A couple are having dinner and there is a disagreement. The man was late for dinner. The woman is upset because they had a scheduled time to meet. The man looks deeply into her eyes and says “I love you and yes I was late but there are things I do that you don’t need to know about and instead trust me, please trust me.” The woman just can’t get over the fact that he was late. In her mind trust is based on following the rules regarding punctuality. She is angry about the infraction and leaves the dinner. Little did she know that the man was late because he was picking up an engagement ring. There was only time he could get the ring which delayed his arrival. He felt the relationship was ready for marriage. He felt a bond of trust was already there based of his love for her. She had been hurt before and lived in constant fear of rejection. For her, love was not a basis for trust. Punctuality and commitment and following the unwritten rules were the basis of trust. Who is right? Who left the dinner?
This is our human tragedy. Our fallen nature sees God as a rule-following-perfectionist. It isn’t true. We are the rule-following-perfectionists. Even a person who is free of religion, maybe even professes to be an atheist, is still living in a fallen condition of conditionals. Our motto is “if I do this I can expect that.” It isn’t wrong it just isn’t right(eous) regarding a relationship with God. Our fallen-nature-understanding projected on God makes us think He is like us. That is where we go wrong. We need to see God as He is not as we think He is.
God is relationship. God is communion. God is community. God is intimacy. God is love. That is why He is three in one and one in three. God values relationship over everything. Our trust in Him should be based on His love for us. We can trust Him since we understand His priority for relationship. Our behavior or ability to follow rules or conditional-relationship-thinking has no bearing on His priorities. Instead our poor decisions and bad choices are what He wants to help us with and set us free from. He expects a fallen Adam will make fallen Adam decisions based on fallen Adam intelligence using fallen Adam wisdom born of fallen Adam arrogance. He is not surprised. So He comes to our rescue. He makes us new. He restores our connection to Him. He sets us free so we can use our freedom to discover Him. It is actually a perfect plan.
So how did we get it so wrong? How did we miss relationship and instead substituted behavior-modification? How did we put Jesus on a cross and declare God needed to punish Him for us? What God does that? How did we elevate sin and the power of sin over the POWER OF GOD? How did we become myopic, OCD-focused-on-sin parishioners instead of lovers focused on the good news of a saving Jesus and His saving POWER on this Earth?
We find ourselves disappointed with God. We find ourselves hiding from God. We put our faith in religion instead of relationship. We get up from the table. He was getting an engagement ring not another rule book. He was making a wedding proposal not spewing wrath. Wow! I say we ask for a big “do over” and seek His revelation of Him on a cross because He loves me enough to let me kill Him to prove it.
So there are always the questions. What about this rule or that law or this sin or that trespass or this “license to get away with anything” or that “we must get a grip on morality” or “don’t you see how awful people are” or “how can you say we aren’t miserable worms” and…aaaaahhhgg!!! (I feel like a Charlie Brown moment when Lucy moves the football again). Anyway how about we take a running start to kick one of those lies right through the goalposts? Here we go.
Here is what is says in Hebrews:
Heb 9:22b…and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. (ESV)
I want to suggest that this is an observation not a God-directed rule of the universe. It goes all the way back to the garden (imagine that).
Gen 3:21 And the Lord God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. (ESV)
God covered their shame at the expense of another life. That same sequence repeated itself over and over with the Nation of Israel under the law. Sacrifices were made to “cover” their sin for the next year. Still it wasn’t for God it was for man. Let me see if I can be very clear. God was staring at Adam and Eve and was not repulsed, disgusted, or sick to His stomach. He wasn’t moaning in agony due to the proximity of such an egregious sinner. God wasn’t screaming for punishment. They weren’t blasted by His goodness so that they fell dead at His feet. No, none of that happened. What did happen? God felt compassion for them. He covered them. He came to their rescue.
That is what Jesus did. The blood of Jesus is the proof of God’s once and for all removal of our sin problem. Jesus died to set us free from sin. In this case it wasn’t a covering but a removal. It wasn’t a free pass or get out of jail card but a final declaration “I will die to prove my love for you.” This is how we can be certain that God forgives the sinner. He sets right (justifies) the ungodly. He restores us to a perfect relationship with Him. He sheds His blood…He gives us a wedding ring.
Heb 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. (ESV)
No more guilt allowed. Maybe we should tattoo it to our foreheads. NO MORE CONDEMNATION! So now every time you look in the mirror you will remember. That is why the blood of GOD is on the ground. We should never forget.
Heb 12:22-24 No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace. (The Message)
We killed God and He restores us. Jesus gets up from the dead and says “Peace be with you.” Jesus hanging on the cross, bleeding because we beat Him, says “forgive them.”
1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were ransomed (HELPS: to restore “something back, into the possession of its rightful owner – i.e. rescuing from the power and possession of an alien possessor” (Wm. Barclay)) from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. (ESV with HELPS)
God didn’t need blood. God didn’t want blood. We did. For a fallen human the only “final answer” is death. For a fallen human the only valid contract is one in blood. For a fallen human the only agreement with weight is a covenant sealed by death. Jesus is our new covenant with God sealed with the blood of God by His death. Not just any death but the lowest of lowest, death on a cross as a criminal. Now can you see that the blood is from God not for God.
Do we get up from the table? Do we blame God? Do we insist on rules when God dies for relationship? Do we walk away from a marriage proposal? Do we reject the ring (blood)? I say it is time to live in and from the truth of Jesus. He loves us that much. Take the ring and say yes.
One thought on “The Ring”
Wow… Powerful and absolutely beautiful. Yes, Lord, I take the ring… Thanks for sharing this and God bless you!