Tag Archives: “What does the Atonement Say About God?”

What does Atonement Say About God? Pt 2

Here is the second half of my talk. Now I think a better title would be Atonement vs. At-one-ment.

If atonement is someone had to die so you and I don’t have to; then why is healing important? Why did Jesus always ask, except on Sabbath, “Do you want to be healed?” or “What do you want me to do for you?” If atonement is paying off Satan, then why stress healing? Why did Jesus spend most of his time healing, at the direction of Abba and Ruach? It was Their power not his that he used. He had to stay subject to Them just like we do! That was the plan–he would be our do-over–succeed as a human where Adam failed. His life was just as important as his death! Seeing God as wanting to heal us was important. They weren’t angry with us. Their ” vengeance” was sending Jesus to heal us. (Isaiah 35.)

God’s problem was showing who was telling the truth about reality and Their character. It was also being fair in healing our brokenness, our dual nature. But since They created us whole, justice only requires our want to. We have to choose to be whole again. We have to want God’s way.

At the first council on Rules of Engagement in the war between good and evil, I imagine Satan said, “You can’t take them back if you won’t take us back. It’s not fair.”

I’m sure Abba said, “But you didn’t want healing. We tried for ages to rescue you. Your choices turned you into someone else from the beautiful Light bearer we created–you became a power monger. You soon didn’t want to be like us. You wanted Our power. Evil has ruined your ability to love.” I suppose everyone there heard tears in His voice.

So Satan attempts to argue with Michael (Adonai) over Moses body, because he claimed Moses as a sinner (Jude 9). Moses had failed, even in God’s service. And in Satan’s mind every dead human is his!

Michael responds by reminding Satan who he is speaking to, “The Lord rebukes you. Step aside, Satan,” and He resurrects Moses, taking him off to heaven.

This is how I imagine it went down afterwards. No doubt Satan demanded another council on the Rules of Engagement then, shouting, “That’s not fair! That is not justice! Everyone who sins is mine! I have the power of death on earth. (Hebrews 2:14) I am the god of this world. They chose my way. You can’t just raise them to life and take them to heaven!”

Adonai answers, “Then accordingly,  if they choose Our way, they are Ours, and I will go through death as a man and take back its power from you.” Is it any wonder Satan hates us so badly? He’s been conquered and stripped of his power by love for us. He couldn’t believe Adonai would come here as Jesus and die. And seeing him rise again, he knew he’d lost the power of death ultimately. So now he tries to prove he still has it–as often as he can.

So does this healing into wholeness mean we have to give up who we are? We can’t be us, but have to deny ourselves as Jesus seems to say in Luke 9 and Mark 8? I used to hate these passages because to me it said I couldn’t be me.

Then my little brother was killed in a car crash at 22, and I was bequeathed his New English Bible. I came to that passage in his bible and it said, “What will it profit you to win the whole world at the cost of your true self?” (emphasis, mine) I was in Family Systems class at the time and learning about pseudo-self and solid-self. Lights went on all over my brain.

Over a two-year period God showed me there are two selves in scripture–the true self and the false self–the persona or mask we wear to look acceptable which hides the broken true self we deny. Once again we have it backwards. Our natural tendencies are backwards because we were made to run on love, but we don’t anymore.

One night Ruach read that scripture to me as, “If anyone would be a follower of mine he must take off his mask (deny his false self), take up his brokenness (admit it, get it healed) and come with Me. If you attempt to save your false self, you will lose you. But if you will let yourself lose the false self (who you think you want to be) to gain love, trust and authenticity, then you are safe. What does it profit you if you gain the approval of the whole world and lose your true self?

Now it is my favorite scripture! If God wanted robots–cookie cutter people–or even Jesus clones, They wouldn’t have had to go through such a long painful ordeal to demonstrate the reality of the two laws at war, the Law of Love and Life and the Law of Sin and Death. God needs us to know Them and Their characters in relationship, Their trustworthiness; and based on that, to desire and choose the identity They created us to have–our free and perfect true selves, and then justice is established.

Lucifer wouldn’t choose to stay the person he was created to be. God worked long and hard to show him where he was headed. He wanted his own way until it had ruined him past the point of healing. And we have to choose God’s way over the pull of our brokenness. We have to want healing. So Satan continually asks for tests of suffering for us–claiming we won’t stay. We won’t be loyal. We won’t choose Them and Their law. He has always claimed that we serve Him out of fear or reward. Just as he said about Job.

But God uses suffering as Their best teacher to bring us out of the darkness of ignorance–which consists of what we think we want–to see the truth of our brokenness. As a therapist I see it all the time. People who are ready to look at their brokenness because the suffering is so intense, and see the life, the mess, the addictions they have created .

And sometimes people won’t look at themselves. They don’t want to see that there is anything wrong with them–it’s everyone else’s fault. They are afraid of what they will see,  usually setting themselves up for more suffering. And that is why it is, and was, so amazing that the God of the universe, the Creators of everything would be willing to go through horrific suffering together to win Their trial. Because if we rightly interpret Romans 3:4 and Revelation 14:7, it is God who is on trial before the universe, not us. We are Their witnesses, testifying to Their character. If we say God is good even though we are suffering, we are expert witnesses (expert and experience come from the same root.)

