REDUCING GOD

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29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God”. (Matthew 22)

In the last post we analyzed the first reason for error. The other reason for error is failing to understand the power of God. At the very core, what this consists of is trying to reduce God to fit into the framework of our limited understanding.

The Bible indicates that reality goes beyond what we see, sense and comprehend. Now to acknowledge a reality that is obvious to our senses and our mind is easy; however it requires faith to believe and trust in a reality that is unseen and beyond comprehension. Yet, faith makes such a state possible wherein man, though limited, can indeed grasp a wider reality.

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Heb 11:6)

Without faith no one can see God or please Him. Now faith is not required if everything could be figured out or sensed. But to recognize God and also his operations, faith is mandatory. That is why faith is given such a high value in the Christian walk. Abraham became the father of nations because he was the father of faith.

Whenever an error fits into the category of ignorance about the power of God, there is a lack of the element of faith. You could consider various examples of error brought on by ignorance about the power of God.

To begin with, at conversion, a Christian comes to realize that the gospel cannot really be ‘figured out’ but only revealed by the grace of God. And so for those who mock at the message of Christ, or try to reason out God, revelation of Christ and his salvation will elude.

There are those who try to confine God and his understanding to eloquent words of wisdom. When God is no more than an argument or a product of reason, the spirit of man is not nourished and all we have are puffed up teachers who have no understanding of the power of God. In Paul’s words,

3 I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinth 2)

Then there is the Christian who waxes eloquent about the sovereignty of God or the power of God but refuses to have faith and so truly apply those amazing attributes of God to his daily life and pursuits. Others are more than active within the institution of the church but have no familiarity with the God who is the head of the church. Consequently they end up with a form of godliness but denying its power.

The last three posts have been an attempt to look at factors causing division within the church. As the pilgrim moves forward in his journey, he needs to be aware of the divisive forces at work within the church and take heed. Paul’s words to Timothy are instructive,

14 Keep reminding them of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, 18 who have wandered away from the truth. (2Timothy 2)

Discipline in words and life is not easy and needs to perfected in one’s life. Doctrinal purity must be maintained. Wandering away from the truth is the last thing a Christian wants in the end-time days when the love of most will grow cold.

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