Can You Believe It?
The origin of human sin and the world’s oppression goes back to a deceptive, untruthful picture of God given to Eve by Satan. Jesus came, in part, to finally reveal the absolute truth about God. He is the way and the truth (alethia) and the life (Jn 14:6). The word “truth,” literally means “uncovered.” And what we find once God is uncovered in Jesus Christ is that he’s completely different than what we fallen humans generally expect God to be.
With the coming of Christ, God is revealed to us as the one true God, and yet we discover that his oneness is the oneness of eternal perfect love between three distinct Persons: Father, Son, Spirit. God is all holy, but his holiness is his utterly unique love that leads him to become sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). God is righteous, but his righteousness is the justice of his love that leads him to become a cursed criminal for us on Calvary. God is unfathomably glorious, but his glory is the radiance of a perfect love that leads him to become one who was despised, humiliated, and forsaken out of love for us. And God is immutable, but his immutability is the unchangeableness of his eternal love that led him to change radically and take on our humanity, sin and condemnation.
When we keep our focus on Christ as the definitive revelation of God and therefore understand that God’s very essence is love, the various attributes of God can be seen as simply different ways God’s love is put on display, like light flowing through a prism creating a rainbow of distinct colors. This is not the kind of God we expect because too often our focus strays from Christ, and then we define God according to our own fallen tendencies.
However, when we keep our eyes focused on Jesus, we can see that this is what God is like! He really is this beautiful and loving! He really is as exceedingly good as Jesus demonstrated on the cross. All of us have to one degree or another been conditioned to view God in a deceptive way, which is why many of us struggle to believe this. We’re tempted to see Jesus as perhaps part of what God is like, but not the very essence of God. Afflicted by the Accuser who fills our mind with condemnation and fear, we may wonder when “the other side” of God will show up and crush us.
How desperately we need to become confident that there is no other side to God. If we see Christ, we see the Father. The fullness of the Godhead dwelt in him. He’s the one perfect expression of the Father’s essence. God is light, John says, and there is no darkness in him (1 John 1:5). There’s no shadow side of God, no trace of malice, no hint of meanness. He’s altogether loving, compassionate and just. The coming of Christ that ultimately led to the cross reveals the whole truth about God, and nothing but the truth.
The question for us every day is whether or not we will actually believe this hard-to-believe revelation of God in Christ. Only then are we free to receive the beautiful life he has for us.
Photo via quentcourtois via VisualHunt.com
This is the second of several videos Greg put together to refute Bart Ehrman’s claims published in the article What Do We Really Know About Jesus? If you missed it, you can catch the first installment here.
Over the past few posts, I’ve been dealing with the passages that are frequently used to argue how Jesus condoned violence. One of these takes place just after the last supper and just before Jesus and his disciples were going to travel to the Mount of Olives to pray. To prepare his disciples, Jesus tells them;…
I’ve been arguing that, while everything Jesus did and taught revealed God, the character of the God he reveals is most perfectly expressed by his loving sacrifice on the cross. Our theology and our reading of Scripture should therefore not merely be “Christocentric”: it should be “crucicentric.” My claim, which I will attempt to demonstrate…
For Part 1, click here. In Ephesians Paul teaches that God “chose us in [Christ] before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” (Eph 1:4). In Christ, Paul continues, God “predestined us for adoption to sonship…to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in…
Through Christ, God fulfills all his promises, and by yielding to him and giving up control, we can set ourselves free. Full Sermon here: http://whchurch.org/sermons-media/sermon/keeping-christmas