Friday, December 11, 2009

And trying my hand at an answer, part 3 (final)

This is my final post in this series. To recap, I was asked a question by a friend:

Why were miracles performed in biblical times, but, they aren't performed now? And I'm not talking 'the cancer is in remission' kinda miracles...I'm talking water into wine miracles...parting of the sea miracles.

I don't understand the mystery. Why does God have to be so elusive? It seems kinda mean, and unfair to us...the generations of people after Jesus...who don't get to see the works of God. In biblical days, they could see, feel, and talk to Jesus. If they had a question, it could be answered. I mean, for those people...they had cold hard facts.

We don't have that luxury. And I guess I kinda answered my own question...there is no physical manifestation of God here today, so we don't have miracles.

That still doesn't seem fair.

I responded in two posts, here and here, and this one is a wrap up to the whole thing. I want to stress that this is simply my take on these things, for what it's worth. I don't claim to be an expert in anything, I'm simply a woman who seeks the Lord and likes to write things about Jesus. That's all. That's just to say that I am not claiming to be an authority, this is just my best opinion with where I am right now with my walk with Christ. Onto the subject matter at hand...

One thing I'd like to mention is that God chose the nation of Israel to be His people, and before Christ came, the physical manifestation of God was limited to their nation. Everyone else was considered a Gentile, and very few Gentiles are recorded as becoming part of the Jewish nation, although there are a few, such as Rahab and Ruth (both of whom are in the lineage of Christ, by the way). What that means is that unless you were a Jew, you were likely to be without hope in the world. So just the fact that we live in a time when God has opened up His plan of salvation to allow for outsiders (Gentiles) to be saved is something to be thankful for.

Most miraculous of all: Christ Himself!! The God that created the universe became a man! He laid down His glory and put on flesh, in humily, and became the lowest of men. He was poor. He was born in a dirty stable with the stench of animal excrement around. He suffered and bled and died for sinful men. He is the miracle of all miracles. Ponder it.

One other important thing to remember is that Christ did not stay dead. My faith hinges on the resurrection account being true (I Corinthians 15:14), and I believe wholeheartedly that it is.

(I feel a whole new series coming on! :) I have been learning about what happens when a person gets "saved" and this is going to touch on it, now.)

What that means for the present day person walking around is colossal, and is actually relevant to the question of whether miracles happen today, or not.

See, prior to Christ, the Jews had a ceremonial law they had to follow, which included the famous Ten Commandments and some 600-odd other laws. These were God's requirements for righteousness. But the problem was that they could never keep them all. No one could, and that was God's point in giving the law (Romans 3:20). But God graciously provided a way for them to be seen as righteous, which was the sacrificial system - but not the system itself or the sacrifice, the faith that was required to carry it out was what allowed God to count them as righteous (Romans 3:28).

The burden of the Law was exceedingly heavy for the Jews, because it was impossible to attain righteousness that way. But then when Jesus came, He perfectly fulfilled every last requirement of the Law, and with His death, He provided the final sacrifice (ever wonder why the sacrificial system is no longer in place?!?).

One of the wonderful things that happened as a result is that now, when a person places their faith in Christ and accepts His perfect, glorious gift of life, God creates a new, spiritual person in place of the old, natural person. The creation of the Christian is literally a creative act of God, occurring today. That's a theological term called regeneration, and it covers a scope of things I am just now learning about and will probably write about sometime soon.

To me, that is the next most miraculous thing of all...God takes a broken, rebellious vessel such as myself and transforms me, literally creating a new spiritual person (2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 6:15). To the skeptic, it may look like I "got my life together" but I know the truth! He created a new being in me! Not only that, but I live daily with the Holy Spirit inside, guiding and instructing me, and living out the life of Christ through me! (Galatians 2:20)

I want to wrap up with one last thing. Jesus said He did not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Matthew 9:12-13). If you are reading, and you are a skeptic, I want to encourage you to lay your skepticism down for a bit, and to pick up some humility. I know for a fact that God answers humble prayers of people who want to know if Jesus is real. My husband is living proof of that. But He will not pay heed to the prayers of proud, haughty people (James 4:6). If you are looking for reasons to disbelieve, you will find them. As I touched on in my last post, even some of those that witnessed the miracles of Christ firsthand disbelieved. But for those that understood their need for a Savior, He was seen for who He was and welcomed (Luke 7:37-38).

I encourage you, take a look at your own life. Ask yourself if you are really as "good" as you think you are. Does your "good" outweigh your "bad?" Can it? If you've ever been around a toddler, you will know that your "bad" is stacked against you MAJORLY from the get-go, before you even know what's what. See your need for a Savior. Then approach the Bible, and Jesus, from that angle. The Gospel of John is a good place to start. Ask God if Jesus is who He says He is. And allow Jesus to ask you the question, "Who do you say I am?" (Matthew 16:15-17)