Understanding
 The Bible
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My Response

I am not trying to say I have all the answers or that everything I am saying is right. Much greater minds than mine have argued for centuries and remain inconclusive and unresolved about many of the issues we have been discussing. But I am trying to give a rational basis for what we believe. It is too easy to discard truth because we cannot understand it or it is outside our framework of reference or experience. Hopefully some of the arguments I have provided will help some to take far more seriously the claims of the Bible and the promises of God.

 

The big question is: What are we going to do about it?

 

Some will outright reject everything I have written. Others will accept some or all of it.

Amongst those that do believe, there are those who will sit back in complacency and expect God to sort out all the problems of the world: the environment, the wickedness, famine, poverty, etc. He will, but the Bible tells us that this is not the way we should live.

 

Jesus has made it clear that He expects His followers to do the works that He did on earth by example. ‘Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.’ (John 14:12)

 

Doing good deeds does not save us from the wrath to come or grant us a place in Heaven, but those who are saved must do the works of Jesus as evidence of their commitment to Him.

 

Jesus expects His followers to behave responsibly towards all of His creation and to act with justice and mercy. He also expects us to perform the miraculous deeds that He did whilst on earth, healing the sick, releasing the oppressed using the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit that is available to all believers.

 

This is not about doing right things or good things to earn some kind of reward or place in Heaven. The starting point is a relationship with Jesus. As we have seen, God has made many promises and sealed them with the shedding of blood. The most important promise He has made to us is that we can be forgiven and accepted and given a place in Heaven because of the sacrifice of Jesus. Just as the shedding of the blood of a lamb or goat made atonement for the sinner, the shed blood of Jesus once and for all has made atonement for all sin. If the blood of an animal had any meaning, what power is there in the blood of the Creator Himself to atone for sin: His life for yours. A simple prayer of acceptance of His sacrifice for you is all that it necessary to seal the covenant. He has done all the hard stuff. We just need to accept it by faith. It’s that simple.

 

Having accepted that covenant, you can begin an intimate relationship with Jesus; the most intimate relationship of all. He actually comes to dwell in your heart, your innermost being. It is mystical and beyond our understanding, but it is real.

 

There is nothing we can do to earn our salvation. In fact Jesus clearly shows that even doing works like He did, healing, casting out demons, even in His name does not suffice.

‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.’ (Matthew 7:22-23)

 

The key word in that text is ‘knew’. It is the same word used in the Bible as in intimate marital relationships. What He requires is that we open our hearts and let Him in, like a lover. We will then want to read His book, spend time in prayer, do the miraculous works in the same way that we want to please someone we love.

 

We have seen previously how you get from one dimension into the next highest dimension. A 1 dimensional line can be bent which takes it into 2 dimensions. A flat sheet can be folded or lifted or bent and it becomes 3 dimensional. A 3 dimensional object as it moves through time becomes 4 dimensional, and so on.  

 

For us to enter into the higher dimensions of relationship with God can be helped in the same way. Clearly a person can pray silently and meet with God without moving a muscle, but there is a special power in movement towards God. Examples are:

Bowing the head in an act of adoration.

Bending the knee in prayer and submission.

Lifting our hands in praise and worship.

Raising our eyes towards the heavens.

Falling forward or backwards under the power of the Holy Spirit

 

There is a tremendous power released when a person dances to God, whether to music or words or in silence. Moving the whole body in worship takes us into another dimension. We are used to moving only the mouth or maybe the hands in prayer and worship, but when the whole body engages something special happens and the very presence of God is tangible and evident.

 

It is not as though these ‘folding’ acts in themselves literally take us into another dimension, but I believe the physical acts show the omnipotent God that we want to engage with Him. When we are in relationship with Him and because He is all-powerful; He responds to our reaching out. Like a father responding to a small child who reaches up a hand to grasp his hand, so God responds with great power from a heart filled with love. The essence of God is Love and he constantly shows it. Sometimes He may appear wrathful and harsh, but only in the way a father would, seeing his child reaching out towards a fire or about to run into a busy road.

