God enters the Creation
Of the many aspects of the Gospel, the one that confounds the mind most of all is that God entered into the creation himself. We will not try and explain this profound mystery. It would be impossible to do. The best can do is take God’s description of the events at face value.
We see these allusions and descriptions of this entrance and presence in the world in a couple of places. The apostle John offers us these as an introduction to the second person of the Godhead.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.John 1:1-2 NKJV
And then a few verses later, he expounds on what that means. How did the Word do this?
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 NKJVJohn 1:14 NKJV
In his letter to the Church in Rome, the apostle Paul reminds us that God “demonstrates his own love” in the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. But it’s not just that Jesus died that should inspire our gratitude. No, Paul says that when we consider for whom he died, we will be shocked.
The Gospel is for the Enemies of God
Jesus did not just die for those who had fallen short of God’s standard of perfect holiness. Jesus died for those who are working against the will and purposes of God. Paul says that God entered the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to die for God’s enemies.
8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.Romans 5:8-10 NKJV
In another letter, this time to Christians in Colossae, Paul leaves no room for question about the nature of who Jesus really is.
9 For in Him [ie., in Jesus] dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily…Colossians 2:9 NKJV
And previously, earlier in the same letter under the direction and inspiration of the Holy Spirit says that it pleased the Father to abide in Jesus as he walked on the earth.
19 For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell, 20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.Colossians 1:19-20 NKJV
These are just a few of the more direct links to the entrance of God into the world.
But why should we think about these things? Why should it matter to our understanding of the Gospel that God entered into the created order as a human being and fulfilled the work of redemption?
It should matter because our understanding of this is what helps us appreciate the cost of the Gospel to God!
The Gospel cost God, in the second person of the Godhead (a reality that must be revealed in order for it to be known), a life of suffering and the experience of physical death.
It truly is beyond my ability to adequately describe what this means. In the life of Jesus God experienced what physical death would be like.
This is the cost of the Gospel. Not some fanciful notion of time wasted or resources lost.
God in the Flesh
God experienced the human reality of life in a fallen world.
God saw with his own human eyes the levels of depravity and malice to which people can descend.
God heard with his own human ears the cries of those longing for respite from the brokenness of their own lives.
God touched with his own human hands those who can become ostracized by the cultural norms and mores of the self-righteous religious rulers of the time.
God tasted with his own tongue the poverty of those who had no place to turn in their own communities, so they would follow a teacher into the wilderness in the hopes of finding some semblance of peace.
God smelled with his own nose the stench of sin and the rotted odor of death as life was siphoned away from those unable to escape the station in life to which they were born and subjugated to by their culture.
This, and so much more, is what it cost God.
The Effect of the Gospel on God
God voluntarily, intentionally, and purposefully entered into the world. And God did this knowing how much it would cost God.
Bishop Luis R. Scott, Sr. one time made reference to this cost by saying something to this effect (I have paraphrased my memory of his comments):
And that turbulence was chosen by God so that we might have life.