Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Real faith believes that God’s presence is with us at the present time. God is eternal. But believing that He is eternal without the realization that He is actively involved in our lives is not the faith that pleases Him.
Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Believing that “He was,” and that “He is to come,” without believing that “He is” is not believing in His eternalness. We must believe that He is. Also, if in our believing that He is, we have projected Him into the distant heavens – that is, though existing in the present He is separated from us in the way we think of him, it is the same as unbelief. The faith that pleases Him believes in an interaction, or intermingling, of our lives and His presence. We cannot know the Lord “which was,” or the Lord “which is to come,” without knowing the Lord “which is.”
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.
You can know about the Lord of yesterday and of the future, but you cannot know Him in either way without first knowing Him as the Lord of today. An awareness of the eternal Lord begins with a revelation of His presence in the present. We must know Jehovah, the “I am” God.
Many Christians would say, “Oh, I believe the Bible from cover to cover. I believe everything in it really happened. I believe God created this world. I believe He delivered Israel out of Egypt, that all the plagues really happened. I believe Jesus did all the miracles written of Him in the Gospels. The whole Bible is factual and true.” Believing God did everything the Bible said He did, and that He will do all that it says, is not life changing. Many non-Christians believe those things. It is only when we bring God out of the past and out of the future into the present that change takes place in our lives.
He that comes to God must believe that He is. This statement could also be worded in the following ways: (1) He that does not believe that He is does not come to God, (2) He that believes that He is comes to God. Those who believe that He is find themselves coming into His presence. Now, believing that He is exceeds believing that God exists. Almost all non-Christians believe that God exists, but it is not life-changing for them.
Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer them that are entering to go in.
The scribes and Pharisees were the most religious of that day. Yet, Jesus called them hypocrites, because they shut up the Kingdom of heaven against men. Just how did they do that? The Pharisees spoke of the prophets and the things that God did for their fathers. They preached a historical God, a God of the past. They also spoke to the people of the coming Messiah. They ministered a historical God and a futuristic Messiah. In doing so, they closed the door to a present relationship with God. The people knew about Him, but they did not know Him. The Pharisees would speak honorably of the prophets of the past and the Messiah of the future, but they didn’t want either in the present. In fact, they had predetermined if anyone came on the scene confessing to be the Messiah he was to be rejected. The Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue. John 9:22. That sounds like some of our present-day Christians, doesn’t it? “Keep the Lord in the past or in the future. We don’t want to be confronted with Him.”
The scribes and Pharisees represent much of Christianity today. Today’s ministers, generally speaking, preach about the Lord of the past and He that is to return, but they shut up the Kingdom of heaven just as the Pharisees did. They won’t enter into a present walk with God, and they won’t let the ones who want to enter go in. They talk about the prophets of old and the apostles of the Early Church, but they will not accept apostles and prophets for today.
I was speaking with one of the local pastors recently, who advertised his church as a New Testament Church. I was curious about the church, because it also carried the name of one of the more well-known denominational churches, although it was independent from that denomination. So I inquired, “A New Testament Church is built upon the foundational ministries of apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20). Do you believe in the revelation ministries of apostles and prophets?” “Oh, yes,” he said, “we believe in the doctrines and teachings of the twelve apostles.” The conversation ended there. It was obvious that he didn’t accept that kind of ministry for today. So I didn’t discuss it any further. What he claimed was a New Testament Church was not a New Testament Church at all. He was like the scribes and Pharisees. He believed apostles and prophets existed in the past, but he wouldn’t accept their ministry for today.
I was reading AN EXPOSITION OF HEBREWS by A. W. Pink. On Page 91 he made the following statement. “Divers miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit were given by God before the New Testament was written. Now that the Scriptures are complete they are no longer needed, nor given.” That is no different from saying that since we have the Bible we don’t need God anymore. What deception! That is applying one’s own interpretations of the Scriptures to keep God in the past or in the future. Some people don’t want God actively involved in the present; it messes up their religion. The fact is, we need miracles and the gifts of the Spirit just as much today, if not more, as then.
Believing that Jesus healed the sick and oppressed during Gospel days doesn’t mean anything at all, if we don’t believe that He can and will do it today. We must believe that God is, not that He was or will be. We must walk with Him today. Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall in no case enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20. The scribes and Pharisees kept the Kingdom in the future. Therefore, it was impossible for them to enter in. You cannot experience something that is only in the past or in the future.
John the Baptist came preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2). Jesus began His ministry preaching, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). When Jesus sent His disciples out, He told them to preach, saying, “The Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:7). That was almost 2,000 years ago, and people are still pushing the Kingdom into the future. They will not believe that it is at hand. They won’t believe that God is. When the Lord Jesus Christ becomes the King over your life, when He is the Lord and Ruler of your being, then you’re in His Kingdom. The problem is that people want to be saved and still maintain control over their lives. That is a rejection of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
John 5:37-40 And the Father Himself, which has sent
Me, has borne witness of Me.
