Some of God’s attributes are communicable – meaning he shares them with His creation in humanity; specially those who trust Him. Over the next couple of weeks, we will be talking about those attributes. This week Charles and Daniel focus on those attributes that are severe but vital in our understanding of who God is…
Loyalty is an important and powerful virtue. It can move one to stand strong in the face of adversity and persevere in the face of insurmountable problems. As a boy, I watched my Dad remain loyal when most others wavered. I saw him stand firm when others of influence stood against his Pastor. Even as a young Christian, he took the heat and played the man. He was loyal to the end.
As I grew older and was faced with relationships and responsibilities, the quality of loyalty became personally important. I learned to be loyal and faithful to friends, family, and leaders and to stand with them even when it was costly. I attempted to exemplify and communicate the importance of this character trait to my sons and watched them embrace it as an essential element of their lives. I can say that the Lord has taught my sons to be loyal and faithful men.
But loyalty is not primarily to a person or persons. Personality and leadership can move us to give our loyalties but should not cause us to be unreserved in their application. Loyalty is not a benign or blind matter, or at least it should not be. Of course it will be if attached to mere personality. The power of personality or human attachment can cause us to lose sight of that which alone is worthy of our loyalty.
The Founding Fathers of the United States understood this all too well and were forced to test the metal of their loyalties. They were not quick to loosen the bonds of loyalty to England and her King. Their sense of loyalty was not easily swayed. But the test of their loyalties caused them to look beyond humans personalities, philosophies, and institutions. Deeply held beliefs felt the pressure of adverse and even compromising circumstances, leaving noble men and women to ask themselves about both the source and the ultimate focus of their loyalties. So significant was this time of self-examination and challenge that it moved them to say: “…with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.”
As we have followed our Lord, our family has had its loyalties tested as well. We have found that this strong sense of commitment to a person or institution can go a long way but only so far. We have watched those we trust abuse our loyalty. I dare say that most of us have. Torn between long and tenaciously held loyalties and competing issues, we struggle to decide where our loyalties lie. Who or what holds the right to our loyalties? Christianity and the church have struggled with this for some time. Church history is strewn with the casualties of wars over misguided loyalties. And the developments of the past generation teach us that we tend to lose the lessons of the past. The truth is that we still hold out hope that loyalty to earthly alliances will provide us with the power and influence we need to win the war for values, to change the cultural landscape for the better.
It is at this point that our loyalty lies to us. It is at this point that we tend to forget that no loyalty or commitment can be allowed to challenge or obscure our loyalty to the Truth of God and the God of Truth. I am not advocating Christian isolationism. Our involvement is more than noble. It is necessary. But our involvement is not based on human possibilities or humans themselves, however noble they may appear. Our involvement is based on our sure knowledge that our Lord’s Truth will prevail and His will shall be accomplished. Our disappointment at electoral losses may reveal more than a commitment to the right. It may reveal a misplaced trust and a misguided loyalty. After all, a transformed society is not ultimately the result of temporal political victories, but of a Gospel that is the “power of God for salvation”. Let us not forget that “God is the ruler. He puts down one and sets up another”(Ps.75:7). That is a power to which no political party may rightfully lay claim.
In the love of Christ,
There are some attributes which only God possesses. They are not communicable to His children, and He alone must be and is the sole possessor of said attributes. Join Charles and Daniel as they discuss why this is important…
To any honest and thinking person, life holds any number of frightening realities. Disease and disaster are constantly lurking in the many bushes that populate life’s landscape. We cannot see them, but we are constantly reminded of their presence by the passing of a friend or loved one about our age or a news report of an earthquake, ten car pile up, or terrorist attack. Such things can make us feel extremely vulnerable and uncertain about our future.
What makes these realities even more frightening is that they bring to mind our earthly mortality. Even the oldest of us has a very short existence here, and the older we get the shorter it seems. Some spend their lives attempting to get as much as possible accomplished in the short time they have while others try not to think about it at all. Some smother thoughts of their inevitable demise with money, things, alcohol, or drugs. The problem is those reminders. They keep popping up. If those were not enough, we have our own bodies. We can hardly ignore them as they lead us on this relentless pursuit of the end of our mortal existence.
But there is something even more frightening than our mortality. Some find it relatively easy to live with the prospect of a future of non-existence. They see it preferable to the pain and suffering of this life or the painful circumstances that often accompany death. How often have we heard the comment at someone’s death or funeral; “She’s so much better off”? They either believe that bliss of some sort awaits everyone or that eternal non-existence is a preferable future.
But while mortality is a sobering earthly prospect, the immortality that awaits us in eternity is even more so. The question of mortality and then immortality can only be ignored for so long. Death is not the drunkards joke or the cynic’s song. It is an exit, an exodus from the temporal to the eternal. It is not left to humans who arrogantly believe they know best when life should end and eternity begins for the individual. Death is an appointment for every human. As is the meeting of Almighty God on the other side of it. The atheist has a vested interest in his unbelief, because the prospect of meeting God is indeed a frightening one. Why not devise a reality that leaves God out and dares anyone to prove otherwise rather than give an account for wasting a brief and temporary life? Why not be your own God and create your own truth? Why not die “happy” and hopeless? Why not live with a sorrowfully skewed idea of justice and fairness which lays blame at the feet of others, sings the victim’s lyrics, and looks forward to a godless death that finally “solves” life’s unanswerable questions?
The other side of mortality is a frightening reality had not the infinite and eternal God revealed Himself to us and made a free offer of eternal life in the person of His Son. “And this is life eternal, that they might know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ, Whom You have sent.” To know God; now their is a prospect for mere mortals. This is the prospect that pulls the teeth from death’s jaws, ties it’s mighty paws, and leaves it powerless. This is the prospect that turns incapacitating fear into holy awe and eternal joy. For those who embrace Christ, the frightening reality of our mortality is no more, for we await the prospect of knowing and getting to know our Father forever.
Its a big word, but it is an important aspect of God’s attribute and understanding who he is. Transcendence speaks of His “otherness” or “remoteness”. Yet, though God is other than us and in some since remote, He is very near. Join Charles and Daniel as the discuss it…