But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, except the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. (1 Corinthians 2:7-12 KJ2000)
When Jesus came two thousand years ago, God did a new thing. He caused a virgin to conceive a son without knowing a man. Because it was a new thing and out of the ordinary, those who knew the scriptures but not the Spirit missed it. Only some lowly ignorant shepherds showed up for the birth of the Messiah. Those who searched the scriptures could tell where He was to be born, but they refused to go meet Him. They had it all figured out. Later they knew for sure that no "good thing could come out of Nazareth" after Joseph and Mary relocated there with the Child. Because of this mindset, they missed His coming the first time and even crucified God's Anointed One. In all their amassed Bible knowledge, they still missed the day of their visitation (see Luke 19:42-44).
If we entertain this same authoritarian mindset, we are in danger of missing what He is doing before His second coming. Jesus prayed about those who did and didn't receive Him the first time: "I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in your sight." Just like the Scribes and Pharisees, we can confine God to a theological box by thinking that we understand the Holy writ and miss all that He is doing as He prepares a bride that is worthy for His Son. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him."
God does all things new. God builds truth upon truth, giving those who have spiritual eyes to see an ever greater and deeper understanding of who He is and His great plan for mankind. He started out fresh with Abraham and then added his descendants, the children of Israel. Then, in Christ, the Son of David, He included the rest of mankind into His eternal plan. The prophets spoke of these thing as Paul wrote to the Galatians.
Know you therefore that they who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In you shall all nations be blessed. So then they who are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. (Galatians 3:7-9 KJ2000)
God Himself does not change, but part of His unchangeableness is the fact that He is the Creator and in that sense, He is always creating, just as the Word, Jesus, is always speaking if we have ears to hear Him. Yes, He finished His works on the end of the sixth day when He created man, but those "finished" works are still unfolding in a man that was created in His image, but is now being recreated after His likeness. We are being made holy as He is holy as we are being transformed with the mind and heart of Christ.
Man is finite and unimaginative and when we try to imagine God or grasp His greatness with unregenerate minds, we limit God to what He has done in the past. Worse, we create a false image of something He is not. Often we find it more comfortable to serve a God that is as predictable as an idol sitting in a temple niche, a God that is the product of our own minds, confined by our limited understanding of how we see Him revealed in the Bible. More often than not, we establish a theology based on what He did during the revival we were saved in or the one that put our denomination in motion years ago. We must realize this makes Him no more than an idol hemmed in by our "statement of faith" or book of church doctrines.
The God of Abraham prophesied through the prophet Isaiah saying,
Remember not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19 KJ2000, emphasis added)
And He did just that. Water sprang out of a Rock which followed them (See 1 Corinthians 10:4). He made them a way in the wilderness and protected them. God continued doing new things all during the Old Covenant. When Korah and his followers rebelled against Moses, He said,
But if the LORD makes a new thing, and the earth opens its mouth, and swallows them up, with all that belongs unto them, and they go down alive into the pit; then you shall understand that these men have provoked the LORD. (Numbers 16:30 KJ2000)
This was a new thing. He also parted the waters of the Red Sea, then caused it to swallow Pharaoh's army that perused them after they crossed. He fed them with manna from heaven and tons of "quail" came out of nowhere in the wilderness. He fought for them with fire and brimstone from heaven. He parted the Jordon, allowing them to cross over on dry land. He made the massive walls of Jericho to fall down flat so that they could walk into the city as if the walls were never there. He also miraculously delivered them from their enemies many times over in the years that followed.
He continued to do new things even in the time of the prophets. Elijah caused a three and a half year drought, called fire down from heaven and outran Ahab's chariot. Elisha made an ax head swim in the Jordon. Isaiah prophesied saying,
I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. (Isaiah 42:8-9 KJ2000, emphasis added)
God loves to do what is impossible for man. We get Him all figured out and He does something that kicks the slats out of our spiritual crib. When the idolatrous children of Israel tried to put Him in their box, He said,
Because I know that you are obstinate, and your neck is an iron sinew and your forehead brass, I declared them to you from of old, before they came to pass I announced them to you, lest you should say, "My idol did them, my graven image and my molten image commanded them." You have heard; now see all this; and will you not declare it? From this time forth I make you hear new things, hidden things which you have not known. They are created now, not long ago; before today you have never heard of them, lest you should say, "Behold, I knew them." You have never heard, you have never known, from of old your ear has not been opened. For I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and that from birth you were called a rebel. (Isaiah 48:4-8 RSVA, emphasis added)
What did the prophet speak that would be so new? The clue is in the phrase, "Of old your ear has not been open." To be able to hear what He was about to do, God would have to make hearing ears for them!
Until the coming of Christ, God had given man a list of rules and statutes for them to follow and they failed to do so at every turn. The Old Covenant was all about man doing the right thing, but New Covenant in Christ starts out with a big Done! Man could not do the righteousness of God, so God had to do it all for us in His own Son. This is truly a new thing! It is so new that religious Christians are still missing it along with the rest of the religious world. All religions have a list of thou shalts and thou shalt nots. If you fail to obey them, you will be shunned and it can often cost you your life! Jesus Christ came to give us rest from all our labors, a rest where we abide in His finished work of the cross and His resurrected life within (See Hebrews Ch. 4 and John Ch. 15).
Paul spoke of it when he said, "Even so the things of God knows no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not then spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God." God would make us hear new things, even hidden things by putting His Spirit within us and giving us a new heart!
Jeremiah prophesied of this new world changing thing calling it a New Covenant and he contrasted it with the Old.
