Monday, March 16, 2015

Hope in a Hopeless World

The Christian faith has long held to the theistic view that insists humanity can experience God in a personal kind of way. Christianity is about maintaining Biblical relationships that enable people to express themselves through a lifestyle of holiness (wholeness) and unity. The Christian Apostle Paul described this personal conversion in terms that include repentance, forgiveness and living life “set apart” (Romans 12:1. He described the life that results as a “reasonable service”.

More commonly known today as Evangelical Christianity, this commitment of reasonable service submits to, and accepts, the control of God’s Holy Spirit in the daily life and experience of the believer. It becomes the maturing of the salvation God wants to create in the life of every individual. God came into the world through Jesus seeking to restore a world blinded to God, in order to save the otherwise unsalvageable.

In olden times, God spoke through the prophets. When the time was right, God revealed Himself through Jesus Christ. The clearest picture humanity has of God is what we see in Jesus Christ, Jesus being to God as the rays of the sun are to the sun (effulgence, Hebrews 1:3).

When Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples The Heavenly Father would no longer live among them in the flesh, satisfying their senses of sight, sound, and feeling. Rather, God would dwell among them as the Holy Spirit, indwelling them, or living within them and empowering them.

Believers would be renewed by means above and beyond, or outside of, their human physical senses. God’s Spirit would no longer dwell in the tabernacles and tents they made with their hands; rather, he would inhabit dwellings not made with hands; i.e., in the believers.

This work was completed on the cross, even as Jesus claimed. Contrary to some who argue the point, Jesus achieved his purpose in coming to earth. He established the Kingdom of God by transforming the weaknesses of the flesh into the higher purposes of God Almighty. The Presence or reality of God’s Spirit eliminated the need for further human (priestly) mediation between God and human-kind.

Jesus said, the Holy Spirit first convicts people of sin, second convicts them of righteousness, and third convicts them of judgment (John 14-16). God’s promise was to give this Spirit of Truth who will guide individual believers in their understanding and enable them to grow from grace to grace in righteousness.

Luke further quoted Paul to say, “And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (Acts 20:32 NKJV). The Greek verb Paul used here expresses the perfect tense, suggesting completed action.

Thus, we view the action of sanctifying or being sanctified as a finished product, which suggests that those freed of wickedness have been brought near to God by their faith and sanctity. Paul is describing the daily renewal of inner strength so necessary to our mature growth—strength above and beyond our normal human strength, thus supra-natural.

Here we find the perfection we are each capable of attaining in the here and now. Here we find God finally within reach of all persons. Here we find life beyond the worldly libertarian philosophy of being an end within ourselves. No longer dependent purely upon our own resources, we find here the long promised hope of Christian’s living in a conflicted world – “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).


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