I’ve had a few conversations with friends and a few facebook discussions with acquaintances regarding the ‘location’ of God, or more specifically, the location of Jesus Christ.
Some feel strongly that He can’t be present in certain people, namely unbelievers. Others see a God that is present everywhere – not only in people, but in all of creation.
While thinking of this, the Lord arrested my thoughts with what He said in Matthew 25:35-40:
“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’”
So where did Jesus see Himself?
In the stranger.
In the naked.
In the criminals … in prison.
In the sick.
In the least of these.
It seems that Jesus’ warning here is not that we might see Him in too many people, but rather that we fail to recognise Him in the most unlikely candidates and in the most disturbing circumstances.
When God became man in Christ Jesus, He embraced humanity so fully, He identified Himself with each man so completely, that He considers the least of these people as His brothers. And what you’ve done to the least of these, you’ve done it to Him.
No wonder Paul instructs Titus to “… speak evil of no one, to avoid being contentious, to be forbearing (yielding, gentle, and conciliatory), and to show unqualified courtesy toward everybody.” (Titus 3:2)
Recognising Christ in every man is not a doctrinal statement to justify apathy, it is a way of life that determines how I speak to the next stranger I meet. I anticipate the awakening of the life of Christ in each conversation I have. This recognition bears fruit in real life.
God, Space and Location
God is, before time and space came into being. As such we must recognise that to think of His location purely in terms of space is too narrow-minded. He is beyond the limits of space and time … which is not just another ‘place’ on the edge of our universe. This is a spirit dimension parallel to the physical. In a way the limits of space and time is all around us.
God in Creation
So what does the scriptures say about God’s presence in creation?
“For it was in Him that all things were created, in heaven and on earth, things seen and things unseen, whether thrones, dominions, rulers, or authorities; all things were created and exist through Him [by His service, intervention] and in and for Him. And He Himself existed before all things, and in Him all things consist (cohere, are held together).” Col 1:16,17 AMP
“Yet for us there is [only] one God, the Father, Who is the Source of all things and for Whom we [have life], and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through and by Whom are all things and through and by Whom we [ourselves exist].” 1 Cor 8:6 AMP
“He is the sole expression of the glory of God [the Light-being, the [c]out-raying or radiance of the divine], and He is the perfect imprint and very image of [God’s] nature, upholding and maintaining and guiding and propelling the universe by His mighty word of power. “ Heb 1:3 AMP
“He Who descended is the [very] same as He Who also has ascended high above all the heavens, that He [His presence] might fill all things (the whole universe, from the lowest to the highest).” Eph 4:10 AMP
‘Where’ God is has more to do with Who He is than with what we believe! If He truly is the God who created all things and sustains all things in existence, If Christ Jesus is indeed the One in whom all things exist … then God is indeed everywhere! Without Him actively and presently sustaining creation, it would not exist.
To say it another way: If something exists, it is because God is present!
However, when it comes to man, He is interested in more that sustaining a person in existence. He has more in mind for you than survival! In man, He designed a companion in whom He is not simply present, but through whom He can live and express His character.
He desires to be more to man, than just a silent sustaining presence … He anticipates a vibrant living friendship!
It is in this context that Paul could say to unbelievers in Antioch: “ in Him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your poets have said, For we are also His offspring.” Acts 17:28
In what sense is God not present in the unbeliever?
Light does not fellowship with darkness. And Paul says :”the god of this world has blinded the unbelievers’ minds [that they should not discern the truth], preventing them from seeing the illuminating light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ (the Messiah), Who is the Image and Likeness of God.” 2 Cor 4:4.
God desires a vital, tangible relationship that only happens when a person awakes from their slumber, when the reality of what Christ achieved is unveiled and embraced. Not recognising the image and likeness imprinted upon their beings, they don’t acknowledge the ownership (Lordship) of Christ.
In what sense is God present to the unbeliever?
He created them and sustains them in existence.
The image and likeness of God is what defines man, as such they too are His offspring.
In Christ they have already been reconciled to God, by God … and as such there is nothing of substance that stands between them and God.
What a privilege we have to bring light, to unveil reality. To meet the next stranger with the absolute confidence that we appeal to every man’s conscience; that there is already a witness in that stranger of the truth … not an intellectual truth that exists apart from that person, but the truth of who God is and who man is in Him. “For that which is known about God is evident to them and made plain in their inner consciousness, because God has shown it to them.”
Jesus brought such good news: God is near, God is present, God is involved, God is aware … and He has made your cause His own.
Job 12:10: In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind.