If you were to see yourself though the eyes of God, what would you see? Do you see an awful sinner in need condemning, something like a criminal who has done wrong and is in need of a penalty? Or do you see a child of God who, through loving eyes, can do no wrong? Or perhaps something else?
This weekend we get an idea of why God has sent his Son, a glimpse rarely seen so explicitly in scripture: not to condemn, but to redeem. The hinge on which condemnation and redemption pivots is faith. Faith opens us up to this redemption.
Though opened up, faith is just the start, not the be all and end all. A fundamental start, absolutely, but it cannot remain there. We cannot expect to do an “altar call” or profess the faith and “it” be done. Many other scripture verses reflect this. However today’s scripture sets everything else in motion. We read about why God has done what he has done.
If you see yourself as a condemned criminal through the eyes of God it is through faith in his Son Jesus which frees you, which enables you to have eternal life.
Imagine yourself hauled into a courtroom accused of *insert your favourite sin*. You stand and face your charges. As they are read out in front of the courtroom you are guilt ridden to paralyzation, frozen under the sheer weight of unquestionable shame. Defenselessly condemned the heavy sentence is cast down.
Right at that moment someone stands and offers to take the sentence upon himself. But do you know him? This is his one question for you – “Do you know who I am?” Here is our chance to profess and prove our faith in Jesus. But the work is done: the evidence has already been presented. How do you respond?
This is how Jesus redeems us; he takes the punishment of your sin upon himself. But only if you believe in him – if you have faith.
The beauty about this metaphoric scenario is that it smoothly runs well some areas but limps in others. One limp is the timing. The juridical scene (easily seen as at our point of death) is actually now. We are given the final end now to make our choices today. If we have faith now, everlasting life is already available to us now rather than in some future time. Eternal life starts now, but it demands more. Now is our chance to build up the evidence to submit at the point of death. Faith starts now, but demands more.
The alternative is also open – no one is required to have faith; faith remains, and always will be, an open invitation. We can chose to accept that faith or chose not to accept it. God is a perfect gentleman like that – he doesn’t force himself on anyone but invites all.
All of this – the offer of faith, the following redemption, the forgiveness of sin – all of this comes from Gods love for us. A love which is expressed in God sending his son; a love to which we respond in the Spirit of faith. This scripture opens up not only a glimpse of the triune God, but invites us to respond and if we adequately respond our reward is eternal life, as of now. It is a sharing of God himself so that we may have a share of him. He is love, and he wants us to live in that triune love.
May I respond more in love than in apathy or distain. May I live the rest of my life in the love of the triune God.