Wednesday, June 29, 2011

"Don't Do It?"

    I am currently rereading "Tale of Two Cities," by Charles Dickens.  You may recall the novel from school days, and in particular, the journey to Paris and apparent doom by one of the book's main characters, Charles Darnay.  Anyone who knows the story has the same reaction when reaching the part of the story where Darnay decides to make the trip: "Don't go, Charles!"  Sure enough, he shouldn't have gone...

    ...Except, however, for the fact that the trip makes possible the act of heroic self sacrifice that crowns "Tale of Two Cities" as an epic story of both tragedy and triumph.  "It is a far, far better thing I do than ever I have done" declares Sydney Carton, the ne'er do well who takes his place as one of one of literature's most unforgettable characters by the sacrifice he makes for Darnay and his family.

     When pondering the creation of humanity, it's easy to wonder why God would proceed with His purposes when He knew that Adam and his sad race would rebel to the degree of one day murdering its very Creator.  An outside observer might plead with God as He sets about to create the human race, "Don't do it, Lord!"  He nevertheless did it, of course, in full knowledge of the consequences to Himself and His beloved Son.  Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ takes His place as far more than a great character of literature, but as the exalted holder of that "Name which is above every name" (Philippians 2:9).  
Unfathomable mystery remains concerning God's determination to create us, but this we do know: untapped veins of grace and mercy that have always existed in our Lord's heart came forth into open display because of our sin, and because of His loving response to the greatness of our need.  "Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound, that as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 5:20-21).

    Attempting to understand the "Why?" of God's doings is an often impossible undertaking.  "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways" (Psalm Isaiah 55:8). ( UPDATE: I erroneously noted this verse reference as Psalm 55:8.  It should have been Isaiah 55:8.  Thanks to Hugh.)
Seeming enigmas and conundrums present themselves for which no perfect solution is possible to our finite minds.  We are thus left with the opportunity for faith that affirms, "As for God, His way is perfect" (II Samuel 22:31).  In the case of His creation of humanity and all that would ensue, we can see and understand much of God's reasoning and purpose, but not all.  Thankfully, the clearest revelation involves our Lord's love, and the gracious mercy that so reveals the character of His heart.  Our sin, inexcusable and willfully chosen, serves as the dark backdrop for the light of Christ's lovingkindness to shine forth in sublime display.  This suffices as enough understanding to thrill our hearts, stimulate our minds, and establish us as the eternal showcase for the goodness of God...

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus."
(Ephesians 2:4-7)

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