Here’s a great piece by Richard Murray:
It would have been so easy.
So very easy.
If Jesus wanted to make it crystal clear for all Christian generations to come that His Father directly pulverizes men, women, and children in His holy wrath, ALL He had to do ……. was to prove it by demonstrating it during His incarnation.
After all, James 1:18, Colossians 1:15, and Hebrews 1:3, in tandem, say that Jesus came to explain the Father by personifying the full and complete representation of the Father’s nature, and that Jesus was the very image of the invisible God.
So, to confirm that His Heavenly Father WAS capable of:
…all Jesus had to do was:
—stone (or endorse the stoning of) one person caught in adultery
—afflict one evil sinner with a plague
—strike one hypocritical Pharisee dead
—oppress one double minded person with an evil spirit in order to punish them
—smite one person with a crippling accident causing them paraplegia so that they would thereafter learn humility and how to give God all the glory for their misfortune
—send one lightning storm, tornado, mudslide, or tsunami to wipe out particularly hard hearted villages or cites.
Had Jesus done ANY of these things, even just one time, then anybody who dared claim otherwise would be forever proven wrong.
But He didn’t.
Jesus’ life was described in this way:
— by the Apostle Peter, “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” Acts 10:38.
—by the Apostle John, “This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5.
—by the Apostle James, “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.” James 1:13-17.
Since Jesus NEVER once did (or endorsed) any of these destructive things listed above, we can only conclude that He refused to misrepresent the divine nature as anything other as curative, protective, rehabilitative, and restorative.
We should likewise steadfastly refuse to malign God’s pristine nature. It’s the key to everything— “the renewing of our mind, to the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2.
– Richard Murray, used with his kind permission.
2 thoughts on “It Would Have Been So Easy…”
Great post thanks – and it brings to my mind one thing I’ve always wondered about in 2 Cor 12:7-10 – Paul’s thorn in the flesh that was given to him ? What are your thoughts about this ? Everyone has an opinion about it – I find it hard to believe that God would do this ? So is Paul just being dramatic about his beatings or health ? Thoughts?
Superb question, Linda, and thanks for asking my opinion – which is what it is; just my opinion. As you say, there are as many opinions as there are people…
Given that God’s reply to Paul was that His Grace is sufficient, it would need to be something that the presence of Grace made a difference to. Personally, I think it was something (or someone) that was annoying Paul and maybe making him wonder if he was doing the ‘right thing’; if his thinking was straight and all that. I often find myself wondering – and I think this is healthy – Do I really think I’m right in this matter? (whatever it is). And given that Grace is not only the covering we have over all our blunders and mistakes, and it’s also the way we learn from our circumstances, I think that Paul was learning new stuff from the ‘thorn’ ‘s existence. Which is kind of why God ‘allowed’ it in the first place. I don’t think God sends bad things to us, and I don’t think Paul thought so either. But I do think that life throws all kinds of crap at us and it’s how we deal with those things, under the Grace we are given, that determines how we mature in Christ.
I think 2Cor was one of Paul’s earlier letters, and we don’t see him mentioning the ‘thorn’ anywhere else. Of course, this could be because the subject was no-one else’s business, or maybe the other churches didn’t know about it. Whatever it was, Paul carried on in his faith and his ideas grew with him, so I presume that the ‘thorn’ had its intended effect in maturing him.
For me personally, my ‘thorn in the flesh’ is that there are hardline, sometimes quite vicious, Fundamentalist Christians who always come up with the same arguments. I’m writing a series on the ‘faults of the church’ at the moment, and I am trying to come up with a way to deal with this sensitively. Failing so far 😉 But it is definitely an example of an irritant that is producing change, maturity and hopefully fruit in my walk with the Lord.
Hope that all makes sense! Bless you, Linda 🙂