At least a year of my life has probably been spent reading mystery books…since I read every single Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys volume I could find after I finished the Boxcar Children series and Encyclopedia Brown. Hopefully some of those detective skills wore off as we begin this study of Nazarene Articles of Faith, copied below. To be fair, there is a note that Scripture references were added after the original text. Duly noted, let’s get started!
“We believe in one eternally existent, infinite God, Sovereign Creator and Sustainer of the universe; that He only is God, holy in nature, attributes, and purpose. The God who is holy love and light is Triune in essential being, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Genesis 1; Leviticus 19:2; Deuteronomy 6:4-5; Isaiah 5:16; 6:1-7; 40:18-31; Matthew 3:16-17; 28:19- 20; John 14:6-27; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Galatians 4:4-6; Ephesians 2:13-18; 1 John 1:5; 4:8).”
Did you ever do matching exercises as a kid? Today I revisited that concept with a chart. I wrote each part of the definition on one side and listed the verses opposite. Then I made lines like a confusing web to see if the verses supported the definition. The trickiest part, I found, was keeping in mind the context of each book: who wrote this? Who was the audience? What was the purpose of writing? What is the author saying in the verses surrounding this statement about God? It was rather fun…you should try it. In hind-sight I recommend color-coding. Are there any areas lacking? (I would add Revelations 1 for God’s eternal nature, the end of Job to support Him as infinite, and Isaiah 45:5-7 as a powerful statement of God being the only God.) Can you think of others?
My first reaction to this list was that it was missing a category, something that was repeated over and over: God is both just and forgiving. It seems almost contradictory. He gives consequences to actions while also providing chance after chance to repent. Why would an eternal God bother with humanity for so long? It’s that mystery called Love. By definition, it’s a weapon that cannot use force, but it has more stamina than an Olympic athlete.
God as a Trinity has a built-in community for love. And He went out of His way to share His love with the world by singling out a family to pursue through centuries. Until God Himself came to earth as a man, paid the price of justice with His own blood, and told His followers that it was time to go EVERYWHERE with the good news of His love. Pursued by God. That’s a story worth telling!
God, the idea of being pursued by You in love is both terrifying and thrilling. You just don’t give up through the whole Bible.Thank You. Thank You for who You are, and a better picture of that. Please help my eyes to be open, for all of us to see You better.I love You, Amen.