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Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Mystery Of Love

I can tell you about the love of God; I know more about it by faith than I do in the core of my soul. It seems to me that this is the secret of life. It is true that there is nothing guaranteed to us, in terms of eternal life, and perfect happiness forever. Sin and hell are both real. The enemy is real. But there is no more real reality than the love of God. Anywhere at any time.

Who is Jesus Christ? It's almost too big a question. And even as we want to make the answer as simple as possible, because ordinary folks don't just walk around using words like "substitutionary atonement" and the like, the Bible is a big story that's both simple and complicated.

The Old Testament tells the story of the children of Israel, another name for a man named Jacob, a descendant of Isaac, the child of the promise given to Abraham. Another man named Moses led the children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt, and it was after this that God gave them the Law of how they were supposed to live as His chosen people. You know the summary of it as The Ten Commandments. Let's say that met with more failure than success, just like we would say, if we were honest.

They don't really need a king, because God is their king, but God gives them one. The first guy, Saul, goes astray, consumed by jealousy for this kid named David, whom God chose as his replacement. David was a man after God's own heart, says God. But he's weak like us, too: an adulterer, and a murderer. God forgives, but the damage is done. The kingdom splits in two, and it goes downhill from there, with only a few bright spots. Their worshiping of false gods and injustice to one another gets so bad that God allows pagan nations to enslave and deport them. God promises to restore them, and in a way, to save them from themselves, since even after all that God had said and done, most people didn't get it.

He'd restore them by making a new covenant, (it's like a contract, but more personal) forgiving them, and writing a new Law on their hearts. He would lead Israel in a new age of conquering the pagans...with love, and forgiveness. They'd become Israelites, too. The new King, a descendant of David, would lead them. Here's the twist: He's God. He'll take on a human nature, be born of a virgin, and eventually die. By human terms, a blasphemer and a revolutionary. In the heart of the Father, though, a most pleasing sacrifice, that takes away all the sins of His people. His throne is a cross, and His victory is an empty grave. God the Holy Spirit reminds the followers of Jesus the Anointed One, (Christ), the King, of the things he taught them. Those followers, little priests in their own right, carry the message of that final, perfect sacrifice that announces reconciliation and friendship with God, to the ends of the Earth. We proclaim it every time we meet. It's our gift to the Father, the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, with which He is most pleased. We eat the flesh and blood of Jesus as the pledge and hope of being with God forever. We wait for Jesus to return, and set everything finally right again.

It's that last part I can't quite get, because frankly, I'm not sure I know what "right" is. I have enough hope to want to know, and that's a start. This is a short summary of the whole story, and a shabby one, for all I know. But Love is the answer. It's the point. What's it all about? This, man. Just this.

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