Archive for February, 2007

Listening without Knowing

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

I just posted an article to Mal’s Meanderings which looks at the example of some of this world’s heroes, who often had no idea of the eventual ramifications of their selfless acts of courage. They just did it because it was right to do. In some cases such people have acted because they clearly heard the voice of God and obeyed. However, in many cases the work of God in the events is not so obvious. The person may not have even been a believer, or given a second thought to where the idea for what they did originated.

Some atheists will use the fact that even unbelievers often do good things as evidence against the existence, or at least the involvement, of God. This overlooks a very important truth: that God is able to speak into the heart of an unbeliever just as well as a believer!

If this was not true, there would be no believers, because we are all born in sin. For us to respond to the living God he must speak his call into our hearts. Some Calvinists would say he only calls those who respond, but I disagree with this. God calls all – some follow, and some refuse, but all hear. Some of those who hear do not realize consciously that they have been spoken to by God, but as hearing God is a function of the spirit, not the mind, this is not surprising if their minds and hearts are not in tune with each other. All are without excuse.

Over the last period of my life I have learned to hear God’s voice consciously, but that does not mean I did not hear him before. In fact, I now know that he has been speaking to me all of my life, and I have been responding, sometimes with a ‘Yes’ and sometimes with a ‘No’, but always responding. I see his hand in guiding and protecting me.

It is much better to be aware of it, because this brings great benefits:

  • Prayer is now a conversation, where before it was a monologue by me, delivered with no certainty of being heard. He has become my friend, not just Lord.
  • Now I can cooperate with what God is doing, without getting in the way. I have a part in his acts. When I act as he suggests things happen – sometimes miraculous things.
  • God can reveal secrets to me, where before it was more like commands and directives. I am learning and understanding things that I never knew existed before. And this is not because I have a sudden thirst to learn – I have always had that, as my scientific and academic career will testify.
  • Experiencing his presence feels good! Loneliness is dispelled by knowing his acceptance of me. I know I have been saved, am being saved, and will be saved. Before, I just hoped I was.

So much of my thinking has changed, and especially on this point of what salvation consists of. Salvation is not about going to heaven when I die. That’s a non-issue. Salvation is knowing the presence of God, being in his presence, and staying in his presence for ever! Heaven is the presence of God.