Not Just Praying With Patients
Today, I would like to spend some time contemplating the topic of infinity together. There is a purpose to this, so keep with me. It is beautiful!
Infinity is somewhat odd. It messes up our usual understanding of mathematics. For example, infinity plus anything equals infinity. To take infinity and add anything to it doesn’t change its value at all. But to add infinity to any number converts that number into infinity. And infinity minus anything is impossible. The moment you try to subtract anything from infinity, whatever number you “get” is infinitely less than infinity. So, you can’t add to infinity, nor can you subtract from it. It simply is what it is.
If you take infinity and multiply it by anything, it is still infinity. It doesn’t change. And if you multiply anything by infinity, it becomes infinity. Now, if you divide infinity by anything (other than infinity), it is still infinity. But if you divide something by infinity (other than infinity), it is nothing. This seems so confusing, and possibly pointless. But there is a definite point to all of this
Infinity is what it is, and it cannot change. And when it contacts something that is finite, it either makes that finite thing infinite, or it eliminates it entirely. This is the nature of infinity.
The Bible shows us that God is infinite. “Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.” Psalm 90:2. “Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.” Psalm 93:2. And God’s qualities are infinite as well. “For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.” Psalm 100:5. If God is infinite, is it any surprise that God tells us, “I am the Lord, I change not…”? Malachi 3:6. Of course He doesn’t change. Something that is infinite cannot change. If God was evil, this would be a HUGE problem. But, in reality, this is wonderful news! Why? Because God isn’t evil. He is good.
What does the Bible reveal about who this infinite God is and what He is like? 1 John 4:8 tells us, “…God is love.” What kind of love is He? Is He a selfish love or an unselfish love? Is He a personal love or an impersonal love? Is He a complete love, or an incomplete love? Is He a constant love, or an intermittent love? You know the answer. God is an unselfish, personal, complete, constant love. And that is exactly the love that we need.
What does it mean to be unselfish? It means that you do everything for the good of others, never for your own good. While you may accomplish things that are good for you, you didn’t do it for your own good. You did it for the good of others. Everything is done with an expectation of good FOR others without an expectation of good in return FROM others for your own sake. If there was ever a need, you would be willing to deny or sacrifice yourself anything and everything for them, if only it would work out for their good. This is unselfish love.
How much of this love does God have? Is it a little? Some? A lot? No. His love is infinite! What does that mean? That means that His love CANNOT change. His love is what it is because that is what it is, and it cannot change. His love for you is FOR you. He has expectations of good FOR you, not FROM you for His sake. Sure, He expects you to share good with others, but that is not FOR Him. That is FOR you.
It doesn’t matter how you behave, His love FOR you is infinite and cannot change. It doesn’t matter whether you accept His love or reject it, His love FOR you is the same. God has the SAME love FOR you when you are being “good” as when you are being “bad.” He has the same love for you when you are running away from Him as when you are running to Him. There is nothing that you can do, by your own thoughts, words, or actions that can cause God to change His love for you. You cannot buy His love for you by “good” behavior. Nor can you annul His love for you by “bad” behavior. It doesn’t matter how many times you have given in to that particular sin, His love for you is no different than it was before you ever committed that sin in the first place. His love for you does not change. It cannot change.
This infinite nature of God is our only hope. Can you imagine what it would be like if God were not infinite? What would happen if every time you did wrong, God didn’t love you? And every time you did right, God loved you? What would happen if God’s thoughts of you changed based upon your behavior? What kind of hope would you have? You would have to fear Him and cower, like a dog whose master beats him. You would have to try to “pay Him off,” with much service, expensive gifts, church attendance, “good” behavior, or anything you could think of that would pacify His anger and earn His love. You could never love a god like that, because you know that god doesn’t love you. He only loves what you can do for him or give to him.
God loves you, not what you can do for Him or give to Him. God loves you, period. End of story. God loves you. And God’s love for you is FOR you, not for Himself. It is always with your best interest in mind, not His. He will put Himself at a disadvantage in order to give you the advantage.
Perhaps you haven’t seen this kind of God (a God of infinite, unchanging, unselfish love) in the Bible. Perhaps you have always read the Bible with selfish lenses, interpreting God’s motives as selfish. After all, God does say, “For mine own sake, even for mine own sake, will I do it: for how should my name be polluted? and I will not give my glory unto another.” Isaiah 48:11. And He does say, “Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you; (For the Lord thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.” Deuteronomy 6:14-15.
God is the center of all praise, “Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 150:6. And God is the center of all service, “all dominions shall serve and obey him.” Daniel 7:27. How can God do things for His own sake, be jealous enough to destroy, be the center of all praise and service, and be selfless at the same time? Doesn’t all of this evidence point to the fact that He is selfish?
Let us, rather, ask the question, “If God is unselfish, how can these statements be harmonized with His unselfishness?” How can God do things for His own sake and keep glory to Himself and be unselfish? How can He be jealous enough to destroy those who don’t worship Him and be unselfish? You can either be jealous for self’s sake, or you can be jealous for another’s sake. It can never be both at the same time. So, is God’s jealousy here for Him? Or for us?
God is infinite. The enemy is not. Therefore, any alternative to God is infinitely less than God Himself. So, to choose anything other than God as your source is to choose something that is infinitely less able to supply your need than God is. Those things that call for our worship, other than God, come from the enemy. So, if we worship anything else, we are worshipping the enemy. You can never be fundamentally different than that which your worship, so if we worship anything other than God, we can’t help but be like the enemy. God is the only source that is truly good, and only by worshipping Him can we be good.
