Vol.XX No.XI Pg.3
January 1984

The Divine Perspective

Dan S. Shipley

While God's thoughts and ways are not ours, we can still become partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4). In fact, an important part of our growing-up in Christ (Eph. 4:13) lies in the development of our ability to see and evaluate things from God's point of view; to acquire the Divine perspective. That means the capacity to view things in their true relations and according to their relative importance. And that, in turn, requires a recognition of an ultimate and unchanging standard of right beyond which there is no appeal. The word of God is that standard; it is the revelation of the Divine viewpoint (2 Tim. 3:16; Rom. 1:16,17) and the means whereby we acquire it.

Consequently, as we hear, learn, and accept gospel truth we come to faith (Rom. 10:17) and, thus, to the Saviour (Jn. 6:45) and salvation. To walk by faith (2 Cor. 5:7) is to live with the Divine perspective; to allow Truth to flavor every facet of life. It is not the Bible in the hand or on the shelf that counts, but the Bible in the heart and mind (Heb. 10:16). That's the only thing that can produce within us the mind of Christ (Phil. 2:5); it's the only way we can become spiritually minded (Rom. 8:6). Otherwise, we remain without faith, carnally minded, making our judgments and evaluations from the human viewpoint, and, like the Gentiles of old, walk in the vanity of the mind, darkened in understanding, and alienated from the life of God (Eph. 4:17, 18). This is the problem afflicting our world today and if such sinners are changed, it will be a change that begins from within; in the mind.

Therefore, in vain do sinners wait for God to favor them with a "Holy Ghost experience"; in vain do they appeal to their feelings as evidence of salvation; and in vain do we imagine that a few external changes indicate true conversion. In vain do we devise ways and means to convert sinners and edify saints by appealing to their carnal nature. The human viewpoint conceives of building up the church through bus ministries, "fellowship" halls, "Family Life Centers," and social activities. Every such effort is a reflection on the sufficiency of the gospel of Christ — if not an outright apology for it. The gospel is still powerful enough to save every sinner in this world; it is still able to build us up into what God wants us to be and to give us that eternal inheritance! The desperate need of our day is for men of conviction; men who will place their faith in God and His word and quit looking to the devices and innovations of "Egypt" for their help (2 Kgs. 18:21).

Even from the beginning, many did not see Jesus' teaching as making much sense. "Blessed are the poor in spirit"? Blessed are the meek, the mourners, the persecuted?? How ridiculous! — from the human point of view. So is going the second mile, loving your enemies, and turning the other cheek. No wonder they were "astonished at his teaching" (Matt. 7:28). Some still are. They are the ones who say, "I don't see why...", or, "What difference does it make...?" By such reasoning do men walk in the vanity of their minds. Such minds need transforming (Rom. 12:2); we all need the divine perspective.