Believe and Obey

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A Fully Human God

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A Seeming Contradiction

As we step closer to the Feast of the Incarnation that the rest of the world calls Christmas, it is time to ponder the nature and breathtaking radicality of this incarnation.  On the surface it seems a contradiction that we discuss a “human God”.  Indeed, it is one of the great mysteries of the Christian faith.  This mystery, like the even greater one of the three-in-one Triune God, seems to humans like squaring a circle.  We should remember that nothing is impossible for God, even squaring a circle.  So it is best not to dwell too deeply upon that which we will never fully understand.  There are just some things that God has chosen not to reveal to us as human beings.

Transcending the Contradiction

Then there are things that God has revealed to us.  Principally this is the life, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus the Christ.  What God has revealed in sending His Son as a human is the unfathomable depth of His love for us.

He sent Jesus to be human and to live as one of us.  Let that sink in a moment.  Ours is not a faraway God barking orders from on high.  Ours is not a God that is remote and distant.  This is not a belief in a God who sends a prophet or messager-ala Mohammed, or Joseph Smith.  This is not a belief in a God that will ostensibly raise our consciousness ala Buddhist thought.  This is not even a God, as in the Old Testament that speaks to a representative through a burning bush as He did to Moses.

Ours is a God who became human, and was willing to live amongst other humans in a human community.  This is a close-up, down to earth, I am right here with you God.  If we ponder the radicality of what this means it will give you goose bumps on a July day in the midsummer heat.

This is a God that lived just as we live.  A God in human form that experienced all that humans do.  He worked, He played, He laughed, and cried.  He grieved over loss and was angered by injustice.  In the end, Jesus does the most human thing there is-He dies.  Not just a simple death mind you, but rather a horrible, unjust torture and execution.  Of course, then He does the truly Godly thing and conquers death, paving a way for our eternal life with our Father in heaven.  Yet, there is no escaping the awesome truth that Jesus walked the same path that we do as humans on this earth.

An Immeasurable Love

All of this points to a truth that is inescapable.  Namely that ours is a God that loves us beyond measure.  He loves us enough to become one of us.  This truth is also the answer to the objection that is often offered to the idea of God; how can your God allow suffering on earth.  On the one hand here is another example of things beyond our comprehension.  There is much suffering that is no fault of humanity that God has not explained to us.

On the other hand, there is nothing that we experience that is alien to God, since He chose to become human through Jesus.  God knows all that we experience, both the good and the bad.  All the suffering that we go through in this vale of tears is known to God through Jesus.  He asks nothing of us that He Himself did not endure via the life of His Son.  God was not content with barking orders from on high, or simply bellowing that He loves us.  He went and proved it by becoming human and living, loving, and dying, just like all of us.  Talk about walking the walk!

When you take all of this in it should give us great hope.  This truly is a time of miracles as we prepare to commemorate this earth-shattering act of love by a God who refuses to leave us alone or fails to walk beside us.  We need only to hear this good and gracious word of this down to earth God and we simply trust and believe.  This faith puts us right with God and assures us of our salvation.  Then we are free to walk the walk, as Jesus did.  That is, the Feast of the Incarnation prepares us to believe, then obey.

Praise Be to God

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