Getting Deep – Objective and Subjective Reality - Purity 710
Purity 710 04/20/2022
Today’s photo of a cumulus cloud filled blue sky over the Meteor Crater Natural Landmark in Winslow Arizona comes to us from my sister-in-law Katt as her and my big brother “Mega” spent their Spring Break travelling to a variety of sightseeing attractions throughout the Southwest.
Well, it’s Wednesday and I share this photo of this massive crater, which is sort of the opposite of a “hump”, because although it is the midpoint in the typical work week, it isn’t “hump day” for me.
When is “hump day” not hump day?
Before you come up with some crude joke as a response, let me help you. “Hump day” isn’t “Hump day” when you don’t work. “Hump day” isn’t “Hump day” when you don’t have a “hump” to get over.
Now I know, there are undoubtedly some “Hump day” purists out there that will demand that Wednesday be recognized as “Hump day” regardless of one’s personal schedule and will argue that “Hump Day” isn’t subject to individual circumstances or preferences. For some, Wednesday is Hump Day and nothing and no one is going to change that!
But honestly, while I don’t mean to cause a fight, I really think that the thing that makes “hump day” “hump day” is not just the passage of time past that odd numbered day in the middle of our week but is the fact that we reached the middle of and surmounted the odd numbered middle day of a series of work filled days. The “hump” is meaningful because we are past the middle of our work obligations, right?
Maybe. Heck I know some retired friends who are on “permanent vacation” and who live a “life of Saturdays”. Anyway, back to me.
Because I have to work this Saturday, I have today, Wednesday, off. So for me yesterday, Tuesday, was a “Friday” of sorts, and today is the “Saturday” on what will be the first of my two one-day weekends, this week, as my second one-day weekend will be Sunday, as Saturday, because I have to work, will be warped into my “second Friday”. Do you know what I am saying?
Now while this discourse on the way I am viewing this weird work week may be highly annoying to some of you, this morning, as I write this I have discovered that there is a point to it all.
The balance between objective reality, “the facts of how things actually are” and subjective reality, “the way we choose to view things” can make a significant difference in our lives.
In our Post Christian society, some non-believing people would argue that there is no God or any spiritual entities, angels and demons, at all. To these atheistic materialists, God and His created spiritual beings don’t exist. To them they are not a part of what they would consider “objective reality”.
But guess what, they are wrong.
While we can all argue over what is real and what is not and all come up with our “own truths” based on our individual circumstances and perspectives, if our world view does not include the “facts” of objective reality we will still be subject to those facts and will suffer from our failure to live in the “real world”.
Now I could go on a lengthy discourse about how the names of the days of the week themselves, and the institutions and systems our society itself, like “the government” and “law and order”, are subjective “concepts” that man has created and are thus illusory but as much as I realize that most of our lives are “smoke and mirrors”, I prefer to point to the ultimate reality that will determine our eternal destiny and the One who created the stage on which we play out our lives, God.
My jailhouse ministry – or maybe “death row”, it sound cooler - apologetics presents creation itself – the universe- and our inherent moral consciences, God’s law written on our hearts, as the evidence for God. “Somebody up there” created all this and made us to understand right and wrong.
That’s pretty basic and could lead us to have all types of different views of this Creator God and have different views about what is right or wrong, so let’s get specific.
The person of Jesus Christ takes all of the above and makes life a “pass-fail” test.
Now while, we can all subjectively choose what we like in terms of what we think about Christ, we will all be subject to the objective reality about who He actually is.
Christ’s life, death, and resurrection, how He fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the coming Messiah, how His Life has changed the course of human history, and the lives of countless individuals who have put their faith in Him, adequately demonstrate the fact that Jesus is the Son of God and God the Son.
Whether you believe in God or not, you are subject to the natural laws, like gravity, that He instituted with the creation of the universe. You deal with those every day.
Likewise, you are subject to the “spiritual laws” of sin and death that God instituted. All men sin, and all men die.
But the Lord, out of His mercy and grace, made a way for us to be set free from the law of sin and death.
