“Jesus was God and man in one person, that God and man might be happy together again.”
Did everyone have a great Christmas this year? For me, it went very quickly and I found myself, for the first time, with very little to give in return for everyone else’s kindness. It’s a strange feeling, one of undeservedness as well as gratitude. Perhaps I’m still learning how to receive, and I honestly believe that as Christians we must learn this!
When you first bowed your head and surrendered your life to Christ, you received a gift you could never be worthy of, and yet, Christ made you worthy. We cannot give until we have first received. And what have we received? Why did Christ come and why did he have to die?
In my last post, we established God’s agape (unearned) love for us. Now, we take a step further into that great abyss of love, and hopefully, find ourselves falling even more madly in love with the one who brought us into being.
Many will try and sway you to believe in a God who would never bend, would never turn His eyes to man and sacrifice for him. They will say that God orchestrated this whole reality, and free-will is but an illusion. And to those arguments, I charge this question, “why Jesus?” Surely, something needed fixing, surely God could’ve started over instead of sacrificing His Son, or in essence “Himself.” That doesn’t sound like a distant uncaring God, but one who cares greatly about what occurs on this tiny spec of a world–the only one with life as we know it in an ever greater universe. The more I study it the more I realize we are the jewel, the very heart of God in all creation.
So, back to my question, why Jesus? I have recently had the privilege to read C. S. Lewis’s novel, Mere Christianity, which I highly suggest to anyone struggling with doubts of any kind regarding God’s existence, goodness, and ultimately His purpose. What I tell you today I repeat from this great book, and most likely inadequately so. C. S. Lewis is a great writer and Christian, but at one point in time, he too was lost and struggling with the meaning of life. He offers an insight that I am unable to offer myself since I grew up in church and in a believing home, a riper soil for spiritual growth.
However, despite this, I still found this book to be enlightening and faith-building. And so, I will share with you his take on why Jesus came, or more specifically, why God came down in the form of a man.
Upon wrapping up his discussion about God being good and completely righteous (He cannot deny Himself), and us falling away from unity with Him. We see that, even in the Bible, the rest of our story is built upon restoring what has been lost. The Old Testament demonstrates our great need for Christ in that we cannot wash ourselves clean and restore our relationship with God regardless of our striving attempts at righteousness. The law can’t be followed perfectly because we are imperfect.
In the coming of Christ, we see that God has a plan, an answer to our weakness. C. S. Lewis said that the only way we are cleansed is through repentance, and yet, he goes further:
“Repentance is much harder than merely eating humble pie. It means unlearning all the self-conceit and self-will that we have been training ourselves into for thousands of years. It means killing a part of yourself, undergoing a kind of death. In fact, it needs a good man to repent. And here comes the catch. Only a bad person needs to repent: only a good person can repent perfectly. The worse you are the more you need it and the less you can do it. The only person who could do it perfectly would be a perfect person—and he would not need it.” (pg. 57)
We were incapable of true and complete repentance. No amount of blood shed by animals was enough to cover our great transgression, that we sought to become like God. Pride entered our hearts the day Eve listened to the serpent and Adam stood watching. That day, satan pulled man into the very same transgression he was guilty of. Pride was his downfall, and will always be. He chose willingly what we chose naively.
The most interesting thing we are overlooking here is that God in His nature has never needed to repent. So how could He teach us, help us, to do that which He has never done?
God can’t surrender, suffer, submit, or die….man, however, can.
“But supposing God became a man—suppose our human nature which can suffer and die was amalgamated with God’s nature in one person—then that person could help us. He could surrender His will, and suffer and die, because He was man; and He could do it perfectly because He was God. ” (pg. 58)
We can repent today because God is in us. He does it through us and that would not be possible if it wasn’t for Jesus. Lewis continues:
“Our attempts at this dying (repentance) will succeed only if we men share in God’s dying, just as our thinking can succeed only because it is a drop out of the ocean of His intelligence: but we cannot share God’s dying unless God dies; and He cannot die except by being a man. That is the sense in which He pays our debt, and suffers for us what He Himself need not suffer at all.”
Jesus was the only way.
The trinity still holds great mystery to us, and yet like God we are 3 parts as well. Body, Soul, and Spirit. The body is alive, the soul is alive, and the Spirit (Holy Spirit) is very much alive. We do not understand it, nor are we really aware of it all the time, and yet it gives us a slight insight into God’s makeup of Father, Son, and Spirit. The greatest difference is that He is well aware of the connection and this awareness makes Him complete. Also, I’m inclined to believe that each aspect or being of God is infinite and unique in that they can be identified by their own characteristics, but let us not confuse the fact that they are still very much “one.”
Love is a consuming fire. Agape love, to me, is the most furious and all-consuming fire of God. It is that love that brought Him to such great lengths to save us. It is that love that endured more pain and suffering than we could ever imagine on the cross. That believed our free-will to be worthy of such pain and sacrifice….why?
Could you really love a robot, programmed to love you, more than a child who loves you by his/her own choice? God isn’t about slaves or servants…He is all about family and friendship…the very same He shares within the trinity is what he longs to pour out upon us. He is a Father longing to grow His family. Remember…love is a consuming fire. When you love, you share that love, and can’t help but do so.
Aaron and I are getting a new look at this kind of love as we await the arrival of our baby. I can only imagine how great our love will be when the product of that love is in our midst. Not only will our love for each other grow, but also will it stretch and pour out into our child. And In my heart, I feel that is what love is made to do.
May God bless you all, regardless of doubts and short-comings…you are all a reflection of God’s heart and I pray that your hearts will grow and be filled this new year with His great love and in the many years to come. Amen! ❤