Now that can't be right; can it? God submit? Never! He's the boss, and the boss doesn't submit. The boss doesn't strip down and wash the serfs feet. The boss doesn't go out of his way to heal the sick, after all that must be the result of bad choices in life, right? The boss doesn't forgive because none of that evil consequence is his fault, can I get an 'amen'? Uh, oh dear, the Boss, if you want to call our Lord that, did all of that and much more. It seems that God does submit to our needs even when we don't know the full need.
Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34
On the cross, Jesus submitted to a need for mercy toward those who didn't even know what they were doing. A criminal gets the cross, as the Romans might have coined the phrase back in their day, told of those who did wrong getting what they deserved. We know from the scriptures that the Son of God deserved nothing of the sort and could have stopped the whole mockery of a trial at any time He wanted. Yet, He submitted to the will of His Father in Heaven and to our great unrealized need for God's grace. Why did we need it?
“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.” (John 3:18-21)
Condemned from birth, we have a great need we cannot fix ourselves. Jesus answered this need on the cross through His submission. However, this passage also speaks to that freely given and freely taken choice all of us must make - do we submit to the will of the Father and believe in His Son or remain in the darkness? Forgiveness and eternal life are available to those who choose to believe as we read in the preceding paragraph:
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. (John 3:14-17)
But what happens to those who do not chose to believe?
God submits to them also, for if He did not it would not be a freewill choice. The result is much different though since, "For the wages of sin is death..." (Rom 6:23). Near the end of the scriptures given to us for our salvation, God submits at last to those who will not be saved:
But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” (Revelation 21:8)
For their efforts, those who love the darkness earn a place away from God. The second death, the final payment of sin to those who will stay on its payroll; a plot of land in a lake burning with fire and brimstone. A sad end to a life of selfish effort.
No, thank you. For we believe in Christ who died on the cross just before the Passover long ago to save us from our sin. In Christ Jesus, Immanuel, we have a different promise to shore up our faith:
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3)
With that promise, look forward to the celebration of His Resurrection Day, our Easter Sunday!Bucky