Contradicting God’s Power?

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Q. Jesus dying on the cross is the only way to take us from our punishment for our sins. If there is any another way, God would have answered Jesus prayer of taking this cup away from Him. But doesn’t this contradict the fact that with God, everything is possible?

A. No it does not. We need to be careful how we interpret theological statements:
Mt 19:26 And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Also Mk 10:27, Lk 18:27)
• Lk 1:37 For nothing will be impossible with God.

When the Bible says with God all things are possible, and nothing will be impossible with God, it was contrasting what’s humanly very hard, to the point of being almost impossible, namely for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, or a barren woman to conceive a son in her old age, with what’s divinely possible. It does not mean absolute impossibility, since rich people like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are in God’s kingdom (Mt 8:11; Lk 13:28).

What it means is that anything that can be accomplished with power is possible with God, as God’s power is unlimited, and nothing is too difficult for Him:
Gen 18:14 Is anything too difficult for the LORD?
• Num 11:23 The LORD said to Moses, “Is the LORD’S power limited? Now you shall see whether My word will come true for you or not.”
• Jer 32:17 ‘Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,
• Jer 32:27 “Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh; is anything too difficult for Me?

But doesn’t God’s omnipotence means He can do anything and everything without limitation? The answer is both yes and no. Yes He can do anything achievable with power, but no He cannot act against His own nature:
2 Tim 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.
• Tit 1:12 in the hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised long ages ago,
• Heb 6:18 so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.
• Jas 1:13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God”; for God cannot be tempted by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone.

There is no external limit to His power; but His power is subject to His nature of being absolutely holy and utterly opposed to evil. As such He is faithful, cannot lie, and cannot be tempted, because He cannot deny His nature. His divine being, who He is, demands this, and He can never change (immutable). Therefore it is more theologically correct to qualify the statement “with God all things are possible” with the clause “consistent with His nature“, which the biblical narrative omits as it is not a theology textbook.

Now back to the question “does Jesus’ death on the cross being the only way to save us contradict with God all things are possible?”. No it does not. Humanly speaking it is impossible to save mankind any other way. Only the perfect Son of God becoming our substitute can atone for our sins, and Jesus did exactly that. What’s impossible with people is possible with God.

In classical logic, the law of non-contradiction states that contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense at the same time i.e. something cannot be both true and not true at the same time in the same sense. Here the statements “Jesus’ death is the only way” and “with God all things are possible” are not mutually exclusive. There is no contradiction.

Is God Judgmental? (4 of 4)

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(Continued from yesterday)

The first reason God can’t lower His standard and accept sin is it doesn’t work. The second reason is that not only will it not work, it actually can’t be done. I’ll use light as an illustration. Darkness is the absence of light. They are opposites. When a light is lit, darkness flees. Even thought it may come from a small candle, no darkness has ever overcome lighter. Never has, never will.

Jn 1:5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend (overcome) it.
• 2 Co 6:14 for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness?
• 1 Jn 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all. His very nature as light makes accommodation to darkness impossible. They are mutually exclusive. Just as light cannot have fellowship with darkness, so our righteous God cannot have partnership with lawlessness i.e. sin. It cannot be done.

Often people who focus on “God is love” forgot that “God is just” too. Both are His attributes, among others. So although God is love and abundant in loving-kindness and forgives iniquity, He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished because He is just. The two go together because He cannot deny Himself (2 Tim 2:13):

Ex 34:7 who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, …
• Num 14:18 ‘The LORD is slow to anger and abundant in loving-kindness, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He will by no means clear the guilty, …
• Nahum 1:3 The LORD is slow to anger and great in power, And the LORD will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. …

Let me close by summing up what we discussed. God is not judgmental because He is absolutely just and knows everything. He loves the people He created and gave them fair and reasonable requirements to establish a loving relationship, but they disobeyed and sinned. Because He is just He cannot and will not accept sin, and must punish the guilty. But because He is love He took the penalty upon Himself. All we have to do is to forgo trying to make it on our own, and put our faith in Christ who died for us. Unwilling to do so and still trusting in themselves, some turned the attack on God by labeling Him judgmental and intolerant. That, in essence, is the heart of the matter. It does not have to happen this way. Repent and believe in the God who loved you enough to die for you. then you’ll understand how gracious and merciful He is. Judgmental? Look into the mirror. Don’t go there. For your sake.