by Ernest O’Neill
Why do we worry? Many of us answer: “Because our father was a worrier.” Why do we lose our temper?
Most of us have been taught that our present nature is the result of heredity plus environment — and we attribute our heredity to our earthly parents and their forebears. Indeed, most of us would say that the character of our parents has become a dominant factor in our lives. Either we blame their nature for our personal shortcomings, or, our reaction against their personalities drives us into opposite excesses. Besides, we human beings find that we want absolute freedom but also like to blame others for our apparent errors. In one way we want to be free from our parents; in another way we use their vices to rationalize our own.
When Were You Really Born?
But our origin started long before the existence of our parents or grandparents! It started on the first Christmas Day — and that Christmas day occurred long before the earth was made. The man Jesus (whose earthly birth we celebrated at Christmas) existed long before the historical record of his birth in Nazareth. He explained to the Pharisees “before Abraham was I am” and he prayed to God “restore to me the glory that I had with thee before the world was made” (John 17:5). Paul described Christ as “the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation” (Colossians 1:15) and told the Ephesians “you are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
As we have talked about before, “time” is only the splitting up into minutes and centuries of the one eternal millisecond that is the reality of God’s presence. In that first millisecond God, who sees everything at once—our past, present, and future — conceived His only-begotten Son — with the same Divine nature as Himself AND with a human nature so that He could beget all of us. From the point of view of eternity, you and I were “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus” when Christ Himself was conceived. We are not “only-begotten” as He is, but we are made of His life — we breathe because of the breath He has given us your heart beats and your mind thinks because you live off His life inside Him. You are literally “his body” — parts of Him.
This all took place “before” (in the language of time-space) your mother ever felt you within her. God inspired the Psalmist to write “for thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret, intricately wrought in the depths of the earth. Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance” (Psalm 139:13-16). This is why Paul wrote to the Ephesians “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the earth, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ … for he has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of his will, according to his purpose which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth’ (Ephesians 1:4-10).
Who Is Your Real Father?
This also explains why Jesus was given that unusual title that we hear sung in Handel’s “Messiah” every year around Christmas-time: “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called “Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:15). Christ is your real Father. Our earthly fathers and mothers are the dear people by whom God brought us into our earthly lives, but our real nature comes from Christ — He is the source of our life — and the continuing maintainer of it.
Why then do we seem to have a different nature from His? Because we refuse to face all this reality — and our God has given us the freedom to face it or reject it. If we reject it, what we see around us today is what results! This whole “fallen” world — and our fallen lives are what we choose when we reject the reality that we are part of Christ Himself! This present world is the beginning of the Hell we face if we refuse to face reality. But where, then, is reality now? Let’s look at this next.