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Faith

D.C. Collier: The Greatest Treasure Hunt in All of Human History

Nothing is quite as exciting as a treasure hunt, especially when it involves mysterious clues and hidden messages.

Over the years, popular movies have held audiences on the edge of their seats, as heroes and villains frantically race to find “the holy grail.” The details vary, but there always seems to be a professor or white-coated scientist who alone is able to connect the dots and find the treasure.

Imagine, for a moment, that there has been a real-world treasure hunt going on since the dawn of time — one that leads directly to the secret of eternal life. I’m not talking about gold, riches, or anything material.

Who among us isn’t fascinated by the notion of living forever, of never having to die, never going out of existence? Add to this the tantalizing notion of taking part in a grand adventure for a noble cause against formidable opposition. It’s the stuff of countless novels, movies and plays.

But, as far as mysteries, secret codes, numerical keys, fascinating characters, UFOs and alien creatures go, nothing beats the Bible. And, most important, woven throughout its pages is the secret of eternal life, progressively revealed from cover to cover.

But the dots need to be connected by the reader. The Bible’s true treasures, its deeper secrets, can only be discovered by true seekers who are willing to patiently follow its clues.

Who doesn’t love being let in on a mystery? Especially if the mystery has confounded the best minds in human history. This brings us to the point where Christianity parts company with all the other religions of the world.

Here is how the Apostle Paul put it:

That is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.1

The long-hidden mystery of eternal life was none other than the God of the universe taking up residence inside every single believer in Jesus, “Christ in you.” Not only does this cohabitation characterize every true believer’s life in the world, but it is the means by which He imparts that promised eternal life in the first place.

God would not stop at just laying out the rules and expecting His followers to adhere to them — that would hardly be good news. No, He quite literally would come and live out the Christian life in them!

An ancient prophecy in the Old Testament says:

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.2

Now that’s more like it.

Don’t be put off by the metaphysical intermingling talk. You stay you. But there is another dimension added to your character that slowly but surely works its way into your decisions, actions and aspirations that are distinctly Christ-like.

It isn’t so much that we bring God down into our lives as much as it is that God brings us up into His. The relationship is decidedly upward, and a whole new heavenly perspective begins to appear before our eyes.

Jesus viewed the intimacy of this human-divine relationship as a living, functioning organism:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”3

That is, on your own, you can do nothing of eternal value. Self-effort has no place here. Either it comes from Christ dwelling within, or it carries no eternal weight — however well-intended and “religious” it may appear to be.

This reduces the believer’s job to simply getting out of the way and letting God do His thing. After all, what does a branch need “to do” besides bear the fruit that is naturally produced by the vine?

Christianity’s Basic Value Proposition

The unique proposition of Christianity is that any willing person can have a direct encounter with the living, resurrected and ascended Jesus Christ in a personal, conscious, ongoing manner. No such promises are made by any other religious system.

The founders of all other religions died and stayed dead. Jesus promised, “And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”4

And best of all, Christ offers membership in an elite band of believers whose sole purpose is to join Him in heaven and to bring glory to God for all eternity.

The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.5

This psalm portrays the heavenly bodies of our universe reflecting the glory of God for all on earth to see. Similarly, Paul’s letter to the early believers in Corinth highlights another dimension to mankind’s original purpose, going all the way back to creation, as recorded in the book of Genesis:

For God, who said, “Light shall shine out of darkness,” is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the Light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.6

The moon, while merely a lifeless rock, faithfully reflects the light of the sun to a benighted earth. Likewise, we get to take our proper place in God’s cosmic order by reflecting His glory back to Himself, all the while shining the light of His presence to our fellow – men on earth. Now that’s a value proposition on a global scale.

D.C. Collier is a Bible teacher, discipleship mentor and writer focused on Christian apologetics. A mechanical engineer and Internet entrepreneur, he is the author of My Origin, My Destiny, a book focused on Christianity’s basic “value proposition.” Click here for more information. Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

1. Colossians 1:26-27 ;NASB

2. Ezekiel 36:26-27 NIV

3. John 15:5 NIV

4. Matthew 28:20 NASB

5. Psalm 19:1-4 NIV

6. 2 Corinthians 4:6-7 NASB

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