In a previous post the following question was raised up: “What is the path to true faith?” The basic point made there was that if there really is a God, logical arguments and “proofs” will never suffice to lead us to real faith in him. Ultimately, if there really is a God, the only way you will be truly convinced of his existence is if you meet him. Just as with any relationships, we must taste of his personal reality in order to live in a deep conviction that he is real and that he loves us.
This is such a critical point to make to both those who call themselves believers and those who do not. If you are seeking to get to know the real God of christianity, you need to know that its not merely a process of logical deductions and arguments, though these things do play a key role. On the other hand if you are already one who claims to know God and wants to learn to more effectively share what you have with the world you need to remember how you got here. God came into your life and made the reality of his person and work known to you. That is what must happen to anyone if they are to really understand true spirituality. You must meet God.
Biblical christianity has long asserted that there are four distinct ways that God is personally present in the world.
At the heart of being a real christian is the fact that one has come to meet God. This is at the very core of the whole christian message. The biblical diagnosis of all that is wrong with the world is that it is full of people living in a personal world, which screams of a personal Creator, and yet we live as if he did not exist. Separation from him is what really needs to be mended. If you want to know God in this world you need to know real people who know him. The most profound presence of his person is practically shown in the lives of those who live and love God. If you are seeking to really know the God of the Bible, find those who know him and get to know their lives. If you are one seeking to share God with the world, invite people into your heart and life, not just your arguments. Share the reality of his work in your whole life.
Real Christian Community
God’s personal nature multiplies and expands as one gets to know the community of those who follow him. This is a distinctive of the christian story. God is deeply personal and invites those who know him to know his love in ways that multiply and outnumber anything we could ever imagine. That is precisely what the church is. It is a community of those in whom Christ has made his change in many unique ways. It is a spiritual family of individuals who’s love for God fuels a deep love and care for one another. A true church is one that shows God’s love in a most powerful sense by simply living out the good news of Jesus in all of life and sharing the burdens of life in a fallen world. Ultimately the church is the fullest expression of why we all long to belong to any community. Far more that merely being connected to people, life among other christians connects us to God as we see how he brings us together into the most powerful experience of real belonging.
Not just ideas about the Bible – but the Bible itself. Why? Because it is God’s personal objective word to us. It boasts the great bold claim to reveal to us the very heart of God. Of all the different religions, the God of the Bible is consistently presented as the God who speaks, the God who communicates by means of the word. This is the case from the very start when God speaks reality into existence. He therefore makes us into intelligible and rational creatures, creatures longing for content, for a story to bring our world together into one unified experience. This is how he has made us and even when we live a life fallen away from us he speaks to us in the only imaginable objective manner: a book. A book that has withstood and endured history in unimaginable ways. A book through which he, by his amazing love and mercy to us, seeks to speak once again his life giving words. You come to the actual words of God, you come to God himself.
God’s personal disclosure of himself in this world spirals like a drill bit in concentric and increasingly more powerful circles to come at a head point at the most profound revelation of himself – Jesus. Jesus claims to be God incarnate, God in the world, God as one of us. To the modern skeptical age this is a very tough claim to stomach. And yet the vast majority of the skepticism and denial of Jesus’ true nature is simply the result of people who have not done their homework. If you are willing to believe in God, on what basis are you not willing to believe in a God who can enter the very story that he is writing? The christian message is that God enters the lives of those he loves. He writes himself into the story. He comes to the world to face the rejection and punishment that we deserved. He takes the greatest blow. And he does so in real space-time history, in a real body, a real life, real lungs that were gasping for breath as he prayed, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” Get to know the person of Jesus and you will meet the most personal and powerful revelation of God. Not just an abstract idea. Not just a spiritual notion.
“Where is God today?!”
If there really is a God, if he is truly personal, as we are, then there are clear ways that he manifests his presence in the world. This is the message that Christianity has asserted for hundreds of years. If you are a christian, you must learn to share this fuller picture with the lives of the people around you. You are called to be a walking, talking, breathing picture of God’s work in the world. If you are not a christian, have you ever allowed these questions to go deeper than your intellect? Have you ever challenged your own heart to be willing to consider these questions? Take a look around. Put the ancient christian answers to the test.