Tuesday, December 29, 2015
Sole Criterion of God's Goodwill
UV 1626/10000 Sole and Key Criterion of “God’s Goodwill.”
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.
Hebrews 11 v 6
Belief is the only door through which we can approach and know God. It is an open door for anyone but it requires the spiritual grace or gift of the faculty of faith to believe. Throughout His ministry on earth, Jesus was only pleasantly surprised and pleased by the extent of faith of people, many of whom did not have a tradition of belief or faith like the Roman centurion who said that Jesus had only to speak the word to heal his sick subordinate or servant. The centurion who had command over a hundred soldiers applied his knowledge of the military power and structure to the invisible world of faith. In his mind, he saw with the eye of faith that just as the Roman empire had a powerful Caesar at its helm, below him generals and governors of provinces, below them captains and soldiers, prefects and officials, the spiritual universe is under the supreme command of God Almighty. He knew intuitively from what he had heard and seen during his time in Israel that the man called Jesus had the spiritual authority to command sicknesses to be healed and bondages to be broken. He knew that His mere word is law. This kind of faith pleased Jesus as it pleases the Father who sent Him. The uni-verse also implies that we cannot please God with merely leading a good life, not doing evil or by doing good deeds. We cannot please God with our piety and devotion. Nor can we please God with sacrifices and rituals. Faith enables not only our potential to be realized but it allows God’s glory, grace and power to be manifested.
Anyone who personally relates to God must first believe that He exists as a Person just like any of us but so unlike any of us. He is not just a shapeless, nameless, character-less force but a Person of great beauty, awesome power and noble character. We need to believe that just as we love our children, the fruit of our own bodies, He loves His special creatures –humans who alone have the faculty to believe in Him as His children. We need to know that He communicates His thoughts, feelings and ideas to us in a variety of ways- through nature, through circumstances, through signs and wonders, through scripture and prophecy. Our communication to Him is called prayer while His communication to us is revelation. Does God pray? We know that Jesus prayed often and fervently. We know that the Holy Spirit communicates or prays with groans that words cannot express. The Holy Spirit also communicates through unknown tongues and heavenly tongues. Belief in the absolute goodness and perfection of God is the source of the many rivers of life giving water of our inner being: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, self control and wisdom.
If our faith pleases the Lord, our diligence in studying His Word, His revelations and oracles, His promises, commands and all His ways brings us great rewards in terms of wisdom and grace. It will win us favour in His sight. By His wisdom shall our days be multiplied and the years of our lives shall be increased. Wisdom and grace will add life to our years and years to our lives. He will bless us with the abundant and eternal life. Diligence will enable us to discover the secrets of the Lord that are hidden from the kings, rulers and learned of this world. As we study the Word of God, the very DNA or divine nature of God passes deep into our being. Our lives are blessed and we become a blessing to others- to our families, our children, our kith and kin, our neighbours, strangers and the world at large. As we diligently study His Word, we find fulfillment and realize our full potential. As we diligently and faithfully study and apply the Word in our lives in all its aspects, we will learn to walk closely with the Lord, step by step, day by day. Proximity to the Lord implies distance from the ills and evils of this world. Our quest should not be a vain conquest of self or its passions but it must be a quest or search for God accompanied by great zeal or sincerity and earnestness. The Lord promises in His Word, “ If you search for me with all your heart, you shall find me.” The word “you” implies anyone who searches earnestly without any barriers or limitations of religion, race, class, gender, nationality, status, background, qualifications, intelligence or even past record of thoughts, words or deeds.
Prateep V Philip