I got a form letter in the mail two days ago. God’s timing is funny. Actually it is probably the enemy making a play to keep us down yet again. Still it is funny that this flyer would show up right in the middle of this series of posts. We have been looking at the actual meaning of the word hamartia which is translated as sin in your English Bible. It isn’t moral infractions or demonic sliming or dancing in Footloose. It is our “missing the target” or tragic flaws that manifest when we are not believing a truth. This letter in my mailbox went on to explain how “sin separates us from God and God is disgusted with our sin.” It also said that “sin can’t be in the presence of God so we have to get rid of our sin to be in the presence of God.” Seems right, doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. Jesus hung out with sinners and he is God. Even after he was raised in glory He hung out with us humans. God came looking for Adam and Eve after they sinned and actually gave them clothes to cover their shame. Jesus didn’t condemn the woman caught in adultery and forgave many people of their sins before He went to the cross. Our sin isn’t the problem. God took care of that and is still taking care of that. Check out this verse:
2Co 5:19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. (ESVST)
And this one:
1Jo 2:2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (ESVST)
I could go on and on but just one should be enough. To sum up, our sin does not create a problem for God. Our sin has never kept Him from us but instead us from Him. That has always been our issue. Too much poisoned fruit produces overwhelming condemnation. Our unbelief in a good God rises from the depths of our shame cave where we hide in the bushes and live our selfish, survival-at-all-cost existence. And then religion piles on. The law exacerbates an already impossible situation. God doesn’t need a bloody, dead Jesus to keep from puking every time He looks at us. He is pursuing us. We need to be reconciled to Him so we stop running away. Jesus died because we needed the proof God loves us. He died so we could believe God saves us. We needed a bloody Jesus. Don’t believe me? No surprise, Jesus said the same thing.
Jn 3:17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.” (ESVST)
Can you see it? Can you see Adam and Eve hiding in the bushes gathering their fig leaves? Can you see that the law makes it worse since it shows us how impossible it is to get it right? Come on! People aren’t hiding in the dark so they can get away with evil. They are hiding because they believe anything they do relative to God’s perfect performance is evil. Missing the mark isn’t the problem. Our unbelief is the problem. When don’t see that God is so good but instead see a cruel judge. We will step out in our hamartia (tragic flaws) and find tragedy waiting. So we need to believe. That is what sets us free. That is a righteousness through faith.
In the last two posts I showed you how substituting the word unbelief for sin really sheds light on what God is trying to reveal to us about Him and our relationship with Him. Check out this verse with the word unbelief substituted:
Rom 6:14 For UNBELIEF will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace. (ESVST)
Under Grace we know Jesus took care of everything. We know what love looks like. We know how good God is. We know how forgiven and righteous we are. We know His provision is limitless. How could we remain in bondage to unbelief any more? Here is another fun verse:
1Co 15:17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your UNBELIEF. (ESVST)
This is why the resurrection is so important. Jesus never waivers in His belief and faith all the way to the cross. He went to the cross knowing God was going to raise Him. That same resurrection power is in us as born again believers. OK one more.
Heb 10:26 For if we go on UNBELIEVING deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for UNBELIEF, (ESVST)
Religion has used this verse to pound people with fear and condemnation. This was a verse I struggled with reconciling the limitless Grace of Jesus and all the mixed Grace messages. Now I can see the truth of what God is revealing. Can you? If we have received a revelation of Jesus and chose to live in unbelief what could change our minds? If someone has been touched by the power of God and still chooses to not believe, what else can be done? Jesus said these unbelievers were those that had a hard heart and could not be convinced no matter what miracle they witnessed. Don’t be that person. Believe! Come out of the bushes and let God love you. He isn’t separate from you. He isn’t hiding from you. He isn’t waiting for you to get cleaned up. He isn’t disgusted by your behavior. He already knows everything about you. He already forgot your sin. He has already reconciled the whole world. He died for the whole world. Who is hiding from whom? Believe He is that good. He really really absolutely unquestionably is. I pray the Holy Spirit jumps out of these words and reveals that truth to you right now, in Jesus name!