Christianity is also for ‘dummies’ like me. Of course, I grow intellectually and spiritually when reading and studying the 58-page, ‘REDEMPTORIS MISSIO – On the permanent validity of the Church’s missionary mandate,’ by Saint Pope John Paul II. No matter how much I try to quench my thirst to grasp and absorb God, my limited brain cells confine and restrain me. Compared to all there is to know, we’re all kings with one eye in the land of the blind. If it isn’t humbling, it should.
I, for one, struggled with the word ‘trinity,’ the concept of the triune God. I scoured through the Bible, looking for the term Trinity. Serendipitously, I landed on Genesis 1: 26-27, God said, “we (in plural) will create humankind” and, in deference to his unique creation, referred to Himself as ‘Elohim,’ the plural of Eloah (Hebrew) or Allah (Arabic) or Alaha (Aramaic – the language of Jesus). In essence, Elohim meant what Jesus said in the New Testament, “I am in my Father … you are in me … I am in you” (John 14: 20). And, about the Holy Spirit, Jesus said, “you know him because he remains with you and is in you” (John 14: 17). Ideally, God and humanity are ONE in the Spirit.
Elohim is a confluence of God, God’s Holy Spirit, and God’s Son; and all of humanity. Now, I realize Trinity is another name of the God of many names. For me, Trinity comes to life in Chapter 14 in the Book of John. God’s Son, Jesus, God in the flesh (God’s clone?), the son of man (we have a friend in Jesus?), might have been a consequence of supernatural in-vitro fertilization.
Irrespective, it is the miracles of miracles. It remains a mystery. Jesus is the embodiment of God’s unconditional grace and infinite love. God’s love is “everlasting” (Psalm 136: 1); “forever” (Jeremiah 31: 3). Jesus has done more than merely open de door to see the face of God. Jesus exhibits God’s character. Jesus is God, the Alpha, and the Omega, the beginning and the end of the Greek alphabet and all the words in between; the “Word made flesh” (John 1: 1-17). Elohim is time with neither a beginning nor an end.
Now, Christianity makes sense. It is Judaism purified. Others say ‘fulfilled.’ In a nutshell, the Apostle John tells us why Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life? We sin. So, God forgives. God reconciles with us by making the ultimate sacrifice. He washes our sins away with His blood. God comes into our presence and reveals Himself when we repent, to seek God to help us change us for the better.
God’s unconditional grace and everlasting love is a done deal whether we want it, like it, or not. On the other hand, God gracefully entitles us to our own opinions to exercise our own free will. Yes, He permits us to reject Him and make more mistakes at the risk of separating ourselves from God. God doesn’t separate Himself from us. God will never leave us. Ironically, sin is often the walk that ultimately brings us closer to God. I tell all my friends who are born-again atheists, “you might not believe in God; God believes in you.”
Be assured! “God is no respecter of persons. God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open” (Acts 10: 33-35 Message Translation). No matter what, God’s unconditional grace – his compassion and mercy – and everlasting love remains in force. He treats each person individually. God understands your needs, wants, and interests. He realizes your unique circumstances. God knows your heart.
Everyone is a sinner. Not one sin is unpardonable. Every person sins. God even forgives the sinner who rejects God. But make no mistake. Despite God’s unconditional grace and everlasting love, you reap what you sow. Sin has a price. God cannot present Himself as the “fullness of joy” to one who rejects God’s Holy Spirit (Matthew 12: 30-32).
Eternity starts at the point of salvation. It is not just a ticket to heaven. It is a way of life, on earth, living a purposeful life, ‘filled with the spirit’ within the infinite confines of God’s spiritual Kingdom in the heart. Take it or leave it? Who wouldn’t want to be caged inside God’s endless love and wisdom? (*Chapter 1: A Divine Surprise; Sub-chapter 1.2: Christians Are Newly Anointed-Appointed Jews; Page 31, Kindle Locations 473-477).
The Bible, God’s Living Word, focuses more on the here-and-now than on the hereafter. It’s about enjoying the spiritual Kingdom of God now. “In God’s presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16: 11). Don’t think for one moment; life with God is always peaches and cream. As I’m writing this blog, my wife tells me about a teenager in our neighborhood who just overdosed and died. God comforts when aggrieved.
With every good wish to you, I am,
Abraham A. van Kempen
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Excerpts of John 14
6 … I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one goes to the Father except by me.
7 ‘Now that you have known me,’ he said to them, ‘you will know my Father also, and from now on, you do know him, and you have seen him.’
9 … Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.’
10 …I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?
16 I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper who will stay with you forever.
17 He is the Spirit, who reveals the truth about God. The world cannot receive him because it cannot see him or know him. But you know him because he remains with you and is in you.
20 I am in my Father … you are in me … I am in you.
23 Those who love me will obey my teaching.
26 The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything and make you remember all that I have told you.
28 … ‘I am leaving, but I will come back to you.’ (John 14 Good News Translation GNT)