Then They defend us before the universe, when Their case is won. And when will that be? Jesus conquered Satan at the cross showing who was telling the truth about God–They are good, about Satan–he is evil, and about sin–it kills, evil destroys. According to Revelation 20 , it will be over when everyone bows ad admits that God is more than fair in giving everyone their choices: life or death.

And the universe has been watching. They too have seen what we have suffered, and they easily believe God about us. Because They know now–even though they still have some questions about us, that God is all good and trustworthy. That is the good news!

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What does the Atonement Say About God? Pt 1

Below is the first half of the talk I’m giving at the Character of God Conference in three weeks. Your feedback is appreciated. There is nothing worse than finding out nobody understood you because you didn’t explain enough. And these are fairly new concepts, so it is important that it’s clear. Thanks.

What does the Atonement say about God’s Character?

To atone is to make up for a wrong or injury, and since we are broken with two natures; we have no ability to fix ourselves, and God clearly has to. But if we think, as I hear so many people say, “The gospel is that Jesus came and died for us,” then the good news becomes small and mostly about us. He saved us by dying in our place. But doesn’t that sound like God killed Jesus so He didn’t have to kill us?

Why did Jesus die?

As I said earlier sin killed Jesus by separating him from God; Satan just set up the physical human part of his death; and that was important for the whole on-looking universe to see. As Lucifer, he had claimed that God caused death. That was also the reason God kept Lucifer and his defectors alive. No one had seen death or even evil before Satan activated The Law of Sin and Death through his choices. If God had allowed natural consequences, they would have died and the watching universe would have thought God killed them.

So what? You may think, They are God They can do as they please. But it would have left fear in minds, wondering if that is how God keeps order–killing those who disagree. That was what Satan claimed.

In fact, Satan probably thought, God said we would die, but we haven’t. He was probably trying to scare us into submission. So perhaps his words to Eve, “You won’t die…” were him pushing God, his test to see what would happen to them. What is death really? Will they die? And what will happen to me and my followers? By now he has probably convinced himself that he won’t die. We come to believe our own lies, and he has watched a lot of humans die.

But God doesn’t want children who serve Them from fear. They want children who love and choose Their way because they love and admire Their character. Children who believe living with others in joy and peace and respect seems like heaven. Because of this They needed to bring us back into one mindset with Them.

At one ment was the atonement God was after. We see it in Jesus’ prayer for us in John 17. That is the one prayer God must answer with a yes for us. When we come asking for oneness with Them, we’ve got it–because Jesus has already secured it with his request.

We also see it in Jesus preaching in Matt 11. “Come to me” he says. Just come. Why? He wants to give us rest. Even our work can be rest. He says his yoke is easy; and what he gives us to carry is light. And then he explains it. A yoke was put on cattle to make their work easier, to keep them in synch and make the pulling lighter. Jesus invites us to put on the yoke that he wears, it has a place for us on the other side, and we will live and work together as one. That’s at one ment! He also assures that it fits our true self perfectly. I’ll say more about your true self next week.

But what about all the scary pictures of God in the Old Testament? They made me want to keep God at arm’s length in my first two decades. He certainly seemed to say “Love me or I’ll kill you.” But that was before I learned that God’s wrath was God letting go–letting us do whatever we want. Think of it: God’s worst anger, Their scariest action, is letting us have our own way. There are a lot of parents raising their children in wrath today!

When God lets us do whatever we want, the enemy usually gets us to go his way. The artistry of his deception and our broken natures wanting the easy way to feel better makes us easy targets.

In the books of the prophets Adonai seemed to do a lot of shouting! Then I learned He was shouting because the people had so little true self. They had been slaves and they wanted to do their own thing so badly that they had a hard time trusting that God really had their best interests at heart. And some of it was just because they could–they were finally free–they wanted to do as they pleased! So God is shouting, “Dangerous curves ahead!” or “Ice on pavement!” or “Fire!”

And God doesn’t expose Satan. They don’t pull  his covers. They give him time to show his character. They aren’t going to badmouth him. So Ruach let the prophets write it as if the bad things were coming from God.

Why? This used to really bother me!

They want us to know that there is no shortage in Their power. It isn’t because God’s enemies, or ours, are too strong for God. You can walk with Him and be blessed or you can walk with Their enemies and be cursed with the curse of sin and death. God isn’t cursing you. If that is what you want, you are free to do that, but you will die. And in Hosea 11, Adonai cries “Why will you die? How can I give you up? I want to give you the world (literally) and the moon and the stars!”

Through the whole Old Covenant God was showing us and the universe that even though God’s laws would keep us safe (literally “My commandments will keep you” John 14:15) it wasn’t enough. We have to want a heart relationship with Them like Abraham and Moses had. He was shouting warnings, but they were also invitations full of love and what They want to do for us–make us into our true selves and bless us beyond belief with every imaginable good thing.

But They won’t buy us. They don’t want anyone who doesn’t want Them for a love relationship. They don’t want people to serve Them for the gifts.

(This is the first half. The rest will come next week.)

 

 

 

 

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