As we were reminded last week through the life of David, remaining faithful to God isn’t always easy. There are times that God permits us to go through seasons of trial and testing with the divine purpose that through them, we would cling to Him and become mature and complete lacking nothing.
Continuing in this same theme, we’re being challenged this morning to know that God is true.
The apostle John wrote:
1 John 5:20
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Simply knowing God; who is true. This is the essence of eternal life and of our salvation; to know God who is true. That’s why eternal life doesn’t begin when we die or when Christ returns, eternal life begins the moment we decide to follow Jesus and come to know God in right relationship with Him. Living this eternal life happens as we realize that God is true, therefore His word and His promises are true. He simply cannot lie nor is He ever false or deceitful in any way.
This seems to be a very simple and extremely easy to understand fact. God is true. However, all of us who have followed Jesus for some time can testify that this can be quite the challenge when it comes to practically living out our faith.
We find examples of these discrepancies all throughout the scriptures. God’s word says one thing, but the person experiences something different. The example which we looked to on Wednesday was that of Abraham and Sarah. Abraham was promised to be the father of many nations, yet they did not have any of their own children until they were well beyond their childbearing years. In fact, Abraham was 100 years old when God’s promise came to pass.
16 Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who have the faith of Abraham. He is the father of us all. 17 As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.
18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. 22 This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness.”
Abraham was honest regarding the facts of his circumstance. His body was as good as dead and Sarah’s womb had been dead for quite some time. However, in the midst of his facts, he strengthened his faith and glorified God regarding His promise. He was fully persuaded that God had the power to do the impossible! Then, not because of Abraham doing anything right or wrong, but because of Abraham’s faith, he received God’s promise.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain about what we do not see.
Hope, by definition, is all about what does not yet exist. After all, why would we hope for what we already have? Faith is the single and only avenue through which these discrepancies of life are reconciled. It is through faith alone that God’s truth overrides and trumps my circumstances so that the impossible becomes my reality. We receive all things that God promises to us by faith alone.
One of the most difficult challenges that we face when we decide to follow Jesus is the transformation that needs to take place by the renewing of our minds. It is this transformation, I believe, that enables us to be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This transformation is the key to unlocking our ability to prophetically and spiritually see what God sees. Then we, like Abraham, are able to call things that are not as if though they are by faith and not doubt. Knowing that God is true means that we know that things are that are not yet.
For we live by faith, not by sight.
This is what needs to happen if we are to truly be a disciple of Jesus. We need to learn to live by faith and not by sight. This is how we know that God is true.
Every single time that a miracle occurs, this is exactly what happens. Just as Jesus taught us to pray, God’s kingdom comes and His will is done here on the earth even as it is in Heaven. God’s kingdom trumps the kingdom of this earth so that God is true and our facts are a lie.
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The word transformed used here in the Greek is the word, metamorphoō, which literally means to change into another form or to transfigure. This is where our English word metamorphosis is derived. This is a verb, an action, that is to take place. This same Greek word is used when Jesus was literally transfigured and revealed in His Heavenly form in the gospels and in 2 Corinthians that declares that where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom and that through the Spirit, we are changed from glory to glory into the image of God. What an awesome transformation that we are privileged to experience!
The word renewing used here in the Greek is the word anakainōsis, which literally means a renovation or a complete change for the better. This noun is a process that takes place as we are transformed by the Holy Spirit. This is the process that takes place as we are regenerated from our old selves into the new creation that we are in Christ.
Through this process, an incredibly significant transformation takes place! It’s one that is not easy, but one that occurs as we submit our will to the Holy Spirit and keep in step with Him. This is where the challenge comes into play. God is the constant, but we are the variable. The Holy Spirit transforms, but only as we permit Him to and cooperate with Him. The Holy Spirit is willing, but our lack of humility and unwillingness stands in His way.
Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
Being transformed, we now live by faith. We now live by God’s truth. We now submit to and live by the Holy Spirit. We now choose God’s will, God’s desires, and God’s thoughts as revealed by His word and the voice of the Holy Spirit.
1 As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, 2 in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. 3 All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. 4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for,
“Who has known the mind of the Lord
so as to instruct him?”
But we have the mind of Christ.
37 Jesus answered, “In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate.