Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I've found a love greater

The heaven's display the glory of God - and the sun most of all in the sky. But what is that? Is it the power of uncountable nuclear reactors pumping out the greatness of God brighter than a very large number of floodlights? Is the glory of God infinite power and oomph? Or, might the glory of God not be told of by the sun by it's relentless walking like a bridegroom, full of purpose, and of it being a source of life, pouring out life (and love) day after day unceasingly, giving of itself for our good.

How is it that Jesus displays his glory? Is it in his impressive acts and miracles, his power to create? Or is it more in the hour in which he was high and lifted up to death? The moment where he gave himself up for us?

How is it that Jesus defeats the devil? What is the power we have if we cast out a demon in the name of Jesus? Is it that Jesus packs a bigger punch? Did Jesus wrestle the devil to death? Or, was it that in the very moment the serpent thought it had struck Jesus down, that through a self-giving death that Jesus triumphed over evil? Wasn't the snatching and accusing enemy overthrown by the pouring out and giving of God for us? Wasn't the devilish way always to grab where God would teach us to receive?

And when I look sin in the face, or at least an opportunity to use my freedom to indulge the flesh by 'sin' or 'religion' or in loving service, is the answer to ask for strength to defeat sin, or is it to go with Jesus to die again to my old sinful self and rise to a new life in him? Isn't it the gospel that shames my response in such situations? And if so then isn't the answer not grow stronger but to be given up? And if I obey isn't it to obey the gospel - to die with Jesus so that he is now my life, and I live by looking away from me to him.

And isn't the richness of Jesus found in him giving up the riches he had to become poor for me, that I might share in the riches he has in his relationship with his Father. He is not the rich man who uses his riches to acquire strength, but the one who gives all he has to gather us up. Not by forcing himself upon us but by sacrifice and by wooing us, and by offering himself for us and to us. So that I come to Christ as I see him and am persuaded, contrary to everything people have sought to teach me, and yet in deep resonance with everything his world has been telling me day after day.

In the upside down economy of God I build my church best not when I cling on to people but when I give. And don't I get further when I give away my best for free and seek to pour out blessing on others, even my enemy, just as the Father freely gave his best, and the Son gave his life to give life to us. Isn't love always a giving thing, that goes beyond itself, takes me beyond myself by taking me to the cross.

And at the cross I see that "God looks on the believer wrapped up in Jesus, and loves him with immeasurable love..." (Henry Law), and love is stirred in me.


  1. Loving the sweet and beautiful gospel, the "aroma of the knowledge of Christ" (2 Cor 2:14) in Paul's lingo.

    This post should be the one with 30 comments, not the Calvinism one! :)

  2. Funny aint it - I'm vastly more attached to this post but it's the Calvinism/Arminianism one that gets all the comments. We're a funny old species we evangelicals...

  3. I sometimes wonder about Paul talking for ages about circumcision, the nicene theologians talking for ages about the technicalities of Christology, the theologians at Dort talking for ages about TULIP and me spending ages talking about the historicity of the Gospels.

    Would everyone in that list would rather spend time talking about the things of first importance? Yes, of course. But sometimes faithfulness to those things of first importance, in real engagement with the world as it is, means you spend more time on other stuff, but always trying to pull it back to the centre which is Christ - to which they're all intimately attached anyway.

  4. Dave K, an astute comment as always! :)

  5. In the morning when I'm feeling more charitable and self-critical I feel I ought to add that we all tend to find it easier to criticise than to say "thank you". So that may be another reason.

  6. In fairness one post was a gospel-meditation, the other was more me barging into someone else's conversation about a controversial issue. One provokes discussion, the other probably doesn't so much. Always the way. And as it happens the content of both posts isn't actually all that different.