All that we may know of God “lies plain before [our] eyes,” writes Paul. “Indeed God Himself discloses it to [us.]” “His invisible attributes, that is to say His everlasting power and deity, are visible, ever since the world began, to the eye of reason, in the things He has made.” (Romans 1: 20)
God is visible to the eye of reason in the intelligent design of the universe. I love the explanation that from an infinitely tiny compressed “something” the entire universe sprang into existence in a huge explosion oft called “the big bang.” Stephen Hawking offers this as the way the universe came to be. What no one ever seems to ask is from where did that tiny compressed “something” originate? When I hear Mr. Hawking describe the “big bang,” I always imagine God’s voice as that compressed “something” from which the universe emerged in much less than a second. God opened His mouth and spoke and the Word created that “something” from which all else was created by Him as He spoke again and again. He still speaks, still creates. His Word never returns void.
Therefore, we are without excuse; for God is “plain before our eyes” in His creation.
“How shall a young man steer an honest course? By holding to Thy Word.” (Psalm 119: 9)
A wise young man will say, as does David: “I will bow down towards Thy holy temple, for Thy love and faithfulness I will praise Thy Name; for Thou hast made Thy promise wide as the heavens.” (Psalm 138: 2)
Knowing the Word of God allows the Holy Spirit a greater opportunity to guide in moments of need. “For the Word of God is alive and active. It cuts more keenly than any two-edged sword, piercing as far as the place where life and spirit, joints and marrow, divide. It sifts the purposes and thoughts of the heart.” (Hebrews 4: 12 – 13) Without this sword, a young man may be left to his own devices, his own knowledge and fail to “steer an honest course.”
Solomon teaches the young man to “understand the fear of the Lord and attain to the knowledge of God; for the Lord bestows wisdom and teaches knowledge and understanding.” (Proverbs 2: 5 – 6) Solomon promises that this wisdom from God will enable the young man to “understand what is right and just and keep only to the good man’s path.” (Proverbs 2: 9)
Solomon tells the young man: “Prudence will keep watch over you, understanding will guard you, it will save you from evil ways and from men whose talk is subversive, who forsake the honest course.” (Proverb 2: 11 – 13)
“The Lord’s Word has stood the test; He is the shield of all who take refuge in Him.”
John writes, “When all things began, the Word already was. The Word dwelt with God, and what God was, the Word was. The Word, then, was with God at the beginning, and through Him all things came to be; no single thing was created without Him.” (John 1: 1 – 3)
The test of the Word was His life here on earth, and His death on the cross of Calvary. He “stood the test;” and by dying and coming back to life, became “the shield of all who take refuge in Him.”
The Word “makes my way blameless.” (Psalm 18: 32) He “gives me the shield of [His] salvation, [His] hand sustains me, [His] providence makes me great.” (Psalm 18: 35)
What are God’s commands? Are they difficult?
Jesus says that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. Then He tells us to take up our crosses and follow Him, denying ourselves daily. He reminds us that once we put our hand to the kingdom we must not look back at our past — either in longing or regret.
Jesus commands us to love the Lord our God with all our being — our hearts, our minds, our bodies — and to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
The author of 1 John writes, “Here is the test by which we can make sure that we know Him: do we keep His commands? The man who says, ‘I know Him’, while he disobeys His commands, is a liar and a stranger to the truth; but in the man who is obedient to His Word, the divine Love has indeed come to its perfection.” (1 John 2: 3 – 5)
And, he writes that “here is the test by which we can make sure that we are in Him: whoever claims to be dwelling in Him, binds himself to live as Christ Himself lived.” (1 John 2: 6)
What is the command we are to follow? We are to “love [our] brother,” so “there is nothing to make [us] stumble.” (1 John 2: 10 – 11) Nothing is able to make us stumble as we commit to live as Christ lived.
Live a life of love, and so make sure you are dwelling in Christ.
“Who is the liar?” asks the writer of 1 John.
The liar is the one who denies that Jesus is God.
Who is the father of liars, of lies? Our great adversary who gave up his place in heaven to rule in hell, per Milton in PARADISE LOST is the father of lies, of liars. Satan tells the great lie to Eve and Adam, promising them they can be as gods if they disobey God. The cost of believing this lie is immeasurable.
People are deceived. People do prefer to live in darkness so the light does not show their deeds — which are deeds of the darkness, and not of the light. (John 3: 19 – 20)
Satan likes keeping people in the darkness, lest they see the light and prefer it. Hence, Satan lies about everything, keeping people in confusion as they try to figure out what is the truth. Satan’s favorite lie is the one of the anti-Christ — the one which tells the world that Jesus is a good teacher, but not the Son of God, not the expected Messiah of Israel, not the only way to paradise — that is, eternal life in the very presence of God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
Jesus is a good teacher, says Satan. Pay attention to him, follow his rules, believe his little parables, but do not commit your self to him, do not believe he saves you. For this belief is foolishness. Satan lies.
