Hard Questions – Part Three

In Parts One & Two of this series, we posed the following question and sought to answer it.

“Why did God allow me to be abused?”

So far we have established the complexity of any given choice or event and our inability to make the connections necessary to fully understand the effects of them. We have also established that God CAN make these connections and His desire is for every single person on Earth to be saved through His Son, Jesus Christ.

We have established that God created us to love Him and to be loved by Him. We have also established that the current state of the world is not according to His original design. We were meant to be caretakers of the Earth alongside Him and there was to be no evil, sin, hatred, disease, pain, suffering, or death. We were meant to live in loving relationship with our God, each other, and the Earth. We have also learned the origin of sin and the reason for this fallen state of humanity, nature, and the rest of this world.

We have also established that the first two humans sinned and became sinners. Therefore, every human being is born a sinner. So, in the eyes of the Lord, all of us have sinned and fallen short.

“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” – Romans 3:23

So, in the eyes of God, both the abuser and the abused have fallen short of His standard and because He loves us so much He desires for all of us to be saved. The abused may ask, “How can God love my abuser?” He loves all of us. We have all fallen short and our sinful nature compels us to sin. In the abused’s eyes, the abuser’s sin is surely greater than their own. And that might be true. However, it is in the nature of a sinner to sin just as it is in the nature of a duck to fly. Can you fault a duck for doing what comes naturally to it? No! That is the reason that Jesus told us not to judge non-believers. For before we placed our faith in Jesus to be saved, we were the same as them. We make hypocrites out of ourselves. What good does it do you to lecture those that do not have the nature of Jesus Christ? They cannot understand it without the Holy Spirit dwelling within them.

Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

“Don’t waste what is holy on people who are unholy. Don’t throw your pearls to pigs! They will trample the pearls, then turn and attack you. -Matthew 7:1-6

We have now established that the abused and the abuser share the same nature and the same origin. The question now becomes, “How can God save us?” God sought to save mankind and His plan will surely remove any remaining doubt the abused may have that they have done no wrong and are in a better position than the abuser. For in order to save a person they must first be aware that they need to be saved.

Later, as Jesus left the town, he saw a tax collector named Levi sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up, left everything, and followed him.

Later, Levi held a banquet in his home with Jesus as the guest of honor. Many of Levi’s fellow tax collectors and other guests also ate with them. But the Pharisees and their teachers of religious law complained bitterly to Jesus’ disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with such scum?”

Jesus answered them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners and need to repent.” – Luke 5:27-32

How did God show this to mankind? First, He chose a man of faith named Abram that would father a multitude of nations. He would give the nation through His son, Isaac, His laws and standards. This nation would serve as an example to the rest of the world. This nation is Israel. His chosen people are the Israelites or as most people know them, the Jewish or Hebrew people.

I’m going to very briefly summarize the timeline from Abraham to Moses as a study of this time is not the focus of this article.

The Lord had said to Abram, “Leave your native country, your relatives, and your father’s family, and go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you and make you famous, and you will be a blessing to others. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who treat you with contempt. All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” – Genesis 12:1-3

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him, “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations! What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations. I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them!

“I will confirm my covenant with you and your descendants after you, from generation to generation. This is the everlasting covenant: I will always be your God and the God of your descendants after you. And I will give the entire land of Canaan, where you now live as a foreigner, to you and your descendants. It will be their possession forever, and I will be their God.” – Genesis 17:1-8

The Lord gave Abraham a son, Isaac. Isaac then had a son, Jacob who became Israel. Israel had twelve sons that fathered the twelve tribes of Israel. Israel’s son, Joseph, was raised up by the Lord to rule Egypt as second-in-command to the Pharaoh. Joseph brought his father Israel, his brothers and their families to Egypt during a terrible famine.

Many years later, a Pharaoh that knew nothing about Joseph or what he had done for Egypt felt threatened by the Israelites that had greatly multiplied. So, he enslaved them. The Lord chose a Hebrew man named Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. The Lord performed many miracles and wonders to convince Pharaoh to free the Israelites and even parted the Red Sea so that they could make their escape. After this, God appeared to the Israelites on Mount Sinai and through Moses, gave the Israelites His laws and standards.

Then God gave the people all these instructions:

“I am the Lord your God, who rescued you from the land of Egypt, the place of your slavery.

“You must not have any other god but me.

“You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love me and obey my commands.

“You must not misuse the name of the Lord your God. The Lord will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

“Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days, the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day, he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy.

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

“You must not murder.

“You must not commit adultery.

“You must not steal.

“You must not testify falsely against your neighbor.

“You must not covet your neighbor’s house. You must not covet your neighbor’s wife, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.” – Exodus 20:1-17

These are the Ten Commandments. The pillars of the law if you will. If you want to read the rest of the law you’re welcome to it. However, it becomes apparent very quickly that no human being could possibly live up to God’s standard. So, what could be done?

Being sinners the Israelites naturally sinned. We established in Part Two that sin leads to the death. It must. It is just a fact of life. It is unholy. It is wrong. It is separation from God and God IS life. So, how could the Israelites bridge this gap? Something else had to die in their place.

The Israelites had to offer a sacrifice whenever they sinned. They would sacrifice animals according to the severity of the offense. Or they would offer specially prepared produce if they had no animals to offer the Lord. This would save them from the punishment of sin. Temporarily. And that is the problem. They were still sinners. They continued to sin and eventually died anyway. No matter how closely they followed the law all fell short. Severe or minor sin, it didn’t matter in the end. Their sinful nature constantly compelled them to do what the law forbids them to do and trapped them in an endless cycle of disobedience and sacrifice.

The rest of the Old Testament in the Bible shows the history and prophecies of the Jewish people and we can see that despite having God’s laws and standards they could not live up to them. They constantly strayed from the Lord and messed up. God was showing them that they could not in their sinful nature live up to His laws and standards. No sacrifice of men could bridge the gap between them and God. Mankind could not and cannot save itself. Sinners will always be a slave to sin. They needed to be saved by the Lord.

He never wanted to be separate from us. He never wanted sacrifices. He wants US. He wants you. He wants me. He wants what He always wanted when He first created mankind. He wants to love us and be loved by us forever and ever. That’s it.

So, again, we ask the question. “How can the Lord save us?” since we clearly cannot save ourselves. Well, at just the right time the Lord sent His answer. His Son. Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only way back to the Father. This is the best part of the story, my friends. This is the climax of the love story between God and mankind. This is where He saves the damsel from the mouth of the dragon. Hold onto your hats.

““For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” – John 3:16

 

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