What is it with Sin?
I remember hearing the idea that God cannot look on sin from my early days as a Christian. This bit of scaremongering was perfect for making sure followers of Jesus would watch their every step and never trip over. After all when Jesus was on the cross with all of our sins on Him the Father could not watch the horror show that He apparently initiated. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” A cry of Father turning His back on His Son. How could He look when all the horrors of this world were upon Him there? This view was readily accepted and never questioned. Then of course we have Adam and Eve expelled from the garden, the place of Paradise. We have priests who could not enter the Holy of Holies if they had an imperfection, included in this strange list is a damaged testicle! Then we are told ‘you cannot look into the face of God or you will surely die.’ This creates a place where repentance from sin can be preached with fervour, and anyone who does the unspeakable things are clearly recognised as sinners and outside the remit of the eyes of God, and even the forgiveness of God. What is it with this unhealthy obsession with sin, repentance, disobedience, getting it wrong? We create a landscape filled with failure, guilt, missing the mark, position through attainment and good works, approval when we get it right, disapproval when we get it wrong, which could lead to punishment and even rejection and hell. Sadly Christendom is full of guilt ridden followers trying to get it right and often failing. We need to get over this obsession with hell and sin and start living in the place where there truly is a good news, gospel message. I do not want to serve a God obsessed with punishing, whether it be His Son or His followers or lack of followers. What is it about sin that makes us want to centre our message upon it? Is it really that powerful and wonderful? Yes I know the Scripture verses, please stop quoting them at me, but surely for when read in context the whole of the message of the Bible is not about man’s failure through sin, but God’s victory through love. Love covers a multitude of sin. Nothing can separate us from the love of God. For God so loved the world…
The Divine Initiative.
If God cannot look at sin that makes 90% of the Biblical accounts null and void. The whole of the Bible is about God taking initiative because we are too stubborn to make the first move. Right from the account in the Garden of Eden where God still came to walk in the cool of the garden even after the move that caused shame. He didn’t hide His eyes from the fig leaved covered couple, He looked at them. He took initiative. This thread continues through all the stories. Reading an article on how we make all the heroes of faith out to be so sickly sweet and successful when teaching Sunday school, and yet the reality is these people were flawed human beings. Maybe not flawed, just human beings.
- How Abraham was an idol worshiper and God loved him and pursued him;
- How Joseph was a narcissistic boy and God loved him and pursued him;
- How David was a murdering adulterer and God loved him and pursued him;
- How Esther had sex outside of marriage with a non-believer and God loved her and pursued her
He is the God of initiative. He always makes the first move. Any barrier that is created between us and Him is one created by us, not our sin. While on earth Jesus looked on the tax collectors and sinners, the prostitutes and a woman caught in adultery. He looked on Peter after he had denied Him. What broke these people? Was it the condemnation in Jesus eyes? Was it the law written on his forehead? I believe love melted them all. The realisation that even sin could not separate them from such love. The reason they could go away and try and sin no more was not because they had their sins exposed by the quoting of all the Scriptures, love changed something. Love shifted something. Acceptance and embrace by the divine despite who they were. True repentance cannot be preached into someone, it is a natural reaction to being so loved. Jesus was the Divine initiative.
You Are There!
‘Even if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.’ I am walking testimony to the truth of this. At my darkest moment when I deserved to be punished, rejected, thrown out of the house, I had one over riding sense, He was still around. The amazing thing is He was not there to throw the book at me with lots of underlined verses for me to contemplate about the errors of my ways, there was no air of condemnation or guilt inducing looks. He never said that I could still follow Him but every day if I began to mess up He would have something to bring up and remind me of how evil I am. I just sensed one over riding thing, love. He simply loved on me in my darkest hour. He took the initiative and looked at me when I was still a sinner. There were no words to record just an embrace of love and an over whelming sense that I was still His child. I was melted. My stubborn heart was broken and fixed in a moment. The acknowledgement of love caused me to go another way with my life (Repentance?). That is why I would much rather write a million lines about God’s love and accepted, than I would one word about sin and possible rejection. My life is a message. No one needs to be reminded about being a sinner, but everyone needs to be constantly reminded and in awe of the love of God. A grace and a mercy so incredible that punishment possibilities is a weak message in comparison. Why do we insist on thinking we can scare people out of hell and into walking holy lives, when just one glance from Jesus could melt them forever. He loves us so, so much. His heart is constantly melted for mine. He pursues me with a wild pursuit and cannot wait to embrace me just as I am. God cannot look at sin! What crap. He looks at me daily, and there is a love song upon His lips. Now that is what I call a Gospel.