 

You may not agree with this intellectually, but I can only suggest you try reaching out to God yourself and see what happens. I was with a friend who struggled to come to terms with belief in God. I said, ‘Take yourself off into a quiet place like the woods, raise your eyes to the heavens and say ‘God if you are really there please reveal yourself to me’. An hour or so later he came back and said ‘It works. He came to me’. That was 20 years ago and this guy still has a close relationship with God. It is that simple.

 

God does also expect us to live right lives: to feed the poor, visit the sick and show kindness as shown in the parable of the sheep and goats. ‘Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and you gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger, and you took me in: Naked, and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison, and you came unto me’. (Matthew 25:34-36)

 

We should live in expectation of Jesus’ return; ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.’ (1 John 3:2-3). We live our lives trying to be like Him, but we are human and never quite make it; but when we see Him, we are promised that we shall be like Him.

 

In the meantime, our lives should constantly reflect His beauty and glory through doing the good things Jesus did whilst he was on earth.

 

We will fail from time to time, but God knows we will sin and has made provision for that. ‘If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ (1John 1:8-9). We simply have to confess our sins and receive cleansing. The sacrifice of Jesus atones for all sin.

 

However, we do not live this life in our own strength. The third part of the Godhead Trinity, the Holy Spirit will come to dwell in us if we sincerely ask Him. He enables and empowers us to live the life of Jesus here on Earth.

 

The key to being filled with the Holy Spirit is total surrender. For many years I was a believer, but in addition to God, there were many other things in my life, some of which would not have been pleasing to Him. It was not until I came to the point of submission to Him that something dramatic happened to me. I realised that nothing was hidden from Him. My innermost thoughts and secrets were totally visible to Him. Like Adam in the Garden of Eden, I had been trying to hide behind a fig leaf, when God had a robe he wanted to put over me. When I came out from hiding and surrendered to Him, I was filled with a joy and laughter that went on for many days. My emotions and personality changed overnight and I became a different person as my wife and children will testify.

 

The Holy Spirit has been active throughout history and still has a lot of work to do, but He does it through us humans. We can now put together the whole of the Isaiah 61 text we discussed earlier. Jesus stopped reading at the point of ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’, but we can now look forward beyond that to what is right on our doorstep. The culmination of the prophecy is about to begin at any time and it is the Spirit of the Lord who will bring it to pass.

 

‘The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound: To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.’ (Isaiah 61:1-3)

 

We live in a constant state of expectancy, but there is much to be done whilst we await the call of Jesus Christ.

 

If you are not in fellowship with Jesus, then the time to engage with Him is right now with a simple prayer of repentance and acknowledgement of His great offer of salvation. Then as a follower of Jesus it is or will be our desire and compulsion to draw others into relationship with Him.

 

It is our duty to tell everyone who does not know of the love of the Creator who came to live on Earth and gave His life as a sacrifice for them. This is much more important than a cure for cancer. If we had such a thing we would shout it from the rooftops, but this is far greater and much better news, as it is about enabling people to choose eternal life over eternal death.

 

We can tell others of the special place God has prepared for them in Heaven. He wants them to be there and has provided the way and paid the full price.

 

We can encourage people to acknowledge and confess that they are sinners and lead them to repent of their sin. We cannot enter heaven as sinners, but God has provided the way to get rid of all sin and the penalties it carries. No sin is too great for God’s forgiveness.

 

We also must inform people of the horrors to come on Earth in the near future from which they can escape. I do not know anyone who I would want to be on Earth during the great tribulation. So, if you have people you love who do not yet know Jesus, make them aware of what the future holds and let them know that there is a way out of this appalling tribulation.

 

Finally, unpleasant as it is, we need to warn people of the fate of eternal damnation that awaits those who continue to reject God’s offer of salvation. God has gone to extreme lengths to provide for us and give us eternal life, and rejection of His grace will result in separation from Him for ever. The choice is there before each one of us, Heaven or Hell.

 

 

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