New American Standard Version
Hebrews 6: 17-20
17. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, 18. in order that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we may have strong encouragement, we who have fled for refuge in laying hold of the hope set before us. 19. This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a [hope] both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20. where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.
God has certain purposes for His children here on earth, to come into relationship with Him and to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ are two that we have been discussing in this study on prayer. In this scripture passage the writer of Hebrews is telling us that these promises that God has given us are certain because of who God is. He is telling us that God is unchangeable and that He also swears to us in an oath that He will not lie and that the promises He has made are "good"; they are Truth.
Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday and today, [yes] and forever
"For I, the LORD, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
These two verses basically say the same thing. Jesus never changes, God never changes. Thank you, Lord. I'm so glad He doesn't get sick of me. That He doesn't lose patience with me. That He doesn't change His mind and decide I'm not living up to His standards. So I'm out!
7. "If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him." 8. Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." 9. Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and [yet] you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, 'Show us the Father '? 10. "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.
I grew up in a church where "hell fire and damnation" were the sermon topics of each week. Whether or not there was anything else preached I can't remember. That was all I could remember. Week after week, year after year. It really didn't even matter if the pastor changed. It was all the same. I remember when I was a teenager. I really had had it up to my eyeballs with hearing how I was going to hell if I didn't repent, and "get saved". I don't know if anyone else has been through this, but finally I'd had enough of condemnation and misery. I was 6 when I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior. I knew I had made that decision. I knew I was going to heaven. Why did I have to hear the same "sermon" every week? It warped my view of Father God. I felt like He was sitting up in Heaven just waiting for me to mess up so He could "punish" me.
Don't get me wrong, I know we need to know about the consequences of our lives lived without Jesus. But I just needed more. I needed to know about the love of God for "me"; me individually. I knew God loved me because He sent His son to die for me, but I wanted to know how he felt about me, personally.
When I was a little girl I loved Jesus so much and so enjoyed all the Bible stories I had learned in Sunday School. Jesus loved children and small furry animals and only got mad if you tried to sell things in the sanctuary. Then you better watch out!
Into my adult years I was never able to put God the Father and Jesus "together". Not until I really had this verse put into my heart.
So how do you justify all the bloodshed and "justice" of the Old Testament in light of what the New Testament says? I never could wrap my mind around it. How could God change from the stern disciplinarian of the Old Testament to the sweet baby and loving young teacher of the New Testament?
Here goes. A simplistic answer straight from the Holy Spirit. God has never changed. He has been the same through all eternity. God had had a plan in the Garden of Eden, but we messed up. So, plan B involved more "structure" by the 10 Commandments and the Law. Men still messed up. The only way to remedy this was by sending Jesus, God's son, yet the embodiment of God, to live and then die for us as payment of our sin. He "paid the price". God is Holy, and He does not allow sin in His presence. Jesus "justified" us by His death and resurrection.
Now, God did not change, but because of Jesus death on the cross, our perception of Him changed because we are now "covered in the blood of Jesus". When the Father sees us, He sees His Son, Jesus. There is a reason that our dating of time starts with the birth of Jesus. B.C. and A.D. Before Christ, and Anno Domini, meaning in the year of our Lord. Time and history radically changed at Jesus birth and death and crucifixion. We are now able to approach the Father, because of Jesus shed blood on the cross. Before, that could not happen.
We have been looking at God's nature and how that pertains to our prayer life. Knowing that God doesn't change and that we can trust Him, gives us confidence to come before Him in prayer.
I'm interested in hearing about how your views of God were shaped and how you have perceived Him in the past and present. Share with us your journey of knowing God.