The Avenger

God tells us very plainly not to avenge ourselves (Ro 12:19), yet He also makes provision in His Law for His people to avenge the death of a loved one, and He evidently wants us to do this. (De 19:12) Thus, while it’s true that vengeance belongs to God alone and not to us, there are evidently times when He chooses us to be the instrument of His vengeance and to deliver it on His behalf.

Predator C Avenger

As we exact revenge on our own, we seldom do so with the right heart; our wrath doesn’t work the righteousness of God (Ja 1:20); righteous anger is indeed a rare thing. Yet when God sets the boundaries on when and how we’re allowed to take revenge, He is keeping us within His standards and ordering our steps in His ways.

After all, as warped as our desire to get even generally is, it is based on a desire for justice, and justice is generally a good thing; it’s a deterrent to evil and places the ultimate cost of malevolence on the perpetrator rather than the victim. When a legal system aligns with God and allows us to take proper revenge, this is holiness.

What God forbids is taking matters into our own hands; He sets the stage for revenge in the context of impartial community which agrees on the legitimacy,  method, timing, and degree of our response. Apart from such a legal system, we must leave restitution entirely in God’s hands.

USS Avenger Minesweeper

Even so, though we’re not allowed to avenge ourselves per current legal standards, we may certainly desire justice (Re 6:10), even rejoice when it’s carried out, and this might indeed be righteous. (Re 19:1-2) When justice is sought so God Himself might be vindicated, for He is the one primarily and mostly wronged in every offense (Ps 51:4), our interest in justice may then be upright. (Ps 119:84)

Yet how do we integrate love for mercy into our love for justice? How are we to do justly as well as love mercy? (Mi 6:8) We do it by loving our neighbor, desiring what’s best for him, which is to be reconciled to God and to walk in His ways.

When repentance is already present (Ex 20:6), or if we have evidence that mercy will further reveal the goodness of God and encourage repentance (Ro 2:4), then mercy is very likely appropriate. (Mt 18:33) Otherwise, justice is likely best, for offender, victim, and all within society. (De 19:20)

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To Know the Love

The love of God is certainly a mystery; He loves in ways which are quite foreign to us. He loves His enemies (Mt 5:44-45), offering forgiveness and reconciliation (Ro 10:21), while allowing immense suffering in His own children when He could easily prevent it; to the most faithful and obedient He even bestows pain and suffering as a gift. (Php 1:29) It’s not the kind of love we’re familiar with.

The goal of God’s love, the guiding principle, is evidently not our temporal pleasure or comfort, but that we might be partakers of His holiness. (He 12:10) This truly is ultimate benevolence and merciful kindness, to align us with Himself and His nature, with truth and light; anything less would be unloving and malicious.

God knows all, including what we would do, left to our own devices, in every situation we could possibly encounter, and what we would become without His intervention and aid in every conceivable circumstance. He also knows the absolute best way to reveal Himself in and through us, and how to work holiness in us for His own glory and pleasure. (Php 2:13) His love, both for Himself and for us, ensures He will do so perfectly, in the perfect way and in the perfect time (Jud 24), working everything for ultimate good in and for those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose. (Ro 8:28)

The primary manifestation of God’s love is in sending His Son into the world that we might live through Him. (1Jn 4:9) It’s here we find the ultimate expression of love: God sending His Son to be the propitiation for our sins (10), to redeem us from all iniquity and purify us unto Himself. (Tit 2:14)

In order to save us God became sin for us, that we might be made perfectly righteous in Him. (2Co 5:21) God suffers inexpressibly in order to be in relationship with us, laying down His very life for us. (1Jn 3:16) In other words, God is all in; He holds nothing back (Ro 8:32), and He can rightly require no less of us (Ro 12:1) — this isn’t about comfort: it’s about holiness, without which no one will see God. (He 12:14)

The full experiential knowledge of this love is priceless; we should study it and meditate on it, asking God to open our eyes (Ep 1:16b-17), praying for ourselves and for each other, that we might be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ep 3:14-19)

How well we understand God’s love is revealed in how well we’re obeying Him. (1Jn 2:3) How thankful are we? (Ep 5:20) How joyful? (Php 4:4) Are we abounding in hope? (Ro 15:13) Are we seeking the welfare of our enemies, in God and for Him? (Mt 5:44-45) Do we see God’s love in all He does? (Ro 11:36) This is the Holy Ghost revealing the love of God in us, and shedding it abroad through us. (Ro 5:5)

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Friend

When Judas was in the very act of betraying Christ, Christ knew exactly what Judas was up to, how wicked it was, and how much pain and suffering it would bring upon Himself. Christ saw Judas coming toward Him in the garden of Gethsemane, temple guards in tow, to betray the Son of Man with a kiss.

The Passion of the Christ

Judas was committing, in all likelihood, most evil act in all of human history. Nothing else compares to it, betraying the perfectly innocent, precious Son of God to crucifixion and death. Jesus had already warned, The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.” (Mk 14:21) This was evidently a peculiarly unique and wicked sin. No other act is ever described in such grave terms.

Yet, as evil as this act was, as sold out to Satan himself as Judas Iscariot was at that moment (Lk 22:3), Christ addresses Judas as His friend. (Mt 26:49-50) Christ extends the offer of friendship one last time, as if to give Judas one final opportunity to be honest with himself, and with Christ, before they took Him away.

This may be the greatest example of fulfilling Christ’s own command, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” (Mt 5:44) We’re to bless those who wrong us, do good to them, wish them well, not decide what their punishment should be or wish them any harm. If we truly believe God is perfectly just, and also perfectly merciful, we’ll not hesitate to leave all in His hands.

It’s not that we shouldn’t acknowledge sinful behavior for what it is, or protect ourselves and those we love from abuse, but when God calls us to suffering, we should not retaliate. We should be praying for our enemies and seeking their welfare, regardless what they’re up to.

When we behold the wicked, it’s so tempting to allow unrighteous indignation to well up within us, as if we’d never do such things, and begin to posture ourselves as knowing what they deserve and wishing it upon them. But this disposition doesn’t spring from humility and love; it isn’t Christ in us. It springs from the lie that God is unjust, that we can do better. We can’t. God is good, only God is good, and He is always good.

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Write in a Book

When Christ reveals His ultimate purposes and plans to His church, to prepare her, guide her into all truth, edify and comfort her, He doesn’t simply send a prophet, an apostle or a teacher; Christ reveals the message to a trusted apostle and enables him to write it down in a book. (Re 1:11) This may seem uneventful to us at first glance, but I think it’s significant.

As we pursue truth, particularly in spiritual things, we have very few options:

    1. We may trust God to speak directly to us to confirm what’s true.
    2. We may trust other “selves” to tell us what God has revealed to them.
    3. We may trust what we read in a book which claims to be inspired of God, a text which bears up under the most intense scrutiny over time.

The first two options are obviously problematic because we’re all flawed and tend to misunderstand and misrepresent truth, even when God clearly reveals it to us. Even when we’re trying our best we often get it wrong, much less when we’re actually trying to deceive ourselves and others. This makes even written materials suspect, since they’re likely just more permanent variations of the same.

To be rightly grounded in truth, we need a book which not only claims to be inspired by God, but which proves itself out to be so over many generations, generally received as God-breathed by those loving and pursuing God, based on how its words encourage, strengthen and direct us.

And, ideally, this would be a book written down by holy people who both love God supremely and also suffer greatly in providing it to us, who receive its message under persecution and difficulty, who actually do suffer in their own pursuit of God, and who have no hope of profiting personally in any way from writing it.

And if this book actually is inspired by God, we expect to find those who aren’t pursuing God to be careless with it, taking it out of context and using it for their own benefit. And we find those hostile to God relentlessly and irrationally attacking it, opposing it, maligning and mocking it, blind to their own irrationality in the process.

The Bible, the Word of Truth, fits this expectation to a “T”, and it’s the only book which does. It’s the foundation of Western civilization, an ongoing miracle for us all to discover and cherish. Many who won’t claim to be Christians take it as truth on a moral and spiritual level, astonished at how such a book could have come to us by any natural means.

And those who attack and denounce it must inevitably take it out of context, twisting its words as they would no other text to which they’d give an honest read. It’s clear they hate its Author and cannot give it the chance it deserves. (Ro 8:7)

To love God is to love His word; it becomes the joy and rejoicing of our hearts (Je 15:16), just as He is. (Php 4:4)

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His Own Purpose

Humans are distinct from animals in that we must have purpose in our lives, meaning, a reason to be alive. We act as if we’re aware that we’re designed with some objective in mind, and that we expect to be evaluated according to some standard, related to how well we’ve realized our purpose.

