under the microscope

And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”
(1 John 3:5)

As we walk through life “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:3, 9, 14, et al.) we observe and interact with “medium-sized” objects. Only with special viewing devices like telescopes and microscopes can we begin to appreciate the beauty and intricacy of creation at the macro and micro levels. The world under the microscope is particularly fascinating. Under the microscope we see a world of unimagined beauty, precision, and complexity. The microcosm of a single living cell, for instance, involves a complexity orders of magnitude greater than that of man’s greatest technological achievements. The Atlantic ran an interesting article explaining that 128 supercomputers required 10 hours of uninterrupted calculating to model the basic life processes of the simplest living cell. It is hard to imagine that anyone who has observed life at the micro scale (or any scale!) could actually believe that life evolved spontaneously without any intelligent agency. There is also an interesting and instructive difference between living things and man-made objects at the micro scale. Man-made objects like razor blades, which seem perfectly “laser straight” to the naked eye, appear flawed and imperfect under sufficient magnification. When we study God’s designs at that level, we see the exact opposite. The more we magnify something God has created, the more intricacy, beauty, and complexity becomes apparent. I see something similar in the realm of humanity. On outward inspection, most people appear to be well-adjusted, well-mannered, morally-upright individuals. This is so because, as Paul explained, God has written His moral law on every human heart. That is why people who have never seen a Bible, let alone considered its moral prescriptions, oftentimes appear to fulfill the righteous requirements of God’s law (Romans 2:14-15). Of course, no one does this perfectly, and the closer we get to others on this earth, the more their moral flaws become apparent to us and ours to them (Ecclesiastes 7:20-22; James 3:2; Romans 3:10, 23; 1 John 1:8). There is only one blessed exception to this rule, the Lord Jesus Christ. Being very God of very God, He was, is, and ever more will be, the epitome of flawless moral perfection. “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you,” wrote the beloved disciple, “that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Both our Lord’s severest critics and most bitter enemies put Him “under the microscope” in order to expose His imperfections. How disappointed they were to find He had none! “Which of you convinceth me of sin?” demanded the Lord (John 8:46). Their reply was stunned silence. Let us praise God for Christ’s sinless sacrifice and flawless performance on our behalf. Let us also bear patiently with the imperfections of others in the household of faith, even as we await our promised future glorification (Romans 8:22-23; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 John 3:1-3).

God bless,

pastor john