Romans 8:2 (NKJV)
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
Faith in Jesus Christ is the means by which we can be forgiven of our sins and be given eternal life. The “law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus” frees us from death, we will live forever when we put our faith in Jesus, and it frees us from sin, when we place our faith in Christ the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit gives us a power we never had before. The Holy Spirit gives us the power to say no to our besetting sin and live a life of freedom and victory over them.
But God gives us freedom to choose our own way. So we can choose to deny the truth of who Christ is and decide no to take Him up on His gracious offer to save us and either make up our own, or choose someone else’s, view of spiritual reality, which would include worldly philosophies, other religions, or a complete denial of any spiritual aspect to our lives.
But just like me deciding it “isn’t really Wednesday today” only to be called a liar or a fool by my Google Calendar and the rest of the working or non-working world that abides by the “days of the week” worldview, just because we decide to disbelieve in God’s plan of redemption, believe in something else or choose to only focus on the things of this world, one day we will have to face the fact that we denied the Truth that the Creator wanted us to know and tried to warn us about.
Christ’s earthly ministry was focused on encouraging people to consider the things of God and to change their lives to follow the Lord in everything they did. In
John 17:17 (NKJV) Christ, referring of His disciples, prayed
to the Father to:
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
Christ in this prayer, lets us all know that the word of God is the truth, thus indicating that it can be trusted and that we should live by it. God’s word, the Holy Bible, tells us the truth of life and death and can guide us in our lives to be grounded in the objective reality that the universe was based on and will be subject to.
A scientific view of the universe predicts the eventual death of all things as the universe’s processes will eventual run out of energy, go cold, and fade to black.
But the word of God tells us of a spiritual kingdom that created the physical universe and that will determine its future. Scientists can predict the “death of the universe” but the Lord who made literally everything “out of nothing” has revealed to us that His plan calls for the reclaiming of the world by Christ’s rule and reign and of the creation of a new heaven and a new earth.
God has revealed to us the future of His creation and His way to peace with Him and eternal life. So instead of being clever in our own sight and developing our own world view and making up our own “truth for me”, we would be wise to agree with the objective truth of ultimate reality that is revealed in God’s word and decide to live according to it.
When we stop ignoring the ultimate “facts of life” and choose to come in line God’s truth, we can finally stop hurting ourselves by living according to a system that just isn’t true and will one day be exposed for the rebellious deception that it is. When we are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ and decide to shape our lives according to His truth, we can have peace.
So keep walking and talking with God. Read His word to be grounded in the truth. God wants us to know His truth and to be at peace by accepting it and living by it.
When we live in “the context of God” by reminding ourselves of His continual presence, we live in the truth of ultimate reality and are set free from the pains that come from investing ourselves in things that will fail to satisfy and that will eventually be exposed as false.
When we live in a fantasy world based on our own subjective ideas and preferences, we will suffer when the truth of reality comes storming in. But when we live according to the Truth, the Way and the Life, we are not hiding in the shadows or stumbling in the darkness of the ways we wished life could be. Instead we benefit from living in the light of how things actually are: where our path is clear and where we can confidently take one step at a time, and be at peace, all the way from here to eternity.
Today’s Bible verses comes to us from “The NLT Bible Promise Book for Men”.
This morning’s meditation verses are:
Acts 2:38-39 (NKJV)
38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call."
Today’s Bible verses clearly present the truth of the need for our repentance and the fact that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit when are baptized in the name of Jesus.
If the Lord of God calls us by revealing the truth of who Jesus Christ is, we have to answer the call! How do we do that?
Well, we repent and become baptized in the name of Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:1 (NKJV) tells us
1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Here we see we are justified by faith and have peace with God through Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul’s explanation of our faith, what it means and doesn’t mean, continues into Romans 6 where it says:
3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?
And guess what, there was no mention of water immersion between Romans 5:1 and Romans 6:3, To be “baptized into Christ Jesus” is to put our faith in Him. So all who put their faith in Jesus are spiritually “baptized in the name of Jesus”.
Although the thief on the cross didn’t have the luxury of getting dunked into water by an ordained minister or even just splashed by an ordinary Christian brother or sister, when He asked Jesus to remember him when Christ went into His kingdom, and Christ said “"Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.", the thief was “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins”.
