25th October 2012

The Lover Of Our Souls

“He [Adam] answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’ And he [God] said ‘Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?’”
Genesis 3:10-11 (TNIV)

What was God to do? Following humanity’s expulsion from the Garden of Eden, God could see we were in a fix. Should God just walk away and leave us to it? Or should He take action and save us from ourselves? We needed saving. Cain’s solution to his problem with Abel demonstrated that (Genesis 4:1-16). If our only recourse is to kill one another, then it truly would become hell on Earth.

Humanity was trapped, unable to break free. One of the lessons we learn from the Old Testament people Israel is that we are broken. This, of course, God knew we would be.  As usual he was ahead of us!  God delivered Israel from physical bondage, but they never escaped their spiritual prison.  They effectively had the spiritual advantage on all the nations around them, but they were unable to capitalise on this. They demonstrated the absolute failure of all humanity to repair the damage done at the tree of the knowledge of good and evil on their own.

God’s plan was devised from the beginning to save us from ourselves. Actually, with God there wasn’t any other option, for our Father is love (1 John 4:16). God’s response is like a parent who sets out to save his children from drowning in deep water. God did not even pause to wonder whether he should just let us face the consequences of our wrong choices. His great love stirred him from the beginning to save us.

What was God to do then? The Word took on flesh (John 1:14), becoming human himself. He provided the response needed, and would bring the rest of his brothers and sisters along with him in the process.  However, this was costly to God.  Jesus lived a full life in faith, trusting his Father in all things. In order to rescue us, to bring us all back to the Father, he needed to bring living faith to all our ‘places’ of alienation from God.

Jesus did not shrink from his task to save us, even when it took him into the darkest place of our souls. Abandoned by his disciples, unjustly condemned to death, tortured and abused, he was then left in agony to die. Even here, Jesus triumphed. “It is finished!” (John 19:30), he declared, just before he died.

Humanity’s rebellion had brought creation to its knees. Yet Jesus, the lover of our souls, won through. Our rescuer took on all that is against us and set us free, just as God always intended—today, tomorrow and forevermore.

Dear God, you alone are worthy of praise! While we were helpless to help ourselves, you stepped in and saved us all. When we were faithless, you were faithful. Thank you for sharing our human condition and rescuing us from the hell we have created. We give you our praise through our
Saviour’s name, Jesus Christ.

Study by Ian Woodley

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