Friday, July 2, 2010

Let God Be God

Rev. 1:8 (ESV)
"I am the Alpha and the Omega," says the Lord God, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty."
So the commentary here seems endless as to whether it is the Father or Jesus speaking here. Earlier in this same chapter “Him who is, and who was and who is to come” is unmistakably identified as the Father, as Jesus Christ is tacked on as a second person that is greeting the churches. That does not mean that it isn’t Jesus Christ here, in 1:8 speaking, though it would seem to break up the unity of the thought.
God, whether God the Father, or God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit is God, and as God He is the one “Who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” God is God. As Philip Watson titled his great monograph on Luther’s Theology, “Let God Be God”, this admonition is what we need to take away as Christians reading this verse. God is God, let him be God.
There is great comfort to be found here. God is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. He is in ultimate control. He keeps us as long as we let him be God. Only when we begin to think we are the beginning and the end do real problems beset us. When we begin to love creation and the created, beginning with ourselves, more than God, then we have problems, then faith is in real danger.
God is essentially telling us here that he is in control, we can take refuge in him, He is sure. He is sure.
But God ceases to be God when we start limiting him. Jesus ceases to be God when we start prescribing what he can and cannot do. This is what makes the protestant doctrine concerning the sacraments so volatile, so awful, so dangerous. In the end they say that Jesus is not God, that he is not the one who is, who was and who is to come. This doctrine teaches that there is something impossible for God to do. Whether it be save a baby through water and the word, and to sanctify his church by the same means, or for him to be bodily present in with and under the bread and wine. And once we refuse to let God be God here, we refuse to let him be God, we start becoming our own God, our own saviors.
In fact this is the problem with works righteousness, and decision theology period. It is also what makes it so popular, it allows not God to be God, but us to be God. The whole premise is based on the idea that we can do something God cannot, make up for our sin. God can die for our sin, but it is up to us to decide to make God our friend. God can die for our sin, but it is up to us to make this a reality by really believing in him, and by believing in him, we mean following his orders and cleaning up our lives. Really all we do in such scenarios is exchange sin for sin, but the sin we exchange for is much more dangerous to our spiritual health in that it masks itself as being not sin at all, and in the end lets us be god of our own lives, our own personal Jesus, our own personal saviors. But God is God, Jesus is God, and when he dies for your sins, when God sheds his blood for you, well then He is God, and there is nothing left for you to do.

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