God told Israel the following: “Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins” (Ps 130:7-8). He also stated, “I the Lord do not change. So you, the descendants of Jacob, are not destroyed” (Ml 3:6). God made many promises to Israel. Malachi states that God is not taking revenge because God keeps his promises. God is faithful-even if we are not.
This theme continues into the New Testament: “And he [Christ] died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again” (2Co 5:15). Our allegiance is only in one of two places. While we may still struggle after becoming a Christian, our allegiance must change to be toward Christ and to please him.
Is this starting to sound very complicated? Coming to God should be easy. We make it complicated. Because of our way of looking at sin, we feel we need to “do better” before we come to God, someone who is perfect. Yet, God says, “No.” We come as we are. We believe we are a sinner. We believe Christ came into this world and paid the penalty for all sin—our sin. We trust in Him for our eternal future and no longer in ourselves—our “goodness”, or what we can do. Because we can never achieve perfection—His requirement—we can only depend upon Him and not ourselves.
Yet, becoming a Christian does not change the struggle within us. It does give us the ability and the courage to win against that struggle, along with a guarantee of a blessed future. The difficulty comes from our unwillingness to let go, our unwillingness to really see sin for what sin truly is, our unwillingness to accept and see sin as God has defined it. It goes back to what we stated before. Our “sin” is not as bad as someone else’s. We see their sin as worse because we don’t have an issue with it. If we have an issue, then it can’t be that bad or else we wouldn’t have a problem with it.
Our reasoning becomes flawed. For example, if we are living with someone, but someone else commits adultery, we think their sin is worse. After all, they had already made a commitment with something and broke that trust. I’m just “trying it out” to see if I want to make a commitment. Therefore, if I bail, it’s not so bad. After all, I never married so I don’t have to feel guilty about not making that commitment. Yet, from God’s perspective, one sin is just as black as another. It all starts from the heart willing to be disobedient. The heart comes first and the deed second.
Another problem is that we haven’t really stopped to understand God and his character. We say God is holy, but there are two aspects to being holy. One is what we traditionally think of as being pure and righteous. However, the other part is that He is set apart, He is unique, one of a kind. He is Three-in-One. Why is He like this? Well, for one, it makes Him the perfect relationship builder. The parts that we have come to know as God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are part of God the Father as a whole. The Gospel of John states in John 1 that “the Word became flesh.” In other words, the part of God who communicates to man became man. This is the part of the Trinity which has always communicated God’s will to mankind. In the Old Testament, we call this the pre-incarnate appearance of Christ, the Messiah, the One who was to come. Therefore, this pre-incarnate form of God is most likely the one who walked and talked with Adam and Eve in the garden.
Just as Christ communicated physically with mankind, the Holy Spirit communicates spiritually with mankind. In the Old Testament, this was on an as-needed basis. However, today, God has promised that all who accept Him are indwelled with the Holy Spirit so we can have that communication always. Therefore, the Trinity is the most efficient relationship builder ever. No wonder God designed mankind to be relational beings; God Himself is a relational being.
But more than that, it allows him to be pure love and pure justice and still reside in one being. Our salvation is dependent upon God being Trinity. It could not have happened any other way. God had to remain 100% God while becoming 100% human. God being Trinity allowed that.
I know the concept of Trinity is a hard concept, but hold that thought and we’ll explore it further next time. Not only is it the source of our hope, the concept is so important God put the concept in the very heart of nature itself. I hope you join us next time to further explore. What an awesome God we serve!
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 1: Rosh Hashanah
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 3: Sukkot
Fall Jewish Holidays - Part 4: Salvation & Faith