Questions God Asks, Pt. 5
Study Guide, October 23, 2022
Pastor Clay Olsen
Naturally we ask a lot of questions to God. We don’t yet know the answers, but we’re hoping to find them. And yet, God also asks a lot of questions to us, too. Interestingly enough, God already knows the answers to every question that He asks us. But the point is for us to then come to also know what God already knows about the answers to those questions that He asks us, instead of just knowing what we do know or think we know. You know what I mean? Of course! And since in weeks past we have been examining some of those questions that God asks, let’s explore another one that is perhaps one of the most unusual questions God ever asked, as well as a most surprising question, since it differs widely from what most people imagine when they think about God, however they imagine Him.
All right…so what’s the question? Are you ready to maybe also be surprised? Here it is: In Luke 12:51-53 Jesus said- “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” NASU
I can imagine, after hearing Jesus say this, that many people in the crowd that were standing there were now standing there with their mouths fallen wide open, as in: “What did He say? Did I hear that right? Did He say that He didn’t come to grant peace on earth, but division?” Oh yeah! That’s exactly what Jesus said!
But wait a minute. Didn’t even the multitude of Angels announce at Jesus’ birth – “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”? (Luke 2:14 NKJV) And didn’t the Prophet Isaiah inform us that even one of Jesus’ names is ‘Prince of Peace’? And aren’t the virtues of love and peace the very virtues that followers of Christ are to carry in their minds and hearts and then communicate and demonstrate these very things in their relationships with both those inside the household of faith and with those outside the household of faith?
Right again…partially…! Wait…what do you mean, partially? How about this? Is this not one of the most remarkable verses in the Psalms? Ps 85:10-“Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.” NASU What a word picture! That speaks of the complete harmony and unity of God’s ‘lovingkindness, truth, righteousness, and peace’. These virtues not only travel together along God’s paths, but they are also inseparable from each other. In fact, not only are they inseparable…they are also ‘life giving’. Which means that if they are separated, the consequences become ‘life threatening’. What do we mean by that?
An example from nature can illustrate this. Sodium requires great care when being handled. If it comes into contact with water, the reaction can be flammable, while powdered sodium has the potential to be explosive in oxygen or air.
Chlorine is an extremely caustic and dangerous substance. It can be a toxic gas that is extremely harmful to the respiratory system. If it reacts with the lining of the lungs, it can be lethal. But if you combine them together, well, then you can reach for them in your shaker bottle and sprinkle a little of it on your food or in your cooking pot, and the result is…yummy tasting good old ‘salt’.1 Again, when properly combined, they become useful and beneficial…even peaceful. But improperly used apart from one another…they can be harmful and dangerous, even deadly.
We think of that statement about genuine unity: “Truth without love is legalism. Love without truth is lawlessness. But truth with love is peacefulness.” You see, what the world wants is peace, and they want love…what the natural man wants from God is lovingkindness and peace…but they want it all on their own terms. And their own terms tend to exclude righteousness and truth, because that would require changes in their life about other things, like: God’s authority over their life, and like their accountability to God, and like their need to surrender to the Sovereignty of God in their life. Oh yeah, they most definitely want a God that will grant them peace, as long as they can basically live their life as their own god. But wasn’t that mankind’s problem from the very beginning? Remember the lie? “You shall be like God.” What the Enemy meant was they would be like ‘their own god’. And that has been the main problem with people throughout history. How ironic, that whenever a person attempts to be like God, as in like their own god, that is when they are most unlike God.
Of all the images that God warned man not to make, there is one image that is actually the worst image…also the most overlooked. And that image is that whenever anyone attempts to make God in his or her own image, that is a false image and an idol! Remember, God created us in His image, but ever since the Fall of man into sin, people have been attempting to make God in their own image, after the imaginations of their own mind, and after the desires of their own will. God created man in His image, but many people now want to create a god that is in their image! So again, not only is that the worst image, it is also the worst ‘idol’. When you allow your personal life to replace the Lord of life; when you allow your personal self to replace the personal Savior, when you allow the image of God to be replaced by a god in your own image, you have moved into idolatry…into the worship of the self instead of worship of the Sovereign Creator and Redeemer.
But that’s what happens when people leave out the key component which makes up genuine unity and genuine faith and genuine righteousness and genuine peace and genuine love. Whenever you leave out the key component of ‘Truth’ you leave out ‘Jesus’, because Jesus is Himself, the what? ‘The Way, the Truth, and the Life’!
Again, the world is calling out for ‘Peace’ and ‘Love’, but at the same time, just like the religious yet unrepentant people of Jesus’ day, they are really just saying to the Prince of Peace and to the God of Love, but “We will not have this Man rule over us!”…even though Jesus is the perfect God and perfect Man. Remember: The essence of sin is the desire for man to rule over himself or herself…to be like their own god. But what a foolish conflict that creates? For in order to have the Prince of Peace and the God of Love grant to you His peace and His love in your life, you have to invite the God of Truth to rule and to reign in your life. Mark it down: ‘Lovingkindness, truth, righteousness, and peace’ are ‘One’! And just like it says in the Great Shema of Deuteronomy 6:4- “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!” NASB God cannot and will not be divided between love and truth, for God is both Love and Truth!
