Living Word Church
Saturday, December 16, 2017
Down-to-earth people looking upward to God
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Love and the Vulnerability of God
Copyright 2007 by Shea Oakley
All rights reserved
The willingness of unconquerable strength to make itself vulnerable, for the sake of love, is the essence of God in Christ. It was for intimate union with the only beings made in his image that the Sovereign of the universe so humbled Himself. If we have no inkling of how divine love compelled this emptying of divine power then we will have trouble knowing what makes the one true God different from all the other gods our race puts its faith in, and we will be profoundly the less for it.
Scripture tells us God is love. Love in its highest form is found in Him and all true love comes from Him. There is something we need to understand about love and, therefore, about our Lord. Love is more important to Him than power. If power alone was the concern of God He would never have incarnated Himself as a man. Such condescension would be unthinkable for a being that existed solely to rule and reign over his creation for the sake of ruling and reigning. The God of the Bible is all-powerful, make no mistake about it, but He is more than that. He is also all loving.
God wants us in deep communion with Him. He wants to know us and be known by us. He wants our purest affection to be for Him because His pure affection is directed towards us. In short He wants us to love Him and be loved by Him. Apparently the only way this could come about was for Him to make Himself vulnerable to us and the only way that could happen was for Him to become one of us.
Perhaps this is because we could never fall in love with a God who remained completely different from what we are, who forever existed so high above us that we could have nothing in common with Him. Love, it seems, requires that its giver and its recipient share something essential. In Christ God shared in something essential, our humanity, and made it possible for us to fall in love with Him in a way we never could before.
What this required of our Creator was an almost incomprehensible descent. He emptied Himself of the full power of His Deity to be born in a stable in an obscure town in the backwater of an empire. As far as physical and emotional vulnerability He made Himself as human as any human he had ever made, even to the point of sharing in the danger of being rejected and killed by other humans. Why did He do this? Because any opportunity for intimate union with us required it.
He did it because love requires such vulnerability. The possibility of love cannot be divorced from the possibility of rejection. An irresistible force cannot be resisted, but it cannot be freely loved either. Coercion and love are antonyms, “coerced love” an oxymoron. God’s love for us was so powerful that divine power itself had to be in some sense given up to enable us to respond in kind, and so it was when He came to earth in the form of the Son of man.
It may be possible for human beings to worship any number of “gods” who are unwilling to pursue us so ardently, but it is impossible for us to be in reciprocal love with them. That kind of relationship requires a God Who both removes the stumbling block of power for power’s sake and Who risks rejection for the sake of His desire for us. Only the God of Jesus Christ fits this description and because of this only He is worth both knowing and loving with all our hearts.