Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I spent the morning composing a long-awaited letter for the Willises. It was both long and awaited, and the bonus feature consisted of randomly highlighted letters which Ariel will add together to form a secret message all her own. They’ve been asking me what the Lord is teaching me and I’d never shared much before. There is simply too much! Each day I have paragraphs I’ve learned—how can I ever condense it all into one letter? And each thing He teaches me builds upon something else. As I finally began to spill, my whole year began to flow onto the page in one overriding theme—the same one I see through the entire Bible! God is worthy!

Someone I spoke with recently said that the concept of a God who created the world and a race of people for the sole purpose of worshipping Him, then gave them the ability to choose to worship Him or not, but punishes those who do not worship Him, is a God who behaves like a spoiled child. Our world has so warped truth that the mere fact that God is creator is no longer considered enough to make Him worthy of choosing what to create, how to create or the purpose of the creation. They’ve lost sight of the fact that heaven is simply being in God’s presence, while hell is being cut off from God. God embodies all that is good, lovely, pure, light, life and loving, so to choose absence from Him necessarily means choosing absence from all that is good, lovely, pure, light, life and loving. It’s as simple as God giving us what we choose.

God created man to be in full communion with Him. When man first rebelled against God, he severed that communion. “What fellowship has light with darkness?” None! When you walk into a room and turn on a light, what happens to the darkness? It vanishes! When you turn the light off, the darkness overwhelms the room. But the light and dark never exist in the same place at the same time. So God and man cannot be in fellowship. Heaven is God’s home, so man simply cannot inhabit it. The earth is His footstool—it still has elements of God, so man can’t inhabit it forever. The man who has rejected God has rejected every part of God and can have no eternal existence where any part of God exists. It’s that simple.

The modern church has been warped with the deceptive belief that God loves the world above anything else, or that God wants to be our friends more than He wants anything else. To claim such folly is to call God an idolater! The ten commandments that God gave on Mount Sinai are the sum total of His law. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind” is the greatest commandment. Do we imagine that God breaks His own commandments? Absolutely not. He loves Himself more than anything. He seeks His own best interest. Does this sound wrong? Not if we stop to think about it. Why is it wrong for us to love ourselves more than anything, to seek our own best interests? Simply because it violates this commandment. It usurps God. God is worthy of the love and adoration of all His creation on the basis that we are His creation. We should worship and love God because He is worthy.

And we love our neighbor as our self, because God is worthy. It’s vital that we understand that we do not have “rights” because we deserve them, and others do not have “rights” because they deserve them, but only because God commands it. He built the world and wrote the manual, His rules apply. So when He calls us to surrender our “rights” it should be no struggle. Any offense against us is not an offense against us, but an offense against the Creator of the Universe. The vengeance for such offenses belongs to Him because He is worthy. He is worthy to avenge because He created the world and the rules that are broken. We should obey God because He is worthy.

Each of us has trampled upon God’s rules. If we’ve broken a law He created about our relationship with man, then we have ultimately broken the greatest commandment to love Him most. We’ve put our own wishes or desires above Him, exalting ourselves above His commandments. Those who love Him keep His commandments. But we don’t love Him most, and each of us chooses our own way to the displacement of God in our hearts. It is broken rules that bring about the severance of fellowship with God. He keeps His own rules, proving His own perfection, His own worthiness. We cannot, and so we cannot be in His presence. Light has no fellowship with darkness.

For thousands of years God passed over the sins previously committed. Man could not be in complete fellowship with Him, and yet God proved His worthiness by His patience, His longsuffering. He didn’t wink at sin. He didn’t ignore it. But He delayed His punishment. And He sent His son, born a man, born under the law, that He might redeem those under the law.

Jesus, the Son of God, was fully man through the lineage He possessed through His mother, Mary, a sinner like the rest of mankind. But He was fully God through the miracle that He had no human father. God was His father. For the entire duration of His life, He only did what He saw the Father doing. No sin was found in Him. He kept the law in spirit and in truth, for He was the fulfillment of the law. At that time, He did not come to judge the world, but to bring men to repentance. Next to the perfect Christ, we see ourselves as we are—separated from God by the chasm of our own sin. Only Christ, God in the flesh, could bridge that gap. And only through one means: the end of sin is death. Jesus Christ was brought before the Jewish high priests, who found Him “worthy of death”. As the sacrificial lambs offered every year to hide the sins of the people must be spotless, so Jesus was spotless. The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Before, the blood of sacrifices had only covered our sin. When Jesus’ blood was shed on the cross at Calvary, His blood washed away our sin because He was worthy. Jesus reconciled us to God through His death, because He was worthy.

And because there was no sin in Him, death could not be master over Him. His goodness was truly more than all the sins of the world. He was able to pay the debt for all time in a death that lasted only three days. God raised Him from the dead because He was worthy.

Those who recognize the worthiness of God and His Son Jesus can be reconciled to God through the blood of Christ. They can choose to bow before Jesus, repent and turn away from their evil deeds and die spiritually with Him to be raised spiritually to walk in newness of life. Only through the righteousness of Christ can we ever be made worthy to walk again in fellowship with God.

Newness of life means we live to serve the God who is worthy. No longer bound to the sins that enslaved us before, no longer heirs of death, we are free to worship God and to love Him first—the very thing for which we were created. Redeemed to God, we love and worship Him because He is worthy. We obey Him, because He is worthy. We serve others, because He is worthy. We sacrifice our “rights”, because He is worthy. We share what He has done for us, because He is worthy. We offer Him our worldly possessions and relationships, because He is worthy. We lose our lives for Him, because He is worthy. And some day, we will lay aside the perishable body, through “death” to be raised imperishable to worship Him eternally, because He is worthy.

One day everyone will behold God in all His worthiness, and will bow before Him when Christ returns to earth to judge the world. In that day, those who have deemed themselves more worthy of worship than God will discover their own unworthiness and will be miserable in it. But those who admit their worthlessness and His worthiness now and bend the knee willingly, the judge will justify.

“Worthy art Thou, O Yahweh, to receive glory and honor and power, for Thou did create all things, and because of Thy will they existed and were created.” Revelation (of God’s worthiness) 4:11

Yahweh, Thou alone art worthy,

Willingly I bow before Thee

Through Thy Son’s redemptive grace

I may plead to see Thy face.

Before, my sin condemned me wholly,

Thy own law judged me unworthy.

Through the righteousness Thou gives

I shall see Thy face and live!

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