2016 – Happy Truth Year!

Happy Truth Year! “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more!” Another calendar year begins, and for each child of God living in concert with our Lord Jesus Christ, every moment is replete with godly possibilities. Personally, my lofty goal is to so live in 2016 that I have no regrets. As we sports fans say, “I want to leave it all on the field,” just like Jesus did.

If you share this mindset, it means that we will absolutely have to risk time and time again. Dictionary definition: “to expose oneself to the chance of injury or loss.” Wait a minute—that sounds kind of scary. Why would I want to do that? Ever heard the maxim, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”? To gain something, we must risk the possibility of loss, or failure. You and I must venture in order to have an adventure. How can we be certain that acting so boldly will bring us wonderful results? Because vividly set before us in Scripture are the examples of both GOD and JESUS CHRIST doing the same thing.

Once upon a time when God was pondering the terrifying idea of HUMANS, He decided to give mankind genuine free will, and thus to relate to us in a linear way, that is, according to the passage of real time. That is why, for both God and for us, opportunities pass. Our Creator took the risk of being hurt by people choosing not to reciprocate His passionate love. Thereby, God modeled true love, because God is love. True love risks; it is never manipulative or controlling, and that is exactly how God deals with us. What does love look like? Love reaches out to address a need in another.

So what was mankind’s need, and how did God risk? After Adam sinned, mankind’s need was salvation from sin and death. God saw that the only possible way to solve this problem was via another “Adam,” another free-will human being who could reverse the curse—IF HE CHOSE TO DO SO. God so loved mankind that He asked His only-begotten Son to live a sinless life and die a torturous death in order to pay the price for all men’s sins, eradicate death, and make available everlasting life. That is because only a fully human being could solve the problem caused by the first human being. You might say that Adam lost the human race, but Jesus won it back.

Here is a phenomenal truth that few Christians realize: It took far more love for God to endure watching His Son brutalized and murdered than it would have for Him to violate every law He created and turn into a baby. That ridiculous notion, which renders Christians incapable of offering others a rational faith, is nothing less than the Greek mythology echoed in Acts 14:11: “The gods have come down to us in human form.” And it is still prevalent today, as per what I heard on a recent radio show about the “Christmas” story: “A woman brought forth a child who created her.” You can’t be serious. Who could blame anyone for rejecting such nonsense? Jesus won’t.

If it is true that God became a baby, then we know why the world is so screwed up—He was scarred right off the bat in the manger. Sure, every time the God-baby tried to sleep, this kid beating his drum kept waking him up. Furthermore, when the God-baby tried to reason with him, the kid kept interrupting himself by inserting “Rump-a-pum-pum” into every otherwise coherent sentence. (Okay, let me have a little fun too.)

How did Jesus risk in order to follow suit and accomplish God’s plan? Walking in perfect obedience to the written Word of his Father, The Man trusted God to the degree that he willingly stepped into the abyss of death, counting on His Father to keep His promise and raise him from the dead. God kept His Word, and now we are guaranteed that the Lord Jesus will raise us to newness of life, forever.

That’s why you and I really don’t have that much to lose when we risk by obeying the same God who came through for Jesus. Think about it. What are some things you could lose? Family, friends, reputation, respect, social standing, money, and, finally, perhaps even your physical life itself. That’s not much compared to what you will gain by selling out to follow the Lord. I think Jesus said something along these lines.

Luke 9:22-24
22 saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” 23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it.

When we lay down our lives, risking “the death of self,” if you will, the Lord will raise us up to a greater quality of life on the other side of our sacrificial choice.

Despite today’s prevailing “Christian” theology about God having “absolute” foreknowledge, 2016 will not be for God & Son, Inc. a rather boring series of events that they already know will occur. In truth, they too are excited, even more so than we, about whatever opportunities will present themselves to us moment-by-moment in the coming year. Because our free will choices in 2016 do not yet exist, God and the Lord cannot now foresee all those possibilities, but they are flanking us each step of the way, seeing further up the road than we, and ready to guide us along our journey through life. Please watch Segment 14 of ODWTC, God’s Foreknowledge and Man’s Free Will, and then watch it again and again until you can clearly articulate for others the indispensable and liberating biblical truths therein.

It recently hit me as to what a BIG DEAL free will really is. Think about it. In essence, God set off a bunch of “loose cannons” who can seriously mess up what He is trying to accomplish on earth, at least until the Lord Jesus returns to the earth with us and fixes things. How much do you think God and Christ appreciate it when you choose to obey them? We will find out by the fathomlessly fabulous rewards they will give us for so doing (2 Cor. 4:14-18).

Because of the erroneous teachings that Jesus is God, and that God has absolute foreknowledge, 99% of our dear Christian brethren “cannot get there from here,” in terms of understanding these vital principles. Thus they are deprived of some of the most classic, clarifying, energizing, and inspiring biblical truths there are.

Here are some excerpts from the superb book titled The God Who Risks, by John Sanders:

Whereas theology [that is, theology we received from the “church fathers,” etc.] has traditionally emphasized the abstractions of omniscience and foreknowledge, the biblical writers stressed the wisdom and knowledge of God, which enables Him to be of help. For the biblical writers, God’s knowledge of the future is less important than His promises and His faithfulness to them. What makes God God is not prediction, but the promise of His steadfast love…
For two thousand years, the Neo-platonic [that is, the guys who carried on Plato’s pagan ideas] philosophical understanding of God…resulted in a radical displacement of the Old Testament understanding of God as a personal being involved in a relationship of steadfast love with His creation…
Despite its claim that God is a personal being, western thought has paid insufficient attention to the specific sort of world that God decided to create. That world is defined in Scripture. It is a world in which God enters into reciprocal interpersonal relationships…
When God in His sovereignty decided what kind of relationship that He would have with creatures, He set boundaries to the end that He could guarantee victory because He knew His own ability, His own plan, and what He could bring to pass.

And so, no matter what happens in 2016, the ultimate outcome of the spiritual war has been decided: WE WIN! But we want to see daily victories to the end that God and Christ are glorified, and that people are saved and come unto a thorough knowledge of the truth. We want to keep as many “godly appointments” as possible and thereby minimize our own and other’s dis-appointments.

You may know that the biblical Greek word chronos refers to the entity of time itself, while the word kairos refers to the moments that make up the overall chronos. As such, kairos often means “the right time” or “the opportune moment” when one’s choice to obey God changes the course of history for at least one other person. Here’s the greatest example:

Romans 5:6
You see, at just the right time [kairos], when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

Because Jesus chose to lay down his life at exactly the right moment, countless millions of people will enjoy everlasting life. The question is, what will we do today, and this coming year, to magnify our Lord Jesus and give others the opportunity to know, love, and serve him?

Galatians 6:9-10
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season [kairos] we shall reap if we do not lose heart. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity [kairos], let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.

As fellow laborers with “Jesus as Lord,” we have pledged to keep His appointments with those for whom we can do good in his stead. That could range from a big smile to raising them from the dead. Christianity is not about what God can do for us, but what we are obligated to do for Him and His Son out of thankfulness for what they have done for us.

Ephesians 5:15-16
15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 16 redeeming the time [kairos], because the days are evil.

Seizing the opportunity—that is what being a Christian is supposed to entail. That means we must be ex-spect-ing (looking out for) the godly appointments God guarantees that He will put in front of us. When we do, we have no regrets.

Remember that a man—THE MAN—died for you and was raised from the dead so that you could have everlasting life, and also shine his light in this dark world. Let us echo Paul’s declaration: “My only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24). If not you and I, who? If not now, when? Let’s do this!

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