If you read yesterday’s post, then you know that I am treading on some shaky ground according to some conservative Christians. Asking some slightly heretical questions. 😉 That’s okay! Questions are good!
Let me clarify some things before I continue.
I don’t believe that sincere faith in just any religion guarantees access to heaven. I do believe that Jesus is the only way to the Father. I do believe in a literal hell. But I also agree with C.S. Lewis.
“We do know that no person can be save except through Christ. We do not know that only those who know Him can be saved by Him.” C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
Throughout the Old Testament, we clearly see God having relationships with people who had never heard about Jesus and were not even Jews: Job, Enoch, Noah, Melchizedek Priest of Salem, the Queen of Sheba, and the wise men for example. How did they seek and find the Living God? What’s to say that similar things are not happening today?
God is not hiding up in heaven. He is not cold and distant. Both the Old and New Testament abound with verses telling us that God is near.
- If we seek after God, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:12-14).
- He is close enough to find while feeling in the dark (Acts 17:26-28).
- The creation itself screams to us about God’s character and attributes (Romans 1:19-20).
What if God is the God Who Wants to be Found? What if He makes it very easy?
I am certain that God gives every one of us opportunities to seek Him. We all have a choice. Whether we live in the USA or in Outer Mongolia. It doesn’t matter. If we seek for the Living God, we will find Him!! And He will show us enough to save us.
In the late 1800s, a Liberian prince named Kaboo (later known as Samuel Morris) was captured and tortured by a rival clan. During one of the intense whippings, he heard a voice from heaven, felt his ropes fall to the ground, and saw a bright light. The light led him through the jungle to a town where he found a mission. Samuel Morris was introduced to Jesus through the story of the apostle Paul and he recognized the God who had set him free.
A video from New Tribes Bible Institute tells the story of a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea where missionaries were teaching chronologically through the Bible. They had gotten just past the Passover in Egypt when one of the old men in the tribe got very sick. As he lay dying, the man cried out to God’s Passover Lamb to save him. He’d never heard of Jesus, but there is no doubt in my mind that that man is in heaven!
There are thousands of amazing stories coming out of the Middle East recently from Muslims who have begun to seek after the true God and Jesus has appeared to them in dreams and visions.
I read once (and it’s driving me crazy because I cannot remember where) about some national missionaries in China who had a remote people group on their heart. They prayed for these people and attempted to reach them. When they finally arrived, Jesus had beat them to it! The people were ready for the gospel, because Jesus had already been there.
I can’t explain any of this! But it resonates with what I know to be true about the Living God. I am absolutely confident that the God of the Universe LOVES us and WANTS us to know Him. He never forces Himself, but if we look for Him, we will find Him.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I am more concerned for us Church People in America than I am for those in distant tribes. They can look up to a starry sky and wonder about the Cosmos and the God who created it. We see a Universe and contemplate if it happened by accident. We get distracted by our technology, by our barrage of constant information via social media, podcasts, the news, etc. We become cynical in our overwhelming amount of Christianese knowledge.
Maybe it’s not God who is the problem. Maybe it’s us. Isn’t that an unsettling thought?
Every sunrise and sunset screams His glory. Pounding waves throb with His certainty and faithfulness. The immeasurable vastness of the Universe echoes with His power. Animals and insects, fish and birds sing of His creativity and sense of humor. We are surrounded by God’s character and divine qualities. But still we doubt…
“For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” Romans 1:20.
Jesus walked among us as the very image of God. Arguably the most influential man in all of history. He happily lived in calm obscurity for barely three decades. And yet, He managed to completely change the world. But we still question…
“And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him” Hebrews 11:6.
So where do we go from here? How do we find enough faith to seek when we just feel tired, and cranky, and cynical?
Apparently there is a part three to this blog series. 🙂 Coming soon!