Tuesday, August 30, 2011

God is Who He is Because That is Who God Is

Yesterday my car was in for some minor repairs.  It turns out that it was a minor repair and the mechanic did not charge me anything for the work that was done.  My wife said "God is good."  And I responded "Yes, He is much better than I deserve."  I meant it when I said it, but as I thought about it, I realized I did not mean it enough.  I do not think we ever really consider just how much we do not deserve God. I am not saying this to put us down, but to lift God up.  There is one verse that comes to mind today.
If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:13 NKJV
God is who God is regardless of our actions or beliefs.  That is a very good thing for those of us who believe in Him, but a terrible thing for those who do not.  First let me address the latter.  You see, whether or not you believe in God has no effect on whether or not God exists.  He exists whether you believe it or not.  Hell exists whether you believe it or not.  Your failure to believe in the true God will have no effect on God's existence, but it will have a profound effect on your eternal destination.  There will come a time when no matter what you believed or did not believe in this life will not matter as every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Christ is Lord.  One day your failure to believe will have eternal consequences. 

As for those of us in Christ, it is a good thing.  First of all, we see that God's faithfulness is not dependent upon us.  Note the reason "He cannot deny Himself."  It has nothing to do with us at all.  God is who God is for His own sake.  While at first reading, that may sound kind of aloof, let me assure you that it is the best way it can possibly be for us.  Can you imagine it God depended on us to define His faithfulness?  Can you imagine if our behavior determined whether or not God would have sent Jesus to die for our sins?  Can you imagine if God waited until we were sin-free before He acted in our lives?  Can you imagine that unless you were perfect before God, there was no hope of Him acting on your prayers?  There would be no hope for any of us!  God is faithful because that is who God is and not because of who we are.  Let us see how that benefits us.

First of all, our very salvation is a result of the faithfulness of God despite our own faithlessness. 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8 NKJV
God did not wait for mankind to shape up before sending His son.  In fact, God knew how miserable we would be, yet in spite of that, He still sent His son to die for our sins.  God loved us and and wanted us to have that fellowship with Him.  I do not think we even really appreciate just what God did for us.  Not only did God not wait until we were perfect, but He did not even wait until we improved.  In fact, the world was (and still is) getting worse and worse yet God still sent His son to save us.  More than that, God not only sent His son while we were still sinners, He sent His son while we still wanted to be sinners!  God sent His son to die for a world that would in large part reject Him.  He sent Him to die for people who did not really care.  I did not care about Jesus for a large part of my life, I know others who cared even less.  Despite that, Jesus still loved us enough to die for us so that we would have that chance to turn from our wicked lives and accept the grace of Jesus.  Many have, many have not, but Jesus died for all. 

Beyond our salvation, God is faithful despite those times we fail God.  Let us look at an extreme case.
In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when you are gathered together, along with my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 1 Corinthians 5:4-5 NKJV
This is a case where someone has sinned and failed to repent to the point where he was cast out of the church.  This is the ultimate backslidden Christian.  He had no desire to repent of his sin and live in obedience to God.  Despite his full-on rebellion and even the dramatic measure taken by the church, the purpose was for his ultimate salvation.  God was delivering him to the world and Satan not to punish but to turn him back.  Let this be an encouragement to us for those times we fail God.  Even when our faithfulness lacks in terms of those times when we fall in sin, God remains faithful to continue the work of salvation He began in our lives.

And that brings me to my next point.  God began a work in us and God will complete that work.
being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete [it] until the day of Jesus Christ;  Philippians 1:6 NKJV
God began a good work in you and He will complete that work. We sometimes backslide, we sometimes go through phases where our obedience or faith is lacking, but despite all of that God promises to complete the good work He began.  This verse is one of great comfort to me.  When I go through times where my faith lacks or when I am not as obedient as I should be, I rest in the fact that the work of God goes on.  I rest in the fact that the work-in-progress that is me will be completed and that this promise is based on who God is and not what I can do.

For all of us in Christ, we must take comfort in the sovereignty of God.  His promises are premised in who He is and not who we are.  Thank God for that!  I say that because who are we?  We are bunch of sinners who deserve nothing less than an eternity in Hell.  We live lives of rebellion to God, for many of us even after we come to Jesus.  There is not one who us who does not sin and on a daily basis.  Some of us keep pet sins that we refuse to give up.  Some even consider the sin and what Jesus paid for it yet still choose to do it.  Many of us know God's will for our lives, but spend our lives trying to avoid it.  We are a ragtag bunch of willful failures, yet God loves us.  Nothing else really matters.  His love for us is beyond what we can imagine and more than we can ever deserve.  God sent his son to die for our sins. God forgives our sins even after we know the blood that was spilled for them. God works in and through us even when we fight the work He is trying to do.  That is the grace and love of God.  The amazing grace of God gives eternal life to those who deserve death.  God's love makes the unloving and unlovable into His own beloved.  God's power changes those who can not and probably do not even want to change.  And why does God do this?  Simply, because that is who God is and always will be. 
For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  Romans 8:38-39 NKJV

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