When you begin to see the Gospel as Good News you begin to see differently. Maybe you are thinking “well of course I see the Gospel as Good News since it is ‘good news’ by definition.” I can say I knew OF the Gospel since I can remember but didn’t KNOW in person the Gospel until only a few years ago. Jesus came to set us free from our fallen nature, the devil, the power of sin and death itself. That Jesus is the Good News. That Jesus is GOD. That is why Jesus…We needed to see and meet God. Our fallen nature fails to see the real God. Our fallen nature hides from an angry God that isn’t angry at all. Our fallen nature superimposes all our hangups and dysfunctions on God and His nature. All the while He is reaching out to us. He has never stopped loving us. He has never stopped pursuing us. He has never ever kept any records of our wrongs which includes our SIN.
1 Corinthians 13:5 It (love) does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. (NIV)
1 John 4:8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love… 18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (ESV)
Heb 8:12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more. (KJV)
It is our fallen nature thinking that is consumed with the concept that “sin is an insult to God.” That is called condemnation. Fear of an angry God is rejecting the love of God. Purposely bringing condemnation into someone’s life is the opposite of what Jesus would do and does.
Rom 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (ESV)
He even demonstrated His forgiveness multiple times when He walked on the Earth. There are probably many that were not recorded. For one particular case, a woman is caught in adultery and they bring her to Jesus to have her stoned. The law is very, very clear on this one. She must be stoned. Jesus fails to follow the law, but instead He says this:
John 8:10 When Jesus raised Himself up, He said to her, Woman, where are your accusers? Has no man condemned you? 11 She answered, No one, Lord! And Jesus said, I do not condemn you either. Go on your way and from now on sin no more. (AMP)
So why do we insist on brining up sin over and over again as a condemning penal issue that requires a punishment? The answer is “Penal Substitution” doctrine. That doctrine has been around for about 1000 years and is a product of a fallen human understanding and geo-political and cultural circumstances. It isn’t in the Bible. Jesus paid a ransom, yes He did, TO US. Our fallen nature had to see the love of God revealed on the cross. Our fallen nature had to see the depth of God’s mercy and grace as expressed in the life and death and resurrection of Jesus. Jesus was our propitiation, yes He was. He was our mercy-seat that puts our fallen human, broken nature in the ark where it belongs. He covers our fallen human thinking with gold. He has us peer into the purest of gold in the mercy-seat, Jesus, to see our own reflection. Our true identity is revealed in the saving work of Jesus. We are set free in Christ. We are delivered from our fallen nature. We can FINALLY see and experience the love of God without our fallen-hiding-in-the-bushes-fear presiding over our every thought. Instead, we run into the arms of our loving God over and over again. When we are there, in the love of God, we are saved over and over again. He takes away all the junk and replaces it with His love. Jesus was a rescue mission. Jesus is a liberator. Jesus is Christus Victor!
So we need to see sin differently. Sin isn’t the problem, it is a fruit of the problem. Sin isn’t what separates us from God, it is the product of a separated human. Sin is a normal outcome of a fallen human living a dead life in a fallen world. God is not surprised by our sin. He expects it. We need to see sin for what it is. It is a disease that needs a cure. Sin is a sickness that needs medication. Sin is an illness that needs a doctor. Sin is an expression of a broken life that needs a repairman. Sin is a fruit, not a root. Jesus delivers us from the power of sin. Jesus is the doctor, repairman, medication, cure and King. Sin is destructive, no doubt. It needs to be dealt with, no doubt. It should not be minimized, no doubt. As a matter of fact, seeing Jesus as a “payment to an angry God for sin” doesn’t address the sin problem at all. As a matter of fact, if Jesus is a payment to a blood thirsty God who needs a sacrifice, then the Grace of God has no power until we are all dead. Then death becomes our savior, not Jesus.
I hate to be so harsh but come on, we need to see this basic truth. Jesus is our savior. Our final destination is not our salvation. Deliverance from our fallen nature is salvation. Listen, I understand the fear. We have been taught it for so long that we just believe it. The real truth is the love of God in Jesus. We should be very concerned about “the lost.” We should be running to find “the lost.” The issue isn’t their sin. Their issue is their “lostness.” In a fallen nature, a person cannot “see the Kingdom nor step into the Kingdom (John 3).” They can’t see the love of God. They can’t experience the love of God. They don’t know what is means to live from the glory of God. They are no better off than the Nation of Israel at the base of mount Sinai. Every person on this planet needs Jesus. If you don’t see Jesus, you don’t know God. If you don’t meet Jesus, you haven’t met your Father in Heaven. Every person on this planet needs to meet Jesus and fall in love with God. Every person needs to let God come and make His home in us and with us. His name is Holy Spirit to us. In this loving place, the “sin problem” is addressed and solved. All the reasons for rebellion evaporate. All the reasons for separation separate. All the reasons for fear run away. All the lies about the nature of God are crushed by His truth, Jesus.
Rom 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (ESV)
This is one of the most misused verses in all the Bible. Every single person on planet Earth that has operated out of a fallen nature (every person ever born), has failed to relate to God or others like Jesus would. A fallen man will act out of a fallen nature. Jesus is the only man who never sinned. Why not? He loved perfectly, especially when He broke the law on purpose. I like what the message says:
Romans 3:23The Message (MSG)
God Has Set Things Right
21-24 But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
Can we stop saying God wants to crush us and burn us in Hell for ever and ever because we have acted out of a condition that we “fell” into? Can we see sin for what it really is? Can we see that sin is a disease that needs a cure? Can we stop condemning people for their sin and instead reveal Jesus as their savior? Can we be bold enough to tell them that God isn’t their enemy? Can we dare to tell people that Jesus isn’t saving them from an angry God, but from a horrible fallen condition? Can we please tell people that God has already forgiven their sin and is ready to set them free from it’s power? Can we jump up and down and finally declare, with certainty, that Jesus liberates us from sin, death and the devil? Can we agree finally, that Jesus is our savior from ourselves? I say let’s treat the disease instead of damning the patient.
P.S. “But what about Hell?!?!?!? Come on Lance, what is the deal?”
I’ve written some on that issue. I highly recommend Paul Ellis (link on the menu bar) and just search Hell. He does a great job explaining that Hell is a place for people who reject God. I will write soon about my opinion.