Wednesday, February 17, 2010

1st Night Under Our Belts

We had our first Bible study tonight and I'm encouraged by the response.  We basically laid the foundation of what we'll be discussing going forward:  the character of God as He is, not necessarily as how we see Him.  Please refer to the "straw in a glass of water" analogy from the 29th of January.  We started out with a straw and answered the question, "What can you tell me about the straw?"  The obvious answers followed;  it was tubular, it was straight, it was plastic, it was white, etc.  We had a glass of water in which I placed the straw and the question was then asked, "Now how do you see the straw?"  Again the answers were fairly obvious;  it was bigger in the water than out, it didn't look straight any more but skewed, etc.  We made the connection between the fall and how our view of His character is now skewed, how Paul addressed how we see Him in I Cor 13, and how Satan attacked God's character hence our desire to study God's character as it is "out of the water" as opposed to in it.

Having personally put together the analogy I was rather pleased with myself as everyone seemed to be on the same page I was, and then R.G. dropped this incredible bombshell:  We knew that our comments about the straw when it was in the water, i.e. bigger, no longer straight, were false because we had studied the refractory effects of water.  At the time I thought it was a great comment, however upon further reflection I see much more wisdom and insight in that one statement than at first I was aware.

Two things have to be true for R.G.'s comment to make sense:  1.  We must be able to establish the initial "state" of the straw (it's straight, round, white, etc.).  Said another way the straw must be "knowable" prior to any refractory manipulation.  2.  We must attribute the change in the straw's appearance to the refractory properties of the water and not to an actual change in the properties of the straw.  Said another way, we understand the water makes the straw look different, however the straw does not change itself when it enters the water.

Do you see where I'm going with this?  1.  God is knowable (the Bible and the guidance of the Holy Spirit), and 2.  Based on His immutability, His inability to change (Malachi 3:6), we know that any difference between His true character and how we perceive His character is due to the refractory properties of the fall, of sin, and not to any change in His character.  Thank you R.G.!!!

The implications of this in our relationship with Him are huge.  Do you know how folks at Treasury can tell if currency is counterfeit?  Do you think they study all the counterfeiting techniques?  Maybe there's a "Top 10 List" of most used inks and papers?  No.  You know what they do?  They study the real currency so in depth that any inconsistency from what they know to be true is a glaring indictment of the bill or coin they're studying.  The currency they're protecting from fraud is knowable, is available for study, can be counted on as "truth."  If they see anything that doesn't match up against the truth they know its not the currency that has changed but error and fraud have entered the picture.  All of that said, it makes much more sense to study the character of God as He actually is so that anytime our emotions say, "If He's really a good God" the Holy Spirit can scream within us, "Counterfeit, Counterfeit!!!"

Think about it, we can renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2) through the study of who He is.  Let us, as we go forward, so study His true character that any reaction we have to the contrary is branded as counterfeit and deception.  Can we be assured of knowing Him?  Look at 1 Cor 2:11-16 and see that we have the mind of Christ, the only mind that can know the Father.  Have others seen Him?  Please click the link to see other examples from the Old and New Testaments of "God sightings."  Furthermore, although this a commentary on Christ's deity it applies here as well, if we've seen Jesus we've seen the Father (John 14:9).  Can we know Him?  Absolutely.  I look forward to renewing my mind with you as we bathe in His word and revelation of Himself.

Dear, Father.  Please forgive me if I've in any way misrepresented You here.  If I've taken a verse out of context to make a point, please prick our hearts with Your Holy Spirit to look deeper and see what You really meant.  Please meet us as we seek You out, as we try to know who You are, not for mere understanding sake, but so that we may love and glorify You more.  Thank You for Your love, grace and mercy.  In Jesus' name, amen.

1 comment:

  1. Great lesson, great question with sound answer. You are rockin'