Luther loved to speak about the great privilege of being a creature fashioned by God. The first true thing about us is that we are creatures of God. We do not determine our existence. We are fundamentally dependent. Creation establishes God as the ultimate giver and us as the ultimate receivers. This relationship never changes—though sin would lead us to believe that these roles can be reversed. In fact, sin is an attempt to transgress the creature/creator boundary. To be a creature is to be wonderfully free. Our life is not up to us. Think for a moment on the vocation of a creature. What does it entail to be God’s image-bearing creatures? What are the benefits?
- We receive our initial existence
- We receive our ongoing existence
- We depend upon him for all that we need
- We are made to do all that he asks
- Privilege and grace is at the core of our existence
- We are free to be creatures and to let God be God
- Creatureliness provides a boundary that proves to be our freedom
In the story line of Scripture we can see the purpose and freedom of being a creature given, lost, and then restored in Christ. Adam and Eve leaped upward in an attempt to transgress their creaturely boundaries, which resulted in a fall that left them less than the creatures God intended. All sin is of this same nature—it is a rejection of our creatureliness. Viewing sin through this lens would help us better understand our refusal to receive from God and our incessant endeavor to become him. In our sin we grasp at omnipotence and omniscience. We try to operate as though we are omnipresent and all wise. We interact with others as though we are sovereign and worthy of worship. In short, our sin always betrays the fact that we are trying to be someone and something that we are not. We are trying to be God. This is idolatry and we ourselves are the idols. We seek to dethrone God and place ourselves in his rightful position. Such rebellion is worthy of death.
The gospel is the good news of God becoming a creature to take the punishment for rebellious creatures in order to restore them back to their appropriate creatureliness. It is simply the most amazing story ever told. The Son is a revelation of both Creator and creature. In him we see who God is and who we were intended to be. We see in him a humble God who refuses to take advantage of his deity and instead uses it for our service. In him we see a creature that loves God, trusts God, obeys God, loves people, and goes about his daily tasks with joy and purpose. It is through his perfect life and his perfect death that our punishment is removed and we are restored. Through the justifying and cleansing work of the cross we stand in the right before the Trinity. Through the indwelling Spirit and his mighty work we are being remade into the creatures we were intended to be. God is in the business of making us human once again. The glory of the gospel is that it is powerful enough to make us creatures.
Through the gospel we are liberated from our endless strivings for deity. We are relieved of thrones to large for us. We are freed from thoughts that are too high for us. We are released from trying to know all things and control all things. The weight of trying to be God is lifted from our shoulders. In other words, our sin is put to death. We are free to be who we are: creatures. By the gospel we take our rightful place as recipients. We move from subject to object. We move from standing to kneeling. We move from running to resting.