God Wants a Relationship With Human Beings
The Bible is widely available—and widely misunderstood. This blog begins a series on three themes of the Bible to help you understand this important book!
The Bible is the best-selling book of all time. More people have the Holy Bible in their homes and on their bookshelves than any other single book ever published. The makers of YouVersion, the mobile Bible app for smartphones and tablets, recently announced that it is closing in on the 100 millionth download of its popular application. The majority of people in the Western world have access to the Bible. The Barna Group recently reported that one in five American adults have read the Bible straight through, from Genesis to Revelation.
But despite the large percentage of people who have access to the Bible, knowledge and understanding of the Bible is still lacking in our society. We don’t see a society that reflects clarity in understanding and practical application of the Bible. In fact, when polls are done quizzing people to gauge their knowledge of basic biblical facts, the results are usually less than encouraging!
One of the purposes of Life, Hope & Truth is to increase understanding of the Holy Bible and to teach people in all nations how to live the way of life it reveals. This is what drives us.
If you try to read your Bible regularly, you may sometimes have difficulty understanding the big ideas and messages that are contained within the 66 books that make up the Holy Bible. In this three-part series, we will cover three great themes of the Bible that will help you better understand the entire message of the Bible.
Theme No. 1: God’s purpose for people
The first great theme of the Bible you need to understand is God’s purpose is to bring humankind into a relationship with Him.
The Bible is focused on the relationship between God and humanity. From the very beginning pages, we see God’s creation of human beings as the pinnacle of His physical creation for the purpose of developing a relationship with them. Humankind was created “in the image of God” (Genesis 1:27), meaning that we were created in the general form and appearance of God and with a limited amount of His thinking abilities. Genesis 2 describes God’s relationship with the first human beings (Adam and Eve) in the Garden of Eden.
Adam and Eve
Unfortunately, that relationship was broken. Not by God, but by Adam and Eve, who chose to sever that relationship through rejecting God’s leadership and guidance (read more about their decision in “The Tree of Life”). The Bible calls man’s deviation from God’s leadership sin. Sin is breaking the law that God gave humans to guide them in how to live (1 John 3:4). Sin separated humans from God.
Patriarchs and Israel
God did not give up on developing a relationship with humanity. A few people, including Abel, Enoch and Noah, sought to walk with God and found grace in His sight (Hebrews 11:4-7; Genesis 5:22; 6:8). These individuals, culminating in Abraham, make up the Patriarchal Period when God worked with specific individuals (Genesis 5-12). Abraham was faithful to God (Genesis 12:4; 22:1-16) and was chosen to be the father of a nation that God would specifically work with—eventually that nation would be called Israel (Genesis 32:28). Israel was tasked with being an example nation of the blessings and benefits of obedience to the true God (Deuteronomy 4:6-8).
Israel later split into two nations: the house of Israel and the house of Judah. Unfortunately, they failed to be the example God sought, and they severed their relationship with God through their rebellion and disobedience to His laws (Isaiah 1:2-4; Jeremiah 5:23-25). Like Adam and Eve, Israel and Judah decided to eat of the wrong tree, choosing to determine their own values for society and reject the law of God as their guide. This disconnected Israel and Judah from being able to have the relationship that God desired.
The missing dimension in the lives of Adam and Eve and the descendants of Israel was God’s Spirit. They did not have the Holy Spirit of God in them. Mankind needs the Holy Spirit—God’s spirit of power and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)—to choose the right way of life and have a true relationship with our Creator (Jeremiah 31:31-33).
In order to do this, God paused His relationship with the nation of Israel (Romans 11:7-26) to work with a different group of people—the Church of God (Matthew 16:18), also called the “Israel of God” (Galatians 6:16). This is how God is working now to build a relationship with human beings! He is calling specific individuals and families into a very special relationship with Him (John 6:44; Acts 2:39). The people that make up this Church are called Christians.
God is working with this special group of people to develop a strong and lasting relationship with them. James 4:8 summarizes this great purpose: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”
Do you want to have a relationship with your Creator and be a part of this great theme of the Bible? Do you want to “draw near to God” so that “He will draw near to you”? The second half of James 4:8 reveals the next step you must take: “Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”
The Bible also calls this repentance. In order to develop a relationship with our Creator, we must repent of our sins.
In our next blog in this series, we will cover this second great theme of the Bible: Human beings need to repent.
You will not want to miss this vital posting!
To learn about three keys essential to developing a relationship with your Creator, read Prayer, Fasting and Meditation: Relating to God.