God desires us to be good. He wants us to live and be happy. And the only way that can happen is if He is the only one we worship. So, for our sakes, He desires to be our only source. He is jealous that He might be our only source because He knows that if we take any other source, it will destroy us.
And He does things for His own sake for us. How? He must maintain Himself and His name as trustworthy. If He didn’t, we wouldn’t have anyone to trust in. So, for us to know that we can trust in Him, He does things for His own sake or His name’s sake. It isn’t for Him. It is for us that He maintains His trustworthiness.
Why is God the center of all praise? As noted above, if we worship (praise) anything else, we will become like what we praise and worship. By beholding, we become changed. God is the only one worthy of our praise, the only one that we should be like, the only one that is the perfect example for us to follow. He cannot just step down and defer the praise and worship to anything else, because to do so would degrade and destroy us. So, for our sake, He is the center of all praise and worship.
And why is God the center of all service? Why does He have all things serve Him? It is because God is humble and always takes the lowest place when He can. True greatness is not to be served. True greatness is to serve. You are not great if you have many servants. You are great if you serve many. God could easily keep all service to Himself and serve everything. But He doesn’t do that because He wants to make His creatures great. Therefore, He gives them the greatness of serving, and He takes the humble position of being served. It can be no other way for a selfless God on the throne.
Satan accused God of being the center of everything for selfish reasons. God does not argue. Nor does He answer accusations by simple statements. God allows the accusations to be demonstrated, so that the outcome proves whether the accusation was correct or not. And God, as God, could not refute the accusation of His selfish motivation by His own demonstration. God could not come down from the throne and give glory to another. He could not stop being jealous that He might be the center of all worship. He could not stop being the center of all service, for if He did, all His creatures would be destroyed.
But when God the Son clothed Himself with humanity and entered into the life of a creature, we see Jesus always deferring praise and worship from Himself to His father. We see Jesus always serving. We see Jesus always jealous for His Father’s honor, never for His own. We see Jesus never fighting for His own rights. We see Jesus always thinking of and looking out for the good of others to the point of sacrificing Himself for them. As a creature, Jesus could clearly manifest unselfish love so that everyone could understand it. And, revealing that He was only representing His father, the universe could then see that the Father’s motivation was also selfless, self-sacrificing, for the good of others and not for His own good. The life of Jesus gave the demonstration that was needed to answer the accusation of Satan, showing that it was false. God was love—selfless love.
God is not only love. “for the Lord our God is righteous…” Daniel 9:14. How righteous is God? Infinitely righteous. His righteousness cannot change. If we are unrighteous, He is still righteous toward us. His thoughts of us are righteous. His actions toward us are righteous. Everything about Him is righteous—infinitely righteous.
How much more power does God have than the devil? Infinitely more power. In fact, all the power the devil has comes from God. So, is God intimidated by the devil? Not at all! The devil and evil are no threat to God, for something that is infinite can never be threatened by something that is finite. So, in the midst of the chaos of sin and evil, God has peace. How much peace? Infinite peace. Can that infinite peace be disturbed? No! If it were only for His sake, God could coexist with sin forever and still be at perfect peace. He will not destroy sin for His sake. He will destroy it for our sake.
God destroys the wicked for their sake—because it is hell to live infected with selfishness and sin. It is mercy for the ones infected with sin to be destroyed so that they don’t have to continue living infected with sin. Destruction comes when there is no more hope of rescuing any of the wicked from sin and restoring them to righteousness. When that hope is gone, it is mercy to end their existence rather than to extend it longer with only increasingly evil outcomes.
God is merciful and just. How merciful and just is He? He is infinitely merciful and infinitely just. He cannot change His mercy, neither can He change His justice. He cannot annul the punishment for sin, for infinite justice demands an exact payment. But His infinite mercy found a way to set the repentant sinner free. Not by annulling His justice. But by Jesus becoming the object of infinite justice and paying the exact payment that each sin requires. In Jesus, the price for every sin that was ever committed and every sin that will ever be committed by every one that has or will ever commit sin, was paid in full. Infinite mercy found a way to maintain infinite justice and yet set the repentant sinner free. Praise God!
God has forgiveness for the sinner. How much forgiveness? Infinite forgiveness! There is no sin that is too evil, repeated too often, continued too long, or committed in combination with too many other sins for God to forgive. Impossible! Sin is finite. Forgiveness is infinite. There is nothing that you can ever do that will exhaust God’s forgiveness for you. His forgiveness is perfect, infinite, unchangeable, inexhaustible, and it is freely offered to you right now. Will you take it, or will you walk away from it? Will you accept the gift? Or will you try to pay the price yourself? Will you believe in God’s infinite unchanging nature? His love for you will never change. It can never change. And He wants to give you His infinity.
Remember what happens when infinity is added to anything? What does it become? It becomes infinity. When infinity is added to anything, it turns that thing into infinity. In Jesus, God added His infinity to man’s “finity,” thus making the combination infinite. In Jesus, we are given the opportunity to be united to Infinity forever. Will you accept that great privilege, the privilege of infinitely being united with Infinity? The gift is offered to you, not because of how you behave, not because of how good you are, not because of what you can do for God, but simply because He loves you with an infinite love that cannot change. It is offered to you because you need it, and He wants you to have it. Will you take that gift right now?