About Jesus Steve Sweetman
may find this comment strange, but the word love is one over-used and
misunderstood word. Listen
to any pop song and you'll see how the world defines love.
1 Corinthians 13 provides the Biblical definition of love.
That chapter is often read at weddings but is often forgotten
about once the wedding is over. I
won't comment on 1 Corinthians 13. I
will attempt to show you a bit of how God Almighty demonstrates love
world tells us that we can't love others until we love ourselves first.
Jesus thinks differently. He
told us to deny ourselves. Denying
self implies sacrifice, and Jesus doesn't tell us to do something He
Himself doesn't do. We'll
see that God's love is all about sacrifice.
this series of articles I've briefly attempted to show that God is the
Almighty Creator. The
motivation for what I've said is based on Ellul's quote in chapter 6 of
"The Shack". He
said that God's almighty nature is a secondary aspect to who God is.
I say no aspect of God is secondary.
They're all primary.
is almighty. There's no
doubt about that. He spoke
all things into existence without any effort. He
is sinless. He is perfectly
good and right in who He is and what He does. He
hates sin. He is just as
much the embodiment of justice that demands judgment as He is the
embodiment of unprecedented love.
God hates sin so much, you might wonder why He made us capable of
sinning in the first place. I
could be wrong, but I think He made us capable of sin in order to show
how serious He is about love. Romans
5:6 through 8 says, "… Christ died for the ungodly … very
rarely will anyone die for a righteous man … but God demonstrated His
own love for us: while we
were still sinners Christ died for us."
Paul's point is simple. Anyone
can love a nice guy. It's
hard to love someone who isn't so nice, but if you can, you prove your
love is real. Making us
capable of sinning, and knowing we would sin, demonstrates that God's
love is real.
of us think we're pretty good. We
think this way because we compare ourselves with others who we perceive
aren't as good. God thinks
differently. He compares us with Himself, not to the murderer
incarcerated in prison. I
may be just as good as the next guy, but compared to God, I'm a
miserable sinner. That's not
a popular statement to make these days.
speaking, you might think God has found Himself in a dilemma.
His wrath is raging because of our sin.
He has no other choice but to condemn us in judgment, but how can
He when He loves us? This is
where sacrifice comes in. God
made His plans about this apparent dilemma before He even created us.
(Ephesians 1:4) It wasn't an
after-thought once Adam and Eve sinned.
Prior to creation, God chose to demonstrate sacrificial love by
joining us in sinful humanity. It
sounds like an incredible fairy-tale, but it's not.
God entered humanity, He wasn't born into wealth, power or prestige.
He was born into a simple working class family who lived in a
hick town in the hills of
His death, Jesus wept bitterly for His murderers and for the city He
loved. I don't think the
degree of sorrow behind His
tears has ever been felt by us.
death wasn't an ordinary death. God's
violent wrath exploded on Jesus in death.
He actually "became"
sin while hanging on the cross. (2 Corinthians 5:21) That's
why Isaiah 52:14 says that He became unrecognizable as a man. Sin
actually disfigured His body. It's hard for us to understand, but the
One who hates sin, became sin.
did rise from death, and return to be with His Father.
Many of us haven't thought this one through.
Jesus returned to heaven, but not in the same state of being that
He had before becoming human. From
my study of Scripture, Jesus was the divine Word, or mind of God, prior
to His entrance into humanity. He
left that unity when Mary conceived Him, and will never return to it.
Instead, after His resurrection, his human body was transformed
into what we call a glorified body.
When we see Jesus in the next life, we will see His glorified
body, nail-prints included. For
this reason, Jesus has altered His state of existence for all of
eternity, just for us. He
didn't become one of us for 33 short years, but forever.
That's sacrificial love. Anyone
who rejects this love is left to experience the same wrath that Jesus
experienced while on the cross. (Hebrews 10:26) That's "heavy
stuff" as we used to say in the 1960's. That's
also a Biblical truth that is being rejected in many ecclesiastical
circles these days.
explanation of who God is
and how much He loves us doesn’t come close to doing Him justice.
Humanity can't explain God properly.
If you take the time to think about these things, and study them
in Scripture, you will begin to see who God is.
You'll also see who you are, which probably isn't who you thought
you were. Only at this point
will you begin to appreciate God's love.
That's why I say, "the degree to which you or I can begin to
understand the almighty, awesome, and just nature of God, will be the
degree to which we will begin to appreciate His love." For
this reason I disagree with Ellul's statement in chapter 6 of "The
Shack". The Almighty
Creator aspect of God is something that should never be relegated to the
back of our minds.