18. Sacrifice III: The Lamb Slain
How does Jesus win your heart?
18. Sacrifice III: The Lamb Slain
Now we come to the heart and soul of Sacrifice – I mean that literally.
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels. . . 2 Corinthians 4:7
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.Matthew 13:44
Jesus is the one who sold His life poured out for us, that He might purchase from us our entire field. Notice that He does not buy the field for the field, but for the treasure hidden in the field. Thus Jesus swallows up everything that is in the field (Christ as us) for one purpose, that He might have the treasure for Himself. When that treasure belongs entirely to Him, then the field (our mortal flesh) will showcase that treasure, yes.
But the treasure is the thing. And that treasure Jesus cannot “buy”; rather, He must win it by Love.
Jesus can buy the field, Christ as you, but He cannot buy the treasure, your heart. That treasure He must win by Love before the field ever can be transformed.
To comprehend this treasure and to understand how it is only a Man laying down His life that can win this treasure, we must rebuild in our view the real place of Sacrifice, not the Altar of Burnt Offering, but the Mercy Seat, the place where the Blood is sprinkled.
Once the Mercy Seat was placed on the Ark of the Covenant, there is no record of it ever having been lifted off of that Ark again. Thus, although of necessity we speak of the two to understand them, the two are always together as one. When we say, “The Ark of the Covenant,” we mean the Mercy Seat as well, and when we say, “The Mercy Seat,” we mean the Ark as well.
Let's consider the Mercy Seat.
The Mercy Seat was fashioned out of a single chunk of gold. I have no personal working knowledge of gold, but when I was a boy, my dad melted lead to pour into the joints of the sewer lines in our home which he was building. Thus for years there were a couple of ingots of lead in the dusty corner of our garage. Lead is surprisingly heavy for its size – I think they were five pound ingots. Yet lead is pliable; it is easily beaten and formed with a hammer.
Gold is one notch up from lead on the periodical table of elements. That means it is slightly heavier and slightly less pliable than lead. Thus gold will retain its formed shape while lead will slowly lose it over time.
You can cast gold, of course, and that is how the original chunk of gold for the Mercy Seat was formed. The people of Israel gave their gold jewelry to the craftsmen who melted it down and cast it into one large chunk. But you do not make something enduring and beautiful with gold by casting it, but rather by beating it out from a formless glob until it takes shape and form and beauty.
I'll make a very rough guess and suggest that the original orb of gold sufficient to be the Mercy Seat weighed about fifty pounds. That fifty pounds would be much smaller than you would think and thus you would be astonished at its weight if you picked it up. It's just a block of gold, without form or beauty. It does not glitter.
Then the craftsmen use special little hammers to beat and beat upon that formless blob of gold. They beat it for weeks. Slowly the formless blob divides into two blobs connected by a thin piece. Then portions of those two blobs spread out thin all around. Finally, the two blobs are beaten, bit by bit, into the shapes of the cherubim, wings spread wide, looking down upon the shelf of gold in between them.
Thus the form of God, formlessness, no boundaries in space, no cessation in time, yet utterly invisible, takes its first form as God readies Himself to be seen and touched, the form of a Servant, the form of the Mercy Seat.
Yet this form, the form of a Servant, is still 100% gold, 100% God the Father.
This Mercy Seat, this form of God as Servant, serves three purposes. First, it covers the Ark and the Covenant in that Ark; second, it contains the Blood and with the Blood the empty tomb; and third, it carries those who sit upon it.
Thus God as Servant covers all things with His Mercy. He remembers what must be remembered (Christ) and forgets what must be forgotten (sin). And God as Servant carries all inside Himself all the way into life.
I think I understand the two cherubs just a bit now. Here is God's word concerning them.
. . . and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard (keep both open and closed) the way to the tree of life.Genesis 3:24
The cherubim are two; they are the keepers of the way. One beholds the Blood; the other beholds the empty tomb. Thus they picture absolute safety on the one hand and total annihilation on the other. That which is accepted is safe, that which is not allowed is forever gone.
. . . the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6
You see, this is the power of the patterns of God in the Old Testament. In my series on The Two Gospels, I proposed that we cannot know what God is except by odd out-of-the-way clues such as – What is a God who groans in travail? Yes, we saw that odd clue because it is in the New Testament, but we did not know where it fit. Now we do.
The gold passed from formlessness to the form of the Mercy Seat by the beating of hammers. It is the travail of God by which God continuously, every moment, draws Himself towards visibility into the form of God that can become known to His creation, the form of a Servant.
However, even though God continuously takes on the form of a Servant, He remains invisible. God first comes into view as Word and in that word, life. And that Word becomes flesh and we behold His glory.
There is an Old Testament term for Word becoming flesh – The Ark of the Covenant. You see, gold represents God and God is invisible. Thus the gold covering the acacia wood of the Ark is invisible to creation.
All we see is a Man laying down His life for His friends. All heaven sees is a Lamb as it had been slain.
And inside that Ark, inside that Man of flesh, is the bond of the Covenant – the beating heart of Christ, the Heart of God. In the Old Covenant, that bond of the Covenant was a piece of stone. It was carried in a box of wood covered with metal. As the writer of Hebrews said, the New Covenant is “better” than the Old.
The core of the gospel, the core of Sacrifice, the core of Salvation is not redemption and the erasure of a pointless sin-story. And it is not, even, putting on the mind of Christ, that is, rivers going out setting creation free, Salvation-revealed. The core of Sacrifice is here in these words of Paul. These words speak far more than they say on the page; they must wash over us forever before we will even begin to see what they mean.
You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men; clearly you are an epistle of Christ, ministered by us, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of flesh, that is, of the heart. 2 Corinthians 3:2-3
When I read things I wrote a few years ago, I discover the same things I am writing today. But I KNOW this, I had no idea then that what I know now was ever inside those words. This is Christ and Christ is forever.
I am convinced that Paul had no idea the extent of forever meaning found in his words. He was simply consumed with what he was sharing with the Corinthians, drawing from his heart words that seemed to convey his present meaning. Yet those Words are Christ and the unfolding of Christ is forever. We will never come to the end of the astonishment and wonder of what these words, especially in these two verses, really mean.
People imagine that the writers of the Bible knew what they were saying. They had no idea. Yes, they knew Christ in their present moment, but they had no idea of the unfolding of God out from those words.
In the Old Covenant, the word was written on stone. In the New Covenant, the word is written on hearts, hearts of flesh, the Heart of the Son of God.
What does it mean for Jesus to win our hearts? It means very simply that we allow Jesus' heart to be our only heart. That we accept that our heart IS His heart in spite of what we see and feel.
The testimony of the real Covenant is the beating Heart of Jesus.
Your heart is far more the Bible than the Bible ever could be. – Your heart IS God's Covenant.
Again, God's picture is simple and clear. There is no confusion, yet few have beheld it.
And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.” Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:21-24
Here is the exact same thing in the New Testament.
But when they came to Jesus and saw that He was already dead, they did not break His legs. But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. And he who has seen has testified, and his testimony is true; and he knows that he is telling the truth, so that you may believe. John 19:33-35 – (joined together with) – That He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish . . . For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.Ephesians 5:27-32
Before another person's heart can be removed from him in order to be transplanted into you, the heart donor must be put to sleep (lay down His life). Only then is his chest opened wide, his heart removed and transferred to you to be planted in you as your own heart, the Bride, the very flesh of Christ.
Eve, the highest pinnacle of glory and beauty in God's physical creation, was formed by God out of a rib taken from Adam's side.
The Church, the highest pinnacle of glory and beauty in God's entire creation, is formed by God, not out of Jesus' rib only, but out of His Heart, flesh of His flesh. Yet the rib, the form and structure, the Ark that carries the Covenant, is not excluded, for we are also bone of His bones.
This is not a metaphor except by that which causes us to know by heart that this is real and absolute.
Don't ever see yourself any other way. Don't ever tell yourself any other story.
God does not punish; God does not rape. – Those words are harsh and grating, but they must be said in that way because all the Christian sin-speakers sitting in their little bubbles of sin-story, holding the life of Christ in one hand and their own sin in the other, have spun the story that God does both.
God will never plant His Word in you without your consent, God as Servant becoming known to you as your very and only life, married to Him as His own. God always wins your heart first. God enters only by faith.
How does Jesus win your heart?
Only story can show us. I want to talk about two movies. These are both terrible movies. I do not endorse the actions taken by the men in these movies to accomplish their purposes. However, although those actions are terrible, both stories give us the picture we must have. For indeed, the actions of God in the unfolding of His story are also terrible. Redemption occurs inside of violence.
Mercy is a terrible thing. There is total annihilation upon the Mercy Seat; life laid down, love poured out.
Thus, if you have not watched them, I suggest with caution (these films contain horrific violence) that you watch Man on Fire with Denzel Washington and Taken with Liam Neeson. There is a word spoken and a single scene to view in each of those movies that will impart to you the reality of Jesus' winning your heart for Himself. Yet both the word and the scene are given meaning only by the terrible aspects of each story.
