Originally scheduled for September 2
God has a problem — and we are it.
Let’s begin by considering the nature of God,
and the nature of man.
God is righteousness. As such, he can
have nothing to do with sin, or sinners. If this were the only thing
he had to consider he would have nothing to do with us — at best. He
would have to quarantine the planet or perhaps just simply solve the
problem by toasting us all. It is a logical reaction to sin by a
holy, awesome, sovereign God. Obviously, he hasn’t done that.
God is love. As such, he deeply
desires to forgive those sinners and return them to complete
fellowship with himself. A faint illustration may be found in your
grandchildren. No matter what they do you have the desire to take
them back into the family and love them. Please note it’s not
anything the little stinkers have done that causes this, but your
great love for them.
Man — without exception — is a
sinner. No matter how hard we try, no matter how much we prepare,
and no matter what we cover up, we are all still sinners. Without
that fact God has no divine dilemma. With that fact the conflict
between love and righteousness is the center of his interaction with
So what did God do about it? He created the
concept of atonement. The word “atonement” is centered around the
phrase, “at one.” Atonement is someone taking action to bring about
the reconciliation of two warring parties. In Christian thought this
means that somebody makes a sacrifice to resolve such a conflict.
God not only invented the concept, he gave us
the Old Testament laws which govern atonement. Atonement sacrifices
have to be perfect, having no blemishes. He has modeled for us in
the Mosaic law what kind of atonement sacrifice would be needed to
resolve his righteousness and his love with regard to us. In short,
he told us how to do it. Our problem is finding a sacrifice without
any blemishes because, as we’ve mentioned, we are all sinners. We
are all blemished.
God solved that problem — he sent his son to be
born among us, a human being just like the rest of us but without
sin. That son was sacrificed in accordance with the Mosaic law to be
our atonement. He is our Passover lamb. This is the center of
Christianity: that God in his infinite mercy and wisdom sent his own
son to be our atonement sacrifice so that he might welcome us back
home, into his arms where we belong.
Obviously, it’s important that we remember
this. If we keep it in mind we find ourselves much more likely to
continue repentance. Therefore, Christ instituted communion so that
we might have a constant reminder of the sacrifice of atonement that
he made. The bread represents his body, given for us; the cup, his
blood. As you partake, remember the problem God had with us — and
the solution he so generously and lovingly provided.