From: Rich Carlson
Date: February 15, 2021
Subject: It's February 15; Good Morning Union



Messiah, chapter 1-“God Becomes One of Us”

 

“They will name him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us.’”        Matthew 1:23

Sorry I'm a little late this morning. I just returned from Alaska yesterday from visiting our IRR students and am a little jet lagged after an all night flight. It's warmer in Alaska than Nebraska but hey, what's a few degrees below zero!! Stay warm and stay blessed.
 

Though I don’t plan to do the whole chapter-by-chapter review of my journaling from my reading of “Messiah” over Christmas break, I do want to at least give you a few examples of what I learned as I start this new piece of GMU with a sort of big picture look at Jesus and why He came to be “one with us,” just in case you might choose to read the book yourself.

It’s helpful for me to summarize things so I have a foundation upon which to base my understanding and application of the details. So a quick one sentence foundation of the story of Jesus found in "Messiah" might be:

God made it all good;

man wrecked it thanks to Satan;

Jesus provided the solution on the cross;

and God will one day, in His timing, make it all good again.

 

So with that in mind I start with the first thing I discovered in “Messiah” that I can know about Jesus here on earth with my verse for today, and with two questions and two quotes from the book:

 

  1. Why DID Jesus “become one with us?”

“Satan painted a wrong image of God, one that implied God was a demanding self-centered dictator, and led people to questions His goodness and His purpose. The only way to lighten the shadows was to show that Satan’s description of God was wrong. This could not be done by force… love does not happen on demand.”       13

  1. What ARE the results of Jesus “becoming one with us?”

“Jesus was treated as we deserve to be, so that we can be treated the way He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, which He had nothing to do with. This was so we can be saved by His righteous goodness, which we have nothing to do with. He suffered our death, so that we can be given His life.”     15

I think one of the biggest questions many Christians face and have to respond to by those who do not claim Christianity as their benchmark, is WHY all the suffering? If God is so strong why doesn’t He put an end to all if it? Tough questions to ask even if I believe God does know what He’s doing! I go back to my original one sentence descriptor of the Story. God is not the author of sin and evil. He made all things good. Satan caused the problem, not God, as I see it. This is the Great Controversy motif of Adventist terminology and theology. The battle is NOT between God and me, or even between Satan and me (that one I would lose for sure!) but between God and Satan. Satan does not play fair; God does. He loves but does not force love on anyone else. God has to allow all created being the right to choose which side they want to be on. It has to be free choice, not forced choice. He could have forced it, killed Satan and not given us the option to “not love.” And that would not be love! No choice—no love; know choice- know love! Jesus was willing to take the penalty that was fairly and justly defined from the beginning as the result of sin so I don’t have to suffer the ultimate penalty for that sin. That in itself really isn’t fair, but God’s willing to go that far so I have MORE than a fighting chance to choose to love Him. He’s going to fix it all when no one can say, “I didn’t have a chance to decide if I want You or not.” The wait can be hard but every day that I wake up and God has not yet come and “fixed it all” by putting an end to sin once and for all, I believe there must be someone out there who is still going to choose Him. When everyone has had a chance to decide then He can act.

The first chapter suggests that God hates sin but loves sinners and doesn’t want to lose any of us. But He will not force His will and so, ultimately, He doesn’t even get His will, because His will is that everyone would be saved, but some won’t choose Him. That’s the risk of free will, that’s freedom of choice, that’s love. It’s mine to enjoy or abuse. God won’t take that freedom away from me, even if it bring potential pain to me or to Him. But He has done everything necessary for me to escape the junk and enjoy the glory He originally intended.

 

Have a great day seeing God’s plan for you,

Pastor Rich

 

Quote for the day:      Our purpose in life, “We’re just walking each other Home.”            Cindy Nash

PS        STAY WARM AND STAY IN!! IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE REALLY COLD THE NEXT COUPLE DAYS SO THERE WILL BE NO LIVE CLASSES. YOUR TEACHERS WILL LET YOU KNOW HOW YOU WILL BE EXPERIENCING EDUCATION THE NEXT TWO DAYS—PROBABLY BY ZOOM!! CHECK YOUR MESSAGES AND EMAILS!

PPS     Warrior women's basketball vs. Southeast Community College
6:00 p.m. | Thunderdome. Fans will be allowed to attend this game, but are required to wear masks at all times. The game will also be streamed on UTV.