Because of that word and that scene in each movie, I can watch them over and over and still be overwhelmed by the wonder and glory of my Father.
The two movies are basically the same story, a daughter is kidnapped and the father/father figure pursues the kidnappers with single-hearted determination to find and rescue his daughter. Yet, although the meaning of the word spoken and the scene displayed are the same, yet they show two different aspects of the Mercy Seat of God, thus I present both. (Put yourself in the mind of the kidnapped girl in each; she is you.)
The Mercy Seat of God shows up near the end of both movies, in Man on Fire in the center of a bridge, in Taken in the inner bedroom of a yacht. Let me recount both stories here, though I must spoil them if you have not already watched them. Thus, if you prefer not to be spoiled, rent them both, watch them, let both Mercy-Seat scenes overwhelm your heart, then come back and read this.
Let's start with Taken. Liam Neeson plays a former CIA agent, Brian Mills, with much experience in hostile lands. After retiring, he attempts to re-connect with his daughter, but she, though a good and decent girl, does not know him well enough to hold him in her heart as a daughter should her father. The daughter, Kim, flies to Paris with a friend to follow a band touring Europe. They are not there one day before they are both kidnapped by criminals to be sold into the sex-slave markets.
However, Mills is speaking by phone with his daughter Kim as she is “taken.” The bulk of the story, then, is his pursuit of Kim, knowing that he has only 48 hours before she will be gone from him forever. Mills is a complete picture of single-minded intensity. He draws on all possible resources, both within and without and allows absolutely nothing to stand in his way. He knows that if he does not, Kim will be condemned to a life of horror. At no point does he consider any pain he must endure or slowing down even one second.
When he finally fights his way through obstacles that would have stopped a lesser man, he kills the rich sheik who has bought Kim, moments before the window of redemption would close. She has been drugged, and is partially groggy. As she collapses into her father's arms she says, in awed wonder, “Daddy, you came for me.”
Liam Neeson's reply, when I first heard it, went all through me in great sobs. – “I told you I would.”
Only the lost know Salvation. Only the forgiven wash His feet with tears.
“Daddy, You came for me.” – “I told you I would.” – The Mercy Seat of God.
Those who practice self-righteousness simply have no idea how lost they really are.
You see, the Ark of the Covenant did not just dwell in the inner sanctuary. Whenever Israel went forward, it was the Ark they followed. The Ark does not wait for us, but it seeks us out with the intensity and focus of a Father who will stop at nothing to rescue the love of His heart.
From that moment on, Kim held her father's heart and life inside of her as her own. You can be sure that never again would she need to put herself into a vulnerable situation. All she ever needed to do was look inside her heart, and she would see her father's heart beating there inside of hers.
Those who look at their hearts and see wickedness and deceit have no knowledge of God, though He utterly carries them. Those who look at their own hearts and see nothing but the intensity and drive of Father's heart filling theirs full are those whose hearts are won by Sacrifice.
“Daddy, You came for me.” – “I told you I would.”
In the movie, Man on Fire, Denzel Washington plays John Creasy, (pronounced Kraycee) a washed out former mercenary who takes on the position of bodyguard for a rich little girl in Mexico City. At first he tries to have no heart, but it doesn't take long before the little girl, Pita, (played by Dakota Fanning) has won his heart. Then Pita is kidnapped, and he is wounded almost to death unable to prevent it. The ransom money is paid, but stolen before the kidnappers receive it. As soon as Creasy is strong enough, he pursues Pita's kidnappers for revenge, thinking she is dead.
Again, as in Taken, Creasy displays single-minded devotion, drawing on all resources available and allowing nothing to deter him from his pursuit. His actions seem more terrible than Liam Neeson's in Taken, partly because he seeks only revenge. However, when he finally works his way through to a direct connection with the man who actually holds Pita, he hears the words on the phone, “a life for a life.”
At this point he is wounded again, a wound that will lead to death unless he receives medical help. When he knows that Pita is still alive, he agrees to trade his life for hers. The climax scene takes place on a bridge. The kidnappers are on one side, Pita's mother on the other, and Creasy stands in the middle of the bridge in the line of fire from the kidnappers.
The exchange takes place in the center of the bridge. Creasy does not give his life to the kidnappers. He gives his life to Pita. In the movie, Creasy's “life” is represented by a little teddy bear that belongs to Pita and which she had named, “Creasy.” In the same meaning, Creasy places Pita's journal in which his name is recorded into her hands on the bridge. As he sent her on to her mother and turned to walk toward the kidnappers, he was already dead. They received nothing.