The existence of a design standard further implies someone, the Grand Designer, Who is evaluating us, and that there are real consequences for neglecting or resisting our design, rewards and punishments involved in this life and the next, due to our performance. (Php 2:12) This is all instinctive, built deeply into our very physiology; we know it’s true, and we can’t escape it. (Ro 1:20)

To pretend we are the ultimate judge of ourselves is to miss the whole point; we didn’t design ourselves so we can’t give ourselves purpose. We know the standard isn’t arbitrary, it’s not something we can simply make up as we go. And no other created person can tell us our purpose any more than we can.

We may try to obtain some semblance of meaning by taking up responsibility, putting ourselves together and trying to make the world a better place. The fact this actually works is telling; it must be somewhat aligned with our true purpose. (1Ti 5:8) If there weren’t an ultimate Designer, this might be the best we could do.

Yet our instincts reflect reality; we’re fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139:14), and it’s our Creator Who gives us meaning: if God says we’re missing the point in some way, ignoring this isn’t helpful. God is love, and His design is best.

God has set specific, unique objectives for each of us (Ep 2:10); this is our calling, which we must discover in Him and pursue. (2Ti 1:9) It’s an invitation to challenge and adventure, to discover beauty and fulfillment of indescribable value; though there are shadows all about us pointing us to this reality, there’s no earthly parallel.

The genius of God’s Way is that it not only perfectly suits our individual design, it places each believer within the context of a cosmic team, part of a divine body pursuing an eternal goal together, for which we’re all perfectly suited. We aren’t struggling through this life, enduring all its suffering and malevolence, alone. (1Pe 5:8-9)

It is only within this context that suffering itself can truly be called a gift (Php 1:29), when we’re voluntarily suffering for a higher purpose. (Mt 5:11-12) What He has called us to is unspeakable glory in Him. (Ro 8:18) Perfect fulfillment and satisfaction on every conceivable level.

Christ, our perfect example (1Pe 2:21), perfectly exemplified how to find and fulfill our purpose: He didn’t come to make everyone happy, or even Himself (Ro 15:3); He came to do His Father’s will, and to finish His work. (Jn 4:34) In the same way, we’re to prove the will of God for ourselves, and then do it. (Ro 12:2)

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They Could Not Believe

When we present reasonable evidence for a spiritual concept to someone who believes differently, why is it so rare for people to grow and change?

When our assumptions or reasonings are flawed, people should point this out with a carefully reasoned position, especially when we invite them to do so and listen intently to their concerns. So when people persistently reveal shallow, inconsistent, irrational reasons for unbelief this can be frustrating, until we consider the inherent nature of the carnal mind. (Ro 8:7)

Take for example the overwhelming historical evidence for the Resurrection of Christ. The proof is straightforward and unanswerably sound, yet it’s generally unconvincing to those who aren’t raised in church. It’s hard to fathom a more reliable testimony than the apostles have passed on to us. What does it take to convince people?

One might think miracles would help, but this is untrue historically: miracles never have convinced the masses. (Jn 12:37-38)) Neither has earnest, rational debate.  (Ac 6:10-11) There isn’t much left.

Evidently, our values determine what we notice, what we’re receptive to, and what we find credible. A temporal value system disvalues eternal things and obscures them, so Christ tells us to align our value system with God’s so we’ll be able to rightly value and perceive spiritual truth. (Mt 6:19-21) This is where we must begin: it’s the fear of God. (Pr 1:7)

When our eyes focus properly we’re able to see clearly (Mt 6:22), but when improper focus impairs our vision the light we’re seeing might as well be darkness. And if we’re mistaking darkness for light, thinking we can still see, we’re worse off than if we knew we were blind. (23)

Further, when we don’t love truth we open ourselves up to deception (2Th 2:10), inviting supernatural wickedness to further restrict our vision and perception. (2Co 4:4) No one imprisoned like this can overcome and believe on their own. (Jn 12:40)

Lack of love for the truth equates to love of the lie, which leads to making and receiving lies, which ultimately damns the soul. (Re 22:15) This disposition is evidenced in part by preferring Man’s praise to God’s, rendering us unable to perceive and receive the reality of His Son. (Jn 5:44)

Evidently, God must give us a love for truth and open our eyes in order for us to believe in and follow Him. (Jn 1:12-13) Without Him we’re dead, lifeless, oblivious to Him. (Ep 2:5) If we happen to find ourselves aware of Him, and of our need for Him, and if we’re willing to seek His face and submit to Him (He 11:6), this itself is the gift of God. (2Ti 2:25) If we pursue Him, He will give us the evidence we need and lead us into all truth (Mt 7:7-8), into Himself.