While every Christian, who can, should perform the sacrament of water baptism, which is an outward expression of an inner spiritual change, if possible, all those who place their faith in Christ as Lord and Savior are “baptized in the name of Jesus.”
As for that word “repent”. As Christians we are disciples of Jesus Christ, and a disciple is a student and an adherent of their teacher. That means we know what our Teacher teaches and endeavor to apply His teaching our lives. Christ told us to pick up our cross and to follow Him.
The cross was a means of execution back then, so Christ was in effect telling us to “die” to our ways and to follow His ways for living.
So when we do these two things, repent and become “baptized in the name of Jesus”, we are given the seal of our salvation: the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit.
To enjoy the “promise” of God, and to live out the abundant life that Christ calls us to, we must repent and believe. We must change the ways we act and the ways we think by agreeing with the truth of God’s word and by leaning on and following the Spirit of God that we receive as our constant companion the moment that our proclamation of faith “baptizes us in the name of Jesus”.
As always, I invite all to go to mt4christ.org where I always share insights from prominent Christian theologians and counselors to assist my brothers and sisters in Christ with their walk.
Today we continue sharing from John Piper’s “Don’t Waste Youir fe” .
As always, I share this information for educational purposes and encourage all to purchase John Pipers’ books for your own private study and to support his work. This resource is available on many websites for less than $5.00.
All Things Were Made for Him
This Jesus was and is a real historical man in whom “the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). Since he is “God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God,” as the old Nicene Creed says, and since his death and resurrection are the central act of God in history, it is not surprising to hear the Bible say, “All things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). For him! That means for his glory. Which also means that everything we have said so far about God creating us for his glory also means that he created us for the glory of his Son.
In his prayer in John 17 the first thing Jesus asks is, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). Ever since the incarnate, redeeming work of Jesus, God is gladly glorified by sinners only through the glorification of the risen God-Man, Jesus Christ. His bloody death is the blazing center of the glory of God. There is no way to the glory of the Father but through the Son. All the promises of joy in God’s presence, and pleasures at his right hand, come to us only through faith in Jesus Christ.
If We Reject Him, We Reject God
Jesus is the litmus test of reality for all persons and all religions. He said it clearly: “The one who rejects me rejects him who sent me” (Luke 10:16). People and religions who reject Christ reject God. Do other religions know the true God? Here is the test: Do they reject Jesus as the only Savior for sinners who was crucified and raised by God from the dead? If they do, they do not know God in a saving way.
That is what Jesus meant when he said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Or when he said, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him” (John 5:23). Or when he said to the Pharisees, “If God were your Father, you would love me” (John 8:42).
It’s what the apostle John meant when he said, “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23). Or when he said, “Everyone who … does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God” (2 John 9).
There is no point in romanticizing other religions that reject the deity and saving work of Christ. They do not know God. And those who follow them tragically waste their lives.
If we would see and savor the glory of God, we must see and savor Christ. For Christ is “the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15). To put it another way, if we would embrace the glory of God, we must embrace the Gospel of Christ. The reason for this is not only because we are sinners and need a Savior to die for us, but also because this Savior is himself the fullest and most beautiful manifestation of the glory of God. He purchases our undeserved and everlasting pleasure, and he becomes for us our all-deserving, everlasting Treasure.
The Gospel Is the Good News of the Glory of Christ
This is how the Gospel is defined. When we are converted through faith in Christ, what we see with the eyes of our hearts is “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4). The Gospel is the good news of all-conquering beauty. Or to say it the way Paul does, it is the good news of “the glory of Christ.” When we embrace Christ, we embrace God. We see and savor God’s glory. There is no savoring of God’s glory if we do not see it in Christ. This is the only window through which a sinner may see the face of God and not be incinerated.
The Bible says that when God illuminates our heart at conversion, he gives “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6). Either we see the glory of God “in the face of Jesus Christ,” or we don’t see it at all. And the “face of Jesus Christ” is the beauty of Christ reaching its climax in the cross. The bloody face of Christ crucified (and triumphant!) is the countenance of the glory of God. What was once foolishness to us becomes our wisdom and our power and our boast (1 Corinthians 1:18, 24).
Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. That is what the next chapter is about.
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