35: God Revealed His Great Love
The last missive was entitled Rooted and Grounded in Love. In this email we will be reading about how God chose to reveal His love to us. Let’s begin with prayer.
Prayer: Father, according to the inspired word of God, let us be rooted and grounded in your love for each of us, and may this knowledge permeate not only our minds, but our hearts as well, and may we experience the love and care of Christ in a new and fresh way, in the name of Jesus, Amen.
God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8
This is the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for us.
I have heard and preached the gospel for over 30 years, but this summer I was helped to comprehend it afresh as I heard an exposition of 2 Corinthians 5:21. “For our sake, he made him to be sin, who knew no sin, so that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.”
Let’s consider this verse, a phrase at a time.
“For our sake”
God the Father, and God the Son, suffered, for us. They did what they did with us in mind. As we will see, it was not only Jesus who suffered, but the Father suffered as well, in ways we can only begin to fathom.
“Made him to be sin”
Sin separates us from God(Isaiah 59:2). The wages, or result of sin, is death (Romans 6:23). “And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him”. 1 John 3:5
When Jesus was made sin, He took our punishment, our wages, our death, as well as our separation upon Himself. He took our place. As a result, He received the full punishment, the full death and the complete separation from His Father. For the first time, He saw the back of God.
“Who knew no sin”
We have all sinned. We have all experienced the dreaded distaste of being separated from a loving parent or friend when we have sinned. Jesus never sinned. He had never experienced this feeling of being apart from His Father. They had only experienced complete and total harmony and unity. They were one, and had been from eternity.
I have tasted being estranged from those I love. I have walked through breaches in relationships because of my behavior that have been painful. I have plenty of experience with sin and the painful fruit of sin.
But no one has ever been as unprepared for sin and the consequences of sin, as Jesus.
Yet for our sake, He became alienated from God for the first time, for the only time since the beginning of eternity. As I have meditated on this event, I not only begin to grasp the incredible pain of God’s Son, I also sense the awful agony of His Father. For He too, had never been severed from the Son. They had only tasted the bliss of perfect and complete communion since before the foundation of the world.
We can not replicate how these words sounded as Jesus cried in a loud voice:
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”, but I believe that no sentence has ever been so infused with pain and despair. Jesus suffered at the absence of the Father, and the Father grieved at having to forsake his beloved Son, because of our sin.
Some Christians believe that Jesus’s cry of agony echoed from one end of eternity to the other, to reach the ears of the Father. Perhaps this is true since Jesus removes our sins as far as the east is from the west.
And while I can not think of a specific scripture that mentions the Holy Spirit in this divine ordeal, He is God and He is holy, so He was also separated from Jesus.
This incredible sacrifice is the basis for the good news, our justification. Or as I like to think of it, just-as-if-I-had-never-sinned. I confess I had never viewed the cross from heaven’s perspective, nor had I grasped the price that God paid, nor had I perceived in this ultimate sacrifice, His great love for me. But I’m beginning to get it.
“God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son” -means so much more to me now. God loves me. And He showed His love for me by sending His son to die for me.
May God help me, and each of us to be rooted and grounded in His love, and experience the love of God in our heart of hearts.
Continuing to appreciate God’s love in new and deeper ways,