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Communion Meditations (2018)

 

Divine Dilemma

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 us.

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.

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