Christians are known for their amazing ability to tell people what “not to do”, and what “to do” in order to be a good Christian. I’m guilty of this myself. But what if we’ve got it wrong? What if it’s not about what we do or don’t do? What if Jesus saved us for a different purpose?
What if He saved us because He wants us to know Him?
Our sin, disobedience to God’s ways, is what separated us from God in the first place (Genesis 3). We hear this a lot and are familiar with the story of Adam and Eve. But get this, before Adam and Eve disobeyed God, they walked with Him in their garden! They knew what His footsteps sounded like! (Genesis 3:8) God’s original plan was to be that close to us!
Fast forward a few thousand years to Jesus hanging on the cross. What happens the moment he dies? The giant curtain in the temple that separated people from the Presence of God is torn in two from top to bottom. (Mark 15:37-39) God was welcoming us once again, letting us know we could walk with Him and recognize the sound of His footsteps.
Listen to how Paul, the former legalist, puts it after listing all of his impressive outward actions, “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord.” Philippians 3:7-8.
When I was fifteen years old, God showed up one day. I wasn’t necessarily looking for Him or expecting Him. I was just dutifully praying through a list of His names as a home-school project. But He showed up and I’ve never been the same. God jumped from a two dimensional name on the page of an old book, to a three dimensional Person. He has continued to show up over the past eighteen years, more often when I am looking for Him, but sometimes even when I’m not. I can honestly say that there is nothing I want more than to know Jesus, to follow Him, and to love Him because I know Him. It’s not because I am someone special, but because He is.
What if this is the point? What if the God of the Universe saved us not so that we could perform for Him, but so that we could know Him. What if loving God and following (obeying) God flows out of knowing Him? Not knowing more information about Him, but coming face to face with Him. What if this was the point of the cross?
Maybe you are saying, “That’s great for you, but it’s never happened to me.” I’m pretty sure that God wants everyone to know Him. In Acts 17, Paul goes to Athens and talks to some intellectuals. He tells them about the “Unknown God” they made an altar to, basically introducing them to the real God of the Bible. This is what he says in verses 24-27,
“The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us.”
My NKJV Bible from years ago said, “In the hope that they might grope for him and find him”. I love this picture of reaching out in the dark and God is right there. The idea of searching for God and finding Him is all through out the Bible (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
I firmly believe that anyone who looks for God through Jesus Christ will find Him. And this is my new goal in life. Rather than telling people what they should or shouldn’t be doing, I want to help them know Jesus. Because I know once they meet Him, really experience Him, they will love Him and want to follow Him.