“If you can find but one person
who deals honestly and seeks the truth,
I will forgive this city.”
— Jeremiah 5:1 (NRSV)
Reminiscent of the story of Lot and his family, and of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18, there is a situation where God will save an entire population for the want of a few obedient ones. God desires only one out of Jeremiah’s context – an allusion to Jesus, perhaps. Indeed, we can see that the Lord Jesus Christ is that one; not that we ought to rest on our laurels. He, too, calls us to be that one – to be one for him – to be one in whom his Spirit rests – to be the one we can be for those who need us.
If we were to be considered a vast populace, in a name – Humanity – a city as if on a hill, we could see God’s desire to reconcile us to him. We, who were never further away, have found ourselves close, because Jesus Christ has brought us close. We didn’t so much love him, as he loved us! Through one man we, humanity, have been forgiven. We are forgiven the sins that are not only cast against ourselves and other people, but, most fundamentally, those that are cast against the Lord of Glory, himself.
Indeed, we can say with some pervading accuracy, that to sin is to do so against the Lord only; that would be to blaspheme God for the incredible riches of grace that have, by our sin, been rejected. Do we sin against others? We may betray them, disappoint them, hurt them, and miss the mark with them, but our sin is against God and God alone.
We needed God’s forgiveness – for, we are a city (Humanity) against its own purposes – and we perhaps forget this. We need God’s forgiveness. Jesus interceded for us, and when we reconcile that truth we are humbled to a point of being on the verge of a transformation. We are taken to a precipice. Understanding can suddenly become us.
We see God’s glory in the realm of our sin when it is revealed.
We see both things as they more fully are – the brilliance of Glory illuminating our sin against him, and the fullness of the folly we have engaged in: against God alone (though others are affected). But as we see the fullness of our folly we don’t feel condemned so much as pleased simply to know.
In knowledge we can turn – turn back to the heart of God’s will for our moment.
We love only because God first loved us, in the giving of his sinless and obedient Son, that we might know love, for this is love: that he might lose his life to save many. And when we can lose our lives in as much as we live for others we then gain life. And only such a love of God has transformed us into children of God.
When God forgave the City called Humanity, he gave each one the model for life. Only one model exists: love gives itself away.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.