Man has never been able to reach God and His greatness through his own understanding. The Old Testament prophet Isaiah writes:”Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour” (Isaiah 45:15). Isaiah also writes: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Man can come to know God only if God makes Himself known to man. God speaks to man through nature, his lot in life and the times of nations (Rom. 1:20, John 9:3, Acts 17:26–27). He speaks to us through our conscience (Rom 2:15). God especially manifests Himself to man through the Holy Bible and in our Redeemer Jesus Christ (Hebr. 1:1–3).
It is impossible for an unbelieving person to come to know God without God’s word. For this reason, God has given mankind His word. The Holy Bible is the “handbook” of God’s revelations. It will always be the ultimate direction for faith and life (2 Pet. 1:19–21, Ps. 119:105).
A person receives peace in God
God wants to show Himself to people. “I have always loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:3). Man is the only creature on earth that can hear God’s voice, lean on him, love and serve Him. This is because man is created in God’s image (Gen. 1:27).
God has meant for man to live in fellowship with Him. For this reason, man’s heart can receive peace and rest only in God (Matt. 16:26).
God’s manifestation of Himself is not just a list of important things about God. It is above all a proclamation of what His holy and righteous will is like, how He responds to sin and what kind of redemption He has prepared for mankind from the power of sin and death.
God guides and leads
The Bible demonstrates that God also has control over the events of the last times (2 Thess. 2:3–4). The closer we come to the end of time and the world, people respect God and His word less and less (1Tim. 4:1, 2 Tim. 2:1–2). But God and His word have not changed and will remain unchanged (1 Pet. 1:25, Hebr. 13:8).
Even man is basically the same as he has always been. Without even realizing it, he is completely dependent on the care of his Creator. He is confused in the midst of change. He feels fear and insecurity. He longs for a connection to his Creator, even though he does not understand it himself.
Though God has allowed the lost ones to increase (2 Thess. 2:11), He still calls people to Him. He shows his power in His creation work where His workday continues. “Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it?” (Isaiah 43:19). The greatness of God’s power and mankind’s smallness are made apparent also in natural catastrophes which frighten the human mind (Heb. 12:26–27).
The birth of a child is one of our Creator’s greatest creation miracles and gifts of life – a child, which from the time of conception, is a partaker in Christ’s redemption work through faith. We believe and confess that only God can give the gift of life, and He can also take it away. This is why facing death also touches man.
God has not created man to be guided by chance, but He knew our life’s journey even before we were born (Ps. 139:16). But still, it is often difficult for us to see God’s guidance in our life’s portion or the times of nations, because we see the events in such a short time span and with limited understanding.
It is especially difficult to accept life’s tribulations, such as difficult illnesses or accidents as being God’s will. But through faith we can recognize the wise guidance of God’s hands not only in our own lives, but also those of our near ones. It proves to us that it is worth believing and trusting in God. “Thy will be done!” (Matt. 6:10) is a continuously timely prayer.
Faith is born from the gospel
Reading and knowing the Bible is very important. But no one can become righteous and acceptable to God by reading the Bible. For that, one needs the sermon of God’s kingdom. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Rom. 10:17).
When Martin Luther translated the Bible, he translated the words “by hearing” with the word “sermon”. Faith is born through the gospel which is the sermon of the forgiveness of sins in Jesus Christ. This sermon is heard only in God’s kingdom. In this way Christ’s work continues in the work of the Holy Spirit in the congregation (Eph. 1:22–23).
The natural eye and unbelief only see the human borders of the congregation. But through faith, a person sees the gracious and righteous God which lives in the midst of His congregations. Even the unbelieving people in Jesus’ time did not recognize God’s Son and His heavenly brightness, who taught in their midst. (John 1:11, 14).
God makes his kingdom familiar to the people of this time also. (Isaiah 2:2). It is our prayer that people would come to listen to God’s word and that God would help them become his children through repentance, because there is not salvation outside of God’s kingdom.
To God’s children the word of the Bible and sermon of God’s kingdom is “given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). The gospel is God’s strength for us all (Rom. 1:16).
Text: Kimmo Puolitaival
Published: Siionin Lähetyslehti 7–8/2012
Translation: Angela Hänninen
Julkaistu englanninkielisessä kieliliitteessä 11/2013
Maailman tuhansien eri uskontojen määrä kertoo selkeää sanomaa. Ihmisellä on pysyvä tarve turvautua yli-inhimilliseen, näkymättömään ja korkeampaan voimaan. Jumala loi ihmisen elämään omassa yhteydessään. Kaipuu tähän yhteyteen säilyy ihmisessä. Kirkkoisä Augustinus toteaa: ”Ihmisen sydän on niin kauan levoton, kunnes se löytää levon Jumalassa.”
Siionin Joulu on lehti joulun kristillistä sanomaa kaipaavalle. Lehti on värikäs, aikaansa heijastava. Hartauksien lisäksi siinä on haastatteluja eri puolilta maailmaa.
Lohdullisia ja riemullisia lauluja taivaasta Jämsän Kristillinen Kansanopiston kuoron laulamana.