Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why God Doesn't Overwhelm Us

Why does God veil His glory in a crucified Savior? Why doesn’t He just come on strong and overwhelm us like a Super Bowl halftime show?

The simple truth is that we couldn’t handle that kind of revelation of God. Exodus 20, in the Old Testament recounts God giving the Ten Commandments to His people Israel through Moses. It was an event accompanied by stunning signs of God's presence. Just after the giving of the commandments, Exodus says:
When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking, they were afraid and trembled and stood at a distance, and said to Moses, "You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, or we will die." (Exodus 20:18-19)
Human beings in the unveiled presence of God see their distance from God’s holiness, perfection, and power. Instead of overwhelming us, God comes to us in the God-Man Jesus, bringing forgiveness and peace with God to all who believe in Him. It’s Jesus Who makes it possible for us to approach God as our Father and it’s in Jesus’ Name—and not in our own merit or power—that we can come to God in prayer.

Even in Jesus, the suffering servant, though, Peter and others who spent time with Him, saw the almighty, perfect God and their distance from Him. Once, Jesus performed a miraculous sign. Peter was overwhelmed and said, “Go away from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”

But Jesus never goes away from those who honestly submit to and trust in Him. God is holy and infinitely powerful. But God also loves us. That's why He brings salvation "from below," coming to us as a Servant, rather than from above as a conqueror. It was only as a servant Who dies on a cross that He could take our punishment for sin, conquering sin and death through His servanthood.

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