Editor’s Note: It is sad to report that Earl Mott passed on to his reward in early March. He had been a correspondent for this magazine for over ten years and his thoughtful articles were always popular with readers. This was his last article before retiring in 2001 and in memory of him, we are re-printing it. We shall miss Earl.
We read in Psalm 139:7-10 David’s revelation of the universal nature of God in these words: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me.” The apostle John, the beloved disciple, put the same thought in his typically powerful and simple words, “God is Love.”
We see from these inspired words of David and John that God is omnipresent Spirit and Mind, ever-present wherever man may find himself. Wherever we may be, in whatever dire circumstance, the God of Israel is ever at hand to save and to bless. The only barrier that would prevent us from reaching out and finding Him is our ignorance of Him, and so we see that ignorance of God is the only enemy of man. If we know God as He is, all man’s enemies are powerless – even the last enemy, death. God is light, enlightenment, banishing darkness and ignorance and their harmful effects. All these enemies are as powerless as the insubstantial shadows that frighten a fearful child in a dark room. I John 1:5 tells us, “God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.”
This knowledge of God as He really is was well explained by Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles. In Acts 17 we are told that when Paul came to Athens he saw the city wholly given over to idolatry, the worship of gods humanly conceived and imagined. This false worship left the people confused and defenceless, subject to every ill and misconception that flesh is heir to, prisoners of the false carnal mind. In essence these people were deceived into believing that man is a material creature trapped in a material world and dominated by material forces. God, Spirit, the omnipotent God of Israel, was unknown to them. Just like those heathen Athenians, our own great need today is to know God. That understanding will meet and supply all our other needs.
Beginning at verse 22 we read that Paul, standing on Mars Hill, set forth to the Athenians the true facts of God and man. First he defined the ultimate enemy of man as their ignorance of the One True God. He had seen their altar dedicated to THE UNKNOWN GOD. He said, “Him whom ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you,” and he aimed his sermon at that ignorance. Paul knew that but for his ignorance of God man would be free, and so he explained to them the nature of the God of Israel. He stated a fact which is often hotly disputed today, that, “God hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.” He explained to his listeners, all in differing stages of belief and unbelief, that God giveth life to all, because God is Life. In verse 28 he stated, “In Him we live, and move, and have our being.” Then he reached out toward the inspiration of their own more advanced thinkers. He quoted their own poets who had perceived man’s life and being in this same way, “For we are also His offspring.” This was in marked contrast to the fixed beliefs of the majority of his listeners, with their heathen gods and false philosophy!
Thus Paul set forth the fact of God as the Creator of man, the very Life of man, the Essence and Source of man’s being, the only reliable guide and mind of man, his refuge and strength. Truly, the only barrier to the Truth that makes man free, really free, then as now, is man’s ignorance of the God of Israel – an ignorance that we all share in various degrees. Romans 3:23 puts it forcefully and forthrightly, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” At best mankind has a very incomplete understanding of God. We all fall short.
Mortal man, without some understanding of God to guide and instruct him, does not realize that God is the only dependable, trustworthy Mind. In times of stress, without this stabilizing understanding, mortal man is like a small bird, confused and panicstricken, which flutters against a closed glass window pane, struggling mindlessly to fly into the sunshine and freedom. If we fling open a nearby door or window to give the little creature its freedom it still continues to struggle to get through the imprisoning glass in panic and confusion. Freedom is right there for the taking. If it would know the truth, the truth would make the little bird free. If the compassionate watcher would realize the truth of God’s loving government of His universe, that would bring to the little bird freedom from confusion and fear. God does not create any of His creatures to struggle in helpless ignorance. Whenever Christians follow their Master’s lead and realize the Truth of One Supreme Mind, God, governing His creation, when they put on the Mind of Christ, this cruel ignorance of God’s Law and the bitter fruits of ignorance will begin to fade and to disappear from the face of the earth. Then we will witness the Passover from ignorance to understanding, and from death to life.
At this time of Passover we feel a deep sense of gratitude to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is our Passover. When He saw mankind struggling against heartbreak and sorrow He opened the door that sets them free. He not only taught the Way to freedom, He trod the Way, He showed the Way as a shepherd walks before his sheep.
Even though we dimly see, God grant that we realize that there is no other way than the Christ-Way, that we put our trust in the guidance of the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, and follow in his footsteps. As our staunch King George Sixth urged in a time of national peril, “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.”
“Saviour, like a shepherd lead us.