Thursday, May 22, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 20 - Freed from Death, Freed from Judgment

  • Death and Judgment, sounds so ominous and terrible! And yet – since the gospel means ‘good news’ and there is only good news and no bad news in the gospel, then thinking on Death and Judgment and Christ’s finished work is only going to bring GOOD news!   I want to take some words that have seemed like such bad news, carried such negative imagery, and see those concepts in light of the good news of grace:

    Death – He identified with me even in my death state and even went down to death, letting people kill Him. He took into Himself and absorbed into Himself my ‘death state’ and then He rose again, taking me with Him! I am forever freed from the eternal hold of death, death can’t have me, for He did not allow His holy one to see corruption and didn’t leave His soul in the grave, so the same will be true for me, tied as I am to Him! It’s already true in the eternal realm and my body WILL catch up with this reality, wow!
    Judgment – There is a legal verdict of ‘guilty’ that comes upon a lawbreaker. We had put ourselves under law (God never wanted that for us, never put us under it, His language is and has always been grace and not law!!) and so incurred judgment and had a legitimate debt we owed to God. (I love how He let all sin be against Him so He would be in the position of being able to let the debt go, and that is just what He did. It helps me understand the verse saying ‘He shut up all in disobedience so He could have mercy upon all.”…I also love how Andre pointed out that He judged sin in the flesh – He wasn’t judging me myself, my true self; instead He was judging sin that had taken hold of me in my body, judged the fake identity – flesh – that wasn’t the real me at all! It is almost like I felt guilty, I felt deserving of punishment, I felt I needed to die, I was judging myself as evil, but God wasn’t judging me or wanting to punish me! He was seeing the root problem behind my actions – the sin and lies that had ‘infected’ me like a virus! What a relief to find out He is a non-judgmental, non-punishing/punitive God! I am just finding out such wonderful things, and that helps me understand judgment in a better way, a way that brings such relief..but getting back to how Jesus dealt with judgment…I am always too long-winded, lol…) Jesus came and took all that judgment onto Himself when He identified with us in that low place of guilt and judgment and shame! He absorbed all that into Himself, and it is gone! God cancelled the debt against me – that’s forgiveness, wow, it means we don’t have to ‘pay’ for a wrong done, we’re released from owing anything or having to ‘make up’ for our wrong, that’s all cancelled!

    Sin – Not only did He absorb my guilt, judgment, feelings of alienation and shame, He also absorbed all the sin/unbelief that caused it, and He eliminated it, wiped it out, expiated it. And with the sin actually taken away and wiped out, absorbed and blotted out by Christ in His body, then my sins and iniquities are not only remembered by God NO MORE, they actually ARE NO MORE! I love how Andre Rabe says if it doesn’t exist in the mind of God, it doesn’t exist at all!

    Law – Jesus took away the document stating my guilt – the law – and nailed it to the cross. So I’m not under law anymore, I’m freed from it by going through death with Him! And that pretty much takes care of judgment and punishment all around, for if there is no sin to be judged and no law to do the judging, then I am home free and won’t ever be punished or held liable for any of my wrongs, unbelief, etc.! Where there is no law, there is no transgression..I am not even a transgressor at all anymore! Not a lawbreaker! For you can’t break a law if there is no law there to break! Wow, this good news just keeps getting ‘gooder and gooder’ – smile!

    Punishment - I want to say that just using that word ‘punishment’ is so uncomfortable now..I feel it isn’t the most accurate word to use…yet I was raised on such talk, and it is tough to get free of the penal substitutionary ideas I have heard all my life and ‘assumed’ were correct! The more I learn about non-violent atonement, Christus Victor and the healing model of the work of Christ, the more relieved I feel that God never wanted to or needed to ‘punish’ us, Christ, or anybody! Since the debt was owed to Him, He could choose whatever means He wanted to deal with it, and He chose to let it go, to forgive! When you forgive, you don’t demand a punishment/payment first in order to forgive, for that isn’t forgiveness at all but retribution, isn’t it? Forgiveness is when you let the debt go and don’t make the other party pay..they are off the hook, free and clear. It helps people be friends again..it is restorative! So I wanted to say I don’t like using that word ‘punishment’ and I don’t see our dear Papa as a punishing God anymore..love does no harm, and THAT is actually fulfilling the law – to love, to do no harm! How amazing is that! I always thought the law demanded my punishment! But Jesus fulfilled the law not by punishing me or being punished for me so much as by forgiving me even when I/we killed Him, by not retaliating! His love for me/us was the ultimate fulfillment of the law, wasn’t it, the ultimate obedience of loving God and others! He truly fulfilled the law in a way I hadn’t thought of before..oh, how wonderful He is..
    My friend Andrea made a statement in response to this post that I want to include here:  "So beautiful how you say, “It is almost like I felt guilty, I felt deserving of punishment, I felt I needed to die, I was judging myself as evil, but God wasn’t judging me or wanting to punish me!” Yeah…So our judgment and our punishment were self-imposed, could that be? We hid (in Adam), we ran, we covered up, we accused… wasn’t all that kind of a self-jugdment? Whereas God looked for us, sought our fellowship, called us, clothed us… but we would not be able to bear His glory, His love, His fellowship. Because we had decided to do it our own way, to judge things through our own eyes. We had fallen into perceiving everything “after the flesh”.
    Now, could it be that is was our own sinful perception that was nailed to the cross? Wasn’t Jesus – having been made sin (2 Cor 5:21) – nailed to the cross? Could it be that it was our self-imposed VERDICT, judgment and punishment that hung nailed up there? The handwriting with our names on it? The handwriting written in our own names… ?!"

