7/8/15 Carlos about 30
“What kind of a father would allow his own son to be spat upon, tortured and killed? If God is so good, he shouldn’t have done that. Couldn’t he have found a better way to get his message across?” This was one of several key questions a man named Carlos had for me as we talked at the park today. Carlos’ parents were Baptist and Catholic before they both became Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Carlos felt that he knew enough about all three religions to reject them all and just settle into trying to be a good person without them. Yet he still had some good questions and was interested in talking about them. I had just explained that the key difference with the Jehovah’s Witnesses was that they believe Jesus was a separate being created by God rather than part of God Himself, creation rather than Creator. The importance of this difference was a natural way to begin to answer Carlos’ question. If people assume God made Jesus as a separate, created being, then I could see why they might question God be if he created a separate being to suffer the way Jesus did. But if, in the person of Jesus, God took that punishment for us, in effect God Himself suffering in our place, then there would be no place to judge God for taking out his wrath on someone else. I went on to talk about God’s purposes – to be glorified in displaying His attributes in all their perfection – and how two of His attributes, His love and His justice, cannot both be perfectly expressed outside of the cross. Why the cross? “He did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.” The same God whose love for justice declared he would punish sin is the same God whose love for people took that punishment for us. All other religions teach that their higher power has to compromise both love and justice in order to allow people to “pay” for their sins with good deeds, but biblical Christianity says that at the cross both love and justice are displayed without compromise. In Christ God receives the glory He deserves, and we receive the Savior we don’t deserve.