29 • The Reality of Unity with God
Many people tragically believe that there is no God or divine reality (Atheists, Psalm 14:1); or that God is so different and so distant from us that He doesn’t bother to interfere with people’s lives on the earth (Deists). Both convictions ultimately lead to despair. Life without God soon becomes meaningless. If you believe we come from nowhere and that we are only returning to dust, life is indeed meaningless. We all know that the world we live in is not always full of goodness, love or people caring for and helping one another. The world is full of wickedness, hatred, jealousy, suffering and sickness (Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:29-32). The devil and his angels as well as humanity are responsible for this – Satan was thrown down from heaven to earth (Revelation 12:9) and mankind fell (when Adam sinned). We have added our own personal sins and there is the accumulation of centuries of collective sins by sinful human beings (Romans 2:1-3, 16).
And sin brings pain and suffering to the sinner (sin separates him/her from God) and from others. The whole of creation is subjected to corruption and futility because of mankind’s sin (Romans 8:20, 21) and groans and labours in birth pangs until now. But the whole of creation will be delivered from corruption to the glorious liberty of the sons of God (Romans 8:21-23). God not only allows but is responsible for natural disasters like tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, famines, earthquakes and hurricanes with all the destruction and great suffering that follows these, although He was not the first cause (the fall of man was). As the Creator of the universe, God is entitled to do with this world and His creatures whatever He pleases. But God is holy, pure, kind and good and what He ordains is for the benefit of His chosen people. God is also just and so has to judge and punish sin. God uses disasters not only to judge sinners but so that others, His elect, will be saved. We must never think that all those who suffer or die in a disaster do so as a result of their own sin (Luke 13:1-5). This is an example of the kindness and severity of God. Christians also die in disasters, but their reward is in heaven.
The awesome fact is that God is with Christians in their suffering to comfort them (2 Corinthians 1:3-5). His desire is to live in unity and be at peace with His disciples (Colossians 1:19-20), to be reconciled to them by His Holy Spirit living in their hearts (Colossians 1:27). Once I talked to a woman in South East Asia. When told about the good news of Jesus Christ, and that God wants to live in people’s hearts by the Holy Spirit, it shocked her. She never realized that God wanted to live inside people’s hearts!
However, although God lives in believers, they don’t become gods as a result (Galatians 2:20; Revelation 20:15), they maintain their individual personality. The reason God lives in believers is so that He can change their characters – make them like God. God wants us to be humble, loving, holy, peaceable, joyful, faithful, good, patient and kind like Him (Galatians 5:22, 23). But God doesn’t share His transcendent attributes with us. God stays God forever and remains uniquely all-knowing (Psalm 139:1-6), omnipresent (Psalm 139:7-12; Jeremiah 23:23, 24), almighty (Revelation 1:8; 4:8) and infinitely glorious (Revelation 4:8-11). That’s why worshipping Him will be our eternal delight.
Reality to consider: The devil, God’s angel named Lucifer whom He created, rebelled against Him; he wanted to be like God. He wanted God’s authority and to eventually rule over Him. That is why God expelled him from heaven (Luke 10:18-19; Isaiah 14:12-15). God’s desires His followers to be humble and to know their place (Matthew 23:12; James 4:6, 8-10), even though He wants them to display His holy and loving character to all those around them.
Read: Psalm 14:1; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 1:29-32; Revelation 12:9; Romans 2:1-3,16; 1 Peter 1:16; Romans 3:4-6; Romans 8:20-23; Psalm 148:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3-5; Colossians 1:19; Colossians 1:27; Galatians 2:20; Revelation 20:15; Galatians 5:22,23; Psalm 139:1-12; Jeremiah 23:23,24; Revelation 1:8; 4:8; Revelation 4:8-11; Luke 10:18, 19; Isaiah 14:12-15; Matthew 23:12; James 4:6, 8-10.