What God sees is more physical, more organic, more tangible than academic concepts we create. The parables of Jesus give insight into the way God views our relationship.
The following simple graphic encapsulates what I, and I would hope all Christians, believe...
This is technically correct but lacks the power it should have in our lives because we don’t see it the way God sees it. Just as Jesus used many parables, and as Paul would quote from various writers in other nations, so I will offer some of my own.
We read John 15:5 about the vine and the branches and needing to remain in, or connected to, Jesus and miss the power of the parable because we think this means “to have faith in Jesus”. This is right but “faith” to us is pictured vaguely as some mental assertion about Jesus, something to do with what we think and acknowledge. In the last few years I have come to see these parables as giving insight into the way God sees things and not merely a pictorial description of faith and belief. I think that God sees faith and belief as a physical connection between us and what we have faith in. That is what the parable describes. So now let me paint two pictures that we can easily grasp in the present day...
The arrows in my diagram are too ill defined. Imagine now a pipe, like a garden hose, connected between you and Jesus. While He was on the Cross all our sin flowed down that pipe. Can you imagine the contents of your sewer flowing down it. That’s what sin is like. In Jesus, all that sewerage is dumped in the grave. It’s gone and done with.
Sin had no power over Jesus and He rose from the grave to be seated at the right hand of God Almighty, exulted as King of kings and Lord or lords. But the pipe still connects us, and His righteousness and perfection flows back down to us as crystal clear water.
It’s real and personal. That hose pipe is connected right to your/my belly-button where the umbilical cord used to be. Everything that was sick in you/me has been dumped and you/I have been refilled from the river of life. (I don’t say “us” to stress that it is personal. The decision can’t be made corporately, but by each individual.)
Have you ever been zapped by a static electricity build up. Imagine a build up high enough to kill you – that’s sin. Now replace the hose pipe with a high voltage electric cable. When Jesus went to the grave all your/my sin was grounded, dealt with and gone before you/I am judged. Then when He was raised to heaven, the power of God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, flows done that cable and empowers you/me.
(John 14:20) There are other scriptures that talk about being possessed by evil spirits while this scripture talks about a willing co-habitation. We start to see ourselves as possessing spiritual real-estate which Satan wants to steal and Jesus wants to share. Now imagine that we literally step inside Jesus. (This is easily pictured as Doctor Who’s Tardis, which is bigger on the inside than the outside.) As we enter our sin is wiped off onto Jesus, like a black tarry sludge.
What is death like? It is like a black hole – a collapsed sun whose gravity has become so strong that nothing can escape. Jesus descends into death but sin has no hold on Him, so the gravity just sucks off the sludge and Jesus rises from death, exits the black hole and carries us to heaven – all sin/sludge removed.
(John 14:6, John 10:9) Imagine Jesus body is a portal from here to heaven. Plenty of science fiction movies have painted this type of picture. As we pass through our sin is wiped off – again transferred to Jesus and it is left in this world. This allows us to pass sin free into heaven.
Imagine that from every child conceived, God takes just one strand of DNA. He removes the “use-by” date and all imperfections. He drops it in a sea of nutrient and the DNA starts to do what it’s designed to do and grows into a perfect new immortal body. However, it has no spirit and simply waits there, floating around. When you die your soul and spirit are released from your mortal body and finds a perfect DNA match with this new glorious body, already waiting. Alas, unless you were cleansed by Jesus, the stench of your sin remains upon you. It pollutes your new body and you know that this stench will never be allowed into Heaven. There is only one place left – the Lake of Fire. Will it literally be a Lake of Fire or will it be worse? It’s not God’s desire that you go there, but you have to accept Jesus to be cleansed.
If you leave a cold glass of some beverage on the table then, on a humid day, water condenses on the outside. Most people understand that this is the invisible water vapour in the air, turning back into liquid water when it touches the cold glass surface. The liquid water builds up and up on the surface until it runs off in large drops. Check out these points to see the beauty in this simple analogy:
The water vapour only condenses when it comes in contact with the cold surface. We have to come to Jesus. That’s it. Jesus does the rest.
This section’s title is something you can put into your search engine for technical details. A concentrated solution of some chemical is created and then a small ‘seed’ crystal or some other nucleoid is added and the chemical that is in the solution ‘grows’ or deposits itself on the surface. Here is how the analogy works:
Did you see the key points again? Jesus had to come as a man and be made sin to provide the focal point, the seed crystal that starts the crystallisation process to remove sin. We just have to come to Jesus and he will remove our sin.
Modern science has discovered anti-matter. When anti-matter comes into contact with ordinary matter, the two annihilate each other, giving off radiation. What I propose is that sin, rebellion, rejection of God, is like anti-matter. Let’s call it anti-god-matter.
By the way, the Big Bang Theory predicts equal amounts of anti-matter as matter but no can find the anti-matter. This is because all the things that God created were good
Anti-god-matter is real. Heaven is real and God’s
presence is everywhere in Heaven. In fact, His presence defines Heaven. God
alone is good and all eternal good things are in Heaven. Hell, better defined as
Sheol in the Old Testament or Hades in the New Testament,
has nothing good. This world and Hell will, in the end, pass away and all that will
be left is Heaven and the Lake of Fire
In regard to this world, we find
that “in Him we live and move and exist”
So where is all this leading? ...Well, once you view sin (rebellion), as anti-god-matter, then you can see why a sinner cannot enter heaven. As soon as a sinner attempted to enter heaven, the anti-god-matter would be annihilated. There are two key things for me to show you. First I must show you how well scripture alludes to this concept of sin as anti-god-matter but the second is even more important, so stay tuned.
I have already pointed out,
So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden
of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every
direction to guard the way to the tree of life.
...God established a flaming sword to prevent Adam and Eve from returning to the Tree of Life in the Garden of Eden where they had been in His full-on presence. Right from the very start of sin we see the unpassable fire as a barrier caused by sin. (Note: I interpret phrase “turned every direction”, as meaning that the sword patrolled all boundaries, and that alone was needed to block the way back. I propose that the cherubim were sent to protect Adam and Eve and offer a measure of the presence of the Lord.)
...I propose that the glory of the Lord here was like a glimpse of heaven breaking through into this world. At the interface between heaven and earth, where the perfection of heaven touched this fallen world, the conflict between these two realms (these two existences of matter), appeared as a consuming fire to the Israelites. The consuming fire is like the radiation created by the annihilation of matter with anti-matter.
OK, I have made it clear that there is some sort of burning, fiery, flaming, purging process that blocks sin from entering into God’s presence. Ultimately, this sin is locked away in a fiery place. So the anti-god-matter is a good modern-day parable, but now for that really important second part... Scripture is picturing this as a fiery process that is an attribute of God. It is not pictured as a decision, or judgement that God makes. Effectively we are told that there is an attribute of God’s presence that not just rejects sin, but utterly destroys sin. This is like the laws of physics in this world where anti-matter cannot coexist with matter.
Why is this important? There are other images from scripture that allude to sin being blocked from a holy righteous God. We also see the process of judgement as a barrier to entering God’s presence. However, this implies that some decision is being made and an assessment of our performance or attitude is involved. Then, somehow, only those who have believed in Jesus are forgiven—another mental decision. All these are beautiful concepts to be treasured, but wherever the process involves a decision by God, we lose sight of the decision God has already made! We also end up wondering about what happens to ‘good’ people who don’t believe.
God loves us and predestined us from before time began.
He does not change. He loved us even while we
were sinners, cut-off from Him and He still loves us when we die. So God made a
decision. He decided to send His own son, Jesus (
This section has migrated into “The living God”.
It’s all very personal between you/me and Jesus. It’s very intimate as indeed a bride is intimate with the groom. There is nothing and no one else in heaven or earth that can do what Jesus has done in all these scenarios, namely to separate us from our sin and present us holy and pure before his Father in Heaven.
The analogies I provide here are not meant to supplant the plain text descriptions where we see Jesus death as an atoning sacrifice enabling man to be forgiven. If you have already grasped Jesus and need for him though this terminology then praise God—you’re in. But we live in a world today that has largely lost the intuitive meaning of words like atone, sacrifice and righteousness. We are also fed so many alternatives where even truth is negotiable. Then there are the very complex questions that act like a smoke screen; questions like:
Answers to such questions start to talk about a Holy Righteous God, who loves us but we still face judgement. The solution of turning to Jesus is a paradox. It does not seem to relate logically to dealing with stealing and murder which is what most people understand as sin. Even the Church struggles with this in many places where it preaches law rather than grace.
The analogies here reveal sin as a real physical thing and as a barrier. It shows how Jesus deals with it and only Jesus can deal with it. There is a very slight danger in that some of these analogies stress a process. This was deliberate, to get away from words that involve academic concepts. The danger is that we lose focus on the person of Jesus and our relationship with this unique, awesome, sentient being. So, I would like to finish with a question that occurred to me as I was preparing the last few sections in this article and “The living God” in Jan 2016...
All through the Bible we see sacrifices being made. There are usually just two reasons. It is a sin offering—something offered in repentance of sin. Or, it is a fellowship offering—something offered in thanks. It is always by man to God. There is a sort of third reason, namely to remember what God has done, as in the case of the Passover sacrifice, but it is a bit like thanking God for what He has done in the past.
God told Abraham to offer his son Isaac, his only son, as a sacrifice but at the last second God stayed his hand and provided a ram. I believe that because Abraham trusted God, God decided or signalled, that He would send his own son as a sacrifice; the lamb that takes away the sin of the world. This was the will of God. Surely then Jesus was God’s sacrifice, not man’s sacrifice.
NO! That is what I thought for a few minutes. But then I went back to the garden of Gethsemane, when the temple guards and officials, led by Judas, came to arrest Jesus at night. Jesus was wide awake and saw them coming. He could have so easily slipped away into the shadows. But Jesus stepped forward knowing full well what was going to unfold. Jesus the man — offered himself! Yes, God had provided the sacrifice but Jesus offered it. My analogies focus on the process that his subsequent death and resurrection made possible, but it was a man, knowing the agony that was before him, yet who loved God and his fellow man, chose to suffer death.
Here is a beautiful twist... Satan had entered into Judas who was nominally leading
the officials and guards. When Jesus came forward he said, “I told you that I am
He; so if you seek me, let these go their way,”
...You really don’t have to understand the process. You just have to be with Jesus!