In the language of the late twentieth and twenty first century, essential "links" between important, independent bodies of information is made by successfully "interfacing" these bodies of information. This "interfacing" allows these important, independent bodies of information to constructively share rather than destructively conflict. After reading those two statements but before you say "what?????", let your focus be placed on some simple problems and needs. These problems and needs are not new. They always have existed. The situation is much simpler than it sounds.
As an illustration, consider some examples of "bodies of information" that traditionally compete in atmospheres of conflict. As you consider the illustrations, ask this question: must separate bodies of knowledge confront each other? For example: must the military and civil government confront each other? [In many nations a strong military and a strong civil government cannot co-exist.] Must college educations and vocational skills confront each other? [The "gown and town" conflict is visible in many university communities.] Must science and God confront each other? [The conflict between science and religion is legendary.] Must the Old and New Testaments confront each other? [Many Bible students conclude the Old and New Testaments are at war.] Must the nation of the Old Testament and the church of the New Testament confront each other? [Many Bible students conclude the nation of Israel God created and the Christianity God created are "natural enemies."]
Or ... can each of these bodies of information learn from the other? Does each represent the "whole" of all knowledge, or is each only a part of the "whole"? If each is only a part of the "whole," it has something useful to share. "The whole" is blessed and benefited if each shares with the others. A sharing of healthy knowledge results in increased understanding. Increased understanding results in surrendering to God's full purposes.
The ability to share correct information between bodies of knowledge depends on those bodies of knowledge establishing a "healthy connection." With a "healthy connection" sound information can flow between them. Rather than being in conflict with each other, they benefit each other as they both move closer to a better understanding.
The greatest of all confrontations exists between the pure, holy God and impure, unholy people. God is the ultimate form of good. There is no evil in Him. People are slaves to the ultimate form of evil, Satan. There is no good in him. While God seeks and produces only good, Satan seeks and produces only evil. God functions in light and offers the openness of understanding. Satan functions in darkness and offers the deception of manipulation.
There was a time when people belonged exclusively to God's goodness. Then there came a time when people belonged exclusively to Satan's evil. From the moment people shifted allegiance from God's goodness to Satan's evil, God maintained His determination to provide people an opportunity to return to Him.
That could happen only if people enslaved to evil could again "connect" with God, understand His goodness, and choose the unselfishness of a righteous existence over the selfishness of an evil existence. But how could that happen? How could the pure, holy God reestablish a connection between Himself and impure, unholy people? How could a God of no evil reveal Himself to a people controlled by evil? How could a God with no impurities "connect" in a sound, healthy way with people who are full impurities? The chasm between the holy God and unholy people was and is enormous! How can a connection be produced between two realities that exist in total separation?
Unholy, impure people of themselves could not produce a viable connection between themselves and the living God of absolute purity. God produced the connection. God gave a gift to evil people. In God's gift is the viable connection His holy self and unholy people. Through God's gift people can choose to come to God. Through God's gift God can express His love for people in ways that bridge the chasm. The holy God and unholy people have an enduring link that connects them through God's gift. God's gift was Jesus the Christ.
In many ways the situation never changed. God's presence still resides in His temple. Only the nature of the temple changed. A high priest still represents people to God. Only the identity of the high priest has changed. People who choose to belong to God still offer sacrifices. Only the nature of the sacrifices have changed. The inner sanctuary of God still remains. Only the location of that sanctuary has changed. Unholy people who trust God's gift still come into His presence. Only the nature of the gift has changed.
This study will focus on why Jesus Christ is the essential link between God and people.
Read the following scriptures and discuss the questions:
1 Corinthians 3:16, 17
1 Peter 2:5
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 1
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