Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 26, 2007
God does not delight in passing judgment
So we step into the outstretched arms of Christ on the cross
My Glass is Half Full
By MARK PICKUP
Never think that God takes pleasure in the damnation of any person. He does not! The prophet Ezekiel says God does not want wicked people to die in their sin: "As I live, says the Lord God, I swear I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked man, but rather in the wicked man's conversion, that he may live. Turn, turn from your evil ways!" (11:33).
St. Peter tells us that God does not want anybody to perish but that everybody come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). In St. Paul's First Letter to Timothy, he said God wants "everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth" (1 Timothy 2:4).
God does not take pleasure in judgment. God loves humanity. He wants everyone to turn from sin and spend eternity with him. He is merciful - but he is a perfect and holy God. He cannot accept sin. To do so would make him less than what he is: A perfect and holy God.
In a degenerate age of relative truths, such as this one, someone will no doubt ask, "What is the truth?" Ah, yes - Pilate's ancient question. He posed it while he was looking into the battered and abused face of truth: Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the second member of the triune God and God is truth itself. He is the author and finisher of our faith. Peter emphatically proclaimed that there is no other name under the sun than Jesus Christ by which we can be saved. Know Jesus and you will know truth.
The perfect and holy God requires perfection and holiness from his creation, but he also knows none of us can attain that state by our own efforts. It's a quandary, isn't it? God loves us with a perfect love and wants us to love him back. Unfortunately, it is impossible for sinful man to love God.
This is the dilemma of humanity. We cannot meet God's perfect standard no matter how we try. There is a gulf between humanity and God. This is the tragic predicament of the ages, beginning with the fall. The bridge across that great chasm is made by the outstretched arms of Christ on the cross.
Cross the gulf
God loved the world so much that he made provision to cross the gulf separating man from God in the salvific accomplishment of Jesus Christ at Calvary. All we must do is believe in Jesus: His outstretched arms are sufficient to carry us to reconciliation with the Father.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The two greatest dramas of life are the soul in pursuit of God and God in pursuit of the soul." Jesus makes the connection. In some ways God's pursuit of humanity is more like wooing.
Love lies at the foundation of bridging the gap between God and man. Love begs a response. We must respond by choosing to love God, through Christ, even though our attempts may prove pale and uncertain. He is our mediator with God the Father.
Now maybe someone will say, "If it's all about love then why won't that perfect and holy God just forget our sins as though they never happened?" He will.
That's what Calvary is all about. That's the provision God made to separate us from our sins and present us to the one holy God.
Far be it from sinful humanity to find fault with God's provision.
It's the free gift of salvation. It may be free to you and me but it cost something as Christ's Passion clearly illustrated.
That's what Easter calls us to recognize. Through Christ's Passion, death and resurrection he makes the spirit connection that would be impossible otherwise. He was sent with a mission because God the Father does not want humanity to die lost in their sins.
"For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him" (John 3:17).
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