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How does God reveal Himself?  One way is in nature

02 Feb

David proclaimed that ”The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. {2} Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. {3} There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. {4} Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens he has pitched a tent for the sun, {5} which is like a bridegroom coming forth from his pavilion, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. {6} It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is hidden from its heat.” (Psalms 19:1-6)

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Paul lays a heavy responsibility upon every human being, who can learn at a stated level that he is left without excuse if he does not respond with a changed life:  “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, {19} since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. {20} For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. {21} For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. (Romans 1:18-21)

The Apostle Paul taught us that God reveals something about His holy standards through man’s conscience.

(Romans 2:14-16) Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law, {15} since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.) {16} This will take place on the day when God will judge men’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

But none of these give us very many particulars about God’s personality or nature. We need something more. We need to have Him talk with us.

And He does that, not through spooky voices or mystical experiences, but through Scripture. They are God’s words to us. They were given by the breath of His mouth:

(Matthew 4:4)  Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”

(2 Timothy 3:16-17)  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, {17} so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

(2 Peter 1:20-21)  Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. {21} For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

In the Bible God tells us what He is like. We learn how He thinks, how He feels, and how we can expect Him to act. If we want to know God, we must begin by opening the Bible and reading what He has to say about Himself.

But God is infinite, and we are finite human beings. How can the finite ever really understand the infinite? How can the human ever truly know the divine?

It seems that God must reveal Himself to us in some way more personal than mere written words if we are ever to know Him genuinely. And that is exactly what He did through Jesus Christ.

(John 1:14-18)  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. {15} John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'” {16} From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. {17} For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. {18} No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.

(Hebrews 1:1-3)  In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, {2} but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. {3} The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.

Jesus Christ is the out-shining of God’s glory and the perfect expression of God’s essential being. To know Him is to know God.

Jesus Himself made that claim when He said: “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him. (John 14:7).

While Jesus has returned bodily to Heaven, God has given us both the inspired record of His life as well as the spiritual faculties we need to know Him personally. We can know Christ just as intimately as if we walked with Him on earth as His first disciples did. And to know Him is to know God.

WHY IS KNOWING GOD SO IMPORTANT?

  1. It shapes our moral and ethical standards.
  2. It directly affects our response to pain and hardship.
  3. It motivates our response toward fortune, fame, power, and pleasure.
  4. It gives us strength when we are tempted.
  5. It keeps us faithful and courageous when we are outnumbered.
  6. It enhances our worship and prompts our praise.
  7. It determines our lifestyle and dictates our philosophy.
  8. It gives meaning and significance to relationships.
  9. It sensitizes our conscience and creates the desire to be obedient.
  10. It stimulates hope to go on, regardless.
  11. It enables us to know what to reject and what to respect while I’m invited to planet Earth.
  12. It is the foundation upon which everything rests!

      A March (1994) poll for U.S. News and World Report’s issue found that 93% of Americans say they believe in God or a universal spirit. Of those polled, 65% say religion is losing its influence on American life, although 62% say religion is increasing its influence in their personal lives. Other findings:

  • The Bible is the actual word of God to be taken literally, word for word: 34%
  • The Bible is the inspired word of God, but not everything in it can be taken literally: 46%
  • The Bible is an ancient book of legends, history and moral precepts, recorded by man: 16%
  • God is a heavenly father who can be reached by prayers: 76%
  • God is an idea, not a being: 11%
  • God is an impersonal creator: 8%                    Yes       No
  • There is no one set of values that is right 48% 44%
  • Each individual must determine what is right or wrong 70% 25%
  • The president should be a moral and spiritual leader 78% 17%
  • Our government would be better if policies were more directed by moral values 84% 9%
  • Individual freedom is critical to democracy in this country 91% 4%
  • God is the moral guiding force of American democracy 55% 35%
  • Nearly 60% of Americans say they hold their current religious beliefs because of their parents’ example.
  • More than 8 of every 10 Americans today believe that it’s possible to be a good Christian or Jew even without attending a church or synagogue.

 

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Doctrine

 

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