“A life for a life” is an absolute bond. For the rest of her life, Pita would hold Creasy's “life” in her heart as her own.
Now, here is where the terrible parts in both stories show their importance. You see, my recounting the main points of both stories CANNOT impart to you the impact and meaning of the Mercy Seat of God as it shows itself in these story climax scenes. You must be engaged with the stories themselves in order to comprehend the full impact and meaning.
In exactly the same way, and far more so, we engage fully with the real story of a Man rising to His feet in Gethsemane as we, utterly inside of Him, look out from His eyes all the way through death and into life and seated now upon the throne of Heaven, the Mercy Seat of God, looking out now upon all things through those same eyes, the Lamb as it had been slain.
Here alone do we know the full bond of the Covenant.
Your heart was formed by God in such a way that the only way you would ever give Him your heart is to be won utterly by a Man laying down His life for you, trading His life for yours, giving you His life and taking away all your inability, failure, and darkness, taking it all away as His own.
Jesus won my heart for Himself the very moment I knew that He had swallowed up ALL my inability and had become all that I am. Jesus won my heart for Himself the very moment I knew that my Father had come for me. Jesus began to win my heart for Himself when He convinced me, by the Covenant, that my heart is good. He won it completely when He convinced me that my heart was not just good, but that it is, in fact, His heart. Jesus won my heart utterly the moment I KNEW that never again did I have to analyse anything I felt or saw, but that in all ways, at all times, my heart IS His heart.
It was not the sin-story of self in this world that the Father rescued me from, but the horrific sin-story of Nicene Christianity. That sin-story is a thousand times worse than the sin-story of those who are not born again. Holding in one hand the redemption of Jesus' life and holding in the other a “sin nature of my own” and running back and forth in endless desperation has a name in the Bible, it is called the Christian “hell.”
Here is the truth. If my sin and my sinfulness in all that they mean do not utterly belong to Jesus as His own possession, purchased from me with His Blood, then I would never be able to escape the whispering of the sin-story in the back of my mind and thus never come to the fullness of Salvation that takes place in that one moment on the Day of Atonement. Because I KNOW and tell myself continually, that all of my sin and inability BELONGS to Jesus and not to me, then, and only then, can my own sin story be utterly and forever erased.
And I can KNOW that it is utterly and forever erased BECAUSE I see out from the eyes of a Man who laid down His life just for me, because I live only out from His heart beating as mine. – Sacrifice.
I want to look more closely at the Mercy Seat as it is pictured for us in Man on Fire, there on that bridge. What we see in that movie scene is the exchange: “a life for a life.” What does that mean?
For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22
More than once, Paul places Christ alongside of Adam, that the two are both identical and the opposite, both at the same time. What is identical is the exchange, what is the opposite is who and what.
I surmise that sin did not exist before Adam and the serpent made their deal. Thus I further surmise that the serpent could not have sinned apart from Adam and Adam could not have sinned apart from the serpent. Sin and death were formed, entering the experience of the creation, both heaven and earth, by the deal struck between these two characters and by the exchange that took place between them.
The serpent was the most glorious heavenly being created by God. He was everything Christians think of when they imagine “glory in heaven.” As God's heavenly glory, he most certainly reflected elements of God that God wished to place on display. What really bothered this glorious heavenly being, however, were the words God spoke when He formed man, “Let Us make man in Our image and after our likeness.”
The serpent was a fully conscious created being; that is, he was fully self-aware. He knew that he was the grandest created being in all the heavens of God. Thus the words, “Man in Our image and likeness” really bothered him. At first he was just curious, so he went to see what this “image and likeness of God” looked like.
The serpent was not impressed. (I am laying this out again, because it is so very important, the very essence of the Sacrifice of Jesus changing our minds.)
It is here, looking at this weak little fleshy creature, Adam, that the serpent formed the first buds of thought that would become sin. The serpent thought in his heart, “This disgusting thing cannot be like God.” Then, in answer, the thought came, “I'm the one who should be called the image and likeness of God. I sure look like God far more than this worm.” However, right along with that thought, a tinge of fear also rose in the serpent's heart. Again, this was not yet sin, sin does not become sin until the thought congeals into word and action.
The serpent was not ignorant; he knew that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given to this man, “Adam, subdue all things.” He knew that Adam was the master and he, the glorious serpent, was but a servant. He knew that if Adam commanded he must obey. Thus he crafted a bluff.
(Understand that in the garden, there is no distinction between heaven and earth. The two are never separated ever, not then and not now. Before sin entered all heavenly beings and all earthly beings lived and walked together. Only by sin and death were the two divorced and that only in the ignorance of man.)
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. Genesis 3:1
Thus jealousy passed from its birthing in the serpent's heart into words, “Did God indeed say?”
Let's move forward, then, to the exchange. We MUST have this picture clear.
The serpent's desire was simple, he wanted his outward heavenly appearance to be the reflection of who and what God really is (like God). At the same time, the very moment Adam's eyes lit upon the serpent, he did a quick double take between himself and this picture of overwhelming heavenly glory. At the same moment, the serpent's words, “You shall be like God,” screeched all through his psyche. Those words made no sense, Adam already was the likeness and image of God. Yet it was clear that this superior appearance was far more glorious in outward appearance than Adam, created at the juncture of God and dirt, ever could be.
The deal the two struck in that moment, Adam the master, the serpent all bluff and bravado, was a simple trade, a life for a life. Only, it wasn't really a life for a life, it just appeared that way to both. What they really exchanged was a lie for a lie, and in that exchange, the lie became sin and killed them both. Yes, the serpent was a murderer right from the start, but of truth, Adam far more so.
We did not die because of the serpent; it was Adam from whom death came to all in both heaven and earth.
Look at the horrors into which Kim was dragged. Look at the hell into which Pita entered. The extent of their nightmares can be measured against the desperate measures and the horrific actions into which their redeemers hurled themselves.
Why the sacrifice of Jesus? Because He hurled Himself into our rescue from our own deluded sin-story. Jesus did not rescue us from Adam; He rescued us from ourselves, from our own self-created hatred of God's image.
All the horrors of heaven and earth come directly out from both Adam and the serpent's hatred of God's image. All the horrors from which we are being rescued come directly out from our own hatred of God's image, a hatred shared by heaven and earth. Listen, even angelic beings who did not follow the serpent, are still frightened of man. They do not trust us; we have brought only horror into their lives as well as ours.
Let me define Jesus' changing your mind. Your mind is forever changed when you are content to be the image and likeness of God, a man laying down his life for His friends, no longer desiring the super appearance of outward heavenly glory.
The serpent wanted his appearance to be known as the likeness of God. Adam agreed with him, preferring to look like that appearance of glory, not like a man of flesh hanging there bloody and bruised. – A lie for a lie.
You know, it would not surprise me in the least, as the serpent is cast out of the realms of spirit, as we cast him down, and finds only physical form here on the earth, if he would appear exactly as everyone is looking for a super-Jesus to appear, if this same serpent, now physical only, came as “Jesus with the Jews.” It would not surprise me in the least if he displayed all the glory and wonder everyone is looking for as they define a deified “God” and as they define a deified“Christ,” or if he instructed the “Christians” to eliminate these heretics who claim that human flesh IS the image and likeness of God, a man laying down his life for his friends.
I like story, and some of the superhero animated films are great stories. But I also know how to separate between a fictional story and the reality of life and God. In complete contrast, we are seeing more and more the image of Christ as a superhero filling the mind of the church. We have always known those who equate their spiritual gifts with “maturity in God,” as if it is those gifts that make them the image and likeness of God. We have known the emptiness and frustration they always bring.
Let's bring this right back into Sacrifice. Here is the action of the Day of Atonement in the life of the church, the one action that changes the universe, as it is described in one way among many.
. . . the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Revelation 12:10-11
You see, we were NOT redeemed from the serpent. Jesus did not purchase us back from the serpent. In complete contrast, it was Adam who did the buying and the serpent who did the selling.
Even though this exchange was a lie for a lie, it was also, in every way, a life for a life.
Adam was, in his very life, the image and likeness of God. Adam appraised his being the clearest and brightest representation of an invisible God to all creation and did not value it at all. At the same time, he looked with full understanding at all the heavenly glory of the highest magnificence in the heavenly realms and valued that picture more than his own life. Thus he thought it a great bargain. He would use his claim to being the real appearance of God to creation as his purchasing power, he would forgo eating of the tree of life, which life had been calling to his heart up until that moment, and he would give the title he held to the serpent. In exchange, he would get to call heavenly glory the image and likeness of God.
Only it isn't and never can be. Thus Adam died, and the serpent fell into ruin, and death passed upon all things.
Adam imagined that he would now look like the serpent. Adam became only a horror, but in the mind of man, “God” meant outward heavenly glory. Let me define “deification”: calling an angel the image of God.
The Sacrifice of Jesus comes to us in that same way. This time, Jesus is buying for Himself all our self-created Adamic horror, and He is buying it with His Blood, His life poured out, the image of God. A life for a life. Jesus looked at all heavenly glory and did not value it above that life poured out, God manