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Why:…… What would He look Like?
Isaiah 45:15 declares “Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour.” A casual review of scriptures reveals that, because in their wisdom and by various philosophies, men would not acknowledge him; God did hide himself from the Greeks (the philosophers and intellectuals), and from the Jews (the religious type) by the foolishness, and stumbling block that was Jesus. Now, although we the church are redeemed and have the assurance of Heaven, we continue to walk in darkness. This darkness is described by Paul as the eyes of our understanding needing to be opened Because there are facts about which we still need to be enlightened, Paul prays in Ephesians 1:18 for the eyes of our understanding to be opened. In our supreme ignorance we seem to think ourselves exempt from such a spiritual pitfall. We look at this strange mystery where God hides himself from certain groups, and we think it could never happen to us. Fact is, something not too unlike this has already overtaken to us. The net effect of it upon us is expressed in the resulting proverb, “the sleeping giant” to which we might well all agree if we were honest at all.
If God were to present himself to us in such a way that we found him insufferably offensive, or otherwise were our understanding to fall short of discerning him; we would not want to go to him, nor could find him in such an instance. He would then have accomplished the same thing as hiding himself from us; and if the appearance of that offense were heretical in nature, he would in effect have hidden himself behind the appearance heresy. Heresy is a concept that offends our understanding.
At his first advent Jesus was the embodiment of heresy to the Jews in such a way that he was doctrinally toxic to them. In the first place they were expecting a conquering Messiah to vanquish all their foes; not this ‘love your enemy’ preacher; hanging out with the publicans and sinners crowds. To them he was an irreconcilable stumbling block. No self-respecting Jew would associate with him. Nicodemus himself, an important leader of the Jews came only under of cover of darkness when he found it necessary to consult with Jesus. People stay away from heresy. History is replete with examples of the terrible price one pays for running afoul of the popular wisdom to the day by heresy. The penalty for such heretics has been generally brutal and harsh; taking many forms of painful death. A man does not lightly subject himself to such scandal and brutality.
In the great redemptive work of God, he brings to us one truth that has two important levels. To this day for the most part, it seems the human family has only been capable of appreciating the first of these two levels. The truth is said to be an offense, but yet is not sin. The first level of this truth is as follows: in Christ Jesus we are born again of God, and this gives to us the assurance of heaven. All of Christendom receive, and rejoice at this great news, and rightly so.
To be continued…..