Declaration of Dependence
I am one of God’s dependents. The IRS thinks a dependent is an annual tax deduction. We are much more than that. We are children of God. We depend on Him. The Lord explained dependence by reminding us, “without me you can do nothing.” Nothing? That’s right, nothing! As Christians we are absolutely, utterly, and totally dependent on God.
When a person is born again he knows that he is a dependent. If a person thinks he is not, it is one proof he has never been born again into the family of God. Jesus said, “Except ye become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of God.” Yes, I am a dependent. The older we get, the more independent we become from our earthly parents. That is the way it should be. But in the spiritual realm, the older we get the more we realize just how dependent we are. The secret of the spiritual life is dependence. It is the little hand in the big hand. Faith is the little hand. Grace is the big hand.
Everything that Jesus Christ did from the moment of conception to the moment of resurrection was done, not in the power of His deity, nor in the power of His humanity, but rather in the power of His dependence. He said I do nothing of “myself.” Jesus Christ was God, and is God incarnate. Make no mistake about that. Yet the magnificence and manifestation of His life was not one of God coming down using His God- powers, doing what we could never hope to do.
Born of the Spirit and of Mary, Jesus was the God-Man. Most have no idea what that is or means. Many, (even Christians “so called”) think that He, like Superman had these great supernatural powers. (Well the truth is, He created everything- but that is not the story of the incarnation). He also made it clear that “all power is given unto [Him].” His real power is in what He didn’t do (He opened not His mouth, before the shearers), not what He did do. Anyway, back to Superman. Superman (so the story goes) came from another world in outer space, and wore a costume with a big “S” on the front. Although he could fly “faster than a speeding bullet,” and was the enemy of evil, relatively few actually saw Superman use his special powers or were ever actually saved by him. Most of the time he was disguised as a friendly news reporter moving among the masses, unnoticed.
For many Christians, Jesus is not unlike Superman. They believe He is someone who came from heaven, had super-natural powers, hated evil, rescued many people, and overcame attempts to destroy Him, and then returned to where He came from. And yes, they believe that He is coming again, and then He will fix the bad guys for good.
That is almost a modern mythology that would make the Greek Pantheon proud. Satan is not troubled by those who believe in Santa Claus or in Superman. There seems to be enough evil in this world to suggest that he is not very afraid of what most believe as long as it remains make-believe.
The problem with the Superman theology is that Jesus did not claim to be a “superman,” (He made of Himself no reputation). He always claimed to a “son.” And while that may sound weak and innocuous at first, the fact is that demons fled from the presence of this one of whom it was said, “This is my son, in whom I am well pleased.” That God should come into the world and do things with His supernatural powers would be in itself awesome and impressive, but it would not change a thing. An Almighty God could “zap” and destroy evil as much from a distance as from “up close.” He would not have to come down here to do it. Destroying the devil would be an easy thing for God. Just think, in a moment, in an instant, he could drop some kind of spiritual nuclear device or spiritual virus that would give the enemy and all his imps the spiritual influenza and save the world.
No, Jesus was the Son of God and the Son of Man. What He did here was done in absolute and utter dependence in the Father. The words “I come to do thy will, Oh God,” were not just His purpose, it was also the secret of His power. For the believer, nothing is deeper than dependence. It is this acknowledgement of our utter reliance on God that makes us so dangerous to the demons of darkness. This dependence, not only keeps us close to the Father, it also enables us to do what we could not to “naturally.” Paul understood this when he explained, “It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” That is supernatural. Without Him we can do nothing. With God, nothing is impossible. I am a dependent.