The blindness of the fallen nature is no excuse to be imprecise or irresponsible in our thinking, or in our efforts to reason with others. We should do our level best to present the truth as clearly and as articulately as we are able. (1Pe 3:15) Yet we must keep in mind that it isn’t the power and wisdom of our argument that will win the day, but the power of God. (1Co 2:5) He will enlighten those He chooses according to His pleasure and in His time.

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Thy Word Is Truth

In seeking truth, we each have a way, a protocol or methodology, for evaluating whether an idea is true: we have chosen an authority, a standard by which we evaluate truth claims. We also have a motive for pursuing truth.

In the physical realm, truth is found through the accurate perception of Creation through our senses, which are our God-given authority. Rightly knowing scientific truth requires all our sensory experiences to align; no contradictions to a truth claim are tolerated.

Since our physical senses are designed to be relatively reliable and unbiased, if our minds and spirits are seeking physical truth we can collaborate with each other to validate this alignment. Our motive is clear: alignment with physical reality is extremely beneficial on every level. Once we perceive contradiction, if we’re sincere, we admit incomplete understanding and continue to explore.

However, in the spiritual/moral dimension we’re evidently on very different footing, not having a consistent, unbiased way to verify metaphysical reality. Like Creation, metaphysical reality is ultimately grounded in the divine Being: what He considers truth is true regardless. Yet, due to biases we hold deeply within our minds and spirits, each individual may discern any given metaphysical claim differently, so we’re unable to consistently verify spiritual truth merely through collaboration with each other’s broken perceptions.

Our inability to successfully collaborate here implies it is also an error to trust entirely in ourselves, presuming we have the capacity to accurately discern spiritual reality all on our own, that only we are unbiased and accurate in our perceptions, and no one else. We are not unbiased observers; we must trust God to reveal spiritual truth to us, and to reveal and heal our brokenness, our biased way of looking at reality. How might He do this?

God might speak to us directly in some way, which may seem reasonable in theory. Yet, when one experiences the myriad ways in which people claim God speaks to them, the impracticality is evident. God does speak to us at times, yet seducing spirits also consistently impersonate God and deceive many. (1Ti 4:1) This isn’t straightforward.

So, unless we’re so sure it’s the voice of God that we can’t even ask, “Who are you?”, which isn’t very often for most of us, we shouldn’t presume it’s God we’re hearing. We’re also commanded to test those who claim to have a word from God, because the reality is that they’re likely not hearing from God either. (1Jn 4:1) Yet, how do we go about such testing if we’re not to trust entirely in ourselves, nor in others, nor expect God to reveal truth directly to us as a rule?

There is only one other possibility: a written document containing God’s moral instructions in His own words. This is, in fact, His provision (2Ti 3:16-17), and He requires us to hide His Words in our heart (Ps 119:11) and meditate on them continually. (Ps 1:2) We’re to receive with meekness the engrafted word, through which He reveals metaphysical reality to us and delivers us from our ignorance and rebellion. (Ja 1:21)

For this to work as God designs, meekness is essential: we must submit to His Word as truth (Jn 17:17), obey it and yield to it. (Ja 1:22) If our motive in pursuing spiritual truth is selfish, we will inevitably miss it. The proper motive is alignment with God, a single-minded intent to be in right relationship with Him.

In pursuing truth in the absence of unmistakable divine revelation, expose every truth claim to the entire Word of God and reject any claim which violates any text of scripture. When this troubles me, and God’s Word is rubbing me the wrong way, I turn around — repent. Otherwise, I’m back to trusting in myself as spiritual authority instead of God, where all roads lead to death. (Pr 14:12)

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Through All

In describing God, we might begin by saying He’s all powerful, infinitely so, as we say — omnipotent (Re 19:6): He does as He pleases (Ps 115:3); nothing is too hard for Him. (Ge 18:14) He’s the Creator, fashioning time and space ex nihilo, and gives us no indication that this was the least bit challenging for Him; it’s hard to imagine a more immensely powerful act.

Kerid Crater Lake, Iceland

We might also describe God as all knowing, omniscient: He is aware of and understands all things. (1Jn 3:20) He’s intimately familiar with all His works (Ac 15:18), not just that they exist, or will exist, but every detail about each one of them: every word that will ever be spoken (Ps 139:4); the number of hairs on every head (Mt 10:30), the names of all the stars (Ps 147:4), He might as well know every grain of sand by name. If He knows such things, it’s hard to conceive of something He might not know.

