What is it about your spouse that first caused you to love him or her? Was it who he or she was, or what he or she did? I think this is an interesting question. Can the answer be both? Michael Barber says, ‚ÄúA man might reveal his feelings for a woman by leaving her a bouquet of roses. We have all heard the phrase ‚Äòactions speak louder than words,‚Äô so we know that through our actions we truly reveal ourselves to other people. At the same time, we also understand another persons‚Äô actions much better once we come to truly know that person. The woman who received the roses will understand more clearly the other actions of the man who gave them to her. Before he gave them to her, she might have noticed that he acted quirky around her, but now she realizes that he is nervous because he cares for her. She knows why he blushes, why he laughs so hard at all her jokes, and why he is always offering to do her favors. After he reveals his heart to her, she can better understand the things that he does.‚Äù1
If you want to truly know someone, watch what they do. If you want to know why people do what they do, get to know them. This is also true of God. If you want to know who God is, look at what He has done. If you want to know why God does what He does, study who He is.
Ladies, if your husband sends you flowers, what does it usually mean? For some it might be an expression of deepest love. For others, it might mean that the husband has messed up big time. Based on how much the wife knows her husband she will either be appreciative or suspicious.
I hate to break it to you fellas, but rarely do flowers and chocolates get us off the hook if we have done something bone headed. Our wives know us too well for that. Our actions are usually interpreted in light of who we are.
Let‚Äôs think about the Lord in those terms. How do you interpret the greatest gift ever given? The heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son to die a horrible death on a cross to be the atonement for our sins. He lived perfectly and, as representative head of humanity, became the mediator of The New Covenant so that in Him, we might be ushered into the Presence of the Father. What do God's saving actions teach us about Him? God is love ‚Äì perfect self giving, self-sacrificing love. Because of Jesus‚Äô passion we can be adopted into God‚Äôs family. God becomes our Father ‚Äì and we share in His divine nature.
When I say the word ‚Äúeconomy,‚Äù what comes to your mind? Of course we think of the current recession our country and the world are enduring. We think of commerce and business. In Scriptural terms, the word economy means God‚Äôs Fatherly plan. We may think of God's economy as His saving acts throughout history. Paul uses the term "economy" in 1 Timothy 1:4.
Theology and economy are different, but linked. Theology is the study of who God is. If you want to understand theology, you must study what God does ‚Äì God‚Äôs economy. If you want to understand why God does what He does - economy, you must be familiar with God‚Äôs Character ‚Äì that is, theology.
John 3:16 is an excellent place to test this idea. ‚ÄúFor God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that anyone who believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.‚Äù
First ‚Äì why did God send His only begotten Son? The answer is found in the first sentence:‚ÄúFor God so loved the world.‚Äù We see that God acts out of His love for the world. God is love. That is great place to start theologically.
Second, what did God do because He is love? ‚ÄúHe sent His only Son!‚Äù This is God‚Äôs economy - His plan to redeem humankind.
If you want to know God ‚Äì look at what He does. If you want to know why God does what He does ‚Äì learn who He is.
So, as we conclude, here is your final exam. What word describes our understanding of who God is? THEOLOGY
What word describes God‚Äôs saving actions on our behalf ‚Äì His plan to redeem mankind? ECONOMY
Our country needs an economic recovery, but I am not talking about business. We need to learn HIStory. For when we learn the Truth of God‚Äôs acts, we will understand our Lord even better.
1. Michael Barber, Singing in the Reign p. 32-33