29th April 2012
Acts Of God
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Romans 5:6-8 (NIV UK)
You may have forgotten but just over a year ago large parts of the North-eastern Australian state of Queensland were inundated with major flooding. Flood water covered an area the size of France and Germany combined. Officials and relief workers struggled to cope and said it was a “disaster of biblical proportions.” That is the way we often describe major natural disasters. Insurance companies call them “acts of God.”
“Act of God” is an actual legal term—a way of saying that no human was to blame. Such language can give people the idea that the Bible is primarily about catastrophes, and that we’re all at the mercy of an often bad-tempered God whose ‘acts’ are destructive, unpredictable and life threatening. But that’s not the message of the Bible.
The primary, central ‘act of God’ described in the Bible is not bad news, but wonderful good news. It tells us about a God who, far from being angry and destructive, loves us with a love that is so great—he did everything that had to be done to save us as the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans (quoted above).
The Son of God became a man, suffered and died as one of us and in doing so took humanity itself into God’s own being. It means that when we suffer, God suffers with us. We all know that every person who lives will eventually die, but the good news is that death is not the end of our story. Jesus’ death changed death itself. He made death a pathway to resurrection, to new life, to a new creation in which, as Revelation 21:4 tells us, “there is no more death or mourning or crying or pain.”
Christians hold this hope in faith—faith that God, who freely took up our human cause as his own, even to the point of dying as one of us, is true to his word. Every person who dies will live again, and all who believe God, who trust him, will share in the relationship Jesus has with his Father. The core message of the Bible is not one of doom and gloom, but that despite the suffering we experience in this life, God loves us with a love of “biblical proportions,” and our eternal future is secure in his hands.
Holy Father, the more we consider your works, the more we marvel in how you show your love for us in what you have done for us. Help us, as we marvel, to respond in love to you. In Jesus’ name we pray.
Study by Joseph Tkach