Thursday, April 17, 2008

Faced with a decision

Years ago the president of the Puerto Rican Olympic Committee (PROC) also occupied Puerto Rico’s seat of the International Olympic Committee (IOC). For so many years this was the case, that many thought that Puerto Rico’s seat belonged to the president of PROC, be default. One year the old president was retiring, so the presidency was open and so was the seat at the IOC. A new president was elected. However, to the surprise of many, the IOC elected someone else to occupy Puerto Rico’s seat. Many protested, but the president of the IOC responded, “The members of the IOC are not representing their country in the IOC; on the contrary they are representing the IOC in their country.” It was a different perspective.

When Christ was here on Earth, He represented God to man. But, now that He dwells in heaven He represents us there. It is a different perspective. Yes, He is the same Man. But, there are two different positions. Sister White agrees with his concept, “Christ came to reveal God to the world as a God of love, full of mercy, tenderness, and compassion.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the 8 Church, vol. 5, pp. 738, 739. Since He is God’s representative, whatever concept we have of God, it should be corrected when we encounter Christ.

This is the challenge that many face: to change our perspective of God. They have to make a choice that goes against their preconceived ideas of God. In the times of Jesus, the Jews had a false concept of God. When they encountered Christ their original notion was challenged. They saw a man – made lower than the angels that “hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him” (Psalms 8:5; Isaiah 53:2). To the Jews Christ was so much made in the likeness of Sinful flesh, born of a woman, made of no reputation, in the form of a servant, made in the likeness of men, being found in fashion as a man, and made like unto his brethren that they could not conceive Him being God (Romans 8:3; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:7 -8; Hebrews 2:17). So, they had two options, 1. Reject Jesus to continue with the comfort of their pet idea, or 2. Change their concept of God to fit Christ.

Currently, man’s struggle is that he conceives Christ to be too divine to “be made like unto His brethren” (Hebrews 2:17). To many in our day, no man can be full of mercy, and with tenderness, and compassion for all. To these Christ dies for only for those who believe and are trying their best to be moral, not for the whole world as John 3:16 clearly states. To many man is incapable of these attributes because of Sin and God – although fully capable - chooses not to be like this will all because of His law. God only has these qualities for those like themselves. This is how they see God so this is how they see Christ, also. They see salvation as a reward not an undeserved gift. Anyone who does not believe like they do is an enemy of God; therefore God will pour His wrath upon them. Somehow this is true of all who deny that in one way or the other Christ came in the flesh (1 John 4: 1 – 3).

As with the Jews in Christ days, when we encounter Jesus we must opt between one of three options: 1. Reject Jesus to continue with the comfort of our pet idea, 2. Change our concept of God to fit Christ or, 3. Reject Jesus and God altogether.

Where do you stand? What choice will you make? Will you accept Jesus as a Man that loved and died for all mankind– including you – even while we were yet His enemies? Will you do it even if this contradicts your previous ideas of God? Remember you are not alone. Let the Holy Spirit change your mind to accept God’s perspective.