We live in a world aching for real love. As noted in the previous post, if we look honestly at ourselves, we see that we are both incapable of giving real love, nor are others around us able to provide it. There is very little that is more central to the human soul than the desire to be truly loved. There is very little that causes more pain and sorrow in life than to have this desire unfulfilled.
This is precisely the point at which the central thrust of the Gospel message of Jesus is directed. This is also what makes the christian message profoundly unique.
The central message of the gospel is not simply that Jesus dies for people so that they don’t go to hell. The entire narrative of the Bible presents a powerful story which defines us in terms of those who are created for relationship and intimacy with the one who made us. His love to us, and work in us defines who we are and shapes us in every other aspect of life.
The Only God Who Is Love
The Bible presents God as being triune. This means that, although God is one, he is composed of three persons. Not three gods. Not three modes of the same God. Three distinct persons, in one essence. Much can be said in debate and explanation concerning this idea. That is for another time. The point at hand is that this is a God who exists in an eternal, perfect, independent relationship.
The Bible presents the only God who is not simply loving, but one who is love; the only conception of God which perfectly embodies the idea of love. The God of the Bible is a God who is perfectly self sustaining in a life of community and love within himself. Love is at the heart of who He is. As a result, he is a God who is able to infinitely and eternally give himself to others, and not be in need of their love in return. He does not need to be appeased. He does not need to be repaid. All that he does, he does out of the abundance of the goodness and satisfaction that exists within him.
The Only God Who Gives Himself Up
Following the biblical narrative, life and creation is the result of his desire to share his love, to give himself away. He creates us patterned after himself, with a desire for relationship, love and satisfaction. He creates us so that he can unconditionally share his love with us. The essence of sin in the gospel narrative is our irrational drive for independence; the desire to be our own mini-gods; the idea that we can find total acceptance, definition and satisfaction outside of him.
The willing destruction of our relationship with him follows with the innumerable consequences of strife and conflict everywhere else in life.
And yet, at this point, the unconditional nature of his love is highlighted even more starkly. The just thing to do is to damn us all to the inevitable result of our independence and rebellion. His greatest expression of love comes at a point when every other deity judges the world. God comes into the world as Jesus, living and experiencing the fullness of the life and battle that we face everyday. At the end of it, he takes the ultimate consequence of our rebellion – he takes on himself the soul tearing experience of being alienated and condemned by God.
The God of the Bible, in his love for us, in order to absorb the full cost of our sin, willingly deprives himself of his own love and life. That is why Jesus died.
As Jesus emerged from the eternally devastating drop that he took for us, he bears the right to reopen the door to the free and unconditional love of God for which we were created. He took our alienation so that we may be embraced. His relationship was severed so that our relationship may then be restored.
Life makes sense only when it is lived from the perspective of the one who invented it. The christian message is one of restoration to our true identity. The christian life is not about doing the right things and getting into heaven. Its about being in relationship with the one and only true source of love – God himself. It is about enjoying the free benefits of his love. Its about giving ourselves away to find all that we ever longed for in him. Its about living a life that is set out to be filled and changed by his love, and to continue to spread the transforming power and message of that love everywhere we go.