23rd August 2011

The miracles of the glory of God in the Bible

Flying kites in high winds has given me some of the most exciting times spent in the Drakensberg Mountains. There was an ideal kite-flying moment preceding and during the afternoon thunderstorms where the winds, sometimes accompanied by hailstones, would pick up to more than 100 km/h in seconds and sweep down the mountainsides and into the valleys. They could tear up a kite not strong or flexible enough. I learnt to use only the best cloths and carbon fibers. One of my kites spanning about two meters would bend on a 200-foot dual-line to where the ends almost touched each other in the storms. I spent some pretty special times alone on those mountainsides. But, without the wind, any mountain-storm is dull and uninteresting. Kite flyers don’t want it to gust, but to blow consistently and with power.

It is the same with every born again person, they have tasted the wind of the glory of God, but they want it to blow with power. They want it to blow consistently. They want to learn to use their skills in that kind of wind; like a kite-flyer in the mountains, or a sky-skier on the beaches. Let’s be frank and say, that the future should involve more than we have seen, and cannot be same-same.

So, why is the subject of God’s glory causing such controversy today?

Most in the church, including devoted disciples of Jesus – “Christianity wiki” should tabulate this – would concur that they have become jaded by the modern claims of super-miracles; the miracles; ‘our miraculous ministry’, and of miracle workers. The constant themes of what “we have to do to get the miracle” has worn us out. Perhaps we need to reinstruct everyone how to let go!! Most people in this world, saved or not, are basic. They want to know how to raise children; how to keep a family safe, and how to get out of debt! I did a recent study ofGoogle words, and it seems what people want to hear of Christianity are what grace is, and what forgiveness is! The hype of the Lakeland revival, for instance, has left a litany of ‘casualties’, and should be a lesson to us all. The only “real” of Lakeland were the simple; humble folk who were genuinely seeking God through their difficulties, thus the glory of God healed them. It was not the performers and promoters, but his amazing grace that did THE ONLY GOOD.

Clearly, we need some analysis of what it will take to walk in a real relationship with Jesus – a composite of values worthy of application and embrace. My analysis of the subject, as an insider, and ‘believer’ (Jesus still does the miracles today), has revealed some of these key elements that describe what is real.

Here they are:

FirstJesus shunned publicity. Every ‘miraculous’ fiasco has been accompanied by publicity. I include Lakeland in this – as already said; I saw what was real, and what was fake! Clearly, God will stop what is not of him. We should know this even through simple bible study – it is in the bible. Perhaps, someone needs to write a course on what Christianity is; what the bible is; what grace is. 13.5 million people each month ask the simple question on the web: what is grace? Have we answered that one, or are we still bound in legalism? Preaching miracles without the character of holiness is not sustainable. Preaching amazing grace without graciousness is not sustainable. Growing our ministry by self-promoting is not sustainable! Taking credit for what God does, does not honor God! Making false claims about miracles does NOT glorify God! For instance, I refer you to the following site about one such ‘miracle worker’ for you to form your own opinion – A composite of Jesus’ attitude is easily seen in the first six chapters of the book of Luke, where he repeatedly told the disciples “do not tell”. This attitude should be ours too. Much of what we call “visible ministry”; “TV ministry”; “TV evangelism”; “miracle meetings”, or “healing crusades” would summarily end, if self-promotion were to cease. Should we not say to the unsaved “look first to the Master, and not to the miracles”? Would this not be our answer to the more than 3 million monthly Internet searches made on “what is salvation”, and the 25 million that ask every month “who is Jesus”, and the additional 11 million who ask “who is Christ”?

Secondevery genuine revival honors God’s word – I include the call to devotion – a more personal revival (which is as important, if not more so) in this. The Spirit will honor God’s word above our opinions. Is it time again to remind the church to engage in regular bible study? Is it time to remind Christians – as Paul says to the Galatians – that they who walk with the Spirit walk in the fruit of the Spirit?

Thirdseeking God’s glory has to be viewed, first, in the context of an eternal salvation already received for all those who believe in Jesus, and second, in the ongoing work of the Spirit in us for the maturing of believers. This is importantly saying that walking in any goodness is utterly impossible outside of first, being born again, and second, walking in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. Thus, we need both a proper soteriology, and a theology of covenants: of the inheritance already received through Jesus, and the growing inheritance we receive as we walk with the Spirit. To believe in God’s increasing glory is entirely scriptural. Both Paul and Peter taught it, but never as if it could be received or grown outside a relationship with the Spirit! Therefore, for glory to be possible in us, it has to be first received eternally (1 Peter 1:8a; 5:10a; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Philippians 3:21b), and then grown in us by the Spirit (1 Peter 1:8b; 5:10b; 2 Thessalonians 2:14; Philippians 3:21a).

Fourthseeking God’s glory is not “kingdom now” – It is “kingdom in”, and “kingdom with”. Jesus said, referring to those who believe in him, “the kingdom is in you”. “Kingdom” is not license to do what we want – “kingdom” is utterly useless without kingship. What is Christianity if it is not Christ as KING in us!

As Peter writes, “But as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “you shall be holy for I am holy”. And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:15-19)

Keep on. Loys