Behold, the days come, says the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; my covenant which they broke, although I was a husband unto them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, says the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 KJ2000)
It was all up to each man to keep the old covenant that God made with Moses in the wilderness. Under the New it is all up to the Spirit of God who dwells in us and has put a new heart in us. This revolutionary new heart has an abiding understanding within that does not need men to teach it the will and the ways of God. Ezekiel also prophesied of this new thing.
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and you shall keep my judgments, and do them. (Ezekiel 36:25-27 KJ2000)
We who are in Christ have been given a New Covenant, a new heart, a new spirit and a new law, the law of the Father's love within us. Through the shed blood of Jesus, God has cleansed us of our sins and made us altogether new creatures in Christ. Through the new heart and new Spirit He has placed within us, we now have the power to avoid living in sin, but also have the power to walk as loving, obedient sons of God. His Spirit is our inwardly abiding Teacher.
God does new things just to break the confinements of our theological minds and lead us out of our own religious captivity. We can no longer say, "I know what God can and can't do and I know what He will and won't do!" We know that all things are possible for our Father and we walk in the faith that He will make our paths straight. Isaiah also prophesied of this New Covenant relationship with the Father.
And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isaiah 30:20-21 RSVA)
Today, some church authorities tell us that God's creative force, His Holy Spirit, no longer has any influence on the earth. The proponents of this doctrine teach that the Spirit inspired the books of the Bible, but ceased to inspire anything from that point on. According to these scholars, all we need is included in the canonical books and a good Bible teacher will tell us what we need to know to please God. Yet, it is this very canonized Bible that speaks of the ever-speaking and ever-present Spirit that we are to listen to and walk by! If the Holy Spirit no longer inspires or leads us, we have succeeded in making our Living God into a dead idol, trapped by His own words. It is no different than the devout Jews worshiping before the empty Holy of Holies at the time of Christ's first coming. In serving a static and impotent God, we become idol worshipers by default. This is why Jesus said to the woman at the well, "Woman, believe me, the hour comes [and now is], when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father... true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him" (John 4:21-23 KJ2000)
Is the New Covenant God different? Can He no longer do new things? Is He bound by His Book to do the predictable things that can be read in its pages? He was never so bound in the Old Covenant, so what makes us think that He is so bound in the New? Jesus said to the bibliolaters of 2000 years ago,
And the Father who sent me has himself borne witness to me. His voice you have never heard, his form you have never seen; and you do not have his word abiding in you, for you do not believe him whom he has sent. You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life. (John 5:37-40 RSVA)
Jesus had these words to say to the Pharisees who had God in their box:
And he spoke also a parable unto them; No man puts a piece torn from a new garment upon an old; otherwise, then both the new makes a tear, and the piece that was taken out of the new does not match the old. And no man puts new wine into old wineskins; else the new wine will burst the wineskins, and be spilled, and the wineskins shall be destroyed. But new wine must be put into new wineskins; and both are preserved. No man also having drunk old wine immediately desires new: for he says, the old is better. (Luke 5:36-39 KJ2000)
We are comfortable with our old wineskins because it gives us the feeling that we are in control. Where men are in control, God is not! He is forced to leave those old wineskins behind and find new ones to pour the new thing He is doing into. God always leaves old wineskins to their religious rigidity and chooses new ones for His new wine. Men prefer the old wine over the new because it is no longer alive and doesn't stretch their religious wineskins. As they cling to their traditions, they make what God is currently saying to them of no effect, and doom themselves to become spiritually extinct. Men call this the "Post Christian Era" for a reason. Christianity has ceased to be relevant with His relevancy. God continues to reach out to a dying world so we have a choice to make. We can either move on in the flow of His Spirit or cling to our dead and "safe" traditions and institutions.
Jesus told Nicodemus that those who are of the Spirit of God are like the wind with no man knowing from where it comes or where it is going. The wind is symbolic of the Spirit of God and it by nature refuses to be confined by the structures built by men. One dear brother put it, "The opposite of the wind is bricks!" We either move with the wind or are left behind. God will move on and we will be left standing there like that old Pharisee saying, "How can these things be?"
Therefore from now on know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet from now on know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creation: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:16-17 KJ2000, emphasis added)
The nature of Christ's continued working in us is to make all things new within. The wine is always stretching our wineskin. As He does, even our ideas of who He is are no longer static because we cease to know Him after the flesh. After being confronted by the living God at the end of his trial, Job cried out, "I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:5-6 KJ2000). We all should abhor the religious self in us that has been limited to the hearing of men as opposed to hearing the Spirit. When Saul of Tarsus (later known as Paul) had his first encounter with the living Christ, he was knocked to the ground and blinded. The first words out of his mouth should be our continuing prayer: "Who are you Lord?" God delights to manifest Himself to those who want to see Him as He is. "Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God."
Our old things pass away as the Spirit draws us deeper into His wondrous, uncontainable truth that He prepared for us from the foundations of the world. Life is no longer static and dead. Instead we are alive with a continuing fresh view of the greatness of our God and His Christ. Yes, "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him. But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God" (1 Corinthians 2:9-10 KJ2000). Paul went on to say,
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. (Galatians 6:15-16 KJ2000, emphasis added)
God is not static in His working with man. Faith in Christ, the Word of God, is alive and He quickens us. He is the Word that pierces and separates what is soulish from what is spiritual within us. As we yield to Him and His working, He will continue to do this until the day in which He "shall wipe away all tears from [our] eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful" (Revelation 21:4-5 KJ2000, emphasis added).
And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God is its light, and the Lamb is its lamp... And they shall see his face; and his name shall be on their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no lamp, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign forever and ever. (Revelation 21:23 & 22:4-5 KJ2000)to top