We might also claim that God is omnipresent, that He’s everywhere all the time. This may seem obvious, given the above; if God created time and space itself, perhaps it stands to reason that He’s ever present throughout all Creation.

Yet this doesn’t appear as easy to prove from scripture; a quick internet check reveals that the many scriptures offered to support this concept don’t quite get us there. What if God created everything to be self-sustaining and then stepped away to let it run all on its own? What scriptures apply here, not just that God is everywhere we are, but that He occupies every space, every possible location?

Scripture describes God the Father as above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ep 4:6) The idea of through all, as in permeating and surrounding everything in existence, seems to get at this idea, as well as above all, which appears to convey transcendence, beyond everything, higher than the highest, lower than the lowest, farther than the farthest, etc. How can one be above all and through all and not also be everywhere — omnipresent? Trying to decouple these phrases and what they convey seems academic at best.

This above all and through all is consistent with the idea that Christ holds everything together: by Him all things consist (Col 1:17), He upholds all things. (He 1:3) To be holding everything together, God must be present in some way, sustaining everything and giving it substance to continue to exist, beholding and observing (Pr 15:3), engaging everything and sovereignly controlling it all. (Ep 1:11)

Yet some might argue that God can’t be in Hell, that Hell must be the absence of God because God is Love. (1Jn 4:16) This may be the strongest argument against the omnipresence of God. What do we say?

What should we expect to happen if love and mercy actually are freely offered in Hell, with open arms and a tender call to repent? (Ro 10:21) Wouldn’t God’s love be continually and vehemently rejected by those suffering there? Wouldn’t the wicked continue to willfully choose their fiery end rather than repent and submit to God? (Re 16:11) and do so every moment for all eternity? (Pr 27:22)

Perhaps the problem in Hell isn’t God at all; perhaps the problem is Man. And perhaps the key to resolving many mysteries we see in God’s character and behavior lies here as well, in the Depravity of Man. (Je 17:9)

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Of the Truth

Our orientation toward truth is fundamental; it defines what kind of people we are. In relation to truth, there are only two kinds of people: those who love the truth, and those who don’t.

Almost everyone who has ever lived is in this second group: those who don’t love truth. To them, truth is desirable when it suits their purpose, when it aligns with their agenda, when it gives them what they want. Otherwise, truth is a burden, a threat, an obstacle they intend to manage and work around, in which case a lie appears as a relief, preferred and most easily accepted.

Those who want to believe what suits them don’t love the truth and seek it out, regardless how it might impact them. Once the lie is offered with any chance of being correct, they grasp on to it and hold it close. They must then love darkness rather than light, because they’ve not aligned themselves with truth (Jn 3:19), but hold the truth in unrighteousness, angering God. (Ro 1:18)

Those who love the truth obey and follow the truth at any cost. It becomes our only way; we know no other. We know no lie is of the truth (1Jn 2:21), and all truth is consistent with all other truth. So, we can accept no real inconsistency in our world view — we permit nothing in it that doesn’t align with all reality as we perceive it.

It’s a narrow way, often lonely — any step to the side is indeed treacherous. It’s better not to know the truth, not to even come this way, if we aren’t going to obey it. (1Pe 2:21) Yet the effort eventually leads us to God, so we end up with God, in God, aligned with Him Who is the Truth, because all truth, all reality, points to Him. (Ep 4:21)

For example, the complexity of Creation proves there’s a Designer. Contemplate the odds of a single useful protein forming by chance, even if all required elements happen to be present in the same space, intermingling with each other, and manage to assemble themselves in some random way. The odds are comparable to that of two people blindly selecting the same atom from among all the atoms in our Milky Way galaxy. And protein is just one element of an irreducibly and incredibly complex machine at the base of all life forms. The fact of a Designer is clearly seen, being understood by us all, and easily verified. It is the beginning of the way, and even this first step sets us in rare and precious company.

Given a Creator, Who evidently made us all in His own image, one reasonably expects some ancient religion to reveal Him. Nothing compares to Torah, not even close. The very existence of Israel is infallible proof that God is real, and that He has openly revealed Himself to the world. Yet, who’s been focusing on knowing the God of the Old Testament? This next step separates us even further, alienating us from the more popular religions of the world.

