A Voice in the Wilderness - Observations and Excursions of a Christian Zealot

Terry Walker's Weblog --- Occasional articles on the Christian Ethic

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ruler of the Universe!

Almighty, Sovereign, King, Lord and Ruler of the Universe?
Who does God think He is?

Before I was saved I knew nothing of the Holy Spirit or Jesus, but I knew of God the Father through what little I had learned in Lutheran church as a child. From what I knew of God, He was in charge, the Big Kahuna, and in my mind that made Him responsible. If He could change things and did not, then by my logic that made Him cruel and I blamed Him for His apparent ruthlessness. How could God allow disease? What kind of God takes pleasure in wars? Who does God think He is killing innocent men just because they aren’t Jews? I hated the God I knew and I cursed Him. I shook my fist at Him and dared Him to kill me, which would have been little loss because I cared even less about myself. I was wretchedly hopeless and blamed Him for my miserable existence. How could God not provide a young boy with what he needed most, a father?

Titus 3:2 says to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. Yet I had nothing good to say of the men I knew. The sorted lot I knew were rapists and drug addicts, liars and cheats that did unspeakable and unthinkable things to their own children. I remember the day clearly that I lost all fear of men, when a man’s fist lost its sting, and I thought “Is that the best you can do old man? I ain’t even bleeding yet!” Fear gave way to evil hatred and I found an outlet in removing battered women from their husbands. It seemed like a good work to me, but the joy of hatred has a way of making you just like that which you hate, and soon the man in the mirror looked just like my enemy.

Then one day a childhood friend came back from school a changed man. He left for college listening to AC/DC’s Back in Black and came back listening to Silent Night. The change was unmistakably, undeniable and exactly what I wanted. I wanted to change more than anything, because I could see myself becoming more and more like the men I knew. I asked him how he did it, and he said “it’s not how, but who did it”. He said he had been reborn, that Jesus had saved him and that he was indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It sounded like something I had read from Isaac Asimov, a science fiction writer and fellow God hater, about a giant praying mantis that saved the human race from extinction by forming a symbiotic relationship with humans for the mutual benefits of salvation and procreation.

But even that sounded better than my condition. I was a dry, arid shell of a man, who desperately wanted to change and had only one possession that held any significant value, a list of hundreds of questions I had written down over many years about the Bible and God. Oh, sure I “read” the Bible like so many today, at least the Old Testament anyway, but I knew it didn’t make sense, I knew I just didn’t get it, because the God in the Bible seemed cruel and angry; He seemed too much like me to be a God, and that is how I judged everything. In my mind, if you were anything like me, then you must be evil and therefore could not be a “real” Christian. Yet I still thought God was the “Top Dog” so I figured I wasn’t reading the Book right.

What I didn’t know at the time was that the very God I hated, yet feared, was the very One who made the Bible foolishness to me! Isn’t that INCREDIBLE! God does whatsoever He pleases, He gives and withdraws mercy from whomever He chooses, and all men, from the strongest to the wisest, are sustained by His purpose alone. At His choice we rise or fall, breathe or die, prosper or wane, become sighted or remain blind forever. What inconceivable power! But I digress from the story.

My friend’s church was a tiny non-denominational Bible church led by a God fearing, Scripture loving man. This Pastor was the first man I ever met that cared enough and knew enough to help. Weeks later I made a confession of faith and a few weeks after that, this man of God left our little church and a hypocrite moved in to take his place. I knew he was a hypocrite because I recognized his voice, he sounded just like me! I left before he could lead me down his pompous, cynical road of Christian isolationism.

Whatever was planted was quickly choked out. Eight years of therapy and several cults later, I found myself in front of another man of God, but this time he didn’t leave, nor was he a hypocrite. Through him God introduced me to His holy Son. Who in the beginning was the Word and He was God just as He was with His Father from the beginning. And nothing was made that Jesus did not make and in Him was life and this life was the light of men.

Does that amaze you as it does me? That Jesus created everything and nothing was ever created that Jesus did not create! And when Jesus was done forming and breathing everything into existence, He proclaimed it all “good.” I wonder just how “good,” good must be to be proclaimed “good” by the holy and perfect Jesus? Yet in the end, a few of us will be proclaimed “good.” And what of the sovereignty of almighty God Who says, “If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” Who counsels God to soften His tone and lax His requirements? Nay, there are none, for His standards were set before time, and are as rigid as His choices, which do not depend on what we want or attempt to do. Jesus will show kindness to anyone He wants to show kindness, and He will show mercy to anyone to whom He wants to show mercy. Again; what awesome undeniable power.

So God, for reasons of proclaiming His own glory; had mercy on me and drew me to His Son and through the Son I shall, in time, stand before to the Father. In computer lingo this is called a circular expression. God, before I was even born, chose to give grace to a fist shaking God hater and call him to His Son, so that His Son will be the Firstborn among many brethren, who He then present back to His Father, having lost none that were chosen to begin with. Or you could say, in all times past God exists, and God purposed His plan, God created His means, God allowed the division of good and evil, God provided His solution, God gives His enlightenment, God grants His salvation, then God sanctifies and justifies His own choices, and He ends in the same way He started, by pronouncing His own work good. What an amazing circular expression. It’s brilliant if the goal is to glorify yourself!

When God granted me an understanding of some of this great mystery of His sovereignty, I came to discern a small portion of His great purpose for His eternal life, to glorify His holy Son, Who in turn glorifies Him. Suddenly it was as if the bulk of the Bible just made sense. I am nothing, Jesus is everything. Nothing comes from me, as all things come from Him. The less I am the more He is through me. The more I die to myself the more I live in Him. And there is but two enemies, my old boss, Satan, and my old friend, Mr. Flesh who yet torments my will and corrupts my walk. Yet I, despite alone being responsible for my despicable corruption, am seen God as perfect and holy as I am clothed with His Son Jesus.

Finally I found the truth! I, a miserable sinner, no less so than my father before me, am not responsible for saving a world of battered and broken souls. I am simply sufficient to minister the new covenant, the glorious gospel. Election and predestination were a joyous rest to my weary soul. Yet they are in no way an excuse for laxness but rather a great motivator, because there are others who have yet to realized God’s pre-selection of them. So the question is not if they will see their calling, through the grace of almighty God, but rather who might be the means used in the work of the same. While the ignorance of the elect heathen man, stranded alone on an island, should cause great fear of the Lord, eternal damnation is not possible as Jesus will lose none that were given to Him. But the Christian man should fear that his lethargic choices keep him from getting his feet wet and witnessing the salvation of souls. Make no mistake, relief and deliverance will arise from another place for the elect man, but the lazy Christian will die, never knowing why he was brought into the Kingdom. The elect man will be saved by other swimmers, but will you be on the island to celebrate?

Which brings me back to Titus 3, which says, “Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

And likewise the Bible says, “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11)

So today I find myself, not a hater of God or men, but understanding toward all men. To the heathen who does the unspeakable and unthinkable, I sorrowfully relate to your condition, and pray that your scoffing heart changes, but you will not find anger in my heart toward you. And to the Christian Brother, I sorrowfully relate to your condition, and pray that you might experience revival in your heart and renewal in your mind, that we might suffer together in these last days, as perhaps God turns His eyes from this country. Perhaps we will be gloriously persecuted together for God’s glory. But if you choose never to get your feet wet, you too will not find any anger in my heart toward you, because I was once foolish, disobedient and deceived, but I have met the Almighty, Sovereign, King, Lord and Ruler of the Universe! And who is He. Well, He’s my Father!

Brother Terry Walker
Providence Baptist Church
Greer, South Carolina