I’m probably gonna start some controversy here- but to be honest, I’m not real interested in duking it out about exactly what the atonement is. If you think you understand it, then that’s probably a good sign that you don’t. I’m learning to enjoy more and more every day the greatness and mystery of our mighty and amazing God. And I’m really glad that God is so massive and beyond me, that I can rest in him, and not have to stress defending him… I’ll let him defend me. So let’s talk about his love.
He died for us, while we were yet sinners.
The apostle Paul said it clearly- while we were yet sinners- he died. God sent the Christ to do this. He didn’t send him to appease his own nasty angry nature- some pagan offering of blood once and for all- no… He came that we might know the depth and width and height and richness of his amazing love for us.
He came with a love that went all the way to the death.
He said, “You’re worth it- even death can’t stop my love for you! Look at how far I’ll go!”
And death could not hold him.
And many times did Christ say, “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father.” So look at him, look at the Christ- this suffering servant- this pitiful man who submitted himself to pain and suffering- who rode an donkey into glory- who was born of a woman called a whore, a bastard son, born in controversy in a seemingly God-forsaken town. Christ, whose glory did not, and would not look like the mighty of his age, or any age, would come to show us just what the Father really looks like.
God didn’t need Christ to die in order for him to be able to love us – God wanted to die to show us how much he loved us. That’s true- and it’s life changing.
I heard a statement this morning from an audio book that I’m listening to. It hit me hard. The author was talking about the passage from Romans that I sited in the first line of this post, as well as chapter 5 of Ephesians. He said that the love talked of in these passages, is ‘Agape’ love.
I’ve heard agape love talked about many times, but this time it really got my attention.
This author described this love as a love that doesn’t need us to be beautiful or ‘right’ in order to love us, but instead, it’s this love that transforms, or beautifies us. This love, agape love, makes beautiful. It is given without prerequisite or requirement, and in this case, it’s the very nature of the Father. It’s why he made you, and why he longs to have you near him, and then, to spread that same love around.
This post may seem simple, or odd or whatever- but that really hit me hard.
A love that makes beautiful.
My love is so often rooted in selfishness and personal gain. I receive something, so I am motivated to give back. I get something out of it.
And it’s funny, this love from God, it works in an interesting way- we get access to the Father of creation, the very founder of the universe (no matter how you think he brought that into being) and this love recreates our messed up selves from the inside out, bringing us back to our true selves. We are infused and imprinted with the very nature of the Father- partakers of his amazing Spirit, and co-workers with him. Dwell on that- dwell on it for a long time.
Then he turns us around and says, “Go and do for others what I’ve done for you. Give it away. Make the world beautiful. Just like Jesus- go show everyone what I really look like.”
There’s a lot to talk about here, but I think I’ll stop with that… a love that makes things beautiful…