I just opened up my Bible for the first time in a long time and it landed in Job. My eyes landed on 35:5 which says, “God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things we cannot comprehend.” That is the essence, the nature of God, wrapped up in one verse. It makes me wonder why no one ever preaches on the latter half of Job? There are so many jewels within this book and all anyone remembers is that Job lost everything, after Satan got permission from God, and that his friends were jerks in the midst of his spiritual existential crisis. That’s not what the book is about…
I don’t believe there’s any other book of Scripture that has such vast, deep, and real intellectual and analytical questions. This is important. This is probably the beginning of intellectualism recorded in the ancient Script. I mean, where else in Scripture do you have rhetoric like: “Can a man be of any use to God? Can even a wise man be of any use to Him? Does it delight the Almighty if you are righteous? Does He profit if you perfect your behavior?” (Job 22:22-23) Those kinds of queries are the things that we should set our minds on, not if the latest Hillsong/Bethel song is theologically right or not.
The Bible is meant to be a guide for living and as a mirror for our souls. I know my soul needs to be cleaned and renewed. “Does it profit God if you perfect your behavior?” This question bothers me, and I have sat here wondering why. I think I know now. This query spits in the face of religion and, to a greater extent, self-reliance. Here’s why: God created us because He wanted us. But though He wants us—make no mistake—He does not need us. So no, it does not profit God if we perfect our behavior. Our good behavior, or lack thereof, does not have any bearing on Him as a person. It only shows Him where our heart is, whether it’s allegiance is to Him or elsewhere.
I was going to write a post about how the Gospel is supposed to be offensive, how it’s purpose is to change us (that’s kinda why Jesus came in the first place), and while I was doing research for that, I stumbled upon 1 John. (I tried not to interpret the text but to just write down the observations I saw.) I admit, it’s not the first book I would have chosen if I were doing devotional reading, but in just reading the first chapter, there are a myriad of gems within that I think are needed to live out the Gospel, both in our individaul lives and collectively within the body of Christ.
1 John 1:1-4
To make this easier for both of us, I’m breaking this chapter into two sections. For reference, the first passage of Scripture says this:
“1What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life—2and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us—3what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. 4These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.”(NASB)
My Observations on Verses 1-4
The “Word of Life” was:
- in the beginning
- heard, seen, touched, and experienced by other people (a public display)
- also called “the eternal life”
- with the Father
- manifested in the flesh (i.e. “with us”)
- the writer of 1 John is writing so that others “may have fellowship” with him and other believers
- fellowship is with both the Father and Jesus Christ
- the writer writes so that his joy may be “complete” (lacking nothing/filled to the top)
1 John 1:5-10
Here’s the rest of the chapter:
“5This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”
My Observations on Verses 5-10
- The writer of 1 John received his message directly from God Himself
- God is Light
- God has (possesses) no darkness within Him
Verses 6 and 7: There seems to be a choice in between them, an active decision to be made on our part
- We can say one thing but do another
- Walk, as seen in verses 6 and 7, is an action verb. You have to do something (i.e. move your legs)
- The truth must be practiced (another action verb)
- If we lie and do not practice truth, we walk in darkness.
- If we walk in Light (with God) we have fellowship with one another (outside of church?) and He is faithful to forgive our sins.
- Our sins, no matter what they are, can be forgiven if we walk in Light
- There’s a change of direction from verse 6 (walking in darkness) to verse 7 (walking in Light)
- The blood of Jesus is sufficient to cleanse us “from all sin.”
- Deceiving ourselves is possible (“I have no sin!”- verse 8)
- To procleaim sinlessness is to make yourself, and God, a liar and is proof that you do not have truth/the Word in you. You can’t be a true princess/prince of the King and His Word not be in you.
- Confessing our sin is possible (I know this may seem obvious but for those who would rather run away from the Jesus rather than towards Him, this needed to be said.)
- If we confess, Jesus is faithful to forgive our sin and cleanse us of our unrighteousness
- The forgiveness of our sin and cleansing of our unrighteousness isn’t predicated on our asking/confessing of our sin, but on God’s faithfulness and righteousness.
So, the verse of the day on my Bible app was Romans 8:39. I went a couple verses up for context. In Romans 8:38, Paul writes, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height or depth, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God.”
Life is mentioned as a thing that can’t separate us from His love. Life. This finite existence where good and bad experiences are had, where there is, at times, deep sorrow and trauma, pain and mean people. Yet, there are also riches, wealth, sex, arrogance and greed, which lets us know that both tragedy and success could tempt us away from our Master. Thus, we must remember to diligently and consciously hold onto Him, lest we run in the arms of distraction or become so engrossed in our pain and suffering that we turn away from Him, only to later accuse Him of forsaking us.
Not even life could separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ, our Saviour. I think that’s pretty cool.