Listening to another great sermon this morning, this question came to mind: who is God for? The pastor’s message was God is for you. A whole lot of issues would be resolved if you settled that in your thoughts. What I do not remember the pastor explaining is why God was for his listeners. That is the pastor did not state or explaining the premise of his argument. His assumptions were not expressed.
What were his assumptions?
The pastor’s premise informing his argument for God being FOR his listeners is comprised of at least the following assumptions:
God loves humanity.
Because the Creator does, he seeks to redeem humanity from the consequences of sin. Those consequences include alienation, sickness, impoverishment, corruption, violence, war, injustice, and the like.
Because sin is a moral crime against the laws of God in human nature, justice is demanded.
For God to forgive humanity’s crimes, means to satisfy divine justice fully must be enacted.
Because the consequence of sin is death, the penalty of death is required.
Good works and moral behavior cannot be the basis of satisfying justice. That is true for all systems of justice of all peoples as well as God’s.
Although the appeasement of divine judgment for sin through sacrificial death of animals has been a universal practice throughout most of human history, and although mammals and human share similar biological nature, animals are not culpable for intentional moral crimes.
Therefore, only the death of a human could possibly fully satisfy divine justice.
Because all humans commit sin, only a human who has never committed sin could be qualified to satisfy the divine demand of justice.
The only human claimed to have fulfilled these qualifications is Jesus of Nazareth. His death has fully satisfied God system of justice thus enabling God to acquit human of their moral crimes and to empower to begin to live sinless lives.
Because the sinless Jew and only-begotten son of God, Jesus, has fulfilled the demands of God’s justice fully, God unmerited love can be forever expressed to those who submit to God by faith with Jesus. This is also called mercy and grace.
Therefore, God is unwavering for and never against those who live under the rule of God’s redemptive justice. All of God’s promises are forever yes. Because temporary lapses in sin cause temporary hindrances to the realization of promises, the hindrance is internal not external. God’s “yes” has not changed because Jesus has already suffered the penalty for all moral crimes and thus completely and forever satisfied all demands of divine justice.
The one contingency to the above is this: Faithfulness to God. That is the underlying problem throughout all of human history. It is why moral reformations resulting in the major religions of the world have occurred. It is why moral reformation will continue to occur, which often called revivals. However, unlike in the past, such reformations without the incorporation of Jesus’ accomplishments on humanity’s behalf as planned by God will not result in the desired future, which is the perpetuation of true justice and eternal life with God.
For those who already are faithful in their practice of righteousness as defined above, implementing the principles of Isaiah 58 can help with the internal resistance.
By Daniel Downs