This is a question that never crossed my mind as I formed my relationship with God. When I think about my salvation experience at seven-years-old, I realize how miraculous it really is to have faith. In that moment at church, I had an ah-ha moment. It was like a light-bulb went off in my mind and soul. Although I had not done too many bad things at seven, it was clear to me that I was a sinner and that if I had to be holy to have a relationship with God, I was doomed. I readily accepted the offer of salvation through belief that Jesus was the Son of God and that He died for my sins and was resurrected to spend eternal life with me. It was simple.
I still have a childlike faith. Even as I teach the Bible, I do not struggle as deeply as others to find specifics from Revelation about when Jesus is coming back. I read Revelation and know He is coming back as the Judge of the whole world and in a time when those who have faith will be persecuted. It makes me want to connect more deeply to God through prayer, silence, and reading His word. I know these spiritual disciplines will sustain me no matter what I face as described in Revelation.
Others have deep questions. They need an explanation for the path of faith that is described in the Bible and that Christians share with them. The story of faith is absurd to their hearts and minds. It doesn’t make sense that God would kill Himself. What kind of God would He be if He committed an act like that?
The salvation I embraced as a child made sense. It seemed simple. God is holy. I am a sinner. God loves me. God can’t be in personal relationship with me because He cannot be with a sinner. There is nothing I can do to stop being a sinner (in fact, history would reveal that I had just started sinning by seven; the more I have grown to know God the vaster my capacity to sin has become). The more I form a holy relationship with God the more His love for me becomes more mysterious and beyond comprehension. Why would God kill Himself?
One thing is clear about me and all the other people I have met in my lifetime. No one is holy like God. No one is worthy to have a relationship with God. But many of us claim to have a personal, vital and real relationship with Him. It is evidenced by the ways our days are ordered up. It is clearly seen in the ways we become better than we are. We become capable of forgiveness for the most outrageous offenses. We have been enabled with supernatural power to serve Him beyond our natural limits.
God killed Himself because there was no other way to redeem us. He is so holy that all our efforts are good but miss the mark. It was the only way. It makes sense to God. Only God could come up with a plan like this. It also is the only way to drive out our propensity for sin. If we could take any credit for our great salvation, we certainly would. God killed Himself so our salvation can be recognized as a gift of grace. It is not about our good works, though good works reveal that salvation has taken place in us.
Actually, now that I think about it, salvation makes perfect sense. Ephesians 2:8-9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”