In a previous post, we see that God exists in relationship, therefore, we are also created for relationship. Sin caused the image of God in us ruined. Instead of worshiping God, we end up worshiping created things to give us identity (image). When Jesus came to save us, He reconciled us to God and restored our identity. As we draw our identity from God, we are free again to worship (not rebel against) God and love (not worship) others.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” – Romans 1:16
Such is the opening of Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, which one may argue it as the most complete letter when it comes to explaining God, Human Beings, Sin, Salvation, and Life as Christians. In the previous verse, Paul said that he was ‘eager to preach the gospel to [them] also who are in Rome.’ In fact, he was so eager to preach the gospel to everyone even to the point of imprisonment, persecution, and eventually, death. Why is that the case? Is it because Paul was a special apostle with special ability to preach the gospel that no others could? I don’t think so. There is never a hint that Paul did it because he was good at it. In fact, in 1 Corinthians, Paul said that he preached not with eloquent wisdom (1 Cor 1:17; 2:3), and he was in weakness, fear, and much trembling (1 Cor 2:3). Paul, however, was passionate about it simply because he truly believed that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.
In a previous post, we learned that God created us in His image; and because God exists in relationship, we are therefore created for relationships. We are to ground our identity in God as His image bearers and we are to glorify God and to love one another. A redeemed image bearer, whose identity is restored, is marked by his or her relationship with God, with others, and with God’s creation. With the new identity, we are free to worship God and to love others.
If there is one big life question that has been asked for generations, it will be this question: “Can God and suffering co-exist?” Of course, it might not be ordinarily phrased that way. It has, rather, been asked in various other ways:
- How can there be a good God when there is so much suffering in this world?
- If there is a good God, why do we see so much suffering in this world?
- If God is good and powerful, why does He allow evil to happen?
The picture above was famously taken by Kevin Carter, and it has appeared in so many blogs and webpages whenever one talks about evil, suffering, and the existence of God. How can God allow a little innocent child to die such a tragic death?