In this world of sin and blasphemy, there must be a conscience, desperate effort to know and understand the Almighty God to the fullest extent to which He has revealed Himself. An apathy toward God is perhaps the greatest human tragedy. It causes inexcusable guilt. The pursuit of God is man’s most sublime challenge and realty.
The Christian has been placed into the transcendent position of not only comprehending that of the spiritual, but of experiencing fully all that God is. We have entered into a unique relationship of unfathomable intimacy: that of God and man. Our purpose is well stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism’s keynote: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.” We must function so as to bring God the most glory possible through our lives.
The goal of any study, book, or teaching should not be to merely know more about God, but to know God more. The Almighty is not to be understood as some historical figure but as one who desires, above all else, an intimate relationship with us. A greater understanding is needed of who and what God is, so that we might come to an ever fuller realization that He is alive, that He is present, and that we, though originally created from dust, can have everlasting fellowship with Him.
We cannot properly appreciate God until we understand Him rightly. It is for this reason that we must fix our hearts, above all else, to pursue a knowledge of the Most High. We must not be content to define Him merely on the basis of opinion and experience. He can only be properly known through the revelation which He has given us of Himself. It is absolutely vital that we constantly search and meditate upon the Holy Scripture. This does not confront us as an option-it is a necessity. The noblest aim of man is the diligent pursuit of the deeper things of God. The application of which produces a greater glory for the One deserving of all.
The surface of the ocean is vast and marvelous, but it is much easier to traverse its surface than to explore the unknown riches of its depths. We are too often content to cross its immense surface and neglect what lies beneath. We can easily view God in much the same manner. Though the difficulty is greater the deeper we go, the unrealized riches are that much greater also. Man cannot plunge into the depths of God unaided. Thus scripture says, “’Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him.’ But to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit search all things, even the depths of God.” What the natural man cannot even dream of, the spiritual man experiences. May we always be humble enough to consider the things of God to be of cardinal importance.
We will always learn through natural experience but until we press on to know the Lord, He will be known to us only superficially. To move beyond this, necessarily requires effort. This effort, though, will always be resisted by the world forces of darkness and evil. It is for this reason, then, that our progress must be both conscience and active. Our hearts must continually be enjoined to devotion to the Lord. The emphasis, however, should not be on pressing on to “do” for God, but to know and believe Him. We must first establish the ways of God before we can dictate the ways of man.
No attempt will be made to exhaust any of the material presented in this book, but it will be discussed sufficiently with the hope that the real fruit will be a more personal and individual meditation upon the excellency and majesty of God. The desire is that the material presented herein will be taken much further in our minds and in our lives. The Holy Spirit which every believer has will enlighten and illuminate the scriptures to those who seek truth. “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out of matter.”
It will require the ages to come for the Lord to show us the riches of His grace. A lifetime of study here, therefore, can only scratch the surface. No man can exhaust the wealth of the Bible. Only those hearts which have become slow and fat can read God’s holy word and not learn and hunger for more. The Bible shall never become dull but men’s hearts are ever prone to this affliction.
To whom does God look—The busiest, the most public, the most assertive? God will look, “To him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and the who trembles at my word.” And again, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” Activities will always produce some kind of results; humility will always produce supernatural results. The humble one may be the busiest, the most public, the most assertive, but it is their relationship with God that produces the fruit. The glory is always the Lord’s.
We can have great techniques on evangelism. We can have a top notch program on discipleship. We can have a sincere, zealous heart, but if we do not know how to call upon God, if we do not know Him who “only doest wondrous things,” then who will bless our efforts? Who will supply power? Any program by itself is, basically, a lesson in activity. But the program which is supported by the Almighty God will be a display of the divine glory. To summon the divine aid is a necessity only the proud reject. We are only as effective as we can be used by God.
This work is primarily addressed to Christians-those who have come into a saving relationship with God, having done nothing more than to personally believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. This must be remembered throughout to properly apply and understand the material presented here. There is, however, a universal nature which all possess. We are all born with a sinful nature; the eradication of which can only occur upon death or translation. The Christian, though, receives a second, divine nature upon his spiritual birth. Thus he possesses two natures, but not two personalities. Any discussion of the sinful nature, therefore, applies to everyone. But the distinction is drawn between the condition of the unregenerate and of the one who has been made a child of God. We should be impressed with the stupendous transformations wrought by the Almighty for the one who believes on His Son. Confusion will be avoided as this is greater realized and understood.
A further distinction concerning the Christian’s life must also be realized between that of the positional and that of the practical. What we have become positionally before God may be vastly different from what we are practically. Our positional standing is immutable and dwells solely in the realm of the spiritual. Its realty depends not upon our understanding, belief or even acknowledgment of it. This positional standing is purely that which God has made us upon our salvation and is neither influenced nor altered by our present experience. A true knowledge of it can only result from an understanding of God’s revelation, not by our own experience. It is solely the work of God for man and is immediate and complete upon salvation. This would include, among many others, such great themes as justification, forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, and adoption. A simple faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ is all that is required for these tremendous transformations.
In contrast to this eternal position is that of our own daily practical application of God’s holy word. This aspect of our multifaceted life is our responsibility. Our goal should be for our practical living to become more similar to our positional standing. Though we are the righteousness of Christ positionally before the Lord, our practical experience is generally one of disobedience, repentance, and growth. By God’s grace, we are to become in experience and application what we already are positionally in His Son. As the holy people of God, we are commanded to pursue holiness. Though further discussion has its place among other themes, hopefully this distinction has been made sufficiently clear.
Two principle understandings are hoped to be realized through this work; (1) the depravity of man and (2) the infinitely contrasting immense glory of God. To achieve this end, the person of the triune Godhead, as well as His respective works, will be discussed. This was written in such a manner as to draw one’s heart to God, to express His dignity and glory, and to glorify none other. We must develop a God-centered attitude. In contemplation of what is discussed herein, our spirit, emotions, and attitudes should be fixed on Him. He is the source of all good; therefore, He is deserving of all praise. So to facilitate this purpose, attempt has been made to keep literary distractions to a minimum. Therefore, scriptural references have been omitted, except where suitable, and reserved for the index at the end.
As may be well understood, all literary work pales in comparison to our source of divine revelation-the Holy Scriptures. It is this scripture, inspired by God upon which this work draws. Language strains in any attempt to describe God; however, should hearts be drawn closer to the Almighty, should reverence and worship be given more wholeheartedly to the One deserving of all, should a greater trust in God and a fuller experience of His love and all that He is to be achieved, then this work has served its purpose. Man can to two things with greatness-he can ignore or spurn it and be like a child or he can acknowledge it and worship. To Him be all “blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever.” “So let us know, let us press on to know the Lord.”