Thursday, July 17, 2008

Back to the Matter of Sin...

In what little spare time I have, my mind has wondered over the matter of sin and what it is to God. I had not realized until this moment that it's been in my thoughts consistently for more than 4 months. That's a long time for me to stay focused on something!

I've been told that in His holiness, God is "unable" to look upon sin, and my sinful nature is what creates the need for reconciliation to God through Christ. I have a problem considering God unable to do anything. If God is unable to look upon my sin, how is He able to judge it - condemn it - rebuke and discipline me from it? How is it that God can love me if, daily, He cannot even look at the wretch that I am?

It would seem that it is certainly a conditional love, one that can only look to me when I am good.

Is it not more correct to say that God eyes are continually upon me? Is it not more reasonable to assume that the fault lies within me - that I cannot look to God when I am encumbered by sin?

Hebrew 12 has been entering my mind in this matter, specifically vs. 1-14 :

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

"MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?

But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.

Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?

For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed.

Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.

Of course, then I read Joshua 7!


There is no reason to listen if I cannot hear.
Just Another Voice,

12 comments:

Kc said...

Great thoughts Sis. I tend to agree that there’s no inability where God is concerned but it’s too easy to get caught up in a circular argument on that. I don’t think it’s a matter of God being unable to look on sin. I think it’s more the fact that the light and the dark cannot exist in the same space. In His presence all darkness is dispelled. I am persuaded that there’s no way to reconcile this problem without perceiving God in triune form or at least in three parts working in perfect union.

In the flesh God walked among us and even now makes intercession to the Father on our behalf. He stood as a lamb slain before the foundation of the world giving justification to life where there was none. He is the door from the darkness to the light in Himself, from death to life. He not only saw our sin but took it on Himself.

In the Spirit God searches our heart and reproves us of sin and unbelief. He instructs and empowers us and guides us in all His ways.

As the Father nothing sinful can abide in His presence. It was His will to send the Son to suffer in our stead and when He looks toward us He sees only the Son. Only He knows the hour and the time when the Son will return.

In all this we can truly say that God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent but can we ever say He is unable? I say no.

dorsey said...

I'm afraid this is going to sound glib. I don't mean it to be.

If, as Hebrews 12 suggests, you "fix your eyes on Jesus," rather than fixating on sin, then the question of sin and what it is to God is rendered sort of moot, isn't it? Furthermore, the ensuing passage about discipline indicates that it is "for the moment," and is not the centerpiece of suffering that we so often see in many holiness theologies.

Still, I will concur with Kc that God looks at us through the lens of Christ, and has even handed our judgement over to Him. I find comfort in that thought.

Another Voice said...

KC, I am pretty talented in getting caught up in those circular arguments, as you know. :)

I find what you say very interesting. I can't remember the scriptures off-hand, but I know I have read several, esp. in the OT, about God revealing only a portion of His Glory in different ways to man and to reveal all would destroy a man. What you have said is also very close to the understanding that I came to when God saved me. I guess I have come full circle now and I should stop. :)

Another Voice said...

No, Dorsey, not glib - necessary. My friend, Milly, suggested that when she gets a moment to think about herself maybe she should rather think of what she can do for someone else. I like that.

Sanctification said...

Missy,

Somewhere along the way I figured out that "God being unable to look upon sin," was not true. But, I don't remember the reasoning I had.... Dang.

You and I are on the same topic!

Here is a great passage on that topic:

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”
John 3:18-21

I see it saying that people will NEVER come into the light so long as what they do is called evil. That is what the cross is for. When He died on the cross he nailed the law to it too. The law is gone. Where there is no law there is no condemnation. That is why this passage begins with an awesome, bold, and zany declaration: Anyone who believes is not condemned. We can't be condemned because we obey by the leading of the Spirit!

This is certainly an awesome topic.

Michele

karen said...

ditto...great topic.
Digesting. . . .

Paul G said...

Yes Missy! You are looking the right direction.
God really can do all things, even to look upon our sins and wretchedness.

But the good thing is that in Christ Jesus our Lord we are no longer sinners or wretches, but new creations, the beloved of the Lord or the apple of His eye and who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? (Rom. 8:33)

In my understanding God’s love is conditional, based upon being children of God and only for them His love is unconditional.
Satan’s children are definitely not loved by God because they are by nature the children of God’s wrath.
(Rom. 9:13) Jacob was loved not on the condition of righteousness but on the condition of son ship. How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the sons of God! (1 John 3:1)

Another Voice said...

Yes, Michele, I think I am working towards that direction - all the barriers of condemnation exist within us not within God. I'm testing some of that out right now. I'm very curious to see where we are both at in a year regarding this line of thought!

Another Voice said...

Karen - I hope I didn't cause any indigestion. {c;

Another Voice said...

Paul! Do you really think I am going the right direction? Because I honestly think I am going quite the opposite direction you are suggesting.

I am leaning towards the opinion that through my oneness with Christ a new life has been born in me - that even with that new life, I am and will in this flesh-life remain a wretch and a sinner - and regardless of whether I am in Christ or without, I am an apple in the Good Lord's eye - unconditionally loved by Him because of who HE is, not because of who I am.

Paul G said...

Missy;
Everyone who looks to the Lord and His word is looking the right direction.
Looking the right direction is not necessarily going the right direction.

I do not see that you are unconditionally loved because of who He is.
Perhaps Esau would have thought the same way; even he knew that God is love.
But God’s love was for Jacob because of son ship as I have said in the last comment.

So then, you are loved of God because you are His child and born of Him (born again).
With other words, you are loved of God because of who you are and NOT because of who He is.

I know it does not sound very humble, but surely it is wonderful and a blessing to know!

Another Voice said...

Paul,

If God has CHOSEN me - then is His love for me because of who I am or what He has done (by choosing)?

I don't see that Jacob was chosen for son-ship over Esau - it was the birthright and blessing that was given Jacob rather than Esau. Esau remained a son - they both had son-ship. In fact, Esau despised his Birthright and gave it freely to Jacob for a meal. The purpose of that story is to illustrate that God did not build the lineage of Christ from perfect people, but of flawed deceitful people (tricking Esau out of both blessing and birthright was pretty wicked). It also illustrates that God keeps His promises even to those who do not keep theirs - once made, it is unconditional. God is always faithful.

It is my opinion that you are drawing parallel lines unnecessarily.

You seem to be saying that selection is entirely conditional. Am I misunderstanding?