(Friends: Most Saturdays for the duration of this year, I plan on sharing a message that relates to the character and nature of God, and our response thereunto. I hope you will find it helpful, and as always, thanks for allowing us to send the devotionals to you. Glen).
The Saturday Series - 21
"The Philosophical Pragmatist"
God has not always been human, even as Job long ago declared, "He is not a man, as I am" (Job 9:32). In the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, however, God now bears the image of both the Divine and the human.
"There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus… Great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh" (I Timothy 2:5; 3:16).
The Father and the Holy Spirit forevermore retain their nature of singular Divinity. The Lord Jesus, conversely, now exists as the God who became man, and the man who remains God. Innumerable realities and truths proceed from this wonder, including the intensely practical nature of our Lord and His working in our lives. Through the Incarnation, He entered into life as we know it. He experienced the humanity and earthliness of this present world, to the degree that He lived more than 90% of His time here in such seeming ordinariness that when His ministry began, His own brothers did not know who He was (John 7:5). He appeared to be far more "the carpenter's son" than the Son of God (Matthew 13:55).
This wondrous Truth reveals God to be a philosophical pragmatist, as it were. Guided by His character, nature, and way, He does all things in accordance with His character, His truth, and His righteousness. However, everything He does bears immense functional significance. "The Lord is righteous in all His ways, and holy in all His works" (Psalm 145:17). The incarnation of the Lord Jesus most vividly portrayed this perfect amalgam of principle and practice. Our Savior lived every moment of His earthly existence in accordance with Heavenly reality. Rather than causing Him to float above the natural order, however, His feet traversed the dusty paths of the world to the extent He was "in all points tempted like as we are" (Hebrews 4:15). He never succumbed to temptation, but He faced the challenges according to the realities of His humanity (since in His deity, He could not be "tempted with evil" - James 1:13). Thus, He lived philosophically, or doctrinally, but He did so in the most practical terms.
"Occupy (attend to business) until I come" declared the master to his servants in the Lord's parable concerning the fulfillment of earthly responsibilities (Luke 19:13). Like our Lord, a true relationship with God and its spiritual mindedness never causes us to live with our head in the clouds, as it were. "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?" (Acts 1:11). We plant our feet solidly upon the earth, even as we heed the command to "set your affection on things above" (Colossians 3:2). All true Biblical doctrine accomplishes this dual effect. Our Heavenly Father has no interest in mere ivory tower philosophers whose brains live among the clouds, albeit even supposedly spiritual clouds, but whose feet do not touch earthly paths. The Lord rather illuminates our hearts and minds for the holy purpose of engaging our hands and feet to "work the works of God" (John 6:28). Indeed, any teaching that fails to lead us in both doctrine and practice does not meet the test of Biblical authenticity. Or, as the prophet beckoned, "Come ye and let us walk in the light of the Lord" (Isaiah 2:5).
Skeptics often suggest that Biblical truth offers mere escapism from reality. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Philosophical Pragmatist, namely, the living and true God, offers us escape into reality through the Christ who so graciously embraced our humanity and the path it required. Thereby we see great and glorious Light for the purpose of a great and glorious Life through the Lord Jesus. Doctrine fosters deeds. Deeds reflect and confirm doctrine. This is truth and reality as it exists in the God who became man, and the man who remains God.
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth."
Weekly Memory Verse
Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.