The Beauty of God’s “Yes!” and “No!”

In 2 Cor 1:20-21, the Apostle Paul writes:

Whatever God has promised gets stamped with the “Yes” of Jesus. In him, this is what we preach and pray, the great Amen, God’s “Yes” and our “Yes” together, gloriously evident.  God affirms us, making us a sure thing in Christ, putting his “Yes” within us. – The Message

That, of course, is the beauty of God’s “Yes!” All of God’s great promises for humanity have been approved in the Person of Jesus! And to make the point more clear that he is talking not just about certain individuals but all of humanity, Paul says we preach and pray Jesus as the great Amen, God’s Yes and our Yes together, gloriously evident in Jesus! Wow! Paul says that it is gloriously evident or manifest by looking at Jesus that He has said Amen and Yes to God for us (before we could even think to say Yes with Him!)

This is why theologians like the late T.F. Torrance could write, (and mean when he wrote!) that:

God loves you so utterly and completely that he has given himself for you in Jesus Christ his beloved Son, and has thereby pledged his very Being as God for your salvation….Jesus Christ died for you precisely because you are sinful and utterly unworthy of him, and has thereby already made you his own before and apart from your ever believing in him. He has bound you to himself by his love in a way that he will never let you go, for even if you refuse him and damn yourself in hell his love will never cease. – The Mediation of Christ, p.94

Paul makes this same assertion in his own way in the above noted passage because of Who Jesus is as the One Who in His very own Person, and Body, is united to God the Father, Son and Spirit, united to all creation, and united to all of our humanity (or every part of us and what it means to be human!) I hope you never tire of experiencing that truth! That means all of your burdens taken away and your truly living in the Life and Work of Christ Himself, in your place and on your behalf! Yes, Yes, Yes to the beauty of God the Father, Son and Spirit TOWARD us and FOR us in Jesus!

But how about the beauty of God’s “No!”? He does have a “No!” you know, and it is beautiful! Paul writes about that in 2 Tim 2: 11-13, 11:

This is a sure thing: If we die with him, we’ll live with him; If we stick it out with him, we’ll rule with him; If we turn our backs on him, he’ll turn his back on us; If we give up on him, he does not give up – for there’s no way he can be false to himself. – The Message

Did you see God’s “No!” in verse 12?  Those who tend to think in terms of only “either/or” really miss the beauty of God’s “No!” thinking that we have suddenly lost God’s inclusiveness of all and have become exclusive or religious all over again when God’s “No!” is mentioned! I beg to differ, and so do most of you, I believe, especially if you have children. Recently, in love for one our daughter’s, her mother and I had to say “NO!” in our “Yes!” to her! Because we know by experience what can negatively happen when you start to follow a course such as she was beginning to take in one circumstance we said “No! to her “No!” or to her refusal to be anything but right and good! This brought on an accompanying and necessary pain that brought about her rethinking, or repentance, and living in line with who she really is! It’s all better now – even our relationship!

Because of God’s “Yes!” to us in Jesus, there is also implicit in His “Yes!” a similar “No!” As Torrance writes above, because the Father, Son and Spirit have bound us to Himself in such a way, in Jesus, that He will never let us go, and we can refuse it, damning ourselves in hell in the process, on what basis could hell be bad unless it stems from God denying our denial of Him and who we are in Him? Hell is the result of being so embraced by God that to try and fight His grip is like trying to tear yourself out of your mothers arms so you can run off into traffic! Momma ain’t having it, no matter how much you hurt in her grip! God ain’t having your destruction no matter how much it hurts!

This is why I do I DO believe that hell and wrath are part of the Gospel message! Because of Who God is and what He has made of us in Christ, anyone attempting to reject God’s Love, and who is bound up in Him forever, is “doomed” to experience His wrath or, more clearly, His opposition to their opposition of His love! I think the subject of God’s wrath and hell becomes something beautiful in the Light of Who God is in relationship with us! Hell and God’s wrath is really an eternal “YES!” from God to our being who we are as His adopted children in Christ, and an eternal “NO!” to our rejection of it! It says that God the Trinity has bound us to Himself in such a way that He will NEVER let us go!

The doctrines of hell and wrath emphasize to us that God’s love, character, being, will and act for us in Christ is forever and can absolutely be trusted not to EVER change! WOWZA!!! A view of wrath and hell centered in the Gospel actually magnifies and deepens our view of God’s love and our eternal security in Him! It also seems to offer the most hope, to me, that every human and creature in the cosmos might eventually give in to embracing the God Who has embraced them, and know Him even as they are known. Other views, such as annihilationism (God making you disappear back into the nothingness forever because you reject Him!), portray the Father, Son and Spirit as being more neutral, and conditional about our participation, which is the anti-Gospel and against all that Jesus ACTUALLY IS for us – alive and forever well! Actually, any view other than the Father’s eternal “Yes!” to us in Jesus, by the Spirit, makes God out to be a liar, since the Son is ACTUALLY, eternally bound to our human nature and the cosmos, and upholds it forever in His own eternality as the Son Incarnate – Jesus!

That is the beauty of God’s  “NO!”! It is God’s insistence along with Paul and the Revelation of Jesus that, “If we give up on him, he does not give up – for there’s no way he can be false to himself.” (2 Tim 2:13) The Message. Again, I write, WOWZA!

~ Timothy J. Brassell

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