You see…I was taught was that the truest truth about Gods character is his Holiness. That is, He is moral and perfect and sinless. He is perfect, I’m not denying this, but this premise has made our whole basis for relationship with the Father, a legal one. For example…God is perfect and Holy, and can’t look on or tolerate sin. Adam and Eve sinned..and so mankind is cut off from God and to appease Him, He decided to send his Son Jesus and have Him killed in our place. So, now an angry God is satisfied because of the spilling of innocent blood, and He can now look at me accept me and forgive me. A legal transaction completed.
But there is a problem with this…firstly, God the Father and Jesus Christ, along with the Holy Spirit are one. So if God the Father can’t look on sin, if there is this great separation, how can Jesus Christ come and live among us? Eat and drink and love and touch and be close to sinful humanity? Is the Father not in Christ? And is Jesus not one with the Father? And how can I trust a Father that will sacrifice His Son for another? Where does that leave me? Would he sacrifice me his daughter? Put me through untold suffering to achieve His purposes…and then just raise me from the dead to make it all better?
There is something wrong here. We end up with two opposing views of God. On the one hand a punitive God of wrath against sin who cannot tolerate sin or look at it, and on the other hand a loving, selfless Jesus, standing on our behalf, who loves the writhing mass and mess of humanity, and lives amongst us. If you really think long and hard on this model, the only conclusion you can make is that Jesus came and saved us from the Father! What kind of Father is he? It’s no wonder the world is disgusted with this.
And again, with this “God is holy and can’t look on sin” model…It’s rather perverse that a God of love and forgiveness requires payment for sin. I am a mere human, imperfect and made of dust. And yet, when my children sin and I see they are headed for destruction, I forgive them for free! I don’t require someone else to suffer just to make me feel better. My forgiveness is there immediately and for free…just because I love them. What kind of a Father requires innocent blood? It’s just a little sick don’t you think?
So, what I am learning is that the truest truth about God’s character is love and relationship. The doctrine of the trinity cannot be just brushed over. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one. They have always existed in relationship and this whole planet earth thing for all of time since creation is about God (meaning all three persons) welcoming us into and sharing that relationship with them. The Holiness of God is the perfect love, intimacy, and beauty of that relationship. You can’t separate the Holiness of God from the love of God. It’s all one.
Starting with a relational premise and not a legal one changes everything. Still thinking it all through..more another day.