Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Who Are We?

I had this theological email conversation that I thought might be interesting.

Someone asked me ...
I'm quoting from this book I'm reading. Is it truth?

"One of the reasons we are not as Christ-centred and cross saturated as we should be is that we have not realized that everything- everything good, and everything bad that God turns for the good of his redeemed children- was purchased by the death of Christ for us. We simply take life and breath and health and friends and everything for granted. WE think it is ours by right. But the fact is ... that it is not ours by right. We are doubly undeserving of it.

1. We are CREATURES, and our Creator is not bound or obligated to give us anything - not life or health or anything. He gives, he takes and he does us no injustice (Job 1:21)
2. And besides being ceatures with no claim on our Creator, we are SINNERS. We have fallen short of his glory (Romans 3:23). We have ignored him and disobeyed him and failed to love him and trust him. The wrath of his justice is kindled against us. All we deserve from him is judgement (Romans 3:19). Therefore every breath we take, and every time our heart beats, everyday that the sun rises, every moment we see with our eyes or hear with our ears or speak with our mouths or walk with our legs, is, for now, a free and undeserved gift to sinners who deserve only judgement."

My Response ...

It is the one side of truth.

We are sinners. Sinners "deserve" judgement and aside from the grace and mercy of God every human being is destined for destruction. Although born in a sinful condition no one has lived up to even the promises they made to themselves let alone the standard of holiness imposed by God's Law. Because He is all powerful, He doesn't need us or anything else. He is not required to do anything for us nor are we able to demand anything from Him. However, if we stop here the sense is that we are God's throwaway old toys. It gives the impression that we have no value because we are sinful, that we are just replaceable, interchangeable, mass-produced, defective parts that God may or may not be willing to repair.

However there is another side to that truth.

It is that we are created in His image and have a value that is beyond knowing or describing. He took the initiative to make us knowing we would fall and sin. He placed us in this world so that we should find the joy of finding Him and His purposes for us. He is the one who made our emotions and crafted our desires and placed in us a hunger for the eternal. He was the one who initiated our ultimate redemption. He paid the ultimate price in sending His Son to die for us. He created the world to be the dwelling place of man and created man to be the dwelling place of God. So He has committed Himself to us, to our eternal well-being and to our development as His children and His army and His bride. So, no, He is not required to give us anything or to do anything for us BUT He has committed Himself to our welfare, to the development of our character and growth for His ultimate purpose. And so He has given us great and precious promises (to which He has bound Himself to keep) for us to walk in. Most of all He has given us Himself, as Saviour, as Father as the one who desires our best and knows our beginning and our end.

If we only look at the first side we are only sinners saved by grace and unable to lift our heads. If we look only at the second side we become proud and boastful, taking advantage of grace and exalting ourselves beyond measure. But if we hold both in tension (which we need to do with every single truth from God) we come closer to understanding the reality of who He is and who we are.

What do you think?

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