Unification News for October 1998
Trust In The God Whose Ways Are Not Manís Ways
Dr. Tyler Hendricks
"Many will say to me in that day, ĎLord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?í And then I will declare to them, ĎI never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!"(Mt 7:21-23)The measure of trust is the extent to which you will endure disconfirming evidence. "I trust my son to be responsible." Trust is based upon a promise. "Dad, I promise I will not drink." "I trust you will keep the promise." Then you hear that the party he went to was a wild party and some kids ended up in a car crash from drunk driving. Do you still trust your son? Do you have confidence that he did not participate in that activity?
We read that we should trust in the Lord, for He is good. When you donít feel Him, do you still trust? God forsook Jesus on the cross. Did Jesus still trust in God? He did; as he said, "Into thy hands I commit my spirit."
Trust is necessary for a relationship to endure. A strong relationship is built upon absolute trust. Trust is a by-product of faith. In a relationship, trust is measured by your ability to allow your partner latitude to risk something of value to you both. For example, my mother encountered a friend who told her of a summer home up in the mountains for sale. She couldnít reach my father, but time was of the essence and she went ahead and signed and made a down-payment. This means that my father trusted her with the bank account. Also, my mother trusted her friendís word that this was a good piece of property. There was a lot of risk involved, but it worked out because there was a lot of trust.
And we have to be worthy of trust. Donít abuse it. If you inadvertently violate it, atone for it, which means be at one with the person again. Restore your oneness with that person.
Trust is measured too by the risk you take with the belief that your partner will be there for you. My mother trusted that my father would be there with her when he found out that she signed that deal. A soldier will take a risk on the battlefield in trust that the air-cover support will be there. A husband will confess his sins to his wife in trust that she will understand and hold them in her heart. In any counseling relationship, trust is an essential ingredient.
Do you have someone you completely trust? Are there many people who completely trust you?
Job trusted God. Satan challenged God to test Jobís trust. God took up that challenge; that means that God trusted Job even before Job trusted God. Abraham also trusted God and it was accounted to him as righteousness. It is righteous to trust in God, because He is worthy of trust. In Him we have our life, our breath, our being. If He ceases to give and provide for us, we will die that instant. How vain, how selfish and vile, to question such a God. This means that distrust of God is unrighteous. Adam and Eve distrusted God. They did not believe that He had a plan for their life and for their family. When it came down to it, they trusted the serpent which led them to follow their own desires.
Their desires seemed more trustworthy than God. How about us? What if God tests us as He tested Job?
Applying this, it means that we should trust God even though the present reality seems to disconfirm His trustworthiness. Look at the Israelites in relationship to Jesus. They did not trust Jesus. They branded the son of God a heretic and blasphemer. It means they called God ungodly! As Paul said, they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped the creature rather than the Creator.
God told the people of Israel that He would send the Messiah and He gave them certain expectations of a king of kings, a magnificent leader who would vanquish their enemies, a new King David. Then He tested them. When Jesus presented himself as the Messiah, it disconfirmed Godís trustworthiness. But for those to whom the spirit revealed Jesusí identity, God was proven trustworthy. And when we accept Jesus, we encounter Godís trustworthiness. God is proven righteous.
And this is what I want to stay with: the trustworthiness of God in His Word. The Bible teaches that the Lord will come again. As in the Old Testament, there are many diverse prophecies in the New Testament about this. He will come in the air with trumpets blasting. He will come like a thief in the night. Every eye shall see him and every knee shall bow. Those who are asleep will not know that he came and went. Those who confess the name of Jesus will be saved. He will call many who did mighty works in his name, "evildoers" and cast him out of his sight.
In reality, even the disciples of Jesus did not recognize God in him. If they had, they never would have left him, denied him. It was not until he returned from the dead that they really trusted him. As a man on earth, Jesus was no different from you or I. He told people that to see him was to see God, but they did not trust him. He said that he was the way, the truth and the light, but they did not trust him. They were not willing to risk what they valued for him. Consider the rich young man. They did not trust Jesus when he told them Godís way of life in the Sermon on the Mount. His parents did not trust him when he told them that he belonged with the teachers of Israel in the Temple. His mother and brothers did not trust him when he was teaching in the villages. His disciples did not trust him enough to have confidence that they would not betray him. When he said, "one of you will betray me," each said, "Is it I, Lord?"
They did not trust him enough to stay with him when the soldiers came, or to testify on his behalf in the trial. They did not trust in his power. They saw it in the loaves and fishes, they saw him walk on the water, heal the sick, raise the dead. More than that, they saw him forgive sins and teach truth. But they always came back to the physical reality: heís a man; he looks just like you and me. Heís not very popular. The scribes and Pharisees, those very respectable leaders, they donít like him. They say heís crazy. It was enough to plant the seed of doubt, of fear. It was enough to compromise their trust in Jesus.
Trust relates to love. If we truly love someone, we will trust that person. Love evokes oneness of heart, and when we are one in heart, we know that the other person will be true to the relationship. No one loved Jesus enough to trust him without the big "IF." If you are the messiah, do this. If you are the messiah do that. If you are the messiah, then where is Elijah? If you are the messiah, promise me the highest seat in the kingdom of heaven. If you are the messiah, tell me what is truth? If you are the messiah, fly down from the cross and bring me down with you. If you are the messiah, solve my problems for me. Then Iíll trust you.
