The movie, Eternals (2021), describes “God” (Celestial Arishem) as having a sinister motive in helping humankind. Celestial Arishem sent ten superpowered Eternals to protect humanity to ensure that intelligent life evolves. After many centuries of living among humanity, the Eternals realised that Celestial Arishem planned to cull humanity when the human population had reached the necessary maturity for a new Celestial to be born. This birth would result in earth’s destruction. Thus, Celestial Arishem had no love for humanity but instead -- a sinister intention!
Our God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, loves humanity, unlike Celestial Arishem. When God created humanity, his goal was to live with us. In Eden, God and humans interacted freely (cf. Gen 3:8). In the New heaven and earth, God and redeemed humanity dwell together. God will live with redeemed humanity as their God and the redeemed humanity as his people (cf. Rev 21:3). God has no sinister intention to wipe out humanity at all.
Advent denotes the coming of Christ and it is the first season of the Church year, leading up to Christmas. The Advent reminds us that our sins did not stop God loving humanity. Before Adam disobeyed, God warned him about the consequence of disobedience (cf. Gen 2:16-17). The warning indicated that God did not want humanity to die. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, their sins did not stop God from coming into the Garden looking for them. God called out to them, not because he did not know where they were, but because he wanted them to come to him.
God knew that Adam and Eve had messed up their lives. Although God had to confront them with their disobedience, God’s calling out to them revealed that they needed to run to him, not away from him. Naturally, their disobedience caused them to hide from God (cf. Gen 3:10). God calling out to them shows that He did not want their fear and shame to drive them away from him. If they were to run from God out of fear and shame, the only direction is to the Serpent (cf. Rev 12:9).
Meanwhile, lawlessness entered humanity through Adam’s disobedience and wreaks havoc on humanity. Death entered humanity through lawlessness and spread to all because all sinned (cf. 1Jo 3:4; Rom 5:12-14). The consequence is that God’s image in humanity has become less human. Humanity has fallen short of God’s glory (cf. Rom 3:23). Lawlessness is throttling humanity to self-erase more of God’s image from themselves (cf. Rom 3:9-11).
Advent shows that God remains in love with humanity despite being infected by lawlessness. When God looks down from heaven, he is grieved by what he saw. Lawlessness is eating away at whatever God’s image remains in humanity. A day is coming when the lawlessness of humanity will reach epic, and every intention of the human heart is only evil continually (cf. Gen 6:5; Rev 16:9,11). When this day arrives, the earth will become a living hell unless God shows mercy in terminating the world. We do not know when this day is coming, but we know that God desires to redeem humanity (cf. 1Ti 2:3-4). He is still in love with humanity.
Advent proves that God did not withdraw himself from humanity but came down on earth to demonstrate his love. While we do not understand everything that God is doing to save humanity, at the appropriate time, God came to be born of a woman into this world not to condemn but to save the world (cf. Gal 4:4-5; Joh 3:16-19). Christ Jesus, God’s word made flesh, came to pay humanity’s penalty for lawlessness and share his power to enable all who believe in him to resist lawlessness (cf. Joh 1:1, 14; 1Jo 2:2; Rom 5:18-19, 6:8-11). Christ Jesus shares his power by living in every believer through the Holy Spirit (cf. Eph 4:30; Rom 8:9).
Advent is what God did to draw near to show his love. If we have believed in Christ Jesus and feel that our life is a mess, the good news of Advent is that God no longer condemns us in Christ Jesus (Rom 8:1-2). When we make a mess of our lives, we reap what we sow on earth (cf. Gal 6:7-8). Despite reaping what we sowed, God does not condemn us but wants us to go to him with all our mess.
Naturally, like Adam and Eve, when we messed up our lives, we would be afraid and want to hide. The good news is that God calls out to us, just as he called out to Adam and Eve in the Garden. God does not need information from us about our mess. He desires that we come to him in confession and repentance to receive grace to clear up our mess.
Meanwhile, he no longer condemns us while we struggle to clean up our mess. Regardless of our progress in clearing our mess until we die, his grace and power are sufficient for us (cf. 2Co 12:9). God guaranteed that he would glorify us as his children. His guarantee is sealed by the Spirit, not by our effort to clean up our mess (cf. Eph 4:30; Rom 8:28-30).
If we have not taken the first step to trust Christ Jesus, Advent is an invitation to come home to him. God welcomes us home, regardless of our past or what we had done. No child of Adam is beyond redemption, except those who volitionally run toward the Serpent. God has no sinister intention towards us but a desire to live with us in perfect love.
We take the first step to trust him by saying:
“Dear God, I trust that you sent Jesus to save me from my lawlessness and to enable me to live with you forever. Would you please come and live in me? In Jesus’s Name, Amen”.
In response to our prayer, Christ Jesus and God will come to live in each of us.
Cheng Eng Hwa