However, the sin nature of man longs for a love that is made in their own image and imagination of what love is. The sin nature of man rejects the love that is defined within the image of God and the Word of God. The sin nature of man longs for a counterfeit truth that is fashioned by their own image and imagination but rejects the genuine truth that is defined in the image of God and the Word of God. And now notice: It is this very rejection of Truth that results in division between those who will worship the One True God and those who will not, because they want a god who they have fashioned in their own image. That’s why you so often hear those foolish and illogical statements by those who have rejected the One True God, saying things like, “We each have our own truths. You have your truth and I have my truth.”
The problem with that is that kind of thinking is that – nothing could be further from the truth! When beliefs or statements about Jesus Christ and the Bible contradict one another, they cannot both be true! When Jesus Christ says, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, it cannot also be true that there is another way, or another truth, and another life apart from Jesus Christ. When other religious belief systems declare that Jesus Christ is not the One True God and only Savior of mankind, then their belief cannot also be true, because Jesus said He is the only True God and the only Savior of mankind.
Jesus didn’t come to grant peace without truth because genuine peace only results from genuine truth, and in then placing your personal faith in that truth. That’s why the Apostle Paul revealed that ‘peace with God’ only comes after ‘becoming justified before God’. Notice: Rom 5:1- “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” NASU That is where the world stumbles in their understanding and continues to fall short in having a relationship with God because they want the ‘peace of God’ without first ‘making peace WITH God’. Until a person turns to God in repentance from their sin and self and puts their trust in Christ’s life and sacrifice for their sins, they are not justified…they are not declared to be in right relationship with God, nor is their soul at peace with God. And therefore, they cannot experience the ‘peace of God’ nor ‘eternal life’ with God, for they have rejected the ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’ of God!
Friends, Jesus is never the cause of division. Truth simply exposes a divisive heart; it does not cause it. The sin of rejecting God’s truth is the cause of division. When you share the Gospel of truth, or share the truths of the Scriptures, and it causes division, it’s just like with those Jesus pointed out: “…five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three. They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law…” and even between friends and others.
No, the Gospel and the Word of God are not the cause of division, nor are you, who are courageously sharing the truths of God Word, the cause of division. No, the sin of rejecting the Gospel and the sin of rejecting the Word of God, and even the sin or rejecting the ones who care enough to share the truths of God’s Words…it is this sin of rejection is the cause of division. The Gospel and the Word of God are, in fact, the only hope for anyone of escaping from their bondage to their sinful habit of rejecting God’s truths! Remember, unregenerate souls are in slavery to their sin nature. Even saved, yet carnal Christians, can be enslaved by their own human reasoning that is still resisting surrendering to the Lordship of Christ in their lives. Christians need to be careful to be renewing and transforming their mind from their own faulty human reasoning to God’s truthful revelation.
Again: It is only when a truth rejecting person repents before the One True God and becomes a ‘truth receiving’ person, that they then become right with God, and also then at peace with God, and then can experience the peace of God. Plus, it is also only then that they are finally able to be at peace with their fellow man.
How fascinating that even when the Angels were saying ‘Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men’, that what they were actually declaring was an offer from God that was being made to mankind. God was offering His peace and offering His good will toward all people. And His offer was lying in a manger…available for any and all who would accept His offer of peace in the One who was ‘the Way, the Truth, and the Life’. Just think: everyone’s eternal peace with God, as well as their present peace in their heart and life, all depends on what they have done with God’s offer: Will they receive the only One who is the only Way, the only Truth, and the only Life…or will they continue to reject Him and thus forfeit both eternal life and personal peace. Remember: The only thing left when you reject Truth is division…division between the divisive person and God…division between the divisive person and God’s people…and eternal division between the divisive person and their only Creator and Redeemer.
The New American Standard Bible says, “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division…” But another version translates it in a very fascinating way: “Is it your opinion that I have come to give peace on earth? I say to you, No, but division…” (Luke 12:51 BBE [Bible in Basic English]) And therein lies the basic problem with the sin nature of mankind. People have this self-destructive habit of starting nearly everything with ‘their opinion’ rather than starting with ‘God’s revelation’! But man’s opinion always leads to either ‘love without truth’ or ‘truth without love’. But both are divisive and toxic to humans. It is only when you have God’s love combined with God’s truth that you have genuine peace and genuine unity and genuine relationships, both with God and with one another. It is only when you commit to God’s truth and receive God’s love and seek to ‘speak truth in love’ and ‘love in truth’ that you then experience what Jesus also said: John 14:27- “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.” NASU
God’s love, God’s truth…they always go together. And those who keep them together are the ones who are seeking to worship and serve God, and to help others find peace with God and experience the peace of God. Those who divide them from each other are the ones who are seeking to worship and serve themselves…and that is the cause of division.
John 4:23-24- “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” NASU
- Readworks.org, Everyday Compound or Poison?