God with Limits?
God is eternal. He existed before time began. God is all-powerful. He can do anything He desires. God is omniscient. He knows everything. So how can He be limited? It’s kind of far-fetched. But Jesus, God’s Son, “stripped himself of every advantage by consenting to be a slave by nature and being born a man” (Philippians 2:7, J. B. Phillips).
That’s proof positive of God’s love, isn’t it! The miracle of the Incarnation is hard to understand or explain. God was still in heaven, but His Son was confined in a young girl’s womb for nine months. When He emerged from the cocoon, He entered a world filled with hate, injustice, political unrest, disease and poverty. Sound familiar?
Jesus, the Holy Son, who had inhabited the heavens, was willing to limit Himself to a small body, a small family, a small town in a small country. He who was the Word of God had to learn to talk. He who was Light entered darkness.
Phillip Yancey put it this way: “The God who fills the universe imploded to become a peasant baby who, like every infant who has ever lived, had to learn to walk and talk and dress himself. In the Incarnation, God’s Son deliberately ‘handicapped’ himself, exchanging omniscience for a brain that learned Aramaic…..Instead of overseeing a hundred billion galaxies at once, he looked out on a narrow alley in Nazareth, a pile of rocks in the Judean desert, or a crowded street of Jerusalem.” (From Reaching for the Invisible God, p. 135-136)
And why did all of this happen? So that Jesus could undo all of the misconceptions about God, bring us to the Father, and be the sacrifice for our sin. A radical problem demanded a radical solution. We never would have thought of such a plan, but God did. Jesus, unlimited in scope, became limited for a brief lifetime on earth, submitted to death, then rose to limitless capacity once more.
In the midst of our very limited existence, we can have a relationship with unlimited Deity. My limited mind can’t conceive of such a concept. But in faith, I trust in Him. I am one of those of whom John spoke when he said: “to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12, NIV).
I hope to strip myself of all limits (as much as possible) in worshipping the Lord this Christmas season. I will allow myself to be immersed by the Spirit into unlimited praise, unencumbered peace, and unending joy. Will you join me?
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