A Personal God

One of the first things we do when we look at a newborn baby is to try and figure out who he/she looks like. Do you ever wonder how you resemble God?  The Word of God tells us that we were created in God’s image. 

When God said, “Now we will make humans, and they will be like us. We will let them rule the fish, the birds, and all other living creatures.
Genesis 1:26

We all bear the image of God.  When I think of how we are made, our intelligence, our emotions, our imaginations, our creative genius, no biological evolution could ever account for the marvel of all this.

The God responsible for all this is a personal God; a God of purposes and reasons. First He started creation. He created light, then the sky. When this was done He created dry land, seas, plants and trees. Next he created the sun, moon and the stars and then He filled the seas and skies with creatures.  After He had finished doing all this which I like to think of as a home, He created humans to live in this home—as a personal gift from Him.

But something went terribly wrong, and we lost that personal relationship. And it is a terrible thing to see how we keep drifting farther and farther away from the God who created us and all things. Dr. Francis Schaeffer, an evangelical theologian known for the L’Abri community in Switzerland, writes that we are now  living in a post-Christian culture. It is a terrible thing that sixty years ago one could travel across the country where nearly everyone knew, even non-Christians, what the gospel was.  Fifty to sixty years ago everything was based on Christian consensus. It is now a very depressing thing to watch our culture and our country disintegrate into a godless people. Fifty to sixty years ago one could travel in most western countries and talk about Christianity and most people would have at least a foggy idea of what the word Christianity meant. Now the culture in which we live has become so immense and complicated that the only way we can explain things is in terms of what we think of as natural forces, economic, political and racial. These become the reasons for our history. But as Dr. Schaeffer writes, “A holy and loving God really exists,” and He works His way into the significant history that exists. And when His people turn away from Him, He works His judgement upon His people regardless of economic, political or racial position.

Our culture is now under the judgement of God. We know something is terribly wrong, but no one is telling us the truth about why things are going so badly. The truth is that we have turned away from God and each to his/her own way.  Thus if we are going to become a serious church, we must realize, Dr. Schaeffer says, that we are living in a post-Christian world. It is a world in which truth is not important; power is. And one will suffer from “the powers that be” in this world when he/she speak the truth. That is a promise that Jesus made clear to His disciples.

“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Matthew 5:11

Here is a story about Martin Luther. When Luther had begun his preaching, he received word that some monks had read what Luther wrote and had turned to his ways and they were burned alive in the Grand Place in Brussels for doing so.  It is said that Luther paced the floor when he heard this news. He then said, “I can’t go on. I can’t do it anymore. Because of me, other men are being killed. I can’t go on.  p 90 Death in the City.Luther did continue and for a number of years the protestant reformation raised up a people who walked in God’s ways.

The truth must be said that we are not walking in God’s ways today. Consequently we threw ourselves away.  

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 
Isaiah 53:6

The Christian church was never meant to be a success story in this world. Its purpose was to bear witness to the truth that mankind has lost favor with God and can be made righteous in God’s sight through His Son Jesus Christ. We are meant to be God’s people, which the Word of God likens to a bride waiting for the return of Christ. But we have grown impatient and have turned away.

What then must we do? Remember the story of the apostles Peter and John as they were on their way to the temple. A man lame from birth, lay helplessly at the Beautiful Gate, as it was called. When he saw Peter and John he asked them for alms.

But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.”
Acts 3:6

As the healed man clung to them, Peter turned to the people and told them that

this Jesus, who healed this man, is the one you asked to be murdered. Do you not realize that He is the Author of life? Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out.
Acts 3:15&19

The story of the life of the prophet, Hosea, is much like our lives today. What Hosea wrote was linked to his personal life. He married someone he knew would eventually betray his trust. He also knew that the names he gave to his children would send messages of judgment on Israel.  His prophesy of judgment flowed out of his life and the life of his family. His family portrayed the vital need for repentance, redemption and restoration. God’s message to his people is a personal message. It is not a collection of sayings.  The Word of God penetrates the depths of our lives and knows every issue of our lives, everything we say and do. He is there in every relationship.

If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. 
Psalm 139:8

The non-Christian world in which we now live is unable to create any lasting relationships. But the personal nature of God is that He is everlasting and He created us to glorify Him forever.  And because we were created in His image He gets personally upset when we turn away from Him. He then passes judgment upon us because we have turned away from the truth and do not put into practice in our lives. For that reason and that reason alone we ought not to pray for justice but to pray for God’s mercy.    

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Truth and Life

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