March 21, 2010

Pondering God #4: The All Powerful God

God has the power to create the universe by bringing it into existence from nothing (ex–nihilo). Let’s just stop and think about that for a few seconds [tick-tick-tick]. This means He has the power to take it out of existence also and will at some unknown time in the future according to the book of Revelation. It is by His power that we exist and continue to exist.

He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high…~Hebrews 1:3

God has the power to raise the dead from the grave and not only this; He has the ability to make the flesh incorruptible in a resurrection body.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.~1 Corinthians 15:3-5

We need only read the Bible for further astounding examples of His power and the list is awe-inspiring: The Flood, Sodom & Gomorrah, Jericho, the death of the firstborn, the Red Sea, forgiveness of our sins, the burning bush, Pentecost, etc. What we often underestimate is the power and will it took for a being of physical human construct (Jesus) subjected to the temptations of the flesh to resist these temptations by that skunk Satan. He resisted the temptations of the devil himself in the wilderness and on the Temple.

We generally think more of the items in the Bible that would require major special-effects in a modern movie. We skim over the miraculous superhuman reactions (or lack of reaction) to temptations that plague every human being, temptations that normal human beings succumb to everyday by committing sin. These examples of God’s ability to overcome are nearly invisible in the Bible but they were sublime. Dare I say, they are taken for granted by most readers. Most of us will not even bat and eyelash at the statements in the Bible concerning everyday challenges that plagued the "flesh" of men that plagued Jesus. He came down to us to know and experience first hand the travails of being human. He understood the shortcomings of the flesh firsthand, and He overcame them. He became one of us. I challenge anyone that reads this to consider the effort (power) that these feats of resistance took. Furthermore, not only did He resist the devil himself in the wilderness but He did it His entire life. Don't think that the skunk didn't try continuously to work his way into Jesus' life to try and derail His mission. The challenge to Christ started with infanticide (Herod) and took on a myriad of other forms through His entire life.

"But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man." ~Matthew 16:23

"Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve. And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus." ~Luke 22:3-4

...and these were the blatantly obvious instances. Please be assured Satan was always working against Christ. The irony though is that Satan was always a part of the plan anyway. Satan played the unwitting fool that he always does. God is sovereign over all.

Jesus was also sinless. He did not err in the face of all this malevolent adversity, not even once. Think long and hard on this fact and then look at yourself. Had He not done this there would’ve been no suitable propitiation for sin and we’d have all been condemned. We often overlook the “unimaginable” power involved in the more subtle acts and episodes contained in the Bible. How much effort does it take to resist saying or doing something when we see a tragic injustice perpetrated on someone? How much restraint does it take when we are cursed and wronged by others when it was their own stupidity causing their problems (i.e.: Israelites, us)? How does it feel when you are blamed for something that was horribly wrong and all you did was correct but it was corrupted because of misuse by individuals with bad or ill intent (i.e.: God getting blamed for the evil in the world when it is Satan’s corruption of good)? Welcome to God’s universe. Sometimes I believe the greatest acts were not the “special effects” moments but actually the subtle nearly invisible movements of God in people’s hearts that changed the course of history. In the end it is all to God’s glory.

Finally, although God is omnipotent He cannot do things that are inconsistent with His character. He cannot commit evil, lie, etc. These are not inabilities for God they are shortcomings and characteristic flaws of humans and the beings of creation. Because we are flawed in our being and our thinking we mistakenly attribute these shortcomings to God. We attempt to reduce God and elevate ourselves to close the gap. It is an effort in futility and a fool’s errand. Yes, God wants a relationship with His creation but that relationship will be on His terms not the terms of His inferior creation.

How easy is it for you to say no to sin? Every single time? Yeah, I didn't think so...

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