Friday, 25 January 2013

Can God look on sin?

Psalm 90:8  "You have set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of your countenance."

For most of my life I grew up believing a lot of things simply because they were repeated to me on a weekly basis. Some of those things had no truth in them whatsoever, but other things were a bit more difficult to discern, being dressed up in biblical proof texts. The heading of this Blog entry is one of the latter. It was not until I took a step back and tried to read the bible with no preconceived ideas (which is difficult because we all have them ingrained in us) that certain doctrines started to crumble while others stood firm.

So can God look upon sin or should I say sinners? Did he have to turn his head while Jesus hung on the cross? This is what I was taught based on one tiny sentence Jesus spoke recorded in Matthew 27:46, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?". Yet the bible is filled from cover to cover with stories of God interacting with fallen man. We see God seeking out Adam and Eve in the garden, and once they left the garden, guess who went with them and later on with their children. There is even that strange event in Job chapter 1 of Satan presenting himself before God and the conversation that took place between them.

So what about that verse in Matthew 27 then? The context of that is Jesus quoting Psalm 22 which is one of the Messianic Psalms. Verse 1 opens up with, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?...", and if you keep on reading until verse 24 we get this beautiful verse, "for He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither has He hid His face from him; but when he cried unto Him, He heard". While I do not claim to know what Jesus was thinking when he uttered those words, I am confident that he would have known the whole of that Psalm, including verse 24.

There is another verse in Habakkuk 1:13 which sometimes gets quoted as well, it says "You are of purer eyes than to behold evil, And cannot look on wickedness." but once again the context reveals that there is more to this story. For the very next words in the same verse say "Why do You look on those who deal treacherously..." 

Those 2 scriptures in context are in perfect harmony with the rest of scripture. God can look upon sin and sinners. As already stated, the story within the bible is really one of God interacting with a fallen and sin filled world. The Gospel itself proclaims that God seeks to restore both man and the rest of creation from its brokenness. Culminating in a new heaven, a new earth, and mankind as new creations in Christ.

Romans 5:8  "But God commends his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. "

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