God “separates men into two groups” — with men who behave as goats on His left, and men who behave as sheep on His right. The goats do not come to God’s help while the sheep do. The sheep help those who are without shelter, without food, without clothing; who are in sickness or imprisoned. The goats fail to help, living a life of selfishness, apparently oblivious to others’ suffering. They do not shelter the homeless, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick or those imprisoned. They do not help God.
Both groups ask, “When did we see You, Lord?”
God responds to both, “When you see My brothers, You see Me.” He explains,”What you do or fail to do for them, You do or fail to do for Me.”
The goats Jesus says, “go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous [sheep] enter eternal life.”
He says to these sheep, “You have my Father’s blessing; come, enter and possess the kingdom that has been made for you since before the world was made.” (Matthew 25: 34)
“Treat others as you like them to treat you,” says Jesus. (Luke 6: 31) And as you treat others according to this “golden rule,” you treat Jesus as well.
If God is an eagle, then you are safe beneath His wings as “He covers you with His pinions.” (Psalm 91: 4) Here you find shelter as you “lodge under the shadow of the Almighty.” God is your “safe retreat.”
“A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand close at hand, but you it does not touch; His truth is your shield and your rampart. With your own eyes you see all this.” (Psalm 91: 7, 8)
If God is an eagle, “He Himself snatches you away from the fowler’s snare;” and “you do not fear the hunter’s trap by night.” (Psalm 91: 3, 5) You do not fear as you “live in the shelter of the Most High.”
God Himself says, “You see with your own eyes…how I carry you on eagles’ wings and bring you here to Me. If only you now listen to Me and keep My covenant, then out of all peoples you are my special possession; for the whole earth is Mine.” (Exodus 19: 4 – 5)
“Make the Most High your refuge.” (Psalm 91: 9)
“We, however, possess the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2: 16)
Having the mind of Christ, we “have the Spirit” of God. ” ‘Things beyond our seeing, things beyond our hearing, things beyond our imagining, all prepared by God for those who love Him,’ these it is that God reveals to us through the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2: 9 – 10)
The Spirit of God knows “the depths of God’s own nature.” (1 Corinthians 2: 11)
If we possess the Spirit of God, then we “can judge the worth of everything.” (1 Corinthians 2: 15) As we judge the worth of everything, we are not “subject to judgment by [our] fellow-men.” (1 Corinthians 2: 16) No one of the world, that is — is able to advise us.
Rather we must be advised by one who “declares the attested truth of God… of nothing but Jesus Christ — Christ nailed to the cross… the Word… the gospel [which] sways [us not] with subtle arguments; [but with] conviction by spiritual power. so that [our] faith might be built not upon human wisdom but upon the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2: 1 – 5, selected)
And without the Spirit of God, a person “refuses what belongs to the Spirit of God; it is folly to him; he cannot grasp it, because it needs to be judged in the light of the Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 2: 14)
Hence, our salvation is by the will of God our Father who generously gives us His Holy Spirit so that, by grace, we may discern the truth — the good news that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, dies for us — once for all. He lives eternally at the right hand of His Father where He always intercedes for us. This is the mind of Christ — He is our Savior.
“Think your way to a sober estimate based on the measure of faith that God deals to each of you,” writes Paul. He tells us, “Do not be conceited or think too highly of yourself.”
After all, our gifts “are allotted to us by God’s grace, and must be exercised accordingly.” (Romans 12: 6)
Each gift is designed and given by God for the benefit of all — no gift goes unneeded though many go unappreciated. One gift is not like the others, but each is uniquely individual. Each is to be exercised through God’s grace “with all [one’s] heart,” “based on the measure of faith that God has dealt each of you,” “in proportion to [one’s] faith,” “with all [one’s] heart,” and “cheerfully.” (Romans 12: 3, 7, 8)
No gift is to be lifted up as superior to another. Paul writes, “Give pride of place to one another in esteem.” (Romans 12: 10) He reminds, “Do not be haughty, but go about with humble folk. Do not keep thinking how wise you are.” (Romans 12: 16)
Remember, “he who loves his neighbor satisfies every claim of the law.” (Romans 13: 8)
In the distress of being utterly abandoned by his friends and family, Job cries out in great hope and faith, “But in my heart I know that my vindicator lives and that He will rise last to speak in court; and I shall discern my witness standing at my side and see my defending counsel, even God Himself, whom I shall see with my own eyes, I myself and no other.” (Job 19: 25 – 27)
The last person to speak on Judgment Day — on that day — is Christ, our Redeemer and “Defending Counsel, even God Himself.” Jesus is our one and only witness and defender. He witnesses to our faith and defends against our weakness. No other is necessary.