Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Thoughts on Apologetics

I was thinking today about a conversation I was having with a somewhat new friend.  Granted, it was a "cyber conversation" (blogmies, you'll understand..... we don't talk in "real life," we're just shy hermits who shimmy 'round the 'Net too much.  please no) but it's a topic that led me into further thought on my own.  I always tend to come back to the subject of free will (see archived posts for several more on that one).  It's fascinating and the root cause of so much of who we are in relation to God.  It's central to our identity.  

I was saying in the conversation that I was glad God looked at the inside of our hearts instead of how we physically appear.  Particularly, I was speaking in reference to how we have a "casual" look at Riverstone, for the most part.  We don't have to put on a suit on Sundays to look "approved" for church.  Or smile a white smile to everyone to assure them that "we're ok!"  God doesn't judge by those standards and essentially looks right through the facade.  

However, I was thinking that I don't like leaving the impression that God just looks at our hearts and that's the end-all.  If we just have "good" hearts and we're not particularly "bad" people (I really do love using those quotation marks.  Sorry, I like 'em) that's what really matters. We just need to have that human goodness and we'll get by. Right?

It struck me then that the main thing God is looking for is the spirit of Jesus in our hearts. Without Jesus, God cannot look at us and have relationship. Our sin makes it impossible for Him. Impossible for God? Ridiculous, you think. Nothing is impossible with God, I thought. It's that holiness factor, though. This is something that can be difficult to explain when having conversation with people. God, in His holiness, cannot abide by sin. Therefore, we are out of relationship from the get-go. Does this mean that His heart isn't for us or that He doesn't yearn for us? NO. God most certainly, and with a deeper love that I can fathom, does desire for us to come to Him and be made one.  That's the whole reason God sent Jesus to die in our place so salvation could be available to us.  Jesus is the bridge of holiness for us;  He satisfies our debt by death and He satisfies the "holiness" factor that we can never attain.  Therefore, God sees Jesus (who He is head over heels about) in our place when He looks at us.  

The usual next step in a conversation would be about God allowing sin in the first place. Why would He even let it get to this point that we would be separated? And there we travel back in a circle to the first thing I mentioned about free will. God has to give us free will or we would be automatons. Does a man who keeps a woman locked in his basement, handcuffed, and still calls her his "wife" really love her? Obvious no. Yet that is what we would be if we had no free will. Would we really love God if we had to? That would be unfair to us and God would be fooling Himself. So, no, free will has to be the standard. God risks enough for us to be capable of the highest good or the lowest, most despicable evil. That's the gamble. He respects us enough to let that be an option so we can choose.

I know much of this will be stuff you might already know or agree with. Maybe so. But, if not, maybe it will stir some new questions or thoughts in your heart. I know it was reinvigorating for me to connect these dots once again. It makes it fresh.

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