You have neither heard His voice at any time, nor seen His shape.
38 And you have not His Word abiding in you: for whom He has sent, Him you believe not.
39 Search the Scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.
40 And you will not come to Me, that you might have life.
The Pharisees were not aware of the One spoken of in the Scriptures. Like many people today they thought their exaltation of the Scriptures gave them eternal life. Jesus Christ is the Word (John 1:1-4). It is not the Scriptures, per se, but the life of the Lord (the Word) that comes through them, that changes one’s life. If we don’t receive a revelation of Jesus Christ from the Scriptures, we err just the same as the Pharisees. They did not know the One the Scriptures spoke of when He was standing right there in front of them. They interpreted the Scriptures according to their own human reasoning, thus forming their mold for the Messiah. Well, He didn’t fit their mold. Denominations have done the same thing. They also form their own doctrines and interpretations from the Scriptures, each one claiming to be right. Well, the Lord won’t fit their mold either.
Since God is eternal, the Word is eternal. It is important to believe what the Scriptures say about the past and future, but it is even more important to believe what they are saying in the now, for only then will there be an impartation of Divine life to your life.
When I was in college my Old Testament professor was a Rabbi. I loved him dearly, still do. He had a unique way of teaching that made one think. It is amazing how many people don’t want to think. They just accept what is said. On one occasion, he said, “The story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent in Genesis chapter three is a satire. (Some of the Fundamentalists in the class were furious over that statement.) Whether you believe the serpent was real and really talked, etc., is not important. What is important is whether or not you are hearing what God is saying in the story.”
Another time he said, “It is easier to prove that Jesus existed than it is to prove that Moses existed. Personally, I believe Moses was a real prophet of God, but that is not the real issue. Are you hearing what God is speaking through him?”
Believing the Scriptures are factually correct by itself will not bring change to your life or be accounted for righteousness. You must hear what God is saying through them. Your life must be confronted by the presence of the eternal God. You cannot reach God through the past or the future; you must meet Him in the present. You must believe that He is.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
I believe that God really created the heaven and the earth. However, believing that is not going to be life-changing for me. It is historic; it is believing that God was. And debating the evolutionists won’t make me any holier or gain any points with God. Since the Word, like God, is eternal, we can march this scripture forward into the future and say that it is also speaking of the day when God creates a new heaven and a new earth (Revelation 21:1). We should believe that; it is the Word. But it is futuristic and will not have a present impact upon our lives. This verse of scripture in Genesis, being eternal, must have a present ministry to our lives.
Genesis 2:27 says that man was formed of the dust of the ground. So my body is an earthen vessel. My spirit comes from God, so it is heavenly. If I understand that the earth of Genesis 1:1 represents my earthen nature, and heaven represents my spirit, then the creative work of God is taking place within me. Now, that is life-changing! Because I believe that God is working in me, creating a new heaven and a new earth, He really is. I’m thankful the Lord will bring forth a new heaven and a new earth in the future, but I am more thankful for the creative work He is doing within me in the present. For it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Philippians 2:13.
Isaiah 65:25 The wolf and the lamb shall feed together…
The fulfillment of this is usually considered to take place in the millennium. They say that at that time there will be complete peace, and the lamb shall no longer be a prey for the wolf. The problem with that interpretation is the fact that the wolf and the lamb being at peace with each other at some future day doesn’t do anything for me today. It isn’t life-changing.
John chapter 10 presents Jesus as the Good Shepherd (verse 11), and those who follow Him as sheep (verse 27). Therefore, the lamb represents the nature of a Christian that desires to follow after the Lord. The wolf, on the other hand, represents the flesh nature that is in opposition to the lamb-nature, and desires to consume it (Galatians 5:15,17). So when I view Isaiah 65:25 in this light, it becomes a promise that God will bring an end to the conflict between my flesh nature and my desire to follow Him. Now God is working in the present, and my life is being changed. If I only see a futuristic interpretation, then God is separated from me and my life is not changed.
Do you want to believe that God is? Do you want Him working in your life? Then take Him out of the past and out of the future. Don’t let the pharisaic religious spirit rob you of a present relationship with the eternal God. Too many Christians only have a relationship with a concept about the Lord. They don’t really know Him. It is our responsibility to take the initiative to bring a present working of God into our lives. He will respond to what you believe. If you believe that miracles are not for today, then God won’t disappoint you; you won’t have any. If you don’t believe the gifts of the Spirit are for today, God will honor your unbelief and not give you any. If you believe that since we have the Bible (God’s complete and final revelation to man, so the unbeliever says), God is not speaking anymore, then you won’t hear anything. If you only want a historical and futuristic interpretation of the Scripture, then God won’t interfere with your life. But if you really want to know the Lord, He will meet you in the present. I will add this: if you want God to actively work in your life, get ready for an earthquake, because He will shatter everything in you that is in opposition to Him.
Copyright © 2005 by Henry DuBose