Am I Far From God?
That is such a good question! I'm glad you asked. The answer is simple: He is closer than your very breath! This begins a new series of simple grace questions that many of us need answers to and those simple answers can very profoundly affect our lives.
Some worship songs, as sincere and heart-felt as they may be, subtly teach us that God is at a distance and he needs to be invited.
Revivalists told us the Holy Spirit is like a dove, very gentle, but also skittish and easily shooed away.
But that is not the testimony of the Scriptures. Instead we find affirmations such as, "I will never leave you nor forsake you!" Or, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age!" Even more, in Isaiah 6:3, the angels cry out, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord almighty. The WHOLE EARTH is full of his glory!" Add to that, part of the mission of the ascended Christ was to "fill all things everywhere with himself."
Are you part of the earth? Are you "somewhere"? Is there anywhere you can go where God isn’t there? Even the Psalmist David said, "Where can I flee from your presence... if I make my bed in Sheol, YOU ARE THERE!"
Your Greatest Obstacle in Receiving the Good News is Religion.
Religion is man’s attempt to get to God. The gospel is God’s work of saving man:
- 1 Jn. 4:10, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
- 1 Corinthians 1:30, "But by HIS DOING you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption..." (NASB)
The good news is SO good we are tempted to not receive it because we tend to think sin is bigger than the blood of Jesus. The gospel confronts us with truths that crush religion and a religious spirit. So if you will trust him, you will see his goodness unfold before you. God is closer than he appears!
Who are “You?”
In order for you to see how “close” God really is, let’s talk about the gospel for a moment. Did you know that as far as God is concerned your OLD LIFE IS DEAD.
When Christ died, he representatively took you with him onto that cross. This was so that whatever happened to him, represented all humanity. But it also means he crucified your old nature.
“I” am crucified with Christ. Who is the “I” now? Christ lives in me! We are not sinners saved by grace! We are saints of God filled with his presence! The old definition of you is dead!
- Col. 3:3, “For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.”
- Rom 6:6, “We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake with Him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities might be destroyed” (CIB)
- Rom 6:7, “For the one who died once for all stands in the position of permanent relationship of freedom from the sinful nature.” (WET)
- Col. 2:11, “In the circumcision of Christ, you were set free from your sinful nature.” (NOR)
- Col 2:11, “In Him also you were circumcised with a circumcision not made with hands, but in a [spiritual] circumcision [performed by] Christ by stripping off the body of the flesh (the whole corrupt, carnal nature with its passions and lusts).” (AMP)
We don’t die daily or put our old self to death. It is already dead! Christ put your old life to death! Therefore sin cannot separate you from God… but that’s not all…
2 Cor. 5:16-17, “From now on therefore we regard no one according to the flesh…you are a new creature...the old (paleos, extinct) is passed away”
Old things have passed away. The Greek word is paleos which means extinct. We get the word paleontologist, a person who studies extinct things, from the same word. What I want you to see is that this is not a process of some kind! It is an objective truth! The old "you" doesn't exist! It is as extinct as the brontosaurus!
Your Are A New Creation!
Let’s talk about the 2 Greek words for “New”, Neos vs Kainos.
Neos, as I heard one man teach, is new in time but similar in kind. It is like a new car. You traded in your old car and got a newer model. It is still basically the same, just a newer version.
Kainos, though, is much more. It is the word used for “New” Covenant in Hebrews 8, and “new” creation. It means:
new and superior in quality, unprecedented, far superior to what we have now and far superior to the garden of Eden; new in kind and quality, uncommon, unheard of, novel, unprecedented, superior to what it succeeds, in contrast to what previously existed.
You are no ordinary person. Paul said that the Corinthians were acting like “mere humans” as opposed to the truth of who they really are as new creations!
So How Close is God?
You are in UNION with God by the Spirit. That is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:17, “But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” ONE with God. Did you get that? How much closer to God can you be?
Our side mirrors say, "Objects are closer than they appear." Go look in the mirror. God is closer than He has appeared in your understanding. He inhabits YOU!
Sometimes we don’t feel relationally close to God, usually because we erroneously think that there is some kind of separation that has happened because of our sin or failures. But you have been JOINED to GOD!
It is this UNION that defines you. Whatever is true of Jesus is true of YOU! (watch for the next blog posts where we explore this more!) 1 John 4:17 says it like this: “As He is, SO ARE WE in this world.”
The amazing John G Lake said,
“You and the glorified Christ as one are the divine manifestation of God. Come up to the throne dear ones. Let the throne life, the throne love and the throne power, and the throne Spirit possess you! And your tread will be the march of the conqueror. Your crown the crown of glory. And your power the power of God. Not a saved man and a glorious God. But man fused into God and God fused into man…one divine creation! One in heart. One in mind. One in soul. You and God as one! You have all there is of me says God and I have all there is of you. We are one and indivisible.”
Why Do We Struggle?
The reason that we struggle with our walk with God isn’t because of a deficiency on God’s part or ours. It is simply because we don’t understand what happened in the death, burial, resurrection, ascension and glorification of Christ. Would you like to know more? His plan is that the faithfulness of God produces faith in us! But we need to understand the gospel for that to happen.
For this holiday season I am offering a powerful eight hour foundations of the gospel class called Unshakable for a discounted price. This is one of the most important teaching I have ever done, and I am loading up all kinds of bonuses just to encourage you to invest in yourself this season or give it as a gift to someone you love. And since if you don't like it, you can get a refund within 30 days, you have NO RISK at all!