God did something radical. In the annals of creation, the deed that God did was without equal. It was the polar opposite of expectation. He adopted a policy of loving sinners as much as saints (Luke 15:11-32). This pleased the sinners. However, it aggrieved the saints (Luke 15:11-32). Even an omnipotent God cannot please everybody.
God loved sinners so much that he became one of us - an equal for us in our humanity - a partner with us in our suffering. They say he pitched his tent among us. We tortured and killed him. He suffered and died. Yet, he did not stay dead and he did not stop loving us.
That he did not stay dead is the proof that Jesus is God.
That he did not stop loving us, however, is the proof of so much more. It is the proof that divinity is love.
Nobody signs up to dive headfirst or, for that matter, even dip his toe into the boiling cauldron of suffering unless they are insane or something important outweighs the exorbitant cost of suffering. All creatures who suffer understand this. Suffering is our native tongue. We understand that suffering is an exorbitant cost we only willingly pay for something that is extremely dear to us. Jesus paid the exorbitant cost because we are extremely dear to Him.
If God did not love sinners, he would not have given us a second chance, a third chance, a fourth chance, a fifth chance, etc to start fresh through repentance (Matthew 18:21-22). If God did not love sinners, it would be one, two, three strikes you're out - perhaps even fewer - perhaps even none. The power to start fresh through repentance is in our hands only because God loves sinners. Fortunately for us, our God is not a God of no mercy. He is not a God of limited mercy. Our God is the God of infinite mercy - mercy whose scope includes sinners as well as saints. [Note: Gratitude and godlike mercy to our neighbors is the only appropriate response to the mercy of God (Matthew 18:21-35). Love begets love. Generosity begets generosity]
However, when Lucifer discovered God's policy of loving sinners as much as saints, he rebelled. In his view, his perfection entitled him to more of God's love than the imperfection of sinners. Fundamental fairness requires that God allocate his love on a sliding scale basis in proportion to a creature's degree of perfection (Matthew 20:1-16). Lucifer was sanctimoniously formulaic. Only an imperfect God, Lucifer reasoned, could love creatures imperfect as much as creatures perfect.
God, however, did not share Lucifer's opinion. For God, love is not a payment for perfection but a gift - a gift he is free to bestow on saints and sinners alike (Matthew 20:1-16). In fact, God views the superiority complex of the saints as a greater threat to his kingdom of love than the imperfections of sinners (Luke 18:9-14).
In protest, Lucifer, the steadfast son (Luke 15:11-32), opted out of paradise for a smaller, purer life in godlessness. So did a gaggle of angels who followed him. In exile, the steadfast son became the serpent. The serpent was obsessed with showing God that his policy of loving sinners as much as saints (Luke 15:11-32) Is crazy - totally insane. The serpent would change God's mind. He would put limits on God's love. He would imprison it.
Surely, the serpent reasoned, if he could induce Adam and Eve to opt out of paradise for godlessness, their ingratitude would empty God's heart of his love for us. [Note: History is the story of the repeated failures of the serpent to extinguish God's love for us or reduce it by even the slightest degree.] To accomplish his foul plot, the serpent conjured up two illusions: 1) an illusion that camouflages the sweetness of paradise and 2) an illusion that sugarcoats the sourness of godlessness. The two illusions continue to distort our perception of reality today. They trick us into thinking that a life lived without God in godlessness (Genesis 3:5) is superior to a life lived with God in paradise. Nothing is further from the truth. Godlessness sucks. In godlessness, we are fish out of water.
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