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The Visible Representation of an Invisible God

Visibility is mentioned 8 times in the Bible. Invisible is mentioned 11 times; 4 of which are written by the apostle Paul. In the passage below, Paul eludes to visible signs that most people take for granted. For example, when I visit the beach I like to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean and set over the Indian River Bay. Yet, when I am at home, I’m consumed by my work schedule and too tired to care about God’s creation on my days off.

For ever since the creation of the world His invisible nature and attributes, that is, His eternal power and divinity, have been made intelligible and clearly discernible in and through the things that have been made (His handiworks). So [men] are without excuse [altogether without any defense or justification], 21 Because when they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened, Romans 1:20-21.

Apparently, members of the Church at Rome were going through the motions. A stale faith was preventing these individuals from seeing the invisible attributes and nature of God. Thus, the passage above serves as a wake up call, a spiritual warning to idle Christians. Paul doesn’t hold back his displeasure, exhorting members of this church to stop making excuses. In other words, open your eyes so that the Holy Spirit will help you can see the Lord at work.

[Now] He is the exact likeness of the unseen God [the visible representation of the invisible]; He is the Firstborn of all creation, Colossians 1:15.

In a letter to the Church at Colosse, Paul unveils that Jesus is the visible representation of an invisible God. Just as one of Jesus’ disciples provides a historical account of His relationship with God, John 1:1-5, Paul builds upon this fact. Putting everything together, Paul describes Jesus as the firstborn of all creation. Just like the man born blind in John 9:6-7 who sees for the very first time, it’s time for Christian’s to slow down, take a look around and see the visible representation of an invisible God.

by Jay Mankus

Stay Close

Watching a rerun of Jaws the week before you go to the beach isn’t the mental image you want racing through your mind as you enter the Atlantic Ocean for the first time this summer.  Nonetheless, I followed two of my children, Daniel and Lydia into the crashing waves.  When the big waves subsided, each of us began wading on our boogies boards, floating peacefully beyond the  break line.  A few minutes later, I felt a leg brush against the bottom of my foot.  As I was about to blame my daughter, I realized she was three yards away, not close enough to reach me.  Seconds later, my son began to freak out as something big swam underneath him.  Turning around in all directions, two dolphins surfaced for air just to our right.  This event served as a simple reminder to stay close when you enter uncharted waters.

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 John 2:1.

While on earth, Jesus served as a big brother to little children.  Like a guardian, Jesus realized the need to shield young people from the dangers of this world.  According to Jesus, sin is the greatest threat, corrupting and poisoning the innocence of a child.  To prevent addiction, bad habits or sinful desires from spread, God urged his followers to stay close to God.  The parable of the prodigal son illustrates what happens when individuals rebel or stray away from loving parents.  Sure, there will always be exceptions to this, yet the broad road which leads to destruction is often too enticing for the masses to resist.

“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few,” Matthew 7:13-14.

My three children have reached a point in life where I don’t have the influence as I once did.  Friends, peers and society are making suggestions daily trying to win them over.  Hal Lindsey’s book Steeling the Mind of America warned about this danger over twenty years ago.  In recent years, instant gratification is blinding minds from doing the right thing.  Fading absolutes and expanding grey areas are fueling young people to make poor choices.  Since free will is offered to adults and children, parents have to let go at some point.  When you do, take time to pray asking the Holy Spirit to remind your children to stay close to God.

by Jay Mankus

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