“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”
For the next year I will be blessed with the opportunity to teach a chapel class to a wonderful group of K-12 students at the Academy at HH Ranch in Jerusalem, GA. I feel honored and humbled to have this opportunity. To be able to teach children the foundational doctrines of the Scriptures and to see those doctrines come alive in their hearts and minds is an immeasurable gift and I am so thankful to have been asked to be a part of it.
During the year I will be teaching the Catechism for Young Children. It is a Baptist Catechism that relies heavily upon the Westminster Shorter Catechism. It was developed and written by Grace Baptist Church in Carlisle, PA.
It is certainly a unique adventure to try to teach doctrine to a group of children the youngest of which is four and the oldest of which is eighteen. It will be a challenge to say the least. But one that I am excited to take on!
In preparing the first weeks lessons I couldn’t help but think that the information taught and learned through a basic catechism is something that shouldn’t be reserved only for children. I think the foundation laid through this catechism would be helpful for any believer. With that in mind I hope to write a summary of each week’s lessons to share here. I hope that those who endeavor to work through this process will be blessed as we learn together.
May God strengthen and encourage us through His Word.
These opening five questions lay the foundation for everything else the catechism, and the Bible for that matter, teaches. It teaches us that the most important single fact on earth is that there is a Sovereign and Omnipotent God that created all things and reigns over them perfectly and completely.
Contrary to popular belief, we are not the most important thing in the universe. Our happiness and health and prosperity are not the greatest aims to be had.
Ultimately, these questions point us to the reality that we have a relationship with the God of the universe. In fact, all of creation relates to God in some way. But what does that relationship look like? How should it look?
Look at the verses from Genesis that are at the top of this page. If you have time, go and read the first two chapters of Genesis. These chapters show us three ways in particular that we relate to God. I want us to look at those three things together.
He Created Us.
This is the first and most foundational way that God relates to us and that we relate to Him. God created us. He created us out of nothing. He spoke and we came into existence.
Now think about the implications here. They are obvious and yet we so often seem to forget them. If God created us out of nothing, then God is primary and we are secondary. We exist because God exists. We owe our existence to God. Furthermore, that God had the power and ability to create us out of nothing, and that He had the ability to create us exactly as He saw fit, demonstrates God’s sovereign Lordship over us. To use Paul’s illustration, we are the clay and God is the potter (Romans 9:20-21). We did not tell God how we wanted to be made. He created us to His specifications (Genesis 1:27). The point is this, we owe God our lives.
If you have time, I would encourage you to read Psalm 148. In this Psalm the Psalmist is encouraging all creation to praise and worship God. And why should they praise God? Why should they exalt Him as Lord? Look at verse 5:
“Let them praise the name of the Lord! For He commanded and they were created.” – Psalm 148:5
That type of power, to create something out of nothing, it warrants praise and exaltation and submission. God spoke and we were created. This is reason enough for us to devote our lives to ceaseless praise and service to God.
But that is not all.
He Sustains Us.
The second way that God relates to us and that we relate to Him is that He sustains us. He didn’t just create us and let us go. God is intimately connected with every aspect of our lives. A quick survey of a few Scriptures will leave us with no doubt as to who sustains and preserves our lives.
“He upholds all things by the Word of His power.” – Hebrews 1:3
“He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” – Colossians 1:17
“In Him we live and move and exist.” – Acts 17:28
“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” – Job 33:4
“You created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” – Revelation 4:11
This deepens the way in which God relates to us. He not only created us, but he cares for us. He sustains our lives. He upholds us. He holds us together. And again, knowledge of this should even further drive our desire to submit to God and to live in praise and service to Him. That God sustains our lives should even further demonstrate the power and greatness of God.
He Has a Purpose for Our Lives.
This is the final way that we see God relate to us here in Genesis 1-2. God had a unique plan for Adam and Eve (Genesis 1:26,28-30). God has a plan for us as well. The answer to Question #3 is that God created all things, including us, for His glory. But what does that mean? We cannot add anything to God. We cannot physically give him more glory than He has. So how do we glorify God?
To glorify God means to reflect His glory. We are like mirrors. A mirror doesn’t make something beautiful. But it can reflect beauty. A mirror cannot create light, but it can reflect light. It can show others how bright and beautiful something is. And so can we. That is what we were created to do. We were created to reflect the beauty and majesty and glory of God.
When we love God we reflect His love and care for us. When we trust and obey and submit ourselves to Him we reflect His power, His sovereignty, and His faithfulness. When we enjoy all that He has created and blessed us with we reflect His goodness and grace.
That is what it means to glorify God. To live in such a way that we reflect His infinite glory in our lives. We can look at Psalm 16:5-11 for an example of this.
“The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my whole being rejoices; my flesh dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
You can see how the psalmist loves and enjoys God. You can see how he reflects God’s beauty and majesty and glory. When you read this, you are left wanting to know the God that this psalmist is speaking about. So should it be with us. We should reflect the glory and beauty and majesty of God in everything we say and do.
That is the purpose for which God has created us (Isaiah 43:7).
What Difference Does it Make?
Obviously there is more to our relationship with God than these three things. But this is the foundation of that relationship. But what difference should this knowledge make in our lives?
To know that God created us out of nothing and that we are His gives us proper perspective. We owe our existence to God. He is worthy of all we are and of all we have. To know that He created us to reflect His glory should guide our lives.
We are each created differently and God has placed each of us in very different circumstances. Wherever God has placed us, we are supposed to reflect His glory. We are supposed to love Him, trust Him, obey Him, and serve Him.
We were created by God with a purpose. As creations of God we should seek to live out that purpose every day. We should seek to find ways that we can live for God’s glory in everything we say and do.
May God bless you as you seek to live as a reflection of His glory.