Embracing the supernatural reality of the spiritual world of the Bible is essential for understanding the Bible. It explains why - the sin of idolatry will not just be like any other sin. It will be the sin. Israel was created to be loyal to God; when she turned to other gods instead, she was sent into exile, cast off like the other nations.
This is a central reason why salvation in the Bible is always described in terms of faith. God is not ultimately looking for better behavior. He is looking for faith—for believing loyalty. When we choose to align our hearts with the God of gods, he will save us. When we choose another, we are sowing what we will one day reap.
For us today, believing loyalty means embracing what Jesus did on the cross because he was God in [the] flesh. Our ethics and behavior (our works) aren’t about becoming loyal enough for God to embrace us. We follow his commands because we’ve already chosen him. And his commands will lead to our happiness and contentment because they steer us away from the destruction of self and others. They provide a glimpse of life in harmony with God and the rest of his family—our family—seen and unseen, in his kingdom, the new Eden. . . .
Membership in God’s family has only one condition: unswerving faith in the God of gods, come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. That membership not only bestows wonderful privileges but also provides us with a clear purpose in life. The members of God’s family have a mission: to be God’s agents in restoring his good rule on Earth and expanding the membership of his family. We are God’s means to propel the great reversal that began in Acts 2, the birth of the church, the body of Christ, until the time when the Lord returns. As evil had spread like a contagion through humanity after the failure of the first Eden, so the gospel spreads like an antidote through the same infected host. We are carriers of the truth about the God of gods, his love for all nations, and his unchanging desire to dwell with his family in the earthly home he has wanted since its creation. Eden will live again.
It’s a scientific fact that the world’s continents move farther apart every year. But the progression of “continental drift” is undetectable to human senses. We only know it occurs because of observations we can make after the fact. So it is with the steady, unrelenting advance of the kingdom of God. We can’t perceive with the naked eye how each day shrinks the domains of the gods, the powers of darkness, or how the gospel liberates, one by one, those held under dominion. But it is an indiscernible certainty.
The key to seeing ourselves in this picture is to firmly grasp that God is still working his plan even when we can’t see it. We cannot genuinely claim to believe in the unseen, supernatural world while not believing that God’s intelligent providence is active in our lives and the affairs of human history. God wants us to live intentionally—believing that his unseen hand and the invisible agents loyal to him and us (Hebrews 1:14) are engaged in our circumstances so that, together, God’s goal of a global Eden moves unstoppably onward.
Each of us is vital to someone’s path to the kingdom and the defense of that kingdom. Each day affords us contact with people under the dominion of darkness and opportunities to encourage each other in the hard task of fulfilling our purpose in an imperfect world. Everything we do and say matters, though we may never know why or how. But our job isn’t to see—it’s to do. Walking by faith isn’t passive—it’s purposeful.