Perhaps what we forget is that God sought us first, and has been calling our name with a longing that makes the angels weep and the universe sigh and tremble. He pours out the extravagance of His love for us all the time. He has given us a planet home which is capable of providing beauty, wealth, and delights to a degree that fills us to satiety. He has given us more stars than we could ever count; a universe vaster than our minds could ever grasp. He has given us brothers and sisters in a multitude greater than we could ever embrace.
Everywhere we look there is limitless evidence of the love of God and His desire for us. So why do we continue to reach out blindly for the Goodness we know is there? Why does God seem elusive in the midst of all the splendor we can easily see?
The answer lies in a tragedy of cosmic proportions, which happened long ago. The tragedy of Creation is the fall of man. The heart and will of God's first children, our original ancestors, were perverted by a fallen angel, Lucifer, now called Satan. This event is known as the fall of man. As a result all people are born in bondage to Lucifer, who was cast down from heaven for rebelling against God and teaching His children to do the same. The history of man consists first and foremost of God's effort to release His beloved children from the stronghold of Satan.
Certainly, God is stronger than Satan. However, curiously, we are willing prisoners. Because we inherit Satan's rebellious nature, humans are divided in loyalty. Among us are saints and monsters, geniuses and dullards, heroes and cowards. No wonder people down the centuries have questioned what kind of God would make up such a bizarre and incomprehensible race! The real question is -- what kind of demon would sow such evil seed amid the goodness of original creation?
Enter the need for a Messiah. God prepared one small sector of humanity, the Jews, with centuries of revelations, prophesies, and corrections, to receive the Messiah - the son of God who comes to give new life and freedom to our imprisoned souls. The Messiah's work is not simple, however, as Satan's claim on humanity must be settled before he will allow salvation to take place. Why? We can only be saved when we repudiate our link to Satan and submit ourselves to God's authority. This is why God's omnipotence seems limited during these fallen times. God has decided not to violate our free will because to do so would demote us from being His children to being mere puppets. So you see, a lot depends on our desire to be saved.
The Messiah's name was Jesus. Jesus was the son of God and he performed many miracles. The greatest miracle he performed was the forgiveness of sins which allowed those who believed in him to be reconciled with the purity, love, and truth of God. Jesus took all the sins of humanity on himself - he who was without sin - when he went to the cross. His death ransomed all humanity from Satan. We can only guess at God's pain as He watched the suffering and rejection of the only person in history who perfectly embodied and reflected God's nature. I tremble to imagine it.
Three days after the crucifixion, Jesus began to be seen by his friends and disciples. His body was so real, his wounds could be touched and he even ate with them. They were utterly amazed that this man, who had performed miracles during his life, had been crucified and had died, actually lived again. Jesus continued teaching them for forty days, and then he was suddenly "taken up" into the sky. The apparitions ceased.
Jesus' sacrifice is sufficient to cover our sins, but each of us must fulfill a portion of personal responsibility to receive the benefits of salvation. We must believe in Jesus. Having faith in him is the incredibly simple condition given to us to fulfill. Without this act of will, we are not saved. With it, we become what Jesus calls "born again" in the spirit of God. (Of course, being born again only means we have a new beginning - the next step is to spend our lives growing up into spiritual maturity. Salvation is a free gift, but we have to work diligently to stay rooted in goodness. See John 15.)
Oh, what a gift of cosmic magnitude! Through Jesus we are reunited with the God who has been calling our name with such passion and longing. We fulfill our destiny through faith in Christ. No wonder the story of Jesus is called the Gospel - it means Good News!
Jesus tells us:
- I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
- My yoke is easy and my burden is light.
- I came that you might have life, and have it more abundantly.
God bless you!
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