Monday, April 9, 2018

"The God So Near"

"The God So Near"

    In regard to proximity or place, born again believers in the Lord Jesus are no nearer to God than unbelievers.  "In Him we live and move and have our being" declared the Apostle Paul to the pagan Athenian philosophers, referencing the entirety of the human race (Acts 17:28).  In terms of heart and relationship, however, the matter is altogether different.

    "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart" (Ephesians 4:17-18).
    "God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying Abba Father" (Galatians 4:6).

    "He is not far from every one of us" said Paul to the philosophers, again, concerning geographical proximity.  We do well to realize that every human being on the planet lives life not only in the universe God made, but in the God who made the universe.  Again, "in Him we live."  We will never meet a person who has so decisively run away from the Lord in heart that he or she has managed to escape Him in proximity.  As the saying goes, one can run.  But one cannot hide.   "He giveth to all life and breath and all things" (Acts 17:25).  Thus, every person we will ever meet, regardless of heritage, culture, experience, religious affiliation, or opinion regarding God, exists in and as the creation and beneficiary of His gracious generosity and sustaining word: "the Lord is good to all… by Him all things consist" (Psalm 145:9; Colossians 1:17).

    Believers in Christ are those who have realized the aforementioned truth of the God so near, and even more, the fact of spiritual alienation from Him.  Through faith in the Lord Jesus, alienation is replaced by our being "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).  The God so near graciously enters our hearts and births us into beloved sons and daughters (John 1:12).  Thus ends the tragic failure t0 exist in God without knowing the great fact, or more literally, without knowing Him.  Moreover, thus begins our privileged responsibility to consistently and increasingly relate to our Lord in faith and faithfulness.  Indeed, even believers can live as if our Heavenly Father is not near, active, and vitally involved in our lives.  As Paul chided the Corinthians: "know ye not that ye are the temple of God , and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (I Corinthians 3:16).  Our Lord would have us know and experience the blessed wonder of our acceptance in Christ, walking with Him in the light of His reality and the love of His redemption.  "Be ye followers of God, as dear children" (Ephesians 5:1).

    The Lord Jesus suffered alienation from God on the cross in order to save us: "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46).  Yes, so much was sacrificed in order to make possible our acceptance in the Beloved, and our salvation from alienation.  Let us remember such grace in the context of our walk with the Lord, and also in reference to other people, all of whom "live and move and have their being" in God.  The truth is transformative regarding both matters, and most importantly, regarding pleasing and honoring our Lord as we respond to Him personally, and communicate Him to others powerfully.

"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of His glory!"
(Isaiah 6:3)

Weekly Memory Verse
   "In Him we live and move and have our being."
(Acts 17:28)

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