Image credit: Pope Saint Victor
God is everywhere. All of God. The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. At one time. At every moment.
That is the doctrine of God’s omnipresence. A doctrine upheld by Scripture:
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain You, how much less this house which I have built! 1 Kings 8:27
For His eyes are upon the ways of a man, and He sees all his steps. There is no darkness or deep shadow where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves. Job 34:21-22
Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. Psalm 139:7-8
The eyes of the Lord are in every place, watching the evil and the good. Proverbs 15:3
“Am I a God who is near,” declares the Lord, “And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in hiding places so I do not see him?” declares the Lord. “Do I not fill the heavens and the earth?” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 23:23-24
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. Matthew 6:6
That they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; Acts 17:27
This is not pantheism (God is the universe). It is not panatheism (God dwells in everything). It is all of God is at every point of space at all times.
This has some interesting implications.
There Is Nowhere You Can Hide
The doctrine of God’s omnipresence means that He is as much in the den of Billy Graham’s home as He is in the den of your home. Or my home. Or my bedroom.
He is as much in the sanctuary on Sunday morning when the church is packed as He is on Monday afternoon when the church is empty.
This also means that He is as much in the space of a Las Vegas gay bathhouse as He is in the den of a brothel in Centerville (city notorious for strip clubs in eastern Illinois).
The presence of God is everywhere. In the presence of goodness. In the depths of wickedness.
How does that make you feel? I will tell you how it makes me feel.
Our Reaction to God’s Omnipresence
Anger at those who would corrupt and pervert his glory and creation. And shame at my own participation in that corruption and perversion.
Not the same sort of perversion and corruption.
I’ve lied and cheated. Been cruel, hateful, jealous and self-centered. But the sin doesn’t matter. The root is rebellion. And we all stand condemned.
I see my own condemnation in the truth that he is everywhere and knows all. My knees tremble. My eyes look away. I cannot stand justified before His presence without Christ. And, yes, that standing before his presence will occur in an ultimate sense on the day of Judgment.
Yet, that convicting presence is very real right here and right now. It occurs every moment of every day of our lives.
For those whose eyes have been opened, and they see and feel the weight of their sin, and see and feel their coming destruction–His presence is an agonizing torture upon the soul.
For those whose eyes have been opened, and they see and feel the unfolding beauty and majesty of Christ and their Creator, and see and feel the worth and measure of His great sacrifice for us–our sin against him is an agonizing torture upon our soul.
But thank goodness that through the blood of Christ we are justified and reconciled to God. Thank goodness for the blood of Christ that has appeased the wrath of God. We are no longer his enemies, but children.
We can stand before Him forgiven.
The Lesson of God’s Omnipresence
The lesson of the doctrine of God’s omnipresence is that we can not hide from him. This is good and bad news. We get to enjoy the pleasure of his presence as we kneel in our den with our Bible spread out in front of us. Or gather for corporate worship. Or communion.
We get to weep with gratitude at his mercy and grace as we lie on our beds at night. And we get to grieve over the hardness of heart and the depravity of mind and the pursuit of depraved lusts in the den of a brothel or bathhouse, bedroom or bar.
Yet, we get the courage of knowing that God is no less influential and powerful and present in those spaces. And that His Spirit is no less effective in converting wicked hearts. He convicted yours. And he convicted mine.
And that our presentation of the gospel in any space is backed by nothing other than the power of God. There is no cause for shame in that. Hallelujah for God’s omnipresence and omnipotence.
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