My pastor dropped some heavy truth on Sunday. I thought maybe those of you that read my meanderings would appreciate some thoughts from the words spoken.
We’ve been in 1st John for a while now, going methodically through the verses. It has been VERY good, and as a Historical Literal Grammatical student of the Word of God, I would say, “This has been a fairly orthodox interpretation.” I will spare you all the details, because I’m lazy, and I WANT YOU TO GO LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE YOURSELF. But I did want to say this:
The passage in John’s 1st letter to the early churches (1st John 3:7-10 -ish, for you canonical snobs!) is found about halfway in… John says, in essence, Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law. Anyone who lives in Christ will not continue to live in sin, and anyone who continues to practice sinning cannot truly know Christ, or really claim to understand who he is. True children of God do not make a practice of sinning because they are part of God’s family and God sent His Son to destroy the works of the devil (sin)!
This (or the non- paraphrased version, more accurately) is simply biblical truth. If you are an actual “child of God” you think differently about God than you did before you became aware of the fact that you were living as a “child of the devil.” There is NO excuse for sin. There is a reason. This is not difficult, or even controversial. There could’ve been theological tangents explored that lead to doctoral theses about the amount of sin that could exist in a believer’s life that I believe amount to the importance of knowing the number of angels that can balance on the head of a pin. But there weren’t. We know that sin is just such a natural response for us that we require a logical rebirth (Rom 12:1-2), as well as that spiritual rebirth, when we accept the blessed truth that God the came, chose to die, and could not be defeated by death.
The truth-bombs in question came as they usually do, in the form of questions. Again, because I’m lazy, or maybe I REALLY WANT YOU TO GO LISTEN TO THE MESSAGE YOURSELF, I’m only going to give you one of the questions. Considering any of the horrible things that humanity has perpetrated on one another, how much more of this can God stand? We’ve had plenty opportunities to end ourselves as a whole species of creature. I won’t even begin to list them here, but if you can’t think of some, off the top of your head, drop me a note. I think the question is extremely fair. I might even say that it is generous. I would say that God has been EXCEEDINGLY generous. And gracious. And merciful in that He does not insist that all perpetrators experience the same horror as their victims.
But the question that I wanted him to ask and answer was, “WHY would God continue to allow these horrible, heart wrenching things to continue? Why do we need to continue to see (and commit!?) the abuses, the neglect, the lack of compassion, the greed and selfishness? WHY would He wait any longer?
The answer to that question is the only way I can make sense of it, at all. The only reason I can see, that lines up with the character of God as revealed in the Word of God, is that God has a purpose that is bigger than all of the horrors that we have seen over all the years that we have been recording them. He must have a purpose that is more beautiful than all of the ugly! I believe that we can see a picture of that beauty in those things that still exist apart from sin’s power. In God’s divine design, in His 6-day creative speech, He created a habitat for His creature. He spoke all the things we needed into existence into an order so perfect that we still have not completely understood it. We still don’t know all the things about all the things! And the wonder of all those things still pales in comparison to the reason that He spoke them into existence. THAT God, the only unlimited being, wanted to fellowship with us, eternally. He wanted to dazzle us with the colors of autumn, with the smells of flowers, the flavors of fruit, so that we could begin to know how unlimited He is. He wants us to know the love a father feels as he looks at his child, the joy that a mother has as she brings life into the world, and more! But then there came sin.
AND NOW, we must have an answer. An answer to the why. Why would a good God wait to end the pain? Why would God not change His plan? Why would God allow evil people to have power over the lives of others? Why do I not understand the grief that is rampant on the earth? I believe that the answer is that God tarries because we have not finished the job yet. Like the parent counting by fractional numbers before their child has reached “the limit,” God has made provision for the end to happen at just the right time. This earth has even more to offer than we think we know and there are still things being learned by experts about how we work! Of course, I cannot give you a date, nor do I think that is the point. I believe that that time will be when we have found the last tribe, when we have reached the last ones that have not heard. When they get to hear that there IS hope (and that HE HAS RISEN FROM THE DEAD AND HE IS LORD!) we will have our answer.
We can talk about the passages that lead me to this conclusion, or if you think I’ve missed something, or we can talk about how you’d like to be involved with bringing about the end of all this world’s nonsense. That’s what my family and I are trying to be a part of.