Tuesday, March 15, 2016

God in a Box

We want a God we can understand. One who will fix the big problems we know we have and leave us free to run the rest of our life on our own. We want a God in a box that we can pull out when we need Him and we can ignore when we do not. But this is because we do not understand the seriousness of the problem. The Scripture says that we are not basically good people who just need a little tweaking here and there. Rather, we are sinners who are in rebellion against God (Romans 3:23; Isaiah 64:6; Jeremiah 17:9). The consequence of this is that we deserve the wrath of God (Romans 1:18; 6:23; Revelation 20:11-15). Further, there is nothing we can do that can fix this (John 15:5; Romans 7:18; 8:8). Rather, we need to be rescued, and we need a God big enough to do this. Now the Bible states that God is ultimately beyond our understanding (Romans 11:33-36; Isaiah 55:9; 1 Corinthians 3:18). It is not surprising that the God who made the universe should be beyond our comprehension. We cannot even understand the behavior of basic physical things like light. Light is both particles and waves at the same time. This is beyond our limited ability to explain. Should we not expect God to be even greater? This is the type of God we need, one who is big enough to deal with the real problems we face.   

It is the statement of Scripture that when we were helpless and unable to do anything to save ourselves, God intervened and sent His Son to pay the entire price for all our wrongdoing (Romans 5:6-8; 1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13-15). This is not something we work for or earn or produce, but simply receive through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:1-9; Romans 4:4,5; Galatians 2:16). Now the result of trusting in Christ is that we begin, although imperfectly, to live a new life based on His principles (Titus 2:11-14; Ephesians 2:10; Romans 6:12-14). But this does not depend on us, but on God’s power working in our lives (2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:14; Colossians 1:29). This is motivated, not by a desire to earn something from God, but by love and thankfulness to God for the salvation we have already received (1 John 4:19; 2 Corinthians 5:14,15; 1 Timothy 1:12-16). Then ultimately God will one day transform us and the world around us to do away with sin and death and all the troubles connected with them (Romans 8:19-23; Philippians 3:20,21; Revelation 21:4). We need a God big enough and great enough to accomplish these things. What we need is not what I would call (following C. S. Lewis) a tame God. A God who sets things in motion, lays down a few moral principles, and may be there to help us when we really get in trouble. We need the true God who can deliver us from sin and death and hell.

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