All of us are called to showcase God’s love.
We are to all demonstrate His life in us, the life of Christ. Each of us is tasked with giving testimony to God’s transformation of us through Jesus Christ and the indwelling tutelage, comfort, and resourcefulness of the Holy Spirit.
Love. Life. Transformation.
All of God’s Trinity working around us, in us, and through us. We, formerly separated and hostile toward God, are His allies in this world. We, who were once dark and lost, are now bearers of His light and life. (*See the end of the article for a few Scripture references to get you started if you wish to explore the Ultimate Source further.)
How did this occur?
All of God, coming down in Christ, inviting us to believe and exercise our faith, transforming us, taking us up into Himself, amalgamating us together in inseparable union of eternal life: Is this not the Gospel, the Good News, the divine initiative that God undertakes once there is justification to do so?
And upon our agreement to consider our old lives concluded and Christ’s life ours, we join forces with God, are endowed with the Holy Spirit, engulfed by the Spirit, infused by the Spirit—all as a promised, pledged gift by God to those who believe—and once united in the Spirit, are sealed by Him within a covenant that is unchangeable, irrevocable, and existing in perpetuity. Is this not the abundant life promised to those who enter into the Gospel?
God understands more fully than we will likely ever comprehend.
Stepping back now in time, not a little bit, but to what John deemed the time before the foundations of the world were laid, God who is without time constraint considered the idea of us and the implication of creating us. The One without beginning or end, the Alpha and the Omega, the eternal Spirit—God who knows all things, considers the inevitable problem of us and our fall from divine life before we are formed. Being omniscient, and by no definition naïve, He knows we will—in time—make ourselves irretrievably useless to Him and inflict upon ourselves a fatal flaw, that unless remedied, will ruin our potential, our lives, and not only our existence, but the existence of all those called human, and do so for time immemorial and all of eternity.
Knowing this—knowing all things—God considers within Himself a remedy. Writing later, in His Book, about the thoughts that ran through His mind while the earth was still void and without form, He indicates His dilemma was whether any remedy—even a divine initiative taken within Himself—could justify giving life to beings who choose insurrection and death.
Being infinitely self-aware, God understands more fully than we will likely ever comprehend that a two-phase solution is necessary before there can be justification of life for humanity.
First, we are dead. If we were not dead by God’s spiritual definition, then the dilemma of whether we can be made alive or not would not be so carefully considered in the Bible.
Mercy is irrational.
Second, we who are dead demonstrate death, independence, and self-will emanating from the core of our identity. Said another way, not only are we dead, we perform like dead people, i.e. we sin or fall short of God’s intent and our original design.
The Bible puts it this way: We are, a) dead, and b) we are dead in our trespasses and sins.
The first problem is an existence problem. The second is a performing problem. The first problem necessitates a remedy that will justify new life, the second a remedy that will justify continuation of life. Both issues require forgiveness, first on the part of God, then on the part of those who come to realize a measure of what their need required of God, i.e. the redeeming life of Jesus Christ, and a forgiveness of ourselves preceded by repentance.
God, who understands and knows all things, realizes that our humanity is enough of an impediment that at best we can but dimly grasp His thoughts and ways. Once satisfying Himself that there is justification of life possible for us, in His mercy and grace He embodies all that is necessary, all that He is, and all that He is offering in a human being, Jesus Christ, in hopes of convincing us that He understands and is accessible.
It does us all good to review important events.
His mercy is that He decided upon Incarnation. His grace is that He actually did so, taking on humanity, removing all impediments, and making Himself approachable.
Mercy is irrational. Why would He follow through with us knowing what He knew about us even before we were created?
Grace, on the other hand, is rational. Given the problem as God defines it, although profound and mind-bendingly gracious, Jesus Christ and the indwelling Spirit make sense.
God has done all, for all, leaving only one thing for humanity to do: Respond. Say, “I do. I accept. Thank you.”
You know these things. Of course, it does us all good to review important events, so there is only upside for the time you’ve spent reading these lines.
But now what?
Why have I taken time to write what you know and why have you taken time to read what I’ve written?
I’ve written these words to you to make certain we are on the same page—quite literally (smile). From here, I want to explore more of what I’ve mined from under my house, but not literally (smile again). “Under the house” is a good metaphor though. As you know from my previous articles, I’ve been under my house literally and figuratively for the last five years. You can read more beginning here.
Here's the teaser for where I’m headed next: There is a statement attributed to St. Francis who lived in the thirteenth century: “Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary use words.” Whether the monk said this or not, it is solid perspective, and it is toward this I want to go next. More soon.
* cf.: Rm. 3:23; 10:9-10; 5:12-6:11; Jn. 1:12; Col. 1:21; Jn. 14:16; Rm. 5:6; 2 Cor. 5:17-21; Rev. 13:8; 1 Pt. 3:15