I recently got done reading through Crazy Love by Francis Chan. The book itself was an excellent read because it made me wrestle with the idea that God is so crazy in love with humanity that he was willing to sacrifice His only son for our sakes. Now, that seems like the cheesy Sunday school answer, but hear me out.
Why it is so crazy is because it is hard for us to grasp how much love that God truly showed when Christ died on the cross. I’m sure you have heard the saying “people do crazy things when they are in love.” It is no different with God. God did something that was unprecedented, unexpected, and underserved to provide a way for reconciliation to happen. That reconciliation, provided a way for humanity, who had walked away from God, to find their way back to their creator.
It would not have been unfair of God to let us continue to walk away, surrounded by our own darkness, with no light to guide us. It would not have been unfair for God to allow us to suffer the torment of life without His presence. It would not have been unfair for God to allow us to live in the hell we created. But God came to walk along side us and to illuminate our paths. God redeemed us from our sinful selves and gave us the undeserved gift of an eternity in His presence.
That is the craziest of loves.
What boggles my mind is that we received this love despite the sins that we committed. We deserved the wages of our sin. But God intervened. God loved us so much that He provided an atoning sacrifice to take our place. We deserved the full scope of God’s wrath, but the crazy love of our savior intervened on our behalf. Just as ancient Israel cast their sins upon a goat and sent it into the wilderness to die, so Christ took on the sins of humanity as he hung from a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem.
This puts John 3:16-17 in a new frame for me. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son that whoever shall believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” The word “world” in this passage is the Greek word “kosmos.” Among other things, it can be translated as “the ungodly multitude.” If you are interested in seeing the other translations of the word “kosmos,” I have found that this website http://www.gospel-john.com/greek/chapter-3.html#john3:16 is particularly helpful. Anyway, what I love about the translation “ungodly multitude” is that it really reveals that Christ came into the world for everyone, not just those considered “godly.”
There can be a certain arrogance that comes along with the idea that Christ’s sacrifice was limited to certain individuals. Ideas like we deserved Christ because we were the only ones in all of God’s creation that deserved to be saved begin to take hold. We somehow believe that we can somehow earn salvation through our own actions. Not according to God sending Christ into the “ungodly multitude.” This translation of “kosmos” reveals that Christ did not die for the “righteous” or “holy,” but for the sinner that needed reconciliation with God.
I take the definition of “kosmos” to be all inclusive. Why else would Christ command us to go make disciples of all nations? Christ did not limit who we were to bring into the kingdom, he simply told us to go. We don’t decide who we share Christ’s love with just like we don’t decide who Christ’s sacrifice is extended to or not.
God’s crazy love for the “ungodly multitude” has no room for our own preconditions. God’s unconditional, overwhelming love will not be hindered by any of our attempts to limit who we love. We are commanded to share this crazy love not only with God, but with our neighbors. The love we have been shown by God through Christ is undeserved, unexpected, and unprecedented. How then, can we possibly think we have any excuse to withhold that love from others?
There is an old hymn that says “they should know we are Christians by our love.” Can we truly say that now? Or has it become “they should know we are Christians by our politics” or “by our hatred” or “by our arrogance”? Whatever it is, it is certainly no longer love.
We must combat the insanity of human hatred with the craziness of God’s love.