“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.” Romans 7:4
The people who crucified Jesus believed in God, but they did not know Him (Luke23:34). Many of us in this nation have believed in God from a young age, but we have not known Him. Let the light dawn.
• To believe God is more interested in my behaviour than in me, is not to know Him. (Luke 15:2)
• To believe the reason I was born, was to do something for God, is not to know Him. (John 17:20-26).
• To believe that I need to do something for Him, before He will do something for me, is not to know Him. (John 3:16).
• To believe I need to try harder to please Him, is not to know Him. (Rom.10:2-4, 1John 4:10)
• To believe the Bible is a book about what God requires of us, is not to know Him. (Prov.4:20-23, Matt.4:4, John 6:63).
• To believe that because I don’t go to ‘church’ God loves me less, is not to know Him. (Luke 18:9-14, Luke 19:1-10)
• To believe the gospel is a message about you cleaning up your life, is not to know Him. (Gal.3:1-14)
• To believe religion (self-effort) is God’s idea, is not to know Him. (Rom3:20-24).
But you already know this. Deep down you always knew this from a child, for the Holy Spirit always told you such things (Jer.1:5, 2Tim.1:9,10). Such truths feel like water in a dry place (John 4:14). That’s because it was religion (self-effort) that dried up your heart, so cracked your confidence in God, that you felt you could not believe in a God anymore who never seemed to answer your prayers (Prov.13:12). It was religion who gave you a God who would one day answer your prayers, if……. (Rom.10:2-4).
But the truth is, He is a God who already gave you every answer to every need, in the gift of His Son (1Cor.3:21-23, Eph.1:3). The answer was given and the need was met, before you asked or needed, because He never wanted your love for Him to be conditional on His performance for you. What father would? (Rom.8:32, 1John 4:10). He never wanted you to love Him merely because you felt you ought to (Eze.36:26). So, He did the only thing that would set you free from the self-conscious, self-effort life of religious anxiety; He gave you everything He had to give, before you were capable of doing anything for Him! (1 Cor.1:28-30, Rom5:8. Col.2:13, Heb.10:8-14). Let the light dawn. God is not in the process of making up His mind about you. Jesus Christ is God’s mind made up about you (John 3:16,17). The only person whose mind now needs to be made up…..is you (Rom.10:12-14, 2Cor.5:18-20).
Some news is so good, it does not need to demand a response. The news itself is powerful enough to cause the response. The Gospel is such news! (Rom.1:16). When you hear the truth about who God is, you will need no man to confirm it, for God’s Spirit will cause a thanksgiving and a peace to well up within you (Luke 24:32, John 4:14, Rom.8:15). You will find within you a gift from Him called faith; the ability to know Him (Rom.10:17). Jesus had a beautiful description for knowing God as He really is, knowing Him as your Father. He simply called this knowing; “eternal life” (John 17:3).
It is in knowing Him, knowing His life, that we discover that His way of life is never an ‘I alone’ life (John 5:19). That explains why you could never ‘be’ the good person you wanted to be, by yourself (John 15:5). To be good as God is good, is only possible by receiving His good life, not by achieving it (Eph.2:8,9). His good life is not an ‘I’ life but an ‘Us’ life (Gen.1:26, John 17:22). Religion may have asked ‘you alone’ to do things for God, but God has never expected you to do one thing for Him, apart from Him! (John 15:4,5) He only asks you to do everything with Him (Matt.11:28).
It is because Jesus came, that any person in this world, from whatever religious background or none, who wants to live with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now can (John 3:16). This gift of faith, a gift of His grace, comes to you through hearing the truth about Him, and carries you into a new life, His life, a life in union with God (Col.1:12,13, Col.3:3). The Gospel describes this union like a marriage and in being married to Jesus, in finally knowing God, you will now bear the fruit of such intimacy, of such a marriage; a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Rom.7:4, Gal.5:22,23). The life religion insists you live FOR Him, is in fact the life that comes from living WITH Him. His life grows in you from the seed of the truth He has given to you; Christ, the truth about God (Col.1:6).
So, let that seed grow in your heart. Come out of the shadows of half-light. Come out of the half-truths of religion; faith in yourself, where you have been perishing (Matt.4:16). Come into the full light of the glorious gospel; the message that God so loved this world that He gave everything He had to give, His Son, that whosoever, by the gift of His grace, should hear and believe this truth, will no longer perish but have eternal life, because this is eternal life….knowing Him!
Now look and watch what happens. As the knowledge of the Son rises in your heart, the shadows of religion (faith in yourself), will recede, as the half-light does before the dawn. So awakens God’s new creation across the world; the rising Church, the light of the world, the bride of Christ.