The Sacred collides with the lowly
15The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
We live subjective lives. That is to say, we live lives where we believe what our perceptions and thinking are true. Based on this belief, we judge things as good and bad, or better and worse. If there is no intervention, we never get outside of our own thoughts or the impulses or the prejudices of the culture/time we live in.
Most addicts don’t want an intervention. They get emotional, storm out of the room, and walk away. Maybe they return to hear the effect that their addiction has had on others, or maybe they hear the words but don’t truly listen. They want to maintain their own delusion. It’s more comfortable to remain the same.
On the other hand, addicts who go through rehab often have a “moment of clarity” after getting sober. They realize they’ve hurt many people and feel the full emotions of the damage they’ve caused. They become both repentant, and human again. Their hearts become tender.
This is exactly the case with humanity. We are hopelessly addicted to our own thoughts and beliefs. And, these can change with the winds of the culture and the times. They become convictions which are impossible to shake. Relativism is our God.
Christians can read the portion of Scripture above and heartily agree with it. We affirm with our mouths that the Son of God became a human being. We buy nativities by the truckload at Christmas time. It is another thing, though to consider the meaning.
“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him”. This means that the eternal, Holy, Righteous, Omniscient God Almighty became a temporal, flesh-and-blood human being to live briefly and die for us. The Sacred collided with the lowly. Jesus is the God-man. Not the God + man. He is the “both, and”.
It took this radical intervention by God to save us. Judges17 states, 6 “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” The same is true today. Even Christians have gotten caught up in excusing their own sin by relativizing its impact. Worse yet, the incarnation has taken on a mythical quality. It is not a reality for the church.
When Christians prefer books on how to make direct contact with God through prayer or other methods, they sideline the continued incarnation of Christ through the Church. This includes minimizing preaching, the reading of the Word, baptism and communion.
Even worse, some theologies minimize the continued incarnational work of God through these means of grace, calling them, “memorial,” “seal,” or “sign”. We are addicts to the earthly thinking of human reason.
Thus, the need for God’s intervention.
He has become the earthly in order to make us godly. This is not a one-time intrusion into our subjective lives. It is the ongoing work of the Spirit to bring the Grace of Christ’s to us. It is Spiritual rehab.
And, just as it takes being sober for a while to come to a moment of clarity, for those willing to go through rehab (found in the church), it may take a lot of gospel to realize “Christ has died for me”. That is why the job of the church is to repeat that “one note chord” every Sunday.
And the effects can be significant. The objective Gospel brings about a repentance that circumcises the heart. It gives the Christian a capacity for love and forgiveness that are heaven-born, just as we are in Christ alone.
It is easy to return to the subjectivity of our thinking, theology and spiritual impulse to climb the ladder to God. It is much harder to hear the words, “but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Rom. 5:8)”. This is most certainly true.