“For those drawing near to God must have faith that He is and that He becomes a rewarder to those seeking Him” (Hebrews 11:6).
God is the only reality and thus, should be the ever-present focus of our thoughts. Between the material and spiritual, between the temporal and eternal, reality is only found in the spiritual and eternal. All else is wasteful distraction.
The early Church knew what today’s generation has forgotten; we are meant to live the life of heaven here on earth, to live so that we gear ourselves into things eternal. Anything that we try to give to God that does not include the whole of self, body, soul and mind, is in the nature of a bribe, not an offering, and degrades both the giver and receiver. God doesn’t need scientific rationalisations of the things contained in His Word to convince the world that He is; God only wishes to prove Himself to the world through the channels of our lives; if we will let Him.
The earliest revelation of God to His people Israel concerned what was expected of them.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today that it may be well with you” (Deuteronomy 10:12-13).
This was, and is, and always will be, God’s expectation of those who describe themselves as His people. Indeed, if they do not satisfy God’s clear declaration of what He requires, can they truly call themselves His? Of course not! This statement of God’s was not merely conversational; God is setting out the only basis for relationship to Him. For those who follow it, they are His; for those who do not, they are kidding themselves, as Israel did and Christianity does today. Joshua understood this;
“Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law that Moses the servant of the LORD commanded you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all His ways and to keep His commandments and to cling to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul” (Joshua 22:5).
There is a warning note sounded here to God’s people in today’s world. Things will only get worse, and for those who are not truly living in the relationship, the basis of which God set down long ago in these and many other scriptures, the only relationship that God recognises, there will be no escape.
God is no different; He is the same now as He ever was, when He first spoke to Adam in the garden; there are things that we must do if we are to enjoy the advantages and blessings of His covenant. Jesus reinforced that to the Jews;
“If you are the children of Abraham, you would be doing the works of Abraham” (John 8:39).
Many claim to be God’s children but the fact of their claim means nothing if it is not supported by doing. “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” said James 1:22. The Greek word translated as “deceive” her is paralogizomai from para, meaning “amiss” and logizomai meaning “reckon”. James is warning the people against miscalculating their status through reasoning falsely and reckoning wrongly. Many there are who are deluding themselves in these days, having received a gospel that is a “different” gospel, one that claims that the fundamental basis for relationship to God, laid down at the very outset of His calling His people, is different today than it was then. This is a lie that comes from the liar; sadly, many are caught up in it.
For those who want to truly relate to God, however, we can do no better that follow Peter’s advice.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He did no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (1 Peter 2:21-22).