Or Divine intervention…
April 2nd, 2019
Seems that the term supernatural is being attributed to the works of God in our lives and around us. Using this term didn’t feel right to me and so I did a word study to see where this terminology might have grown out of.
I didn’t find much. The amplified version of the English bible records more references using the word supernatural than any other I can find. The only other translation that uses supernatural at all is Holman Christian Standard Bible and there only two references.
Satan is at work in the world and much of what he is doing is to contort the association and meaning of various words. To that end, the term that identifies us with Christ Jesus has become diluted to been broadened beyond the scope of the original intended application.
If you ask twenty people in the western world if they are Christians, you’ll likely have at least 60-80% respond that they are. If you then ask them what makes them Christian the percentage that of those who will tell you they are a Christian who attribute their claim to a committed relationship with Jesus, will dwindle to somewhere around 35-25%. These ranges are because of culture a difference in various regions.
The reality of it is there is only one way to become Christian, and that is through the Grace of Jesus Christ. It didn’t happen because we go to church, born into a certain family, have been raised up in a certain faith. Having the likeness of Christ Jesus being attributed to us results from a personal relationship with the one who gave His life for us, to release us from the debt of sin we all are encumbered with.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV)
When Christ is in us, and we in Him, there is a profound transformation of the old to the new. Anyone who claims the name of Christ but haven’t experienced this transformation is nothing more than a faux Christian; an imitation.
Faux Christians are the remaining percentage of those who call themselves Christians but in fact are just a flawed imitation. Mimicking the words and behaviors to a degree where they feel they can associate with the body of Christ.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
John 14:6 (ESV)
If we are to identify with Jesus, we have to go through His Grace to get there. That grace is only bestowed on us when we put our faith and trust in Jesus for the remediation of our sins.
Because of the world’s adoption of the term Christian many true believers have sought to identify themselves with Jesus in other way than using the term Christian. They will call themselves believers, but ‘even the demons believe and tremble.’ (James 2:19)
Personally, I still use Christian to describe myself but along with that I attempt to further clarify this by confessing that I am a Disciple of Jesus Christ. We are called to be Jesus’ disciples, and this is something that the world isn’t willing to associate with, because even the world’s definition of disciple attributes a commitment to following the teachings of a specific teacher. In my case ‘specifically’ Jesus Christ!
I’m not suggesting that everyone who is truly a follower of Jesus adopt this terminology. I do because Jesus is our Lord, Master, and our standard. Those who follow Jesus and are really his, will strive to become more like him, do that which he commands, say what he says, and pattern their lives after him in every way they can. A real Christian is truly a Disciple of Jesus, faux Christians are not.
As we study the scripture, we see that words and context are important. Jesus provides an amazing demonstration of precision of speech; I feel like it is incumbent on me to strive to do that as much as I can.
This brings us to the use of supernatural to describe the acts of the Lord in our world.
Literally, supernatural accurately describes what Jesus does in our lives. The transformation of old life into new is beyond the scope of natural events. Our natural state is buried in the corruption of sin and death. We are raised to a new life in Jesus and that is nothing short of something that is not just unlikely; it is impossible in the terms of the world.
“Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Matthew 19:24-26 (ESV)
The Lord does a lot of things in our lives which defy the laws of nature as we understand them. But He created nature and the laws governing it. Jesus specializes in the impossible. If we are disciples of Jesus, he’s done the impossible in us. He continues to do the impossible in and through us every day.
I’ve come to realize there is a popularization of the term supernatural to describe these things that Christ does in us, through us. I can’t put a date on it, but I want to believe that this has evolved over the last couple years more than ever before.
The world is fascinated with the supernatural. You don’t have search very far on the television anymore to find reference to find content that embellishes vampires, ghosts, magic, and the macabre. Things described which are outside of nature.
The embrace of unnatural sexual behavior is by definition supernatural. But yet, those who identify with Jesus Christ find it in vogue to describe what He is doing as supernatural and associate Christ with the behavior of the world. Maybe they don’t realize they are, but just as Jesus chose his words with precision, we should.
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.
James 5:12 (ESV)
James had this so right! We should speak in a manner that makes it clear who we are talking about, what we are talking about, and encapsulate our sound-bites framing the intent of our hearts in obedience to our Lord.
We don’t talk in sentences and paragraphs anymore. Our communication has been condensed into the sound-bite and as a result the possibility of being misinterpreted by others is greatly increased.
If you search on the internet for the word supernatural, you will have a very hard time seeing anything other than the dark arts and the acts of the devil. Light has no association with darkness.
Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever? What agreement has the temple of God with idols?
For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (ESV)
I would suggest you avoid the term “supernatural” in reference to the acts of God in your lives and in the world. I would suggest something like ‘Devine intervention’ instead. Clarifying that the acts of God are totally separate and apart from the works of the devil.
Let your yes be yes, and your no be no, because light shares no quarter with darkness.