We often feel our own weakness and our inability to accomplish what we want to do. Sometimes when we feel like this we look at the awesome power and greatness of God and we feel that such a great God would have nothing to do with us after all he is the exalted one sitting on the throne steering providence and making sure that the universe runs rightly. To fall into such a trap is to fail to realize how God made us and how he relates to us. I want to look at some elements of our weakness and how the power of God relates to us.
Creation: When God created us, he made us to be finite beings to relate to him and to depend upon him. God is and always will be our creator and therefore he is the only one who is infinite. But unfallen man had fellowship with the Lord in an intimate way and he was created to be God’s steward of creation. Man is created to relate to God, this does not make God smaller but rather shows something of his infinite goodness.
The Fall and its consequences: Humankind has asserted its own independence of God and however one interprets the opening chapters of Genesis, we see that humankind has parted from the fellowship it once had with God because of rebellion against God. the Fall brought an increase of human weakness because mankind in his sin began to know the consequences of his rebellion through the entry of discord in human relationships, the presence of sin and creation itself suffering because of man’s rebellion. Yet it is in Genesis 3 that we also see the first promise of redemption. God was not going to let go of his creation but was going to create a way back to himself because he longed for fellowship with his creation and especially humankind who he had created in his own image. Throughout the bible we see the consequences of sin and the redeeming hand of god at work at the same time. Look at the history of the exodus or the exile and return from exile and you will see the twin themes of love and holiness, judgement and grace and wrath and mercy. The Apostle Paul spell out the consequences of sin in the first three chapters of the book of Romans. We would all be under the sentence of condemnation if it wer not for the work of Christ.
Sin has brought with it all sorts of consequences which have weakened humankind morally, physically and spiritually, The result of which makes us realize that a gulf exists between us and the Lord. The apostle Paul says,
And you, although you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all formerly lived in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as also the rest of them were. Ephesians 2:1-3
The description here of our state as fallen being outside of Christ is vivid and illustrates our dire need of salvation. Spiritual death is now the natural state of humankind and we can see the consequences of that spiritual death all around us. We have harmed ourselves, we have harmed ourselves, and we have harmed God’s beautiful Creation. Thankfully that is not the end of the story.
Redemption: God was not going allow his creation to perish under the load of sin, so as he had indicated from the beginning he was going to redeem it. This redemption was accomplished by his sending his son into the world to save it. We need to grasp the fact that The work of the Lord Jesus Christ is much greater than the salvation of humankind, through his life, death and resurrection the price was paid for the reconciliation of all things in Christ ( see Colossians 1:15-20). Having said that,I do want to concentrate here on god’s redemptive work for humankind.
The Scripture is quite clear that God was determined to save a people for himself, to that end Jesus came into this world. he took upon himself the curse and punishment for sin. In order that we might come back into a living relationship with God. When we realize that we are sinners and that we stand condemned before almighty God, we also realize our own weakness because we are aware that there is nothing we can do to save ourselves. But at his very point the Scriptures point us to what God in Christ has done for us, Paul in Romans shows the awful plight of humankind in the first three chapters but in chapters 4-8 he shows God’s solution. When we receive Christ as our Saviour we are justified freely by the grace of God. there is nothing we can do to save ourselves but at this point we learn the joyful news that Christ has paid the price for our salvation. In Christ’s work upon the Cross we find the all-sufficient substitute for sinners. As we receive that salvation for ourselves, we realize that God has brought his salvation to us, to liberate us from sin and death.
As we step into the new life that God has given us in Christ we soon realize that we are still weak people needing God’s power and strength. When we are born again the Holy Spirit comes to indwell us and as we rely on his power, we are able to lead holy lives. We find that we are weak at every step of the way and yet at the same time through the Holy Spirit we can be strengthened. The fruit,gifts and power of the Holy Spirit are given to us so that we can live a life that glorifies God. Paradoxically it is only as we realize our own weakness that we depend upon God and realize his power working in us. We will always be dependent upon the grace and power of God and we will come to know that God views us as his children adopted into his family and that gives us boldness to come before God in all our weakness to seek his strength and power. Our Father God loves us in an intimate way and he has provided all we need for life and godliness in Christ Jesus. Both the Father and his Son have sent the Holy spirit to empower us and to make salvation real to us. We will glory in the cross of Christ because it is the only hope for salvation and we will see that behind that cross is the love of God the Father.
Consummation: When Christ comes again in glory we will know the final deliverance from the curse of sin and whole of the created order will be renewed. In the new heaven and earth although we will be sinless, we will still be finite and we will realize joyfully that we will depend God for all that is good throughout eternity. we will serve him perfectly in his power, worship in the spirit in a way that we have never known before and throughout eternity we will acknowledge that our salvation comes from the Lamb who sits on the throne.