Sunday, April 12, 2009

Was There Another Way?

As we celebrate the Easter holiday, my thoughts are drawn to the layout of God’s plan for our salvation. Simply put, it goes like this:

1) God defined the line between good and evil, He told us what sin is
2) He promised that sin must be atoned for with the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:7) and with death (Romans 6:23)
3) Man sinned (Romans 3:23) – every person who ever lived was guilty
4) God maintained His promise AND delivered our salvation by sending His Son to shed his blood and die – in our place
5) He resurrected His Son after three days, and Jesus is now preparing for the Second Coming – when the entire history of mankind will be judged

The power and simplicity of God’s plan still amazes me. If I were designing a plan for salvation, I would have been tempted to install a system of restitution and restoration – basically, one where a person has to “earn” their way back into God’s favor through good works. Indeed, many religions (even of the Christian variety) operate under such a system. It seems to be a human tendency to demand penance and good deeds to make up for sin. Offering my own son as a sacrifice for many? That wouldn’t have occurred to me.

Could God have achieved His purpose in another way? He could have put in place a design like mine where a person could “work off” their sin. He could have made the rules and expectations much more lenient. He could have put in place a “cap and trade” system (so popular with our government) where “sin credits” are bought and sold, at least by those who have the money to participate. A poor sinner (I mean one without cash) wouldn’t fare well under such a scheme. So why didn’t He choose a different method?

Because God’s nature is both perfect and inviolable. That is an extremely important distinction, and one which sets God’s plan apart from any system that man can devise. He is the embodiment of goodness and perfection, and He cannot tolerate the presence of evil. His faultlessness is unchanging and clearly in evidence. Would we really want a God who was anything else?

Was there another way? I think not. Since God is perfect and all-knowing, I believe that He chose the single, best way to accomplish our forgiveness. It’s not in His nature to do anything else.

We happy few are given the blessing to live forever in the presence and service of God Almighty. 2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption of the world caused by evil desires.” We have a means to participate, not under the broken and unjust rules of the world, but in the very “divine nature” that is God. And that glorious outcome is not given to us for a few moments, but will last for eternity – world without end, Amen!

Happy Easter Sunday! This day is not about bunnies, candy, or even a family get-together over a meal. Today is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the fulfillment of God’s plan which allows us to spend an eternity with Him. Could we celebrate anything better?

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