(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 - 23
Before anything else existed, there was God and God only. He was not, however, alone.
"From everlasting to everlasting, Thou art God" (Psalm 90:2).
"These words spake Jesus… And now, O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" (John 17:1; 5).
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit eternally exist in a bond of love that comprises the very essence of all reality. Perfectly fulfilled in His triune Being, God dwells in a relationship of mutual devotion, commitment, affection, and determination for one another's holy benefit. Just as a human family exists as one, but also in distinct personalities, so our Creator eternally dwells in a unity that involves plurality, and a plurality that forms unity. "Let Us make man in Our image" declared the Lord upon His making of Adam, providing one of the most vital Biblical insights into the nature and character of God (Genesis 1:26).
We would expect such a God to emphasize relationship, and He does - "I and My Father are one… the Father loveth the Son… I love the Father" (John 10:30; 3:35; 14:31). We would also expect the Lord to emphasize relationship in those made in His image, and He does - "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these" (Mark 12:30-31). Again, the very essence of eternal reality involves a relationship, namely, the relational Being of the triune God. Everything He does flows from the love that comprises His existence as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. He moves upon and within us to establish, maintain, and enhance the same relational reality and emphasis. Life is about others - God and people. So long as we devote ourselves to this essence of Truth as it exists in God, and now in our trusting hearts in Christ, we flow with the current of reality. Peace ensues, even when our commitment leads to great challenge and sacrifice. Conversely, if we allow self-centeredness to govern our lives, grave spiritual and moral cataclysm results as we swim against the nature and reality of God. "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Philippians 2:4).
How relational is God? The cross of Calvary most vividly answers the question. It does so, however, in the most fascinating and heartrending of ways. "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?!" (Matthew 27:46). At Calvary, the Divine bond was shattered for a time as the Lord Jesus "was made to be sin for us" (II Corinthians 5:21). Rather than love His Son, God the Father rejected, abandoned, and poured out His wrath against sin upon the spirit of Christ. He became non-relational, as it were, against His dearest and best. "We did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God" (Isaiah 53:4). God acted against the Lord Jesus because He so greatly desires to be relational with us. Drawing us to Himself required the fulfillment of both His justice and His grace. Someone had to die, someone had to be smitten with utter aloneness, and someone had to cry out into the darkness of God's wrath against sin without receiving an answer Someone did, again, because God so desires the loving relationship and fellowship of your heart and mine. First, the Lord Lord Jesus prayed for such grace to shower forth upon us - John 17 - and then He suffered and died to provide it (John 18-19).
Today will involve many aspects of life and reality. Thoughts, emotions, privileges, responsibilities, blessings, difficulties, and earthly realities will parade themselves before us. We must act accordingly, and deal with the matters at hand. However, the essence of our experience in this day, and in every day, involves something else, something more, and something of Heavenly substance. An eternally ancient Glory beckons us to its holy Truth of relational reality. In God, life is about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as They exist in the unified oneness of Divine love. Through the Lord Jesus, life now constitutes the same reality in us. "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). To love God and others in response to God's love for us and others - this is Truth, this is reality, this is life, and this is the reason for our being just as it comprises the holy essence of God's own triune being. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing else. Relational.
"God is love… Charity (love) seeketh not her own… Love the Lord… Love one another."
(I John 4:8; I Corinthians 13:5; Matthew 22:37; John 13:34)
Weekly Memory Verse
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears.
(II Samuel 22:7)