Friday, 27 February 2015

How do you get off killing God?

Follower of Christ: has it ever occurred to you that because of your sin, you put God on a cross. You killed Him. Sorry to guilt trip you and lay some heavy accusations your way. It sure sounds like you believe this when you sing songs like How Deep The Fathers Love For Us with lines like:
Behold the Man upon a cross, My sin upon His shoulders...
It was my sin that held Him there... 
Besides songs like this the Bible says of the Messiah:
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
smitten by God, and afflicted. yet we esteemed him stricken,
he was crushed for our iniquities; But he was pierced for our transgressions;
and with his wounds we are healed. upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Paul claims that Christ died for his and the listeners sins:
For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:3)
Peter says it was our sins that Jesus bore on the cross and His wounds healed us:
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)
John extends the people involved with Jesus' death to not just the people he knows in the first century but for the whole world:
He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2)
So, fellow Christian, it sounds to me that you (and I) are responsible for killing God. If you killed God, you better get a good lawyer, because I don't think he would be too pleased with what you have done.

You may have a few things to claim in your defense. You literally didn't put him on the cross, it was the Romans who did that (note, not the Jews). Also you solely are not responsible, the rest of the world's sins were also mixed in with yours. So lets reduce this murder charge down to you being an accomplice. You may also say that your sins are more aimed at yourself and others, and not really God. You only indirectly offended God by harming yourself or others when you sinned. David would disagree with that, but lets call your involvement in killing God manslaughter.

While going through the Bible this year I noticed something about the cities of refuge that Israel was to set up. These cities were set up for someone who committed manslaughter to flee to and they were to be protected within the city if anyone tired to get revenged on them. This, in itself was an act of grace, allowing someone who killed another by accident (which is no small matter for the community) to at least live, but away from their family and social network. These cities were set up for the outcast, for people claiming asylum, for the desperate and for the unwanted- much like what our modern day church should be set up to be.

Now, someone who has fled to one of these cities of refuge could not leave under fear of death, except when the high priest died. This is a bit of a strange rule, but it does leave open the possibility of the manslaughterer to go home and being restored to their community, but only if another person dies. The high priests death seems to restore the legality of a person action of taking a life.

Maybe you don't buy that you committed manslaughter on God, and I'm not really going to go to the wall over the technicalities of your involvement in in. But what I do find interesting is that Jesus, the Son of God, the Lamb who takes away the sin of the world is also said to be our high priest. Particularly in Hebrews, it is clear that Jesus is not just a high priest, but the best one there is.

Jesus the high priest is able "to sympathize with our weaknesses" because he "has been tempted as we are, yet without sin." (Heb 4:15). He is "holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens" and has no need to offer daily sacrifices for himself and others because "he did this once for all when he offered up himself." (Heb 7:26-27). This high priest's one off sacrifice of Himself means that "that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant" (Heb 9:15).

It was our sin that put Jesus on the cross, but we get off on the charges because of the great high priest's sacrifice. It now leaves open the possibility of us to go home and being restored to a community in the Godhead, because of His death. The great high priests death seems to restore the legality of our actions in taking God's life.


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