Following Torah leads us to the Jewish Messiah (Ga 3:24): the only Man to predict His own death and resurrection, pull it off exactly as predicted by Hebrew prophets hundreds of years earlier, and have the fact verified by hundreds of eye-witnesses, who were all willing to die rather than live out of step with this fact: it cost them everything. People make up lies all the time, but they aren’t willing to die for what they know is a lie. The Resurrection of Christ is the most provable fact of all history. And this step isolates us yet more, pitting us against most all of the Jews. (Ro 11:28)

The incarnation of Christ is indeed the ultimate singularity, putting the resurrection in perspective: divinity piercing the human domain for a sovereign purpose. (Jn 3:17) And this leads us to Who Jesus is, why Jesus died, and for whom He died — that He might bring us to God. (1Pe 3:18) And so, we’re home at last.

We know we’re of the truth, at home in Christ, when we walk in love, and also in truth (1Jn 3:18-19), seeking the ultimate welfare of all, yet unwilling to live apart from the truth, even a little bit, even to spare those who are deeply offended by it.

Thus, in being of the truth, though we seek the world’s good, we invariably find ourselves in the crosshairs of the world’s hatred of truth; to avoid the truth they must ultimately mock and dismiss us, or eradicate and overcome us — we shouldn’t be surprised if the world hates us (13), just as it hated Him. (Jn 7:7)

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What Manner of Love

The Apostle John encourages us to behold the love of God, to study His love and contemplate it, to recognize what kind of love this is, to try to comprehend how immense and immeasurable it is. How profound and unfathomable is it to be called a child of God? (1Jn 3:1)

The key to perceiving God’s immense love lies in recognizing what God does, how He demonstrates His love and acts it out: He lays down His own life for us. (1Jn 3:16) He does this for us while we’re still His enemies. (Ro 5:10) This is amazing love indeed!

The Passion of the Christ

If we dare to dig a bit deeper, we contemplate the kind of death He chooses to die for us: it is perhaps the most painful and humiliating kind of death – Roman crucifixion. (Php 2:8) It’s brutal beyond comprehension, yet in itself a hideous metaphor, a window into something utterly profound.

The fierce agony in God’s physical death is symbolic of His spiritual suffering: the reality of its depth and breadth lurks in the separation imposed by our sin within the very Trinity itself. As He voluntarily accepts the penalty of our sin and fully identifies with us as sinners, as He becomes our sin, the Son is forsaken by His Father. (2Co 5:21) This causes a deep separation, an annulment of the infinite, loving communion between Father and Son. (Mt 27:46)

This may very well be the most intense kind of suffering possible: separation from God within God himself. It is certainly well beyond any possible form of physical or emotional suffering, and it’s endured by the infinitely precious Holy One, Who deserves it the least.

Yet God suffers this willingly for us — for anyone, for all who come to Him. (2Pe 3:9) The totality of God’s personal suffering is thus multiplied by His suffering personally, in person, for the multitudes. His suffering surpasses that of every other living thing, in both degree and scope, in both depth and breadth; it’s infinitely more than anyone could ever suffer, even for eternity, even if God only experienced this vast suffering for a few dreadful hours, many years ago.

We might presume this was indeed merely a one-time occurrence, buried in the distant past, such that God has now put this atrocity behind Himself and moved on, seeing it as only a distant memory.

The problem with such sentiment is that it presumes God is bound by time when He is not; He is ever present in every moment of time. Duration means nothing to Him; past, present and future are meaningless in His timeless experience. (Jn 8:58)

Anything God experiences, He experiences infinitely and forever. God never stops experiencing anything which He ever experiences. So the unthinkably painful separation between the Father and the Son is something they live with even now, to this present day; they will live with this anguish continually, and forever.

God has voluntarily entered into an eternal suffering from which they will never escape, and which they have always known. (Re 3:18) Father, Son and Holy Spirit have chosen to suffer for us like this from eternity past. It is almost like God is forever going to Hell for us Himself, giving up His eternal safety and welfare for us, taking your place, suffering in my place.

Who would you give up your eternal welfare for? Who would you burn in the flames of Hell forever for? If you would do it for anyone, would you do it for an enemy?

Doesn’t this change everything?

What has God done, my dear friend? Do I really think I have any clue how much He loves us? and whom He loves? Is it even for the worst of us?

What does my mistrust of Him look like now? In the presence of such love? What is my complaint now, my uncertainty, my selfishness, my fear … it is all a lie, darkness fleeing the Light. (Jn 1:9)

If I could keep the taste of this wonder in my spirit, let the fragrance of it dwell within and permeate all that I am, the very first glimpse of this immense, divine passion, truly, would it not begin to fill me with all the fullness of God? (Ep 3:19)

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