Uncontrolling Resurrection Love
What might it mean to think a thought whole?
This weekend is most significant in the Christian calendar. Christians celebrate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
When we Christians look at the crucifixion, it’s not difficult for us to believe that Jesus’ death reveals the uncontrolling love of God. In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul put it this way: “God demonstrates his love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
In his letter to Christians in Philippi, Paul says Jesus “took the form of a servant” and “humbled himself” in his “death on the cross.” Jesus’ kenosis tells us something true about the self-giving, others-empowering, and therefore uncontrolling love of God.
But what about uncontrolling love at the resurrection?
When “God raised this Jesus to life,” as the Apostle Peter put it, did God set aside love and use overpowering coercion? Can we believe Jesus’ resurrection was also accomplished through the self-giving, others-empowering and uncontrolling love of God?Can we believe Jesus’ resurrection was accomplished by the uncontrolling love of God? Click To Tweet
In my 2010 book, The Nature of Love, I proposed a way in which God could resurrect Jesus through uncontrolling love rather than coercive control. This way involves the cooperation of Jesus’ body and spirit.
I’ve been thinking more about these issues as I await Easter morning. A new insight about God’s love and the resurrection emerged while I was reading Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. Paul writes these words:
“Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4-5).
This passage says God’s love makes believers alive. We who were once dead in sin can be brought to life in Christ. God’s grace can save us, and we can be resurrected with Christ!
Like John Wesley, I think salvation is initiated by God but requires our cooperation. “God will not save us without ourselves,” as Wesley put it. We must respond freely to God’s gracious gift. In short, God awaits our “yes” before we are resurrected.
Perhaps just as our resurrection from death in sin requires cooperating with God’s work, so also Jesus’ resurrection from death involved his cooperating with God’s work.Just as our resurrection requires our cooperation, so Jesus’ resurrection requires his cooperation. Click To Tweet
If so, we might be able to think the thought whole. That is, we can believe that God never controls and always loves. Instead of expressing uncontrolling love only in Jesus’ death, God also expresses such love when resurrecting Jesus. The whole of God’s activity is love that does not control.
That’s what I’m thinking as I await Easter morning!