

      There is only one true revelation about God that has been clearly revealed to mankind. This revelation is not a principle, a doctrine, or a matter of theology. The shadow of this revelation was cast in the Old Testament, but was unveiled in the New Testament. This revelation is a person, the Lord Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1). Jesus said He is the way (to salvation, reconciliation with God), He is the truth (about God and man’s plight), and He is the life (that possesses the very power of resurrection) (John 14:6).

      As the unseen hand of conviction weighed heavily upon my soul, I wrestled with the reality of God. I knew about prayer, but my prayers hit dead air. I did not know where to turn. I knew that my church had caused confusion about God; therefore, there was no use turning to it. Slowly the light of the Gospel of Jesus began to dawn on me as different people shared the message of Jesus dying for my sins, being buried with them, and then rising three days later, proving that the wages of sin, which is death (spiritual separation from God), had finally been paid in full. The glorious message penetrated the darkness of my soul and began to reveal the work of the cross of Christ: as my sacrifice He died in my place in order to address the sin that was besetting me, to take it away once and for all, and bring forgiveness, cleansing, and healing to my weary, embattled conscience (Romans 6:23; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Hebrews 10:10-22).

      My initial experience of salvation (the born again experience) revived my lifeless spirit with the Spirit of the living God and restored my dead soul with the life of His Son. It was both sweet and glorious, but it simply represented the first step that would lead me to my own cross and the crucifixion of my old life, and the demise of the old man in me. It was a journey that would lead me to priceless truths about my God, the unveiling of His character, ways, and life through His Son.

      My primary understanding of God made Him vague because He had no form, no face, and no personality. I was sure that He probably was a good God, but there was nothing to measure Him with. When something stands alone in its class, it seems far away, too good to be true, and too unobtainable to mess with. When I learned that Jesus was God clothed in humanity, I could begin to relate to God because He took on the form of a servant. He now had a face because He was fashioned in the likeness of man and now I could observe His personality in the ways and example of Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:5-8). I could handle Him like John, touch Him like the woman with the issue of blood, and relate to Him on a personal level (1 John 1:1-3). It was clear that I could personally know God through Jesus (John 14:9-13).

      Jesus is the God/Man. He is the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form (Colossians 2:9). This is the one truth almost every cult trips over. Some people reason if Jesus is God then they will never be able to please Him. Others believe if Jesus is man, there is no way that God could be pleased with what He did on the cross. Both attitudes fail to realize that as God, Jesus became the ladder extended from heaven in which all blessings would flow down to man in the form of grace, and as Man, He became the bridge, lifted up by the cross and verified by His deity, to become the path of reconciliation back to God. If Jesus was not both God and Man there would be no cross extended upward and outward to bring man back into a relationship with the living God. It is true that no mere man could please God in his fallen state, and no righteous God could settle for anything that did not maintain the character of His holiness and Law. However, God is clearly being limited by these erroneous ways of thinking. I can only ask is God too small to take on a body, or is He too big, indifferent, and elite to become identified with mankind in his plight?

      If man could not solve his spiritual problem, then it only makes sense that God had to solve it. Although He could have stepped outside of creation to create a special man to be a sacrifice, such a man would fail to fulfill the prophecies found in Scripture. It is clear that the Promised Messiah and Redeemer had to come from the earthly lineage of Abraham, Jesse, and David. Hebrews 2:14-17 explains that Jesus had to be a partaker of flesh and blood so that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, the devil. Then it goes on to say, “For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.”

      The truth is Jesus as God had to take on an earthly body to become God’s holy, righteous and acceptable Passover Lamb in order to pay the price for our redemption in His human body (John 1:29). As the Bible declares, there is only one Savior and Redeemer of mankind and that is Jehovah God (Isaiah 44:24; 45:21-22; 47:4). Jesus could not be Savior or Redeemer unless He is God!

      To the carnal mind Jesus being both God and Man seems ridiculous, to the heretical religious mind, it is confusion that is often used to validate the heretic’s own twist on Scripture, and to the unbelieving, it is a way to discredit the validity of the Bible altogether. However, the Spirit will confirm the truth of Jesus through Scripture if one approaches it to believe the Word of God is truth.

      It is important to first establish Jesus’ deity in order to understand the significance in recognizing Him as Lord (Adonai). The Bible is clear one must confess Jesus is Lord to validate salvation (Romans 10:9-10). According to the Companion Bible, Adonai is used in three ways: Adon in relationship to Jesus being overlord or ruler, Adonim has to do with Jesus being our owner, and Adonai is used in relationship to Jesus being the one who blesses us. The question is do Scriptures verify Jesus as being Lord in all three categories?

      Let us take Adon. Is Jesus the overlord or ruler over all? The answer is yes! In Revelation 1:8, Jesus is referred to as the Almighty; possessor of all power to rule and reign in righteousness. In Revelation 19:15, when Jesus returns, displaying the wrath of the Almighty God, He will be wearing a vesture that states, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. We know the kingdom of darkness is subject to Jesus and one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-11).

      It is important to note what it means to scripturally confess something. It means to actually make a type of contract between two parties to show total agreement. This contract requires one to speak what he or she agrees with by making an admission that something is so, as well as make assent to it in terms of complete surrender. When you consider Philippians 2:11 in light of the meaning of confession, it brings to the forefront the intensity of what will be happening at this point. Everyone who refuses to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord in this present age, will in the next age have to come into agreement with God about His Son. They will bow in complete surrender to the reality of who Jesus is, and they will open their mouth to admit what is true, that Jesus Christ is Lord over all!

      Is Jesus our owner? Jesus made this statement in Matthew 20:28,Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” “Ransom” points to a payment being made on behalf of someone who has been taken captive. Another word that can be used in the place of ransom is redemption. In this text, redemption points to buying something back. It is a monetary term.

      Throughout Scripture we can see where God continually redeemed His people from some form of bondage, such as Egypt. As a result, those who have been redeemed belong to God. In a legal sense they are now His servants. They are obliged to serve in His household, to do His bidding, to obey Him. It is for this reason we read the warning in Matthew 7:21-23 that not everyone who declares Jesus is Lord will be recognized on that day because they failed to do the will of the Father.

      The Bible is clear that we have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20; 7:23-24). We have been redeemed from the taskmaster of sin and saved from the consequences of death. It is not unusual to hear what Jesus has saved people from, but very few talk about what Jesus saved them to: a life of servitude in the house of the Lord. We do not belong to ourselves, and have no right to call our own shots. We have the seal of the Holy Spirit upon us, we have been given our marching orders in the Word of God, and we have been told how to conduct ourselves, as well as the affairs of God. If we fail to uphold our end because we are a casual or rebellious servant who has failed to love our Lord in the manner He is worthy of receiving, in the end it will not go well for us when we have to face Him.

      Is Jesus the One who blesses us? He is the ladder in which all blessings flow to us by way of God’s grace (Genesis 28:12-13, refer to John 1:50-51; 1:16-17). Philippians 4:19 tells us, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” He became sin for us so we could be made in the righteousness of God. It is in Jesus’ name that God will answer our prayers according to His will. The Bible is clear that Jesus is to become our all in all, for He is in all matters concerning heaven and ultimately will be found in all that is stamped with God’s approval (2 Corinthians 5:21; John 14:14-15; 1 John 5:14; Colossian 3:11).

      The question is, is Jesus Christ Adonai to you? It is easy to say Lord, but a whole different matter when it comes to Him ruling as Lord in your life. It is vital that we honestly examine our attitude and life in light of Jesus’ Lordship. After all, if He is not Lord of our life, He cannot claim us as belonging to Him.