God's Agenda For Coronavirus, Part 3
If you have been following this series of posts, the question of what is God’s agenda for Coronavirus has yet to be answered. I have submitted to you that before this question can be properly addressed, one must take a big step back, put on the widest angle lens of perspective possible, and evaluate all that we think we know about God and the events in the world by conditioning every response through the grid of God’s immutable nature and character.
The previous post presented a foundational truth from Paul’s letters to the Corinthian church that God, the Father, was in Christ, reconciling the world (us, and all He created) to Himself, not counting our sins against us, from before the world was created (1 Cor 2, and 2 Cor, 5). In other words, before we were created, before sin entered into the picture, and before evil was a concept to be conquered, God created humanity with salvation in mind. If this verse is to be understood from an eternal perspective, God was NEVER counting our sins against us! Does this mean that there is no accounting for sin and God completely disregards it because He is going to forgive it anyway? May it never be! Paul taught that God was reconciling the world to Himself. Reconciliation is the act of bringing us back into balance and harmony with God. God was always planning and willing to keep our accounts balanced with Him if we would accept His offer through repentance and forgiveness brought about through the cross Jesus died on. So, what did this reconciliation look like?
God created us to be the expression of His love and built into this expression the choice for us to reject His love. He also built into His love for us an expression of love that could not be overcome by any power exerted against it by going to the very extreme limits of love by His choice to become the result of this rejection - death.
That sounds very complicated, doesn’t it? Here are some scriptures to consider that will help put this in perspective. You are probably familiar with the cry of Jesus on the cross just before He physically died, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46). If you read this in your English Bible you will see it directly quoted from the Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke while He was living on this planet. What does Jesus mean by being forsaken? In our common English usage we may see this word being used for walking away from or abandoning someone who is in need. Is that the true, Biblical sense of the word? Was Jesus saying that His Father just walked away and left Him hanging on the cross? Did God turn a blind eye to Jesus in His moment of utter, desperate need (in the humanity of Jesus)? Was the sin on Jesus so ugly and dark that God could not look at Jesus? Was Jesus just feeling in His humanity what it would feel like to be totally abandoned by God? Perhaps.
In a direct translation from the Aramaic, this could be worded like this, “My God, My God, for this I was spared” or “My God, My God, this was my destiny.” Or even, “My God, My God, for this sake I have come.” Jesus (God manifested in human flesh) was fulfilling His destiny when He was murdered for sins He never committed. Jesus is saying that God, His Father, did not spare Him from suffering and dying as an innocent man for the sins of billions of guilty people because this was His mission and purpose - to become not only the answer for sin, but to become the end result of sin- death. This is reconciliation. This is balancing the account. This is what bringing us back into harmony with God looked like.
Consider also this verse of scripture: “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God” [2 Co 5:21 NIV]. Jesus did not merely become an offering for sin or the payment for the debt of sin, Jesus became sin. What an incredibly difficult concept to comprehend! God became sin? I thought God hated sin? I thought God could not let sin (sinners) in His presence, and here we are told that God became sin? How could God, in that moment, be both good and evil? Remember, one of the mysteries of our faith is that Jesus was fully God and fully man - He was never not both.
The answer to this, I believe, lies in a fuller understanding of the completion of the verse quoted above. Jesus who knew no sin (never acted out His free will to choose darkness over light), became sin for us (on our behalf) so that we could become His righteousness. How do we become His righteousness? The word “become” refers to the process of taking something and making it into something else. In this case, taking sin and turning it into something else. The word righteousness could be broadly understood as: the state of him who is as he ought to be. So we can understand this to mean something like this- Jesus, who is pure light, took on darkness and turned it into light. So, on the cross, Jesus was taking our sin (evil, darkness) and turning it into righteousness (good, light) so we could be once again as we should be. The only way for darkness to be turned into something else is to introduce light. Pure light can never be turned into darkness. Darkness has no power to affect the intensity of the light that is shining. Light always turns darkness into light, darkness never turns light into darkness. So in essence, the darkness of sin never affected the light of Jesus. Jesus never stopped being light. He was on the cross turning darkness into light to give the way back for humanity’s darkness to be turned back into light.
The moment He took on darkness it was transformed. That is the power of the cross! Imagine the power of the resurrection!!
So here is a universal principle- whenever darkness encounters light, light turns darkness into light. Thus, anytime we see God encountering darkness it will be turned into light. Isn’t this what we see at the moment of the creation of our known universe? In the Genesis account, the very first words tell us that in the beginning (at the point of God’s decision to create) God had a mass of dark nothingness to work with and spoke light over it and the darkness became light, and God called the light good. However, God left some of the darkness to make a distinction between the two. Why not just have light if God called it good? If you continue to read the creation account, as God was taking more of this darkness and forming it into other things like the stars and the earth, He called this good too. When God had finished all of His creating, He called it very good!
This concept of dark and light was expressed to humanity as evil and good, as we see in the description of the fruit of the tree of the “knowledge of good and evil.” What do these two words, good and evil (light and darkness) mean? The Hebrew word use for good (light) means all that is in harmony with God (His nature, will, and purpose). The word used for evil (darkness) means all that is out of harmony with God. When God placed humanity in the middle of the garden He had created to be the epicenter of light, they were instructed to take the light of the garden and the light that was in them into all of the remaining earth and transform all that was out of harmony with the light into light (be fruitful, fill the earth, and subdue it). Humanity’s purpose was to bring and be the light of the world and bring all that was remaining of darkness into harmony with God.
When presented with this awesome responsibility and mandate, God also built into the mandate the option for humanity to not fulfill their created destiny. Because all that God created was out of love for what He created, He had to allow for the possibility that His creation would choose to go back into the darkness (out of harmony with God) rather than stay in the light (perfect harmony with God). This choice would dictate how Adam and Eve would “subdue” the earth; either acting as agents of light or agents of darkness. Either humanity would bring good into the world or they would bring evil. Either they would choose to walk with God or walk away from God. Either light and good would envelop the planet or darkness and evil. The choice humanity made explains the condition of the world we find ourselves in!
Now, I promise you, we will get to God’s agenda for the Coronavirus! But before we do that, we must still establish God’s relationship to evil and darkness and what His plan is for it. The next post will address this. So, stay tuned, and tune in!
by Pastor Jim Anan