I just finished reading a great book by Wm. Paul Young, “Cross Roads.” Paul Young also wrote the bestselling novel, The Shack. If you have not read it, you should. I love both of these books because they portray God as a trinitarian community. We all, as Christians, know or have heard that God exist as a trinity, three persons as one God, but distinct from one another. However, we don’t hear much talk about this in the church except maybe a passing reference.
I have always wondered what the significance of God existing as a “trinity” was. Now I’m getting the idea. Not just from Paul Young’s books but from other sources. One of the clearest teachers on the subject is C. Baxter Kruger. I don’t even remember how I ever came across Kruger. What I do remember though is that about three years ago I was pretty discouraged about my “Christian walk.” I had just about become convinced that if I died, I was headed to hell. At that point, I had been a Christian for over 23 years.
This all came about because I was trying, very hard, through my best effort, to live a life that was pleasing to God. Most Christians might say there is nothing wrong with that. That’s what you’re supposed to do. However, I found that the harder I tried to “be” pleasing to God, the worse my life became. Every one of us has some secret sin; something that we keep hidden behind the facade we put up for others to see. We act one way at church and around other Christians, but, when we are by ourselves there is something very, very wrong. If you are honest you will admit that the more you tackled these secret sins, the worse they became.
The more I resisted sin, the harder my flesh fought against me; because the power of sin is the law. When our life boils down to a list of moral rules that we try to follow we are already defeated. As I did, you may fool yourself for many years into thinking that you have control of the situation; that you have the power to keep your sin at bay. You cannot use discipline to conquer sin. You can’t do it through fasting. You can’t pray that God will help you in your effort because it doesn’t work that way. And when all these things fail you start self-loathing. Do this long enough and you may come to the same conclusion I did, that you are not worthy; maybe I’m not saved. Maybe John Calvin was right, and I’m not predestined to be saved. Maybe I really am going to hell and there is nothing I can do about it.
Well, I am glad to report that I am not hell bound. The Lord lead me to the gospel of Grace. And grace is not just unmerited favor and forgiveness for my sin, but, Grace is a person. The Son of God, Jesus Christ is the Grace of God. From the moment of the incarnation, God and Man were joined together. Paul said that,
“There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God. All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.”(Rom 3:10-12)
That is, until Jesus. The Son of God, in Adam’s flesh, did what we could not do. He was righteous; He understood God; He continually sought out God. He didn’t turn way; He turned toward God, showed kindness and mercy to all. And because he was able to do it in Adam’s flesh He was able to gather all men in Adam into Himself. Pauls says the Jesus is the last Adam. (Romans 5) So in His living out His life in Adam’s flesh, He makes something new; a new race of man. In Him, we are made new. In Him, we all died and then were raised from the dead when His Father lifted him up. We were not only raised from the dead with Him, we are seated with Him, in Him, at His Fathers side. (Eph 1:20)
Just as in Adam all died, so in Christ, we all live. (Romans 5) Here is where we as Christians get confused. We think that because Christ did all this for us that we are somehow supposed to live a life that is repayment. We think that we owe Him something. The truth is that we couldn’t pay Him back if we lived a million years, and lived every day perfectly.
This is not what God wants from us. What He wants, and has always wanted is a relationship. And you don’t have to work for that either. Because of Jesus Christ, we are forever connected with the Father, in Christ, in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. We will be forever together in union with God through Christ. God is our Father and we are His Children. There is nothing that can change that.
Believing in Jesus means to trust Him here and now; not just the facts of his past life on earth 2000 years ago. Is what he says about Himself true? Does he love you right here and now, regardless of how you think your life is going? If you believe in Him you’ll trust Him; that He loves you. There is nothing to do except to be yourself and live your life. It may take you a while to learn who you are in light of the revelation of what God feels about you and has made you. Paul says,
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2Cor 5:17)
Simply trust Him and live your life. It is not as hard as we have made it. Stop trying to live for Christ and trust that he lives for you. Stop trying to live by the law, any law or rules, and trust that Christ lives in you. You might be surprised by what happens. You’ll begin to realize that the sins you’ve struggled against all these years don’t even interest the “real” you.
You are in Christ. It is His life that is inside you. However, if you try to live by the law you will arouse the flesh and be deceived, and eventually fail in your effort.
The Father, Son, and Spirit live together in love and in harmony, and because of the son becoming man, we have been lifted up into the love and harmony that they share. We are a family.
I’ll end this post with one last thought. In order to know God you have to look within yourself. I am not saying you are god. I’m saying that you will find God in your own heart. Jesus once said, “..nor will they say, ‘See here,’ or, ‘See there,’ for indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.” (Luke 17:21 nkjv) Inside you, and others, is where you will find God.
If you want to love God you’ll have to love people, because He is in them. You can’t exclude them because God doesn’t. God is love.
There is a great book that I am almost finished reading. It’s called, “The Misunderstood God.” Darin Hufford is the author, and does a great job exploring the love of God and what it means to us here on earth. God is not at all the ogre that religion has made him out to be. He loves you, and when you come to terms with that it will change your life.