God’s love for us versus God’s acceptance of us (part 2)
In my last entry, I stated…
GOD LOVES EVERYBODY.
BUT, GOD DOESN’T FIND EVERYBODY HE LOVES, ACCEPTABLE.
Your brother is standing at your front door. He was let out of prison on a technicality and was in prison in the first place for murder. He asks you, “I don’t have anywhere else to go, can I stay with you and your family?” You love your brother but fear for the safety of your family. What do you do?
In this imaginary scenario I envision the convicted murderer’s brother saying, “no”. Perhaps, he would work to find a different place for his brother to live because of fear for the safety of his family. He may help him find a home or find work but he wouldn’t let him near his wife or children and he wouldn’t let his brother into his home. He wouldn’t let him in because he found his brother’s actions of murder unacceptable. The question must arise inside this family man’s mind, “Since my brother murdered before is this a pattern of behavior? Will he also kill us?”
But, a completely different scenario is possible. The family man agrees and welcomes his brother into his home. Perhaps, the family man sees that his brother is lost and alone and that this is an opportunity to show God’s love? For the family man, love is greater than the fear of safety. For him, taking a chance on love is more important. But, the same question still must ricochet through his mind, “Since my brother murdered before, is this a pattern of behavior? Will he do it all again?”
This is the question God had in Genesis 3:22.
22 And the Lord God said, “The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.” (NIV)
Here, we see that God recognizes that this forbidden-fruit-eating of Adam and Eve’s could be a pattern of behavior. They did it once, why not again? But, God did not banish Adam and Eve over concern for His safety or the safety of the Garden of Eden. God banished Adam and Eve before they could repeat their behavior and eat from a tree that would cause them to live forever in a fallen, sin-filled state. In other words, God was concerned about Adam and Eve’s safety, not the state of His Garden.
Safety is a big issue with humans and it is with God too. Which brings us to an interesting point in looking at the events in Genesis 3. There was another safety issue that arises in Genesis 3:1. After God created the heavens and the earth, the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve, we find out that there is another intelligent being in the Garden; the devil.
And before we go further, here is a little backstory about the devil.
Apparently, the devil was once Lucifer who was an angel in heaven. Lucifer rebelled against God and (it is believed) that he held back for himself some of the glory that was due God. He was attempting to become God; like God or equal in power to God. He rejected his place in heaven as merely existing as an angel and rebelled, taking a third of the other angels with him. Because of his rebellion, God tossed him and his followers (demons) out of heaven and cast them down to the earth. What Lucifer did in rebelling was akin to a suicide and mass murder because he and the demons with him embraced death. They wanted free-will to choose for themselves, now through their love of free-will they were trapped in a state of perpetual death.
This state of existence being the very one that God didn’t want to become a pattern for all His creation. This is one of the reasons why God booted Adam and Eve out of the Garden for their own safety, so that eternal death would not be Adam and Eve’s fate as it was the devil’s.
But our safety issue calls us back; the place that the devil ended up was in the same Garden where God placed the firstborn humans of His creation, namely Adam and Eve. A being that committed suicide and inspired other angels to their deaths, was living in their home!
You see, even though Lucifer rebelled and took on death as a permanent state of existence, God still showered His love down on all of His creation. God loves all of His creation or He wouldn’t have created it. However, God is not obliged to shower His love on that which is NOT His creation. And when the devil and the demons chose their free-will over God’s love they were re-created, transformed from angels of light into angels of darkness. God didn’t create them this way and therefore they were a new creation of the devil’s own handiwork. They were now not of God; not created by God; and not supported by God’s love. The angels in heaven bask in the abundance of God’s love. But, the devil and his demons were re-created by the act of dying when they chose their free-will over God’s love. They were re-created by death Originally, they were just as much God’s creation as humans but are now permanently locked into the state of death. Death is nothingness; they are a complete lack of God. There is no hope for the devil and his demons. But, there is marvelous hope for humans. Since God refused to allow humans to suffer the same eternal state of death as the devil, we humans, have a great and marvelous hope of being re-born. This is all because of Jesus. Jesus, being fully God, came to earth and became fully human. He was fully God and fully man. His death on the cross was through the shedding of His blood. And we know that the devil and his demons have no blood because they are not made of flesh and bone as we are. So, Jesus’ death on the cross is not for them. It is for us. Now, we can pass through the state of nothingness (death) and be brought safely to God’s kingdom in heaven. How? By Jesus’ resurrection from the dead; Jesus paid death’s price for all of us and by coming back to life after having been dead proves to us that Jesus conquered death. Therefore, all of us who are born again and believe in Jesus, the Son of God, have access to heaven through His resurrection from the dead. We are carried by Jesus through death into Life. And while God’s solution of Jesus’ cross and resurrection works for humans, it doesn’t work at all for angels. Unacceptable is as unacceptable does. The devil and his demons will never be acceptable or have any hope of being born again. It is a futile dream of the devil’s to think that he will once again enter into heaven, let alone enter heaven and take over all of heaven by deposing God off of His throne.
Jesus’ death and resurrection reveal why Jesus made this statement…
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
God in the flesh gives us the victory over death!
The devil rebelled (sinned) and was booted out of heaven.
Adam and Eve rebelled (sinned) and they were booted out of the Garden of Eden.
Cain murdered and he was booted out of the land and from the face of God.
So, where does that leave you and me?
Romans 3:23 adds a new, much more personal, layer to this. It says, “since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God,” (AMP) The Bible tells us that we ALL are in the same boat as Adam, Eve and Cain. It may not be the egregious acts they committed but, according to the Bible, we all have rebelled against God’s divine laws at some point.
So, what are we to do? React like Cain and leave God’s presence forever? Did Cain see that he still had a choice other than to just turn and walk away?
This is where love in the time of acceptability comes into play. God loves us all and showers us with His love continuously. But God doesn’t find us acceptable to bring into His heavenly home. He wants all the sin to remain here on the earth and since we have all sinned then we aren’t acceptable either! Now, it isn’t just these long dead, far off, vague people called Adam, Eve and Cain. This is getting personal; it is now about you and me. So, how is anyone made acceptable after they have sinned? How do we get back to the state of being cleansed of any wrongdoing? Can we? And in this state of sin can we be trusted that we won’t be repeat offenders? Is anyone safe from the ravages of us (still entrenched in sin)?
The answer is a resounding, “Yes, we can be cleansed of all our sins”. By our partaking of Jesus’ suffering, death on the cross and resurrection; by our joining in and receiving God’s love through this act of submission, we enter into eternal life with Jesus. We are made acceptable to the Father because we hold the Son, Jesus. And as for any safety concerns regarding Jesus, the Bible says this;
That’s it for today. I hope I have left you invigorated, thinking and
……………………..blinking in God’s amazing, awe-inspiring, sunlight!……………………
Please, check in again for part 3 of “Love in the Time of Acceptability”….coming soon!