Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Christ's Love: What People Are Missing

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"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
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These are not the words of a god who has forgotten us nor are they the words of a god who has little to do with humanity. Furthermore, nor can an uncaring god inspire the lovely images and art found in paintings and commonly on the web. Christ is not an apathetic god-- He is God. He is not a blob in the sky who cares little for how you live and die or whether you live happily or in misery. No, these are the words of a mighty God, King of all Angels of Heaven! They are the words of a God who not only dove headlong into human history as an actual human for the winning of our very souls, but He was fully human had to lay down his own life for the people who condemned him, who did not believe, who were dead in sins, stiff-necked and hard hearted. We did not earn Christ, nor did we do anything other than push God away by our sins and selfishness. Christ was a gift for us!
This is where sin is actually shown to have its purposes for good, where even pervasive sin that stands directly contrary to the will of God is turned for good; Where the fact that Jesus died for the men who killed Him speaks so loudly that no one can ever say Christ was an uncaring or selfish god, but that he was GOD in the flesh for us because of our evil. In fact, Jesus could have been justified in killing those who slew him, but they were saved as well. It is because of sin that we are allowed to live as we wish and reap the consequences of those sins; but the good that came from sin stems from our continual disobedience, which demanded a God to wipe away our sins. Without Christ we are doomed to sin and die, for without Christ we cannot be justified for our sins, since a blood offering is needed to wipe away sin from the Father. This paved the way to Christ the Son dying for humanity, where his blood was the one and final sacrifice and ..."that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." The love and patience of God is painfully obvious for those who simply open their eyes a little bit.

Why not just force us? He is God, right? I hear this all of the time, but I usually counter with something along the lines of "Who'd want forced love? If I hold a gun to your head and demand love, will I get it?" Nope. It is with these sentiments that I suppose the idea behind God allowing human free will (sin=autonomy from God=free will) is simply the idea that who would want to be loved by an entity that is forced into love like a hostage, or better, who would wish for the love of a robot that is incapable of free will love? Therefore, we have the choice to choose Christ.
Humans without the choice to sin would give rise to artificial love, which would never be good enough for our God, but with our freedom we chose to sin and continually do so. What started as an innocent desire for wisdom and to be like God in Genesis 3, that is, knowing and doing as God. That sin, called pride (for Eve saw that the fruit looked good to eat and would give her wisdom to be like God; i.e. - autonomy from God) would pave the way to murder, theft, adultery, and other horrible acts. Yet God actually knew this would all happen and his plans to save us were already underway through the Old Testament miracles and Christ Jesus. I can assure you that any human with Godly power would rule the Earth like a terrible dictator. It's the prideful sin inside of us that would make us horrible dictators because that is who Satan is, and Satan's sin is our sin due to our actions. Satan wants to rule us as a dictator, and even tried to dethrone God while in heaven. But if you say to yourself, "Would I rule in love, or tyranny...?" which is the answer for you? A silly question like this might help you understand where you are in your walk with God, for God has absolute power over the universe and rules in pure love and compassion and understanding, and Satan rules with violence and oppression. Even after thousands of years of humanity's disobedience and complete defiance to his will, he still sent Jesus to redeem us and will end the reign of evil on Earth sooner than we think.
Now every person who accepts Christ defeats Satan, literally. So kick his butt some more by praying with me:
Heavenly Father,

I know I'm a sinner. I know I cannot fully be what you want me to be, because I know I'll always stumble and fall. It's so frustrating Lord, to be so powerless! Even a feather in the wind knocks me down. But I want to know you and I want to understand you. I believe in you Jesus! I believe that you were sent to forgive me and to offer me salvation even though I stumble so often, because I really don't know how to repent. I always fail you, but in hope and faith I believe you'll forgive me. So teach me Lord! Teach me to be a better person, somehow. Bless me with the faith I require to become what you want me to be. Lord, we have a long journey ahead of us, and I may not be fully up to this challenge. I need you to open my eyes and heart to your love or I'll simply fail even more. Somehow Lord... save me... because I cannot save myself.
In Jesus Christ's name I pray...
Who am I? Well, I wrote this article...

In fact, only two years ago I didn't know any hope, and my prayers reflected that hopelessness. I wanted God to yell back at me and be done with the whole notion of hope, but in my angry prayers I actually reflected my hopes and my desire that I wanted my life to change, for if I truly believed hope was lost why would I pray? I can say very easily that I certainly did not pray in faith, for my heart was so battered, but I prayed merely in hope and challenged God to love me as I was- a filthy sinner, and I made no efforts to stop sinning either. I was so discouraged, and aside from some angry prayers I pretty much gave up on everything, adopting a "quit before you try" mentality. Christ saw my broken heart for what it was. He saw my angry prayers as a desire for change, and my heart softened slowly over time. After years of anger slowly simmering down, here I am, writing to you! To this day I struggle deeply with my anger, bitterness, and hopelessness. I still have a surprising amount of anger, and yet here I am writing a tale of sin and repentance without ever fully trying or ever actually winning. As Paul had a thorn in his side (a habitual sin, most likely), so do I, and so do we all.
So I am saying out of experience, you cannot repent until you learn solid faith in God, which demands honesty! Concentrate on faith then, and the repentance will come later if you truly love God and struggle with him against your sin and disobedience. For if you don't love God then how can you ever fight sin with your whole heart? Loving God is a learned ability that is not always easy, and it all starts with faith. Just tell Christ the truth and be patient with yourself! Your desire to love God will push you to fight your sinful way of life, and eventually you'll win your battles, but keep in mind Christ saved you and died for you, so the war itself is already won. Emulate Christ and live with courage.
Walk straight with God now that you are armed with the truth,
God bless.