  • Andrea's comments blew me away, for she wrote so clearly about self-judgment and how that maybe was what was nailed to the cross, wow! That He never was judging/condemning us as guilty or bad, but we were judging ourselves!  I want to really ponder that! That whole perception of ourselves being nailed to the cross, the handwriting we wrote against ourselves, wow! He was never against us! It is so freeing to see just how good He is, better and more loving than I ever imagined. I still have lots of questions about the law and why it was given, etc. But it is slowly coming together in my mind that HE was never about law and judgment, WE were because we were living in that way of thinking (good and evil, trying to become better and stop doing bad, demands and restrictions, rewards and punishments, performance based acceptance, judgment)..but HE was always about grace, acceptance, love and union relationship without regard to good or bad, performance, earning, etc.! 
It is so great to go forward into new and grace-filled ways of thinking about Papa and the cross and to discard some of the old and hurtful, shame-based, fearful ways of thinking about them! Truly when we see what He has done we want to just melt into His arms, we feel no fear, we know that there is nothing hindering our access to Him, and really we find we are already with Him and have been all along! Christ is truly the living way of showing us our perfect and unhindered access to the Father, showing us the fellowship and intimacy that is ours for the enjoying, now and forever!

3 comments:

  1. Hi Sparrow, thank you for that. It brings to my mind Jesus saying at Calvary "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they are doing" I always thought that that meant that people didn't know who they were crucifying, perfect Love, or the innocent Lamb, or God Himself, but perhaps Jesus simply meant, "Forgive them Papa, they're just little children, scared and lost and running away from you because they keep judging themselves as bad as evil as worthless or no good, and yet they see you Papa (when they look to you) as too holy to approach." We couldn't see what we had been doing to ourselves, hurting ourselves. There being no way out for us, until...Jesus became our sin. Now we can see that there is the Tree of Life, we need no longer eat of the Tree of the "Knowledge of" good and evil, in orther words we can stop judging ourselves from our own perspective and see ourselves from His point of view!
    What do you think?
    Sorry that's a bit long-winded too!

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  2. I love those thoughts about Jesus' words that we didn't know what we were doing! Yes! That is how He sees us, isn't it, as little innocent ones, hurting and feeling alone and unwanted, confused and scared...I think of how if someone does something without really knowing what they are even doing, they are actually innocent in the deepest way, aren't they? Because they do not really mean to do whatever it is, they just don't fully know or understand what they are even doing! Wow! Could it be that He truly HAS seen us innocent all along!? I think of the verse in Rom. 7 where Paul says if we don't something we don't want to do, it isn't even US that does it, but 'sin in our members' - could that mean that the lie(the lie saying we are separated and estranged from God, unloved and alone) has such a hold that people act out of their belief in that lie and end up doing things they don't want to do? So that it really is the lie that is controlling them and making them act like that, meaning that their innermost person isn't going along with it at all and is truly innocent!? It seems that He has always seen us innocent, and that deep down we have always been innocent ones..I can't get over that..Thank you for what you shared, Woolly, I think that is wonderful how He looks at us and how that loving look of love transforms our self-hatred into self-acceptance and even self-compassion! Can we love the least of these, in whom Jesus dwells? Can we love the least of these if the least of these in our eyes - is us? We are the least of these in whom He dwells! Wow, we are His little innocent ones in whom is all His delight!

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  3. Thank you .
    mathew

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14