The human race never displayed absolute trust in God when He appeared in human form. Am I right? It was always conditional. What a beautiful thing it is when trust is displayed. Think of Isaacís trust of his father, Abraham, on the altar. Think of Jacobís trust of Esau as he bowed before him seven times. Think of the Israelites trust in Moses as he led them out of Egypt, into the howling wilderness, and their trust in Joshua as he led them into the Promised Land. But these episodes are few and far between.
Now, think for a moment of Godís dilemma. God wants us to trust Him absolutely for who He is. But as long as God is invisible, we cannot really know who He is. We have our various concepts of God, and even experiences of Godís love in the Holy Spirit, but still we are just shooting at a target that we cannot actually see or touch. Millions of people might be bowing and praying before an idol that is not God at all. They are all facing in the wrong direction, but they are so intent in their misdirected worship that God cannot do anything about it. He has no form, no voice, no body. He sends someone and we reject him, saying that youíre just a man. God wants to say thatís the whole point! Jesus said if you see me, you see the Father-I and the Father are one. We human beings are experts at deception, and the first one I deceive is my own self. Thinking Iím going straight to heaven, when in reality I might be going straight the other way.
This is why God revealed Himself in Jesus Christ. He took human form. Why? To pay for our sin? It was not first and foremost to pay for our sin, but to reveal to us His love, His character, His heart, His personality, His reality. To reveal that heís not so different from us. After all, Heís our father.
Iím a father, too. Letís say that I died tonight and went to spirit world. Now, my children will miss me. They will talk to me in their prayers. They will cry out to have me next to them. And I might be right there next to them in spirit, but I canít touch them, they canít hear me, they canít see me. They might say, Dad, if youíre here, let me know. And Iím trying and trying but I canít get through to them. How frustrating! How miserable a father I would be! Then they might say, Dad, itís okay. I know you love me, and turn off the light. This is Godís situation! And I would watch my son growing up. I would watch him encounter good and evil. No! No! donít go the evil way! But he canít hear me. How grateful would I be for someone to intervene. Maybe God wants to intervene through YOU, in someone elseís life. With his love, He mercy, His counsel, His protection, with His chastisement perhaps. Can you think of who that might be? Do you think such a thing would happen almost never? Or, perhaps, all the time? Do you know someone whoís lonely, whoís carrying a heavy cross? How about your wife? How about your father?
So how happy God was to be able to be with us in Jesus. But then what happened? They didnít recognize him! They didnít trust him! What anguish in Godís heart. This may be why there is nothing recorded of Jesusí life until he reached thirty, save one brief, unhappy episode. If it were glorious, donít you think it would have been recorded, talked about?
So there is some unfinished business. What Jesus did is finished, but we didnít finish our part. We did not give our complete trust to God when He walked among us. We have proven for 2,000 years since then that we can give our complete trust to God the Son in spirit, so He doesnít need to return in spirit. He doesnít need to return in external glory. The Jews thought that the Lord would come in external glory 2,000 years ago and thatís what tripped them up. If he had come in external glory then, they would have had no problem to trust him. If he comes in external glory now, mankind will have no problem to trust him. But thatís not what God wants us to learn! He wants us to learn to trust the internal beauty that He places in each one of us. If He comes in external glory, we can trust Him, but it doesnít help us to trust each other.
Jesus did not come in external glory. He came in internal glory, the glory of Godís truth and love. God wants us to touch His internal glory, His truth, His love. These are expressed not by a military commander, not by an emperor high on a throne, but by a father teaching his son to fish, a mother helping her daughter pick out clothes, by a brother serving his parents breakfast in bed, by an older sister helping her younger sister ride a bike. It is expressed by a husband and wife sharing their deepest, most personal wants, needs and desires. This is Godís internal glory. It is Godís greatest gift. It is the manna from Heaven, the salt of the Earth. This is why Jesus did not come in external glory; he came in internal glory.
And that is what we missed. He did everything to the point of dying on the cross out of his love for us. The boat left the dock. We missed the boat. 2,000 years ago, the human race missed the boat.
Now, we know that Jesus wants to be with us in everything that we do, in everything I mentioned-our love, our teaching, our sharing, our serving. But thereís a little more to it than that. Jesus doesnít just want to be with us. Jesus wants to do it himself. God wants to do these things Himself. Thatís why Jesus said, the Lord will come again. And He will come again not in external glory, for He already has the external glory. He will come in internal glory, because that allows us to complete our unfinished business. The boat will come back to the dock.
Jesus will surely do this as he promised, and we trust him. Because we trust him, we know that he will come again. But how? Will he assume a new body? The Bible rejects reincarnation, Christianity rejects reincarnation. When God creates a new body, He creates a new spirit within it. He doesnít create a body empty of spirit to allow somebody elseís spirit to enter.
Before discussing how he will come, let us consider why he needs to come. Hebrews 9:28 says "To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."
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