The Greatness of God’s Love

“When I look at the heavens, the work of your fingers…
what is man that you are mindful of him. ” (Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV))

The question was asked last night at confirmation class, “If you wanted to convince someone of the greatness of God in creation, where would you take them, what would you say?” There were many good responses. One student brought a small Christmas tree to represent real trees. Her response was, “God makes the trees grow just like God gives us growth.” A great answer. Other students talked about going out in nature to watch the sunset (I notice none of them said sunrise), holding a newborn baby – all of these were excellent examples of the greatness and wonder of God in creation.

Psalm 8, I believe, is the psalmist answer to the question, “how would you convince someone of the greatness of God in creation.” Like my student’s answers, the Psalmist looks to the heavens – the stars in their glory and splendor – and hears the cry of newborn children, and turns to praise the greatness of God.

I am sure you have shared the experience. The vista on a high mountain pass; the roar of the ocean tide crashing against the shore; star gazing in an open field far away from city lights. One has to intentionally remind themselves of their disbelief, blinding themselves to the wonder of it all, to not be overwhelmed by the majesty and greatness of God in His creation.

But there is an even more convincing argument. The majesty of God is clearly evident in His creation, but it is not fully revealed in His creation. There’s more. There is a greater revelation. There is a deeper truth which will radically change your life – if only you will listen.

The Psalmist, looking at the heavens, suddenly turns to himself, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” Have you thought about that one? Consider the heavens – out there, deep in space, millions of miles away, stars are rotating around other stars; each formed and spun into motion and held together by the hand of God. Consider our own planet – orbiting at just the right distance from the sun for life to flourish, with its seasons bringing sun and rain, intricate complexities revealed in the beauty of simplicity – this is the work of God. God creates at the atomic level a work that requires the entire universe as His canvas, and still God above all things is chiefly mindful of man, of you, of me!

This is what really drives home the greatness of God. When you consider how small and insignificant we are in comparison with all of creation, God has proven over and again His love for us. In love God created us, that we might love and worship Him, finding our satisfaction in the praise and glory of God’s goodness. In love he has set us apart from creation, forming us in His image, crowning us with dominion, wisdom, and righteousness. In steadfast love God treated us with mercy and long-suffering when we sinned and rebelled against Him, thinking His love and His goodness something we could do without. In love He sent His Son, Christ Jesus our Lord, to redeem us from sin and death, that we might once again live and move in His love and worship and adore His name.

More than any other act in creation, this love which seeks out the lost and terminal sinner should convince us of the greatness of God. It is humbling; it is healing; it is encouraging; it is inspiring; it is life giving to be loved with such a great love.

SDG

On Humanity

Continuing along the “Brief Statements of Faith,” I turn now to a statement on Humanity.

The Bible teaches that human beings were created in the image of God, not that they emerged through the millennia by process of natural selection and evolution.  Instead, humanity was created in the image of God, as the crown jewel of creation, given blessing and charge by God to be fruitful and multiply, to have dominion over all the earth.  As the Psalmist says, “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor” (Psalm 8:4–5(ESV).  Created and blessed by God, our first parents enjoyed communion with God and lived for God’s glory as they obeyed His Word.

Still, when tempted by the questioning of God’s Word, Adam and Eve defied God’s commandment and chose to be gods for themselves, placing themselves in the center of creation.  Because of their willful disobedience, sin and death entered into the human heart, and yet we reenact that original sin every time we disobey God.  The corruption of sin is so complete and pervasive that humanity is now broken, no longer living for the glory of God and the joy of His presence.  We choose darkness over light, the momentary pleasures of sin over the eternal blessing of righteousness – “none is righteous, no not one… for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:10, 23).

There exists now a great divide between God and all of humanity.  Our sinfulness prevents us from entering into and joyfully celebrating the glory of God.  Our most righteous efforts to atone for our sins are still laced with sin, the price for our redemption is more than we could ever pay, it is beyond our ability to save ourselves.  Sin’s stain touches everything we do, it is destructive, contagious, polluting, and deadly.  We are not sinners because we sin, we sin because we are sinners.

As such, we stand before our God, who is holy and just, condemned in our sin.  We owe to God a debt we cannot pay.  Humanity needs a savior.

SDG