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.
I see HIM as my precious..ABBA FATHER!! HE is my DADDY!!ReplyDelete
Thank you for this. I have been reflecting on this for a long time and still haven't 'nailed it' in my spirit. I know they are one in the same as far as character, but I still have an element of fear regarding the Father. God even today was speaking to me this morning about Him being our Good Shepherd. I so need to be able to depend on that. And He wants me to... Thanks for the reminder.ReplyDelete
I know just what you mean. I grew up in a denomination that did not preach the new birth. It was all based on works and my own suffering. If I worked hard enough and suffered long enough I might get in to Heaven or possibly Purgatory. I could not reconcile a loving God with this concept. Freedom came with the Word. At the suggestion of my room mate's 'lil Methodist Mama I began to read the Bible for myself. God opened my eyes and my heart. I discovered that He was not in Heaven with a giant fly swatter, waiting on me to mess up. I saw that Jesus' suffering was complete. That he had borne my sin and sorrow. I fell in love with Jesus through His word.
Growing up I was taught the Old Testament was history and the New Testament present and future. I still hold to that...otherwise there would be alot of folks running around without teeth or eyes.ReplyDelete
As an adult, the fact that God is unchanged is my rock. While I know that He isn't happy with me always, His love never leaves. I couldn't get out of bed in the morning without His love.
One thing that has changed for me in the last year is "talking in tongues". Being a Baptist, I never really understood the concept and maybe I still don't, but I do know that when Jenn called from the hospital, there were words but no sentences coming out of my mind and mouth. I truly couldn't say them fast enough or make a single cohesive thought out of them. Words that only He could hear and understand. I may be over simplifying it, but I realized later that for me, it was talking in tongue. The night Jenn went down to L&D and she was in so much distress, the same thing happened to her. She kept saying "Oh God" over and over. I thought she was swearing, but she told me later that she was praying and that was all that would come out. We both know He heard our cries and answered. I want to mention that was also the moment when the sweet nurse in L&D took Jenn's face in her hands, told Jenn to look into her eyes and asked if she needed her to pray with Jenn. I couldn't hear them, but I know she was an angel from God and helped my baby through a difficult time in her life. Long and the short of it...Bella's birth has forever changed my life and my faith.
Debra, I always thought God loves me and wants the best for me. If I fall he will pick me up. I try to do His will and please and glorify Him.ReplyDelete
I know that I will join Him in heaven someday. I want to do His will but let Him down from time to time. He is forgiving to those who love and follow Him. I am thankful to know that I am His. Thank you again for the studies.
Wow, Deb's comment almost made me cry. The love of God and his goodness are so real. I just have to say that I too was raised Baptist, fire and damnation, were the topics too every week. After a while, you begin to wonder is there any point to going to church other than it's what your family did for generations and because they donated the land for the church to be built on, that's what you are supposed to do? But...after a while I got real hungry for the word. Our Sunday School lessons were written (or so I think) by someone spirit filled and our church wasn't open to that. So, after my oldest son started attending a Non-denominational church and I saw the change in him, I knew that's what I needed too. Am I perfect, no! But I experienced God's love there like I've never experienced in my life. And for this I'm thankful. I went back to church this past Wednesday, after I'm ashamed to admit many months that I haven't been. Actually, I leaned over to my mother and asked her how long had it been since I'd been to church, and we both couldn't remember, probably the summer. Anyways, sorry it's so long, but I have to say I felt like I'd come back home. I know he loves me no matter what. Thank you for your sweet post and again for all you do to help us be better christians.ReplyDelete
Hi Andrea, oh how I love that He asks us to call Him "Daddy"! For all the people that do not feel His love, I just so pray that they can have this revelation of His sweet love and caring disposition towards us!ReplyDelete
Katie, the Good Shepherd is such another wonderful way to look at God. He's there constantly to protect and watch over us. And He will do whatever it takes to retreive us, no matter where we go!
Lisa, what a funny analogy, a fly swatter. Yep. know exactly how that feels! Really reading the Bible for ourselves is the only way to truly understand and have the personal understanding that we need. Just sitting in church doesn't go far enough. The Word of God speaks to us when we open the book!
Debbie, reading your comment caused tears to flow. There are so many "Spirit-filled" individuals out there. Sometimes we don't even realize when we move into it. I know there are times when human words just do not adequately express or convey what is needed. God needed you to pray and you didn't KNOW what needed to be prayed. He allowed you to pray immediately what was necessary. Oh how I love hearing about this experience. This is what comes when we walk close with the Father. He was right there with you all! And Praise God!...he did the miraculous! Debbie, thank you for sharing this.
Sandi, thank you for being here and sharing. It sounds like you have had a wonderful experience in knowing God as a friend and Father. That's so important to our maturity and "groundedness".
Theresa, I know, wasn't that a great testimony from Deb? I know everyone that reads it will be blessed.
The church I grew up in, my mom and family still attend. There is a deep connection there, and thankfully over time things HAVE changed there and with many of these denominational churches. It caused some strained feelings when our family knew we needed something else. Sometimes that's what it takes. searching. then when we do go back, even periodically we can go knowing we are not under condemnation. We can have an outlook that is positive. I had to get to the place where I left the "traditions of men" behind. Not letting anything hold me back.
I am reading all these wonderful comments and all of us come from different places and have different concepts of who God is but we all have one thing in common and that is to seek God and to love him. Praise God.
I was brought up in a Christian household and we attended a Lutheran Free Church, the pastor preached salvation with the emphasis on hell. My father and mother would go out every Wed under the pastors rule, to knock on doors and "witness" to people. My dad hated this. My dad was on the church board and in the choir and headed up biblestudies...needless to say I lived at the church. He was also on the Billy Graham staff in Mpls...(I must have gone down and gotten saved at his meetings at least 10 times lol) I don't ever remember not having Jesus in my heart, I prayed with my mother before I could remember. When I was nine I was hopitalized with acute enemia and became very ill quickly, I was annointed with oil and healed, at a very early age I knew that God cared for me. My father left the organized church searching for something more before I became a teenager. During this time there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit and he started having spirit filled home meetings. My father was a graphic artist but God called him to take a step of faith and start a church. I was a rebel and thought my dad had gone off the deep end, it was only because I wanted to be "normal" and do what everybody else did. Of course I wasn't of this world but didn't understand that at the time. Not to tell my whole lifes story here but I was baptised with the Holy Spirit in 1969, I was married and pregnant with my second baby at the time and I felt her leap in my tummy, I spoke in tongues. My life hasn't been an easy one I have chosen many hard roads - my learning period, but He is capable to finish that work which He began in me. Without the law we would not recognize sin but it is only a measuring tool... I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I but Christ liveth in me... When God looks at me He doesn't see all the wrong I have done but He sees Christ in me.
Tonight I am at peace, taking this all in.
Such wonderful comments and testimonies-
I feel so blessed to have this forum that Debra has created for us.
Great post! You are very like minded to my way of seeing God.
Yup, It is truly a love relationship and He is not a big bad mean god trying to destroy and mess up our lives. Knowing His nature is such a plus to really and truly understanding our relationship and walk with HIm. I know many churches like to preach more of a gloom and doom message such as "burn in hell" but many don't spend hours on end teaching the love of God and teaching how we are redeemed and what this redemption truly means.
Thanks for sharing the love of Christ with many!