Exploring the Bible
PO Box 105 Lismore,
NSW 2480, Australia
If we were asked, ‘What do you love most in life?’ Surely, above all objects, all possessions and all experiences, the answer would be a person or people in our life. To have all else in the world - all property, all scenery, all exquisite food and drink - but be without the people we love, our life would be emptiness. Our greatest treasures in life, surely, are people. Wouldn't we trade all else if it meant we could keep them?
Take a moment to think of the kindest person you know… now think of the most loving person you know… the wisest person you know… the most patient person you know… the most intelligent person you know… the strongest person you know… the most talented person you know… the most tender-hearted person you know… the happiest person you know… the most peaceful person you know… the most optimistic person you know… the most courageous person you know… the most virtuous person you know… the most honourable person you know… the most generous person you know. Now combine all of these people, with all of these characteristics into one person. After you have done this, increase these traits in that person to perfection in their quality. Now imagine all these qualities being exercised in perfect harmony in that person. Now invest that person with an energetic power to overflow those qualities in an unlimited fashion. Then let all the enjoyment of that perfection, raised to that level, with that sort of energy, give you a hint of God as a person.
God has good news for the world and for you. Although it includes the promise of one day becoming an ‘heir of the world’ (Romans 4v13), and enjoying all the beauty of a ‘new heaven and a new earth’ (Revelation 21v1), which in itself is mind-boggling, however this is not what truly makes it good news. Yes, it wouldn't be good news without it, but that is not what makes the good news ultimately good. The ultimate good news is a person — a beautiful, loving, glorious, everlasting person who is also your Saviour. And beyond being with that person and enjoying them forever, is nothing more to be desired. This is the ultimate good news.
“Eternal life is by knowing God”
This person is the God and Creator of all things, and His Son Jesus Christ in whom ‘dwelled all the fullness of God in bodily form’ (Colossians 2v9). God sent His Son Jesus to the world to live and die in order to bring us to the best thing we could ever have - ‘to bring us to God’ (1 Peter 3v18). Have we truly embraced the good news if we have not embraced the ultimate reason for it, that is to be with God? Is it acceptable to want eternal life for reasons which neglect the ultimate reason for eternal life, to be with God to enjoy Him forever? Do we really ‘Love God with all our heart’ (Mark 12v30) if our primary reason for wanting salvation does not express desire to be with God? It doesn't require knowledge of God or spirituality of any kind for a person to desire most a better earth or a better life. But for a person to desire most to be with God, it does: ‘This is eternal life, to know the Only True God, and Jesus Christ whom He sent’ (John 17v3). Eternal life is by knowing God, and knowing God means wanting God above everything!
This attitude is expressed in the Psalms, "As a deer pants for flowing streams, so my soul pants for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?" (Psalm 42v1-2) "O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory. For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself. How I love and praise you, God! Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart. My arms will wave to you like banners of praise." (Psalm 63v1-4) "Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (Psalm 73v25-26)
“God, through Jesus, brings us to Himself”
Being with God forever has always been the supreme desire of those who truly know Him. How can the Gospel have been embraced if the supreme gift of the Gospel - God Himself - is not cherished supremely?
The Gospel is good news only because it brings us to the best thing ever... God.
Here is something amazing: Because God lived in Jesus ("I am in the Father and the Father is in me… It is the Father living in me who is doing His work." John 14v9-10) Jesus could, in fact, draw people to himself for their ultimate good. Drawing people to himself was drawing people to God. Jesus knew that, whether people know it or not, or whether people wish to acknowledge it, they are starving for satisfaction in God, because God is what all people were made for. So Jesus proclaimed these words to the world, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst." (John 6v35) By drawing people to himself (and through himself to God), Jesus was providing the answer to mankind's deepest internal craving for satisfaction. Whoever you are, whatever you’re going through, whatever emptiness and sadness is within you, God is the answer through knowing Jesus. The Gospel is that through the saving work of God in Jesus, God brings our heart home to where it was created to be. The Gospel is a call to come home. "You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore."(Psalm 16v11)
At God’s right hand forever, I’ll be the happiest I could ever be. There are many who worry about eternity and wonder if they even want eternal life. Perhaps this is you? But what part of ‘fullness of joy and pleasure forevermore’ is to be feared? What part of that is undesirable? The Bible says this is what is found with God, and the Gospel is, that God through Jesus, brings us to Himself forever. What could be more beautiful than that? You’re not going to want to miss out on God, are you?
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Exploring the Bible
PO Box 105 Lismore,
NSW 2480, Australia
0418 218 332