…the word of a person was only as good as he is. One’s word was one’s life.
This is an enormous truth. That is why Jesus did not fear His accussers. He was committed by His Word. He, above all, lived a life where the word and life were identical. Of no other life can this be said. Either there was a breakdown within one’s word, or there was a breakdown between the life and the word. Jesus, by honoring His Word, offered them and us His life. He did not die merely for justice. He died in prophetic fulfillment, demonstrating that you cannot kill the truth. Thereofre, in a real sense, they could not destory Him either.
I once saw a poster on the wall in the office of a school principal. It simply said, “If you cannot understand me in my speech, how can you understand me in my silence?”
The world will try to interpret truth by its wits. The Christian interprets truth by His Word – and by His silence.
When God restores our spiritual sight through the mystery of evil, we are then able to see the work of God displayed with in the framework of our most difficult question. With tears of joy we bend before him.
In summary, for the Christian, evil is real, this world is real, and time is real. Jesus recognized all three realities with reference to the blind man. He pointed out that this world has built into it the component of time. And upon the anvil of time beats the hammer of eternity until time ultimately reflects the values of the etermnal and willl be shed as a sheel, from within which ultimate truths will be freely embraced. When we enter that stage, we will find out that the real anvil was eternity, that time provided the hammers, and that God’s glory and purpose will be what remains.
Evil is to life what contradiction is to reason. If an argument is contradictory, reasoning breaks down. If life is consumed by evil, life breaks down. The problem of evil begins with me. One of the shortest letters written to an editorial was by G.K. Chesterton. It read, “Dear Sir” In response to your article, ‘What’s wrong with the world’ – I am. Yours truly, G.K. Chesterton.”
The incredible truth was that at the very moment His Father seemed farthest from Him, He was in the center of His Father’s will. That is precisely what an understanding of the cross means. Only when one comes to the cross and sees both in it and beyond it can evil be put in perspective.
What emerges from all of these thoughts is that God conqueers not in spite of the dark mystery of evil, but through it.
…if God can do anything at all, even that which is mutually exclusive, then He can also contradict His character, which would by implication render the problem of evil moot, needing no defense. The very reason we raise the question is because we seek coherence. In a world where love is the supreme ethic, freedom must be built in. A love that is programmed or compelled is not love; it is merely a conditioned response or self-serving.
There is an old adage that says you can give a hungry man a fish, or better still, you can teach him how to fish. Jesus would add that you can teach a person how to fish, but the most successful fisherman has hungers fish will not satisfy.
I can now enjoy the benefit of time’s distant view. The Jesus I know and love today I encountered at the age of seventeen. But His name and His tug in my life mean infinitely more now than they did when I first surrendered my life to Him. I came to Him because I did not know which way to turn. I have remained with Him because there is no other way I wish to turn. I came to Him longing for something I did not have. I remain with Him because I have something I will not trade. I came to him as a stranger. I remain with Him in the most intimate of friendships. I came to Him unsure about the future. I remain with Him certain about my destiny. I came amid the thunderous cries of a culture that has three hundred and thirty million deities. I remain with Him knowing that truth cannot be all-inclusive. Truth by definition excludes.
The pursuit of the Hebrews was idealized and symbolized by light. “The Lord is my light and my salvation.” “The people that sat in darkness have seen a great light.” “This is the light that lighteth every man that comes into the world.” The pursuit of the Greeks was symbolized by knowledge. That’s why the Biblical writers say, “These things are written that you might know that you have eternal life.” For the Hebrews, it was light. For the Greeks, it was knowledge. For the Romans, it was glory. For the Romans, it was glory, the glory of the city of Rome, the glory of the city that wasn’t built in a day. And here we have it. The apostle Paul, a Hebrew by birth, a citizen of Rome, living in a Greek city, had to give to them the ideal of his ethic. And he says this: “God, who caused the light to shine out of darkness, has caused His light to shine in our hearts, to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.” For the apostle Paul, the ultimate ethic was not an abstraction, not symbolized merely by light, not merely by knowledge, not merely by glory, but in the very face of our Lord. “God who caused the light to shine out of darkness has caused his light to shine in our hearts to give to us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus our Lord.
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