FINDING OUT WHO WE ARE
FINDING OUT WHO WE ARECopyright Š 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright Š 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I have been writing quite a bit lately about the rest of God, mentioned in the fourth chapter of the Book of Hebrews. The idea of the rest of God is founded on the fact that God created everything in six days, and then rested. We are exhorted to cease from our own work and enter God's rest.
Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said, "So I declared on oath in my anger,'They shall never enter my rest.'" And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world. (Hebrew 4:3)
For anyone who enters God's rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. (Hebrews 4:10)
When it says "His work has been finished since the creation of the world," it means all people and all things forever. This is a staggering thought; but God is God!
The larger picture is this: God, in response to the rebellion of Satan and his angels, is creating a kingdom. People are born, live, and die. (I think this includes people who were conceived even if they did not come to full birth.)
God knows every single one of these people, from the time of Adam and Eve. When each one dies, he or she is appointed a place in the spirit world, where he or she is to the present hour.
In the final judgment, described in the twentieth chapter of the Book of Revelation, all mankind is divided into three groups. The first group is the Royal Priesthood. The holy city, the new Jerusalem, is the home of the Royal Priesthood. They will govern the creation of God for eternity.
The second group consists of the nations of saved people. These are the "sheep," mentioned in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew. The Kingdom was created for them, and they will be governed by the rulers of the Kingdom, the Royal Priesthood.
The third group was not found worthy of the Kingdom of God. They will be thrown into the Lake of Fire to be with Satan and his angels. Some teach that this is a redeeming, cleansing fire. I personally do not see this in the Scriptures, even though it is difficult to conceive of people being tormented for eternity.
"As the new heavens and the new earth that I make will endure before me," declares the Lord, "so will your name and descendants endure. From one New Moon to another and from one Sabbath to another, all mankind will come and bow down before me," says the Lord. "And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind." (Isaiah 66:22-24)
After the final judgment, a new sky and a gigantic new earth will come into view, the old sky and earth being done away. The new Jerusalem will descend from Heaven down through the glorious new sky, and be installed for eternity upon the new earth. This is the coming of the Kingdom of God prophesied by the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles of the Lamb.
All of this was completed during the first six days of creation and will last forever; although all people and things will be made new through the Lord Jesus Christ. Righteousness, love, peace, and joy will endure for eternity, and will continue to expand, ages without end.
Since our life and our role in the coming Kingdom were ordained from the beginning, our task in life is to cease from our own plans and ambitions and to seek the Kingdom, that is, look for until we find out who we really are and what our role in the Kingdom is, the role foreordained for us according to God's foreknowledge.
I must hasten now to explain about foreknowledge and predestination, because we Americans will yell, "It isn't fair!"
My thought is that if God does something it is "fair," regardless of what we may think.
Well, is the idea of foreknowledge and predestination scriptural?
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)
Foreknew and predestined. As far as being fair or not, the real question is whether the Book of Romans is God's unchanging Word.
People are playing around with the Scriptures these days, trying to make them acceptable to society. Yesterday (May 17, 2012). a judge attempted to resolve a dispute by suggesting that the first four of the Ten Commandments be removed and the remaining six could then be posted in a public building. Who has the most authority? God or the judge? I would think that a judge who would remove part of the Bible does not know God or fear God.
I will tell you one thing: the fear of God is being removed from America!
There are other passages that speak of our life being assigned from the beginning?
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. (Psalms 139:13-16)
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, (Ephesians 1:11)
For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. (Acts 15:18)
Does the Scripture teach that since we have been foreknown and predestined that we cannot change what once has been decided?
No, it does not.
Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (II Peter 1:10,11)
Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:28-30)
In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. (II Timothy 2:20,21)
For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. (I Timothy 3:15)
It sounds to me from the above that we can lose what was assigned to us, or, as in the case of the servant who used his or her talents wisely, we can gain more than originally was designated for us.
To understand how God from the beginning of the creation can establish roles in His Kingdom, and yet be prepared to advance some people and diminish others; and couple this with the idea that God can shape the clay as He chooses, and yet punish those whom God chose not to make into a vessel of honor, is quite a bit over our heads.
We just have to recognize that this is the way it is, and that whether or not we understand it, we know from the cross of Calvary, and from the record of the Old Testament, that God is good. He is righteous. He is faithful; and some day we will understand how it all comes together. Those who truly love and trust God know in their heart that this is so.
Perhaps our only answer in the present hour is that God is the Potter; we are the clay; and the Potter by virtue of His office can make the clay however He wishes!
I am content with this. How about you?
The title of this essay is, "Finding Out Who We Are." Can you understand, from the preceding text, how this applies to the rest of God and to foreknowledge and predestination?
We do not know who we truly are, do we? Only God knows why we were brought into existence. Perhaps the only manner in which we ever will find out who we are is by ceasing our own works and entering the rest of God.
As we endeavor each day to avoid our own way of planning and doing and choose instead to keep looking to Jesus, who and what we are begins to be revealed. We have set aside our own life and are living by the Life of the Lord Jesus. Yet somehow during this process our God-given destiny unfolds.
How exciting! What an adventure! To find out who and what God says we are. I wouldn't trade this way of living for anything else.
When I was young my desire was to work in a police department as a ballistics specialist. That was because I really liked all kinds of guns; and is the reason I joined the Marine Corps when I was seventeen.
While in the Marine Corps I became a Christian and the Lord called me to preach.
When I got out of Marine Corps I went to Bible school.
After Bible School nothing happened, so I went to college to get a teaching degree with a minor in music.
I gained employment in the Rochester Public Schools System teaching children in elementary school. This was in New York.
I said to myself, "This is who I am." I just loved the children and so I transferred over to regular teaching in the fifth grade.
I went back to California and continued teaching in the grades, and finally became a school principal. I did not enjoy this as well as teaching the children.
Finally, when I was fifty years of age, the Lord renewed the call to preach. So Audrey and I moved to Poway, California and pastored Mount Zion Fellowship. We still are there, after thirty-six years. I now am eighty-six years of age.
Meanwhile, from the days in Bible school in 1948, I received an understanding of the Bible that did not seem to be prevalent. I started writing down my ideas about forty years ago and still am writing.
If I am not mistaken, I went through this long history of events to prepare me for my role, which is (at least for now) to explain God's Word. Unless I am quite mistaken, today's Christian theology is off course.
I still love boys and girls, and maybe I will be teaching them in the next world.
Interestingly enough, when I was a boy I hated school and church! I still do not enjoy church, but I have a lot of friends there.
So from a gun addict to a would-be explainer of the Bible. How else can we find out who and what we are unless we give ourselves to Jesus and follow Him.
Jesus alone knows why His Father created us; and we will never know unless Jesus shows us.