Monday, December 5, 2011

Too Far, So Near

The God of the Bible is both far from us and near to us, or as some have said, He is "the Beyond in the midst."

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of both knowledge and wisdom, according to Solomon (Proverbs 1:7: 9:10). God initiates the revelation of Himself to us in the vastness and overwhelming reality of creation.

"The invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, begin understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and godhead" (Romans 1:20).

Such illumination instills wonder and awe in us if we respond properly, causing us to realize the difference and transcendence of God in relationship to ourselves. "How could I ever know such a one, and more importantly, how could such a tiny, insignificant speck as myself be known by a Creator so utterly beyond who and what I am?" Gaze into the sky on a clear night, and be thrust to your knees (at least figuratively) upon contemplation of the mind and heart of One who made and sustains a universe too vast, too beautiful and too powerful for our understanding. He is the God too far.

Upon such realization, open the Bible to discover perhaps the most amazing truth of all. He is "not far from every one of us, for in Him, we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:27:28). Along with His being the God too far, He is also the God so near. In the most amazing condescension, our transcendent Creator dwells immanently in His creation. Even more, He purposes to dwell internally in that citizen of creation made in His image. Our Lord "beyond" desires to live in our "midst." Human beings were made to be "the habitation of God through the Spirit" (Ephesians 2:22). Sin separated us from this "hope of glory," but the redeeming work of the Lord Jesus Christ makes possible the entrance of the Holy Spirit into the innermost depths of our being. "He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit" (Colossians 1:27; I Corinthians 6:17). Thus, the born again believer lives and moves and has his being in the God who also lives and moves within our hearts. Ourselves "in Christ," and "Christ in us." Our Lord could not draw nearer.

Throughout our Christian lives and throughout eternity, the Holy Spirit will work to maintain our sensibility of the God too far and the God so near. We must have both understandings dwelling concurrently in our hearts and minds if we are to rightly know Him. We will never fully understand or correlate such glory, and it is not necessary that we do. We only need to know the proper fear of God whereby we realize our Maker as forever beyond who and what we are, and to forever be the Master of our existence. Upon this beginning of wisdom and knowledge, the Holy Spirit then ushers us deep into the midst of God, and God deep into the midst of ourselves. Our Lord becomes the nearest and dearest person in our lives, and the only one who is with us always. Indeed, in the most marvelous wonder of grace, the Creator too far shines within us as our Father so near. Inevitably - and joyfully - we fall to our faces in awe, and even more, in love.

"Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts."
(Isaiah 6:5)
"Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
(II Corinthians 6:16).

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