A BOLD THEOLOGICAL CONFRONTATION
JOHN R. GAVAZZONI
On the way to true spiritual maturity, it's unavoidable that we must face the truth that the purpose and plan of God for mankind included the necessity of the entrance of sin and death into the world. . .
If we think of that negative intrusion simply being a problem for God, we immediately reduce His sovereignty to fit it into our revelation-starved concepts of what ought to be ethical behavior on the part of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will. The intrusion of sin and death into the world, before considering their problematic element, must be seen as first being instrumental, FOR
That statement by Jesus clearly indicates that sin and death - rather than merely being a condition requiring fixing - were given a place in God's plan, and that by none other than Himself, with an increase of His glory in view.
For that increase to occur, we (in union with God in Christ) had to go through the experience of being subjected to all that we ARE NOT, in order that we, together with Him, might from the depths of our Being in Him, become all that WE ARE. To repeat, IN ORDER THAT WE MIGHT BECOME ALL THAT WE ARE, IT IS NECESSARY THAT WE BE SUBJECTED TO ALL THAT WE ARE NOT as we proceed from glory to glory. This truth is grounded in fact that the Being of God, including His perfection, is not static, but eternally unfolding out of depths of the Divine Nature.
It is the nature of God (Who Is Love) to share His glory with all His creation through the agency of the Person of His Son - that Son who is both the bodily fullness of the Godhead, and the summation of all true Humanness as the Second Man, the Last Adam, the Seed of God's One New Man.
Serious students of scripture will shortly find that this truth runs through the Bible from beginning to end, offering a fresh perspective on the fullest meaning of the death, burial, resurrection, ascension, enthronement and glorification of Jesus Christ our Lord, and the Lord of all.
In closing I offer another statement of the Lord Jesus as representative of what I've tried to make clear. In our Lord's dealing with the Samaritan woman at Jacob's well, He described the essential nature of being brought to the faith of Christ. He described it as Himself giving her water, which would become in her, a well of water springing up into life
Since our contemporary Christianity is really more self-centered than Christ-centered, we fail to recognize that the experience that Jesus described is rooted in the operation of the nature of God, so that when we experience the life of Christ, we become partakers of the Divine Nature and the operation of that Nature. That is, God is non-statical, like a well of water always springing up, drawing forth from Himself more and more of all that He is.
This leads us to a deeper understanding of the operation of the grace of God, which is simply the 'givingness' of God in Christ. And the adversarial presence of sin and death in the human condition serves to intensify the operation of that grace, "for where sin abounds, grace does much more abound."
The intensity of the passion of God's love for all humanity increases in its expression as it is faced with the alienation and enmity that has infected man since Adam. The passion of God's love could never be fully expressed and experienced by men without God subjecting Himself to the infamy of the crucifixion of His Son, as "God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, NOT reckoning their sins against them."
As Harry Robert Fox has stated, "When man did his worst to God, God did His best for man." In that Sin which gathered together all sins into one act - God delivering up His Son into the hands of evil men - it was shown that the love of God is so pure that there is no element at all of retaliatory vengeance. There is only: