Wearing the Right Spiritual Glasses
Manuel went to a clothing store to buy a black suit. He found one that pleased him, so he bought it. The suit still needed some alterations, so he left it in the store for a few says. Although, Manuel was pleased with his purchase there was uneasiness lingering. He did not like the lighting of the store. And, for some reason he had a thought ringing in his mind that the suit was not really black. Manuel went back to the store to pick up the suit. He tried on the suit for one last fitting before leaving the store. It fit well and he intently looked at the color of the suit and it looked black. He did not, however, ask anyone in the store. Manuel went home with his suit and hung it in the closet still in the garment bag. The day Manuel was going to finally wear the suit, he pulled the garment bag out of the closet. He unzipped the garment bag, only to discover the suit was navy blue.
Manuel went back to the store with the suit. He explained to the sales person that he wanted black suit, but the suit was navy blue. The sales person unzipped the bag and the suit looked black. He looked at Manuel puzzled. Manuel asked him if it were possible to take the suit outside. The sales person agreed, and as soon as the suit was outside it looked navy blue. "How can this be?" they asked. The only explanation was the light of the store. The light made the color look differently.
If you think about it, the only reason you see color is because of light. The light that reflects from the object into our eyes gives the object its color. A different color light may actually reflect a different color off the object. The same thing happens when we use sunglasses or shades of different colors. The light that enters our eyes is now filtered and modified by the color of the glass. It reminds me of an old Puerto Rican saying that says, "Everything is according to the color of the glass you are looking through." This has implications beyond an object's color. In life each person can explain the same event differently. What may seem to you like someone running ahead of their pet dogs is actually someone running away from those dogs.
The word for judgment can be interpreted in different ways. How we view judgment depends on what color lenses are we looking through. Likewise how we view judgment in the Bible depends on the color of the spiritual glasses we are looking through. This is also tied to your view of God. If your view of God is of a tyrannical arbitrary despotic king, then you will see judgment as the result of the breaking of an imposed Law; therefore you must be punished. But, if your view of God is one of a tender loving father doing all in His power to heal broken children, you will see judgment as the result of breaking of a natural law; therefore you must be healed or made whole.
In each respective case the judge serves a different role. In the former, the judge sits up high and distant, emotionally detached weighing the evidence to find where you went wrong so you can be punished accordingly. In the latter the judge is close, emotionally involved, - as a medical doctor - weighing the evidence to show you what is wrong, so he can correct it. Which judge would you prefer?
Let's face it, whether we admit it or not, we all know that we cannot undergo any kind of scrutiny and not be found with any faults. The thought of this terrifies us. Furthermore, many of those faults we did not choose, and have no control over them. Should we be held accountable for them? And, if we are held accountable why should we pay burning in a lake of fire for an eternity? It does not make any sense to have a God that stands by and lets violence and cruelty happen. In the meantime, He chooses some to punish and some to reward.
This concept of God has led many into atheism, eastern mysticism, new age, and lately, liberal expressions of Christianity. No God at all or a softer permissive God appeases the terrified hearts and minds of masses which live in fear of a tyrant punitive God, that requires appeasing. In the case of the liberal Christians that choose a softer permissive God they have gone from one extreme of man appeasing God to God appeasing man. There are two opposite ditches of the same road. Two sets of color glasses that end up with a distortion of reality.
What if God as judge is different than our judges? What if Biblical judgment is different than ours? What if God is not trying to find out what is wrong with us to condemn us? What if what God is trying to do is more like a recall? "I know there is something wrong, I know what it is, and I can fix it if you let me. This is what will happen if you do, this is what will happen if you don't." Will you put on these glasses and see if you like the view?
Scriptural evidence shows that the Father does not condemn us. He is as interested in us being saved as the Son. One example is Romans 8:5, "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us"
Christ didn't die in order to create love in God's heart for us. No, Jesus insists that the Father's love is the source, not the consequence, of the atonement (John 3:16, 17). God doesn't love us because Christ died for us; Christ died for us because God loved us. It was The Father who sent Jesus. The atonement of Christ was not offered to persuade the Father to love those whom He otherwise hated. The death of Christ did not bring forth a love that was not already in existence. Rather, it was a manifestation of the love that was eternally in God's heart. Jesus never had to persuade the Father to love us. Notice how He insists on this truth on John 16:26, 27.
John 16:27 For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God.
John 16:28 I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father.
Ellen White says that for the Father, "Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world. 'God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself' (2 Cor. 5:19)" (Steps to Christ, p. 13). Do you like those spiritual glasses better?