Doing the Imposible
Walter Olsen, May 1, 2018
In Bible times, Jesus did many things that for anybody else were impossible. He raised the dead, healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, and changed the water into wine just to name a few. His miracles caused great rejoicing among those who were the recipients. Many of those miracles were done to prove to His people that He was the promised Messiah.
The question some ask is, “Does Christ still do miracles today?” Of course, being that Jesus Christ is God, He has all the power and wisdom of God. He can do whatever He determines in His own will and wisdom to done.
The point of this paper is to discuss some of the things that God can and does do today; things that anyone can participate in if they look to God for His work in their lives. The following are but a few of the many very significant things that God can do in the lives of believers today.
He can give light for darkness. We are speaking here of spiritual light for spiritual darkness. Until one comes to faith in Christ, he is living in spiritual darkness. Paul spoke of this when he said, “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (II Cor. 4:3-4)
This is why people can be very religious and still not comprehend the truth of salvation. Religion does not change a person internally; it does not change the heart. Only God can change the heart and, until He does, the darkness remains. Again, referring to Paul we read, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (II Cor. 4:6).
When one comes to faith in Jesus Christ, seeking His forgiveness, he receives the light of salvation. He receives light because he has received the One who is Light, Jesus Christ. Upon such reception, one knows the difference between spiritual light and spiritual darkness. No amount of education or training can of itself produce the light.
The message is clear regarding the matter of salvation, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn. 1:12-13). The Bible clearly teaches that salvation is a work that only God can do. He does it when one believes in the Son and not because of anything the person can do by himself.
For those who know Christ as Savior, this perhaps seems elementary. Yet, multitudes of well-meaning people who assume salvation because of the pale of religion have not yet come to the truth that only Jesus saves. This message needs to be proclaimed by personal testimony and from the pulpits of our churches. Unfortunately, many churches now proclaim what people want to hear and not what God says!
God, in His proclamation to Paul upon his conversion said He sent him, “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me” (Acts 26:18).
He can give spiritual life for spiritual death. Man, apart from the saving power of Christ, is in a state of spiritual death. That means he does not know God, he does not have fellowship with God, he cannot comprehend the truth of God’s word, and he has no hope for heaven; this in spite of any self works or religion he may cling to. I know this may sound somewhat judgmental, but it is the truth of God’s word. Note the following statement from the Apostle Paul, “And you hath He quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of our flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others” (Eph. 2:1-3). These verses identify and describe all of us before the time of salvation.
Again, the state of spiritual death is a place of separation from the life that is of God Himself. It is a place of spiritual lostness, of bewilderment, of failing to comprehend the life of God they may see in the lives of believers. Also, it is a matter of disinterest in the things that are of God. True, they enjoy many of the blessings of God such as the blessings of physical life including family, the beauty of creation, good food, good health and a multitude of other things. Still, they are blinded to who God really is and the blessings and warnings of His word.
It is not until one knows something of the conviction of God for his own sins that his eyes begin to be opened to spiritual truth. It is when he sees that he is lost and unable to save himself that he sees the death of Christ on the cross as meaningful for himself. Until one can say, “God be merciful to me, a sinner” he will abide in spiritual death no matter his seemingly worldly “enlightenment”. “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?” (I Cor. 1:20). Emphasis mine.
So, spiritual death reigns in the lives of those who never come to Christ for salvation. The evidence of this death is readily apparent throughout all the world. It is seen in the beliefs and actions of all who do not know the Lord Jesus as personal Savior. It is seen in the choices they make, in the culture they embrace, and the overall moral depravity they practice and endorse.
Further, it is seen in the lives of “good” people. What I mean by good people are those who live lives of order, obedience to authority, love for family and country and are, overall, a blessing and help to those around them. They may even seem to live by Christian principles. The problem is, Christian principles are not the same as true Christianity! True Christianity is belief in the Son of God and what He has done on the cross on one’s behalf. It is a personal belief in Him for the forgiveness of one’s sins. It is an identity with Him in His death and resurrection that leads to a change of one’s life. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor. 5:17).
He can give hope in place of hopelessness. To live without hope is often to live with desperation. It is a place where one cannot see beyond the present and, when the present is not favorable, one may feel trapped. Could this be the reason why so many try to drown their troubles with alcohol, drugs or immorality, and some even take their own lives?
But there is good news! In spite of how bad things may be, there is always hope for the believer. The believer is not left to figure out his own dilemma. Now, granted, his situation may not always be fixed to his own choosing, but God will give the grace to see him through. The hope God gives is beyond the ability of man to give or even often to comprehend. Job said, “So I am made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome night are appointed to me....My days...are spent without hope” (Job 7:3,6). Later, Job said, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth Thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
A major factor in establishing the hope of God in our lives is to acknowledge our own sins and to repent. Faith and repentance are crucial to knowing God and bringing Him into our specific needs. The fact is, without faith and repentance we are left pretty much to ourselves, even if we profess Christ as Savior! Consider this, even if we can figure a way out of our problems, if it is not God’s way, can it really be a good way? Is it not true, even though spoken by one of Job’s “friends” “...the hypocrite’s hope shall perish” (Job 8:13)?
The believer who is walking with God can confidently say, “And now, Lord, what wait I for? My hope is in thee” (Psa. 39:7). Further, “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is” (Jer. 17:7).
The great thing about hope is that it not only applies to this life, but to what lies beyond the grave. The believer is not without hope when he faces his own impeding death. He believes in his heart that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. He does not fear death because Jesus has removed the sting of death. Yes, the body will die but then the glorious entrance into the place where there will be no more death!
He can give purpose in life in place of wandering bewilderment. People without God wander aimlessly as far as spiritual direction is concerned. Many, perhaps even most, think they have a purpose in life, but if that purpose is without a consciousness of God and His leading by His word and His Spirit, they are in a spiritual wilderness. Of course, many men without being conscious of God have done some very great things. They have built great buildings, bridges, and have excelled in art, music, and literature. But possessing great natural ability and seeing a project through to a desired end is not the same as being led of God to do His will. The children of Israel, without God’s leading, built a great tower on the plain of Shinar. However, the building of the tower was not the will of God. Thus God came down and totally thwarted their plans and efforts.
God has given to all believers special gifting to do His will and so fulfill His will in their lives. Speaking of gifting, Paul said, “But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills...But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased” (I Cor. 12:11, 18).
To know and do the known will of God should be the goal of every believer. To know the will of God, the believer needs to know and walk with God. The will of God is not communicated only by a knowledge of the Bible, but by a walk and relationship with God Himself. As the Bible says, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).
Again, it is possible to be a believer, but still not know the will of God for one’s life. Thus, one plods on thinking he is doing God’s will because He has some knowledge of the Bible. He may even be active in ministry, but that alone is not sufficient in discerning the will of God. The need is so great for believers to have a broken heart before God and to genuinely seek Him for His direction. We must remember the words of Jesus, “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing” (Jn. 15:5). For one to do the will of God he must bring forth the fruit produced by God Himself!
He can give discernment in place of delusion and deception. The world, apart from the truth of the Person of Jesus Christ, lives in and with deception. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life...” (Jn. 14:6). Apart from Jesus Christ, the world cannot know God including who He is, His works, His love, His holiness, His plans for the future, or His plan of salvation for those who trust Him as Savior.
Satan has initiated many false plans of salvation and many schemes to divert people from coming to Jesus Christ for salvation. He has deceived the world about such things as creation, the beginning and worth of human life, what brings true well-being and happiness, moral correctness, and a host of other things. Unfortunately, many of the schemes of Satan are being taught in educational institutions, on public media, and even in many churches today. The Apostle Paul reckoned this and so he said to Timothy [and to all who will listen today], “I charge ye therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (II Tim. 4:1-4).
The result is, even many believers are ignorant and unconcerned about the truths set forth in God’s word. They assume all is well even when their leaders and instructors fail to tell them the truth!
Godly discernment can only come when one has come to Christ in faith, trusting Him alone for the forgiveness of their sins accompanied by the ministry of the Holy Spirit in revealing the truth of God’s word to them. In speaking to the Philippians, Paul said, “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; that ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ” (Phil. 1:10-11).
He can give comfort in place of despair. We all face things that, without God, would bring us to a place of despair. The death of a beloved family member, the loss of health, broken relationships, and any number of other things can reduce us to not only tears, but to a place of despair.
However, if one knows and walks with God, he doesn’t have to remain in a place of helplessness. Our God is, “…the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation…” (II cor. 1:3-4). Yes, he will suffer grief and a sense of loss like all others, but he will know and appreciate that God is in control of all things and will see him through very difficult things. The believer is never left alone to face the hard things of life.
Unfortunately, this message has to be necessarily brief, but we can rejoice that God can do for us what only He can do! To know and trust Him for His much needed provision is the great privilege of those who know and love God! He can rest in the truth, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (Rom. 8:28).
April is a month of transition, but sometimes the changes seem slow in coming! Still, God is in control and we can rejoice in all that He has for us. If the weather is still cold and snowy in the middle of April, do we have a right to complain to God for His provision for us? Could God have a reason for what He does?
However, we are looking forward to green grass replacing the white cover of snow which seems to have lasted a long time. The robins and other birds which returned from the south some weeks ago seem to be asking what has happened to their food source!! We have enjoyed putting out different types of bird seed to encourage our feathered friends. It will also be wonderful to see flowers again. BJ says even a dandelion would be enjoyed.
BJ is grateful to have all her white coverings removed from her right wrist. She is doing some physical therapy to try to give the wrist more flexibility again. She will be glad to be able to dig in the dirt again when it is time to plant the flowers.
We are happy that the floor tiling and carpeting has been completed in our church’s education unit. It looks very nice and makes the unit almost complete. The rooms are usable and are very attractive.
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