The Westminster catechism opens with the question, “What is the chief end of man? The answer, “To glorify God and enjoy Him forever”. I want to rather ask, what is the chief end of God? The Jesus story answers, The chief end of the Triune God is Jesus Christ and us in him.
Even before we humans existed, Father, Son and Spirit wanted us to share in their loving fellowship. And this desire was expressed in the Father’s decision to elect his own Son as the man in whom we are brought into living union and communion with the Triune God. This free decision stands behind the Father’s sending His Son into the world to become human, and also the Son’s choosing humanity as the form of his own divine life.
And so, in Jesus, the elect man, God becomes human making communion with humans the goal of his own life. For in His free decision to Elect His own Son as Jesus, the elect man, God determines humans for Himself having first determined Himself for humans as human.
This “human” God fills me with wonder! Truly, I want to glorify him and enjoy him forever!
Before time began, God decided that his triune life would unfold in the man Jesus. And so, all history moved towards this particular man. God’s entire intention is Jesus. For in the man Jesus God becomes all he ever wanted to be in relationship with us.
- When God came among us, as Jesus, he became who he always wanted to be, God with us as one of us.
- When God gave up His Son to death on the cross he became who he always wanted to be, God for us bearing our judgement in Himself.
- When God raised Jesus, as the new man, he became who he always wanted to be to be, God in union and communion with this new man and us, as new humanity, in him.
- When God comes again, in Jesus, as the final event of history, he will become who he always wanted to be, God making his home with us in his new world forever.
In all these ways we might say, God arrives. For in these ways, God’s decision about his own triune life is fulfilled. He becomes who He decided to be in relationship with us.
Then came, at a predetermined moment,
a moment in time and of time,
A moment not out of time, but in time, in what we call history:
transecting, bisecting the world of time,
a moment in time but not like a moment of time,
A moment in time but time was made through that moment :
for without the meaning there is no time,
and that moment of time gave the meaning.
T S Eliot
That unique moment in time was Immanuel, God with us as one of us. In this unique person, the Triune God lives and moves and acts in human history to bring humans back to himself.
The history of Jesus in that moment of time is the outworking of God’s eternal decision before time. His free decision to let his own life unfold in this particular historical way. Before human history, God decided that he would be none other than God with us and for us in our history. Through his own free decision God decided what kind of God he would be. And the name of that decision is Jesus Christ!
When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son. Consider, then, the moment in time that gives meaning to all moments in time.
In the past, you may have heard the good news of Jesus in word only and so you rejected all that was said. You may have been bored with it all. Tell me something that really matters! Then you heard the same good news of Jesus and by sheer grace he encountered you in the message. Jesus himself was meeting you personally in the presence and power of the Spirit. In this living encounter faith was born. Faith comes by hearing the message of Jesus as Jesus himself comes to us as the reality of God in the message. It is event! It is the happening of encounter!
In this living encounter we find that we now believe. Why do we believe? The only answer I personally can give is that I believe because I have been grasped by a reality outside myself. For some reason or other, the living Christ has stepped into my world encountering me personally in all the astonishing power of his own love . And in that living encounter I said “Yes!” to the reality of God in him.
In faith, we respond to the God who has already grasped us, and we discover that the reality of God is the meaning of our lives… So in faith, we find God – and at the same time, we find ourselves.