Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Glory Thieves

(John 15:5 NKJV) ¶ “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.
Spring is almost upon us!  The snow has pretty much disappeared.  But I haven't seen any sign of early Spring flowers - not yet.  Where are the crocuses and daffodils?  Nothing yet, but the little dogwood looks like it is going to bloom again.

On the ground I have a litter of small branches, twigs and leaves.  They litter the ground and are just litter.  Broken from the tree, they are lifeless.  They are good for nothing but to be raked up and disposed of.

Jesus tells His disciples that it is the same way with us.  Life and productivity come only from our life giving connection with Jesus.  With Jesus we can bear fruit.  Without Jesus we can do "nothing."

Nothing?  What about the people who don't know Jesus (or disbelieve in Jesus), but still seem to be able to do something?  There are many nice people in the world who do many good things, champion good causes, raise good families, etc. all without reference to or belief in Jesus Christ.

Well, whether they believe in Him or not, the Bible says that Jesus is the Creator who sustains all things.
(Colossians 1:16–17 NKJV) For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him.  And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. 
This being true, even the unbeliever owes everything good to Jesus and this results in a surprising irony.  The unbeliever's "good" will bring them God's condemnation because they fail to give God the glory He deserves for His grace in their lives.

They are glory thieves!  When they take the credit for their good, they blaspheme the God who is the true source of all good. 

Who made them into the wonderfully complex and self aware creatures they are?  Who imbued them with a sense of right and wrong or of good and evil?  From whom did they get the life that animates their otherwise material body?

Without God - we can do nothing.  All glory for all good things belongs to God.
(Romans 1:20–23 NKJV) For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,
21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
22 Professing to be wise, they became fools,
23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

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