The God in me: “You are gods”
God said to the writer of the Psalms, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you” (Psalms 82:6). Jesus used the same identity to those who received and shared the message of heaven in John 10:34-36. “Is it not written in your law. ‘I said, you are gods?’ If He called them gods to whom the word of God came (and the scriptures cannot be broken), do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world. ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?'” How does God do it? The answer is found in John 1:12-13, “But all who received Him (Jesus), who believed in His name, He gave power (exousian) to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of men, but of God.” The “exousian” is God’s personal “authorization” and “edict” that grants to the believers in Jesus the right to be identified as “children of God.”
The Bible introduces God in the plural as an “US.” We address Him in the singular as God, and Lord, and Almighty, Creator, and The Most High. God manifested Himself to Moses as “I AM,” which became Yahweh (Lord). Jesus personalized God and brought God down to earth as the Emmanuel. In the Hebrew, Immanuel means, “God with us” (Matthew 1:23). Jesus was the “Presence” and the “Shekinah” of God among and with man for a short time. The Holy Spirit replaced Jesus. The Holy Spirit is invisible, or is He? We are far too often plagued by the question, “Where is God and why does He not answer us?” The disciples, who were with Jesus, had that same question. One of them by the name of Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father, and we shall be satisfied.” Jesus’ answer was even more troubling and more mysterious; particular to the Jews, who were taught, that no one, man or animal could represent God. Here was Jesus asking, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you do not know me, Philip? He who sees me has seen the father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The word that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority; but the Father who dwells in me does his work. Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father in me; or else believe me for the sake of the works themselves” (John 14:8-11).
I have wrestled with the “Presence” and “Shekinah” of God for eighty–six-plus years. I have looked for God everywhere, but in myself. And like most believers, I relied on Jesus to take me to heaven, before I can see the Father or God. I misled myself because that was not the reason why the Lord put me in this world. It was not until I realized that I could not see, or find God, until I saw Him in myself. Let me repeat that for you, “You will never see God until you see Him in yourself.” We, you and I, are created with the “Image of God” dwelling inside of us; for the purpose of showing forth, through our behavior and deeds, the very “nature of God in us” to the world. Jesus, Himself, made us aware that God could not be found in the temple or on a mountain, but God is in the “Spirit” that was incarnated in every human being (John 4:21-24). It is the “little you” and the “little me” that have always been the “temple of God’s Spirit” in man. The “Spirit of God” in man is the “intellect-–the image and likeness of God” that has become dormant for far too many, and “intellect—the image of God” is being misused by many more. Adam and Eve were the first couple to allow, themselves, to be misled. Adam and Eve also led themselves to be abused by Satan, the serpent, who is the devil’s emissary.
Jesus’ answer was that his disciples, and so do we, look in the wrong places for God and for the wrong reason. God is present in his children: in their attitude and in their deeds. If the disciples of Jesus were surprised to hear Him say, that looking at Him they were also looking at the Father; they were even more surprised to hear Jesus say that they would outdo their Lord. “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father” (John 14:12). Jesus’ prediction included all the believers in the future, because God would take up “permanent residence” in them. Jesus added to his promise, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will pray the father, and He will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him; you know him, for he dwells with you, and will be in you. I will not leave you desolate; I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world will see me no more, but you will see me; because I live, you will live also. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. He who has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me; and he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him” (John 14:15-21).
The indwelling and manifestation of the Holy Spirit, to the believers, was incomprehensible to the disciples, as it is to us. Thanks to Judas, not the traitor, Jesus simplified the mystery with the word love. Jesus said, “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word, which you hear is not mine, but the Father’s who sent me. These things I have spoken to you, while I am still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:22-26). “Love” is the compelling force that motivates God, Christ, and the believers to revive the “image of God” in man. In John 3:16, we are told, “For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” In John 15:12-13, we read, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Paul, in II Corinthians 5:14-15 (NIV), wrote, “For Christ’s life compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He (Jesus the Christ) died for all, that who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Paul continues, “So faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (I Corinthians 13:13). And again, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8).
This brings us to the reason why God lives in some and not in others. Let me begin with my personal experience. I received my initial education from my mother and her mother. My grandmother lived with us for the first nine years of my life and her education came from the Bible. The Bible was the only teacher my grandparents had. I was the first who was enrolled and attended a Polish elementary school. Later, I attended a German School in Poland. My doctrine of right and wrong came from my mother and grandmother. At the age of six, I knew right from wrong. I watched people who came to my father’s blacksmith shop. They smoked and they coughed. My grandmother warned me what a bad habit could do to me. Well, my little girlfriend and I were watching our cows and we rolled some leaves, inhaled and nearly choked to death. My folks were strict observers of the Sunday Sabbath, but I went swimming with some boys and I almost drowned. It was while I was drowning, that I heard my conscience cry out, “I am lost!” Only I knew what I meant. I had disobeyed one of God’s Laws. I did not kept the Sabbath holy, and I also had disobeyed my parents. At that time, I was twelve and we were at war with Germany. Being German, and having had a father in the Polish army, a Polish person showed mercy and rescued me. At that time, he was considered an enemy; yet, his love to do what was right, was not clouded by the prevailing hostility among us. God was at work in that person and he saved my life. I do believe that my father thanked him for saving me.
The Russians came and we fled to Germany, where I reached manhood, but I had not given much thought to my inner self and to what God would wanted me to do with my life. I behaved well, and I tried to please the local people by taking part in their celebrations and festivities. My parents regarded their customs as worldly. My parents put restrictions on my life. I endured their punishments, but I did not change. I went to one of their festivities and danced with one lovely girl and took her home. The butcher watched me and complemented me on my behavior. The next day, he met my father and he praised my behavior to him. That day my father came into the shop, where I was putting a wheel for a handcart together, and instead of threatening me, my father broke out in tears over me, instead of threatening me. My father loved me so much that he feared for my salvation. I, no longer, went where a butcher could watch me, but I did not change. I felt that I was a good boy and a well-behaved young man. My deciding moment came when I landed in Canada in 1951. I ended up working in a lumber camp five hundred miles north of Toronto, Ontario. Few days before Christmas, I fell with a kerosene lamp, near a kerosene tank. I became a flaming, living torch. A German and an Italian saved my life. For several weeks, the doctors and nurses kept me alive before I was strong enough to be taken by train to Toronto General Hospital. At the hospital, I was treated by a burned specialist and by the staff. For several months, three nurses kept watch around the clock. It took a year and a half to perform twenty skin grafts to restore my facial image and make me fit to re-enter the world.
Seventy percent of my body was torched by fire. God used a host of human angels to keep me alive. God also prepared me for a mission. God had planned for me, even before He laid the foundation of the world. We read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places, even as he chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. He destined us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of his glorious grace which He freely bestowed upon us in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:3-6). Paul disclosed this secret, “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. None of the rulers of this age (or any age) understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” But as it is written in Corinthians, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4). I am a “child” of this “Almighty God!” And you also can be, even though you may not know it. Just look inside of you and see what the “Almighty God” already has deposited in your conscience. Should you, at any time, feel uneasy of what you have said or done; then “His Spirit” already is beginning to sound the alarm in you. Then, follow me on my journey how the “Spirit of God” revives and restore “the image” and “likeness of God” in man and in us. After all, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk (live) in the them” (Ephesians 2:10). (Quotes are from RSV, unless otherwise stated).