Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Pursuit

Some see God as someone who is off somewhere, detached, observing us and encouraging us from afar. He sits in an ivory tower unperturbed by our woes, which is a goal we should endeavor to attain to. This is not the God of Christianity. The Scripture says that God left the comforts of glory to become a human being and walk among us and die a criminal's death to rescue us from the repercussions of our disobedience to Him (Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18; John 1:1-18).  Why did God do this? He did it to show us what God is like (John 1:18; 14:8-11; Hebrews 1:1-3) and to be our example of how we should live (Philippians 2:5; Ephesians 5:1,2; 1 Corinthians 11:1). He did it that we might understand that He sympathizes with us in the things we go through (Hebrews 2:18; 4:14-16; Matthew 26:38-46). But ultimately it was necessary to identify with us that He might save us (Hebrews 2:14-17; Romans 8:3,4; Colossians 2:9-15) by dying in our place (Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 9:13-28; 1 Peter 2:24,25). For without the cross, Christ's example only condemns us (Romans 7:14-18; 3:9-20; Galatians 5:17. But the cross sets us free to see Him as He is and follow His example (Galatians 5:13; Romans 6:11-14; Titus 2:11-14).

Now this feat could not be accomplished by anyone less than God, for only God could bear the full penalty for sin. And those who deny the deity of Christ virtually always reduce the value of His death. Nor could some lesser being truly show us what God is, except as a reflection. Also, while it is not a strict logical answer to the problem of evil, it  nonetheless makes a difference if we recognize that God has joined us in suffering the consequences of evil so that He might deliver us from it. It forever destroys the idea of an ivory tower God. If God had only needed to deliver a message, He need not have come Himself. But He came to abolish sin and death. When we were lost and in danger and could do nothing to save ourselves, He came looking for us (Luke 19:10; 15:1-10; Romans 5:6-8). A great moral teacher could have corrected some of the details of our morality, but we still would not be able to keep his precepts. A prophet could have given us a new message, but it would just have been a clarification of the old message of the prophets, which people had already failed to live up to. What we needed was a Savior, and that is what God came down off His throne to become.

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