In last week’s post we looked at the first two of four questions, the biblical answers to which form the foundation of a uniquely Christian worldview. They were: 1.) “What is God like?,” and 2.) “What am I like?” In today’s post we will deal with 3.): “How does God relate to me?”
The temptation when we first look at these questions is to think that the answers seem self-evident. “I believe those answers, so therefore I have a Christian worldview. Nothing else to see here.” In other words, “Is this really worth a whole blog posting?”
However, as we saw last week, the answers from the Scripture deal in absolutes, a concept that is difficult for humans to grasp fully. For example, in answer to the first question “What is God like?,” the Bible teaches that He is omnipotent and sovereign, which 90% of Christians say they believe.
But do they believe that He is absolutely so? He can do, in heaven and on earth, at any time, anything He wants, and He always, no exceptions, does so! Sin, tragedy, war, and calamities of all kinds are all ordained by God. Yes, He ultimately caused them, if He is absolutely sovereign and omnipotent.
The answer to question 2, “What am I like?,” is not that I am sinful (all will agree to that fact), but that I am absolutely sinful, with no inherent salvage value whatsoever. Everything I do is riddled with sin. My actions are never meritorious to God, but always harbor impure motives—self-seeking, self-promotion, self-protection, self-defense, etc.—as I desperately try to avoid the cross and stay “alive.”
So, the implications of “absolutely” are staggering, but these absolutes are indispensable in constructing a biblical worldview that prepares us to join our Father in His family business.
The application of “absolutely” in the answer to today’s question, “How does God relate to me” is equally crucial.
3.) How does God relate to me? In the answer to this question, which is a part of the definition of a biblical worldview, “absolutely” is not only essential, but also, just as in the answers to the first two questions, highly controversial: “God relates to me by grace alone, absolutely.” At the cross, the just demands of God’s holy, righteous, perfect law were completely satisfied, with no exceptions. All sin, the sin of the whole world, has been paid for by the blood of Jesus, and every person is now saved absolutely and is free to receive, enjoy, and bask in the unlimited, unconditional love God has for each one!
“Of course,” you may say, “What’s controversial about that? All Christians believe that.” But do they? Certainly they believe that our justification (saved from the penalty of sin) and our glorification (saved from the presence of sin) is by grace alone with no good works necessary on our part. But what about the third aspect of our salvation, our sanctification—being saved from the practice of sin—right now, in this life?
Is not sanctification a part of that salvation process? Does that not then mean that Jesus will not only justify and glorify us but also sanctify us by grace alone as well, without any help from us?
In other words, we relate to God, in this life as well as the next, by grace absolutely—with nothing from us necessary at all: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely . . . Faithful is he that calls you, who will also do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24). Even the faith that brings us this grace experientially is “a gift from God” (Ephesians 2:8,9).
The ramifications of “grace alone through faith alone” in all three aspects of our salvation are very controversial. This means that all the “ought-tos, need-tos and shoulds” of the Christian life to “be a good Christian” are suddenly gone. I now no longer read the Bible, pray, go to church, obey God’s law or witness to others for any of those reasons. I am now completely free from having to perform any “Christian disciplines” whatsoever if salvation is by grace alone!
Do you believe that? That is what salvation by grace alone, absolutely, really means. However, cries of “Cheap Grace!”, “Worldliness!“, “License!”, will always follow the message of the grace of God fully preached, and this blog posting is no exception.
Paul himself faced the same response exactly: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?” (Romans 6:1). His answer in Chapter 6 is, “Of course not! Something happened to you when you were born again and you’re a new creature. You can’t experientially continue in sin any more. The Holy Spirit now lives within you. He is on a mission to conform you to the image of Jesus Christ, with no help from you, and He will not be denied!”
Paul could never tell us that we can’t continue to live in sin anymore if it depended on us in any way to not sin. But it doesn’t depend on us in the least! “For it is God who works in you both to will (to want to) and to do for His good pleasure” (Philippians 2:13). Yes, God is diligently at work, making us want to do His will! Reading the Bible, praying, obeying, going to church and witnessing are all now “want-tos,” and we do them because we want to. If we don’t “want to” do them we don’t “need to” do them.
Is it not effortless to do what you want to do? He is working in you, right now, to change your “want tos” to conform to His, and this verse says He is also giving you the power to perform them, because it is so easy to do what you want to do. This means that what you want to do, in a given situation, is what God wants you to do. Philippians 2:13 is biblical truth, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:32). Doing what you want to do is absolute freedom.
You may not see God doing this in your life, but living by faith is believing that He is, because He says He is, whether you see it or not! “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).
Admit to Daddy that you have refused to believe He is doing what He tells you He is doing, right now—loving you, whatever you are doing, and making no demands to change, because changing you is His job, and He is currently doing so, even though that love for you may involve severe discipline. Believe it, because it’s true, and He is right on his perfect schedule to finish what He has begun!