Summary: The image of God is restored in humankind through self-sacrifice--first through the self-sacrifice of God in Christ Jesus, and now as we sacrifice ourselves to our Heavenly Father's will and purpose for our lives.
“The Good & Beautiful God:
God Is Self-Sacrificing”
February 27th, 2011
"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him!"
Romans 5:6-9 (NIV)
> For the first time since I started this series about the Good and Beautiful God I addressed the issue of God’s response to sin last week.
Yes, God is good, trustworthy, and generous.
Yes, God is love! Love is the very character of God.
Yes, God loves us unconditionally and He chooses to love us even though we have done nothing to deserve His love.
But, God is equally HOLY! He cannot coexist with sin. He cannot be a good God and ignore the issue of sin. Sin is the very thing that destroys His perfect creation.
> A God who ignores the destructive force of sin is not a good God at all. But, scripture is very clear regarding how God feels about sin! God hates sin! The reason God hates sin is because He loves me, therefore, he hates anything that is destructive for me.
> So, we struggle with what God should do about sin!
Should God look the other way and let us sin, knowing that sin will eventually destroy us?
> By the way, do any of us question the destructive forces of sin?
- Charlie Sheen - Tiger Woods - Elliot Spitzer
- Jonathan Edwards - Lindsay Lohan - Andrea Yates
These are just a few high-profile people who have had their lives almost completely destroyed by sin! We could spend all day listing others who have suffered the destructive affects of sin on their lives, in their marriages, in their carriers, etc.
> What should God do about Sin? Should He ignore it? Should He turn away and let sin do it’s damage to the point of utter destruction in our lives? How could that be good and beautiful?
> Should God force us into obedience. Would God be a good and beautiful God if He created us without our own free will to choose Him, choose to be obedient to Him, or choose to reject Him?
> God does the only thing that a good and beautiful God would do—God loves us, but hates sin and works to direct us toward His good and beautiful kingdom by exercising wrath against sin and love toward us!
> Just as a good parent directs their children away from danger, hating what danger can do to their children, so God directs us away from sinfulness and evil, hating what sinfulness and evil will do to us.
> So now we have God’s wrath toward sin and God’s love for us. Both must be addressed. Wrath must be appeased—love must be expressed.
> God does exactly this—He appeases wrath and expresses love. God finds a way where there was no way. He makes it possible for us to come to Him—even in our sinfulness.
> God sacrifices Himself so that sin no-longer has dominion over His creation.
> Today’s message is that God is Self-sacrificing.
God came to earth and offered Himself up in vulnerability to His creation, submitting himself completely to the creation that so readily rejected Him—revealing His love in the most powerful manner possible—sacrifice!
> We must understand two things...
I. We Are Powerless
> James Bryan Smith tells of his Christian sister, Vicki, who admitted to him, “Jim, I have to admit. I’ve never understood the cross. It has always bothered me that Jesus had to die. And it bothered me that God would let Jesus die. It almost seems like child abuse (Smith, Good & Beautiful…, pg. 134).” She goes on to explain that the cross seemed unnecessary—that God could have easily “forgiven the world” simply by declaring the world forgiven, or by teaching people how to love one another (ibid., 134).
> She is not the only Christian who is unclear about the necessity of the cross. I think every Christian struggles with the question, “Why did Jesus need to die for me?”
> The problem is, we still believe that we can find our own way to God. If we were just shown the way, we could do OK ourselves.
> In fact, the predominant religious narrative in the world regarding salvation says, “Humans do the work of reaching to the gods to obtain favor and blessing from their god(s).”
In Islam salvation is achieved by adhering to the 5 pillars of Islam and by glorious acts of Jihad.