In the last post “Worthy of our trust” I talked about how important it is for us to trust Him. When we surrender our thinking and trust in the truth that He is that good we begin to “see” truths of His nature emerge. It is so exciting when we go from words on paper to heart-felt love for our Father who loves us. Again, I can’t convince you. This is a personal journey. This intimate relationship with Him is all He wants from us. He has always been pursuing us to an intimate and dependent eternal union. So often however we are “stuck” in a bunch of old thinking and need a boost out of the lies so we can see the path again.
When we see God as an angry judge how can we approach Him? If we believe He is only concerned with our performance then how can we be honest about our performance? If we see a microscope peering analyst of good versus evil, how can we be transparent? If we see God as a logical Mr. Spock free of distracting emotions, how can we step into His presence pouring out our deepest desires? When we have a distorted image of God we can’t be ourselves. When we can’t see our God as our loving Father and eternal bride who loves us above all else we can’t love Him. When we don’t know we are right with God we will live in fear, we will hide in the bushes just like Adam and Eve.
The really good news (the Gospel) is that God meets us where we are. He comes into the garden with Adam and Eve after they have sinned and rescued them from their shame. He made clothes for their naked bodies. He fulfils a promise to Abraham even after Abraham has tried fulfilling the promise in his own effort. He meets Abraham on the mountain and provides a sacrifice instead of Isaac. He dies on a cross because we need a sacrifice. God so loved the world that He became a man who became Sin so we could be His righteousness. He delivers us from shame so we can come to Him in confidence.
Heb 4:16 Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before [confidently approach] God’s throne where there is grace of grace; as opposed to a throne of judgment and condemnation]. There we can receive mercy and ·grace [find grace] to help us when we need it [at the right time].
When mankind consumed the wrong fruit everything changed. Our knowledge of good and evil became our own driver for performance. Adam and Eve hid out of their own shame and not any condemnation from God. Our fruit-poisoned law mindset has created such a performance based paradigm that we don’t know any other. That perspective is what we have put on God not what God has put on us. The Law of Moses for example was to protect the people of Israel so they might survive in the fallen world. It also made it possible for them to persist as a nation until the time of Christ. The Law however did not bring righteousness (a right, as intended, relationship). It could not produce righteousness in the people. As a matter of fact it absolutely frustrated the people in pursuit of righteousness because they could not keep the perfect Law. So the Law was a guardian and teacher but it pointed to Jesus as a savior and deliverer. It wasn’t a God-derived desire for performance projected on us but our law keeping paradigm, our knowledge of good and evil thinking projected on God. He meets us where we needed Him at that time, in the law. It was to bring us to the end of believing we could be successful as independent and selfish people.
So now we have an entirely different paradigm, Grace. God has always intended to do it all for us. A fallen way of thinking precludes our seeing that truth. In religion the enemy actually empowers our fallen way of thinking to keep us in the dark regarding God’s true nature. The religious spirit declares: “God has always desired our performance and our lack of performing adequately makes God angry.” There is nothing farther from the truth. He has never desired our performance but rather we have desired to perform.
When we are living from shame we are living in a fallen mindset. The condemnation is not from God but from our knowledge of good and evil. Our internal mechanism in a fallen nature empowered by the lies of Sin (the enemy) drives us further and further from God. This drives us further and further from the very source of life we must have, Him. Our escaping His presence is running from His power to save and deliver us. Our fleeing a wrongly discerned, angry God thrusts us into despair and not into His arms. Only in His arms do I begin to see differently. Only in His arms can I see my loving Father as an infinitely lovely creator and savior. OK, that is enough of a narrative. Sometimes I feel like a broken record but it can’t be said enough. God is that good. Jesus is the proof.
“But what about passages like this one?”
Gen 3:3 And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground. 4 And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering, 5 But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed. (AMP)
If you are stuck in fallen, law-based thinking then you analyze the descriptions of the offerings. You begin to use your knowledge of good and evil to bring judgment on Cain or Abel. Come on, you were doing it I know. But this is one of those most awesome passages because God actually shows us the truth base on this side of the cross. Remember on this side of the cross we are free from that fallen way of thinking. We are free to see the love of God. We are free from the deception of a Sin nature. We have the mind of Christ and our brains are being renewed even in this moment. We aren’t bound by lists and comparisons and judgment. We have Jesus. Check out what God says about this event.
First the religious get a dose of Ouch! They are compared to Cain.
Luke 11:47-51 “You’re hopeless! You build tombs for the prophets your ancestors killed. The tombs you build are monuments to your murdering ancestors more than to the murdered prophets. That accounts for God’s Wisdom saying, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, but they’ll kill them and run them off.’ What it means is that every drop of righteous blood ever spilled from the time earth began until now, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was struck down between altar and sanctuary, is on your heads. Yes, it’s on the bill of this generation and this generation will pay. (The Message)
So what is it to be compared to Cain? Faith was the difference between Cain and Abel.
Heb 12:22-24 By an act of faith, Abel brought a better sacrifice to God than Cain. It was what he believed, not what he brought, that made the difference. That’s what God noticed and approved as righteous. After all these centuries, that belief continues to catch our notice. (The Message)
Abel believed that God was good. Abel understood the true nature of God. Cain did not. The best part is the shedding of Jesus’ blood is opposite of the blood spilled by a fallen mankind (Abel). The shedding of Jesus’ blood cries out mercy when the blood of a fallen Adam cries out vengeance. The shedding of Abel’s blood to a fallen world declares “foul” based on our knowledge of good and evil. The blood of Jesus is outside that fallen nature. His blood cries out from the heart of God His true nature…MERCY!!
Heb 12:24 And to Jesus, the Mediator (Go-between, Agent) of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks [of mercy], a better and nobler and more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]. (AMP)
I contend that our view of God has been distorted by a fallen nature and the lies of the enemy (Cain thinking). You Abba Father is way better and loving than you can possibly imagine. Even the most basic story like Cain and Abel has been distorted by the enemy as revealing a wrong image of God when we can see clearly the lie. I love to find those lies of the enemy. I love to reveal that God is lovely. Go and seek for yourself. Search out the “deep things of God” and see that He is that good. He is worthy of our love because He is loveable.