Your Neighbors Need to See God
You were born again to show them.
Jesus isn’t here anymore — at least not in his own body. There is a day promised of his return when he’ll restore the fullness of God’s goodness throughout the universe and usher it into eternal bliss. So what about the meantime? I mean, did only first century humans need to experience God among us? Don’t we need to see Jesus today?
What Jesus has already done has been preserved for us here in the 21st century. We too, through the Bible behold his glory, glory as of the only begotten Son of the Father — granted that we savor as much of that glory as we can for ourselves. But that’s not all. According to the Bible, we savor to imitate.
We are told that we are made in God’s image (Genesis 1:27). We are mirrors; literally we are organic idols made to reflect the awesomeness of another. We are made to image God, not be God.
If we don’t pattern ourselves after God, no one will see him.
The Bible is a unified story about how God is committed to his glory project, with us involved, with Jesus as its centerpiece. What good we do see in this world shows that God is still at work among us, but that doesn’t yet remove the ugliness of human decision-making (deciding right and wrong according to our own preferences). But in Jesus we see the original reality of how we can thrive on this space-rock, because God is perfectly imaged in him (Colossians 2:9). He became human to redeem us to God; to enjoy God, to reflect God by his indwelling Spirit (1Peter 3:18).
So we are to pursue holiness, because if we don’t reveal it, no one (believers and unbelievers) will see him working and saving and preserving today. This means that how we live reflects our value of God. And this means finding God worthy of trust is eternally important.
To be sure, he can be known through observing nature itself, but all of us decided that he wasn’t worth getting to know. All have been hostile towards God (Romans 1:20-21). However, in his wisdom (which is far greater than ours) he chose us to experience him and then invite others to see him in becoming aligned with his character. And so, like soldiers behind enemy lines we bring surprise — not with ill-will, but with holiness.
In the context of Hebrews (see chapter 11), holiness can be summed up as “the acts of faith which please God, as they reflect his nature. This is not to be understood as retiring from community to show how pure we are; rather it’s treating people with love, doing what may be difficult at times to espouse truth, mimicking the heartbeat of Christ Jesus. In this manner, we pray that others see our good works and by them glorify the Living God (Matthew 5:16).
We act so that by faith in Jesus, our neighbors eyes will once for all be unveiled to the satisfaction of enjoying God, so that they too can find that priceless treasure for which they abandon all that once was, and lay hold of Eternity himself.