December 11th 2016….14 NIGHTS TIL CHRISTMAS

How to know for sure you’ve been Adopted: PART THREE

      The main reason so many people have celebrated Christmas for so long, and yet have never come into this personal relationship with God (which I talked about in yesterday’s blog) is because they do not follow through. Golfers understand this.[1]  I think most people must think of Christmas as a sort of hobby that they pick up at the end of every year. It is a nice hobby, a comfortable hobby, a chance to mix with family and friends and have a great time. But because it is only a hobby, it never accomplishes what it was intended to do— focus every person on their need to get the ball in the hole— to establish a personal relationship with Almighty God,  who sent his son to earth to make it possible.

Without the birth of Jesus Christ, nobody could ever enter into an actual personal relationship with God. Nobody could ever experience what it’s like to be in the presence of God. Nobody could ever know for sure that they were accepted by God and adopted into His family.

Even as I write this I can feel the opposition. There are thousands of Christians out there who are chomping at the bit to remind me that it is the death of Jesus Christ which accomplishes this, not his birth. True. But he could not have died if he had not been born.  Furthermore, many will remind me that millions of people entered into an experiential relationship with God long before the birth of Christ. True. Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses— even the longsuffering Job (who said emphatically “I KNOW my redeemer liveth and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth!” [Job 19:25]) — had an experiential relationship with God. These folks  knew God existed because He had shown his hand in their lives. They had had personal confirmation. (Have you? personal confirmation is the whole  point of this series of blogs.)

There is no doubt that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary paid the sin-debt for the human race, so that each and every sinner can have a restored relationship with God. But Jesus paid that sin-debt  in the middle of post-diluvian history.[2]  Everybody before the life and death of Christ had their sin-debt dealt with before the actual price was paid. In a way, before Christ, sinners were forgiven on the basis of God’s promissory note. God was promising to pay the sin-debt at some point in the future. But everybody after the death of Christ has had their sin-debt paid-in-full in the past. This means that YOU (dear reader) have already had your debt paid beforehand, all that remains to be done is you take advantage of it— and if you don’t, you are going to have to  pay again, and Christ’s payment on your behalf will then have done you no good.

Why do people continually hear this story and yet still have no personal relationship with God? No actual confirmation that God exists and is alive and active in the world?

Because they have never actually followed through with the light they’ve been given.

A couple of years ago I started a website with the theme LIGHT FROM DARK PLACES. In it I demonstrate that there are many times in our lives when we are confronted with LIGHT, but we either don’t understand it, ignore it, or not follow through. (I think those three attitudes are a good description of the term “comprehended it not” in John :5 “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.”— to comprehend something you’ve got to make a conscious effort to follow through until you do understand it.)

How many times have you seen the movie  It’s A Wonderful Life and heard the angel Clarence say to George Bailey, “Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?”  Doesn’t that film touch your heart? Why?    Isn’t It’s A Wonderful Life a fantasy? Yes, it is. But does this mean there can be no truth in fantasy, in fiction? Of course not! You see, truth is OUT THERE.  The Bible calls truth LIGHT.

A year ago I came across a YouTube testimony of a man who while watching  The Lord of the Rings with his three children had an “epiphany”.  He said, “after I saw the part where Gandalf tells the frightened Pippin about “the far green country”,  I suddenly realized that there’s more to life than this life— there just has to be— and I determined then and there to find out what Gandalf was talking about.”  Gandalf was talking about Heaven.  This father had his eyes opened about the possibility of heaven… through a work of FICTION. Through a fantasy!

Even fiction and fantasy can contain LIGHT!  And that light is out there everywhere.

How many films have you seen where characters are transported through circumstances into another realm that is far more wonderful than our own? I’m thinking here of Ellie Arroway in the film CONTACT, who, when compelled to testify before the American Senate Commission says, “I… had an experience… I can’t prove it, I can’t even explain it, but everything that I know as a human being, everything that I am tells me that it was real! I was given something wonderful, something that changed me forever… A vision… of the universe, that tells us, undeniably, how tiny, and insignificant and how… rare, and precious we all are! A vision that tells us that we belong to something that is greater then ourselves, that we are *not*, that none of us are alone! I wish… I… could share that… I wish, that everyone, if only for one… moment, could feel… that awe, and humility, and hope. That continues to be my wish.”

I’m thinking about the testimony of the puppet Pinocchio,  who wants so hard to become a real boy, and how Jiminy Cricket  sings , “When you wish upon a star/ Makes no difference who you are/ Anything your heart desires/ Will come to you./ If your heart is in your dream / No request is too extreme/ When you wish upon a star/ As dreamers do.”

I’m thinking about when Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz sings “Somewhere, over the rainbow, way up high/ There’s a land that I heard of once in a lullaby/ Somewhere, over the rainbow skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true/ Someday I’ll wish upon a star/And wake up where the clouds are far Behind me/ Where troubles melt like lemon drops/ Away above the chimney tops/That’s where you’ll find me/ Somewhere, over the rainbow bluebirds fly / If happy little bluebirds fly/ Beyond the rainbow why, oh, why can’t I?”

You say, “these are childish fantasies, fantasy and science fiction, you can’t possibly be saying that these are light from God.”

     What I’m saying is that if there are such things as paper roses, there must be some real roses somewhere.  

What I’m saying is that if you’ve been reading  “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”  to your children since they were small, how can you feed them on dreams and not find out for yourself (you are the adult) if they have a basis in FACT?

All I’m saying is that the BIBLE is ALL LIGHT. If you would just follow up on the little bit of light you’ve been given so far,  and make an effort to follow through on what the Bible has to say about the “wonderful subjects” — heaven, eternity, immortality, peace, joy, fellowship, etc— you will inevitably  come to find the SOURCE of the light:  “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:5]


NEXT:   How to know for sure you’ve been Adopted : PART FOUR


[1] I’m not a golfer, but I think I understand what they mean by follow-through. A good golfer lines up his shot with full intention of getting the ball in the hole. Then he forgets his target and concentrates on his swing. By  committing  his whole body to the task, he’s harnessing his full potential to drive the ball at maximum velocity…and if  his aim was correct, the chances are best the ball will go all the way “home”.

9 Out of 10 Golfers Forget One of The Most Important Parts of The Golf Swing

[2] Sorry to use such a complicated term. Post-diluvian means “after the flood of Noah.”  The flood happened about 1600 years after creation, and Christ was born about 2300 years after the flood, and it’s been almost  2000 years since the death of Christ, so Christ was born at about the  2/3 point of history…or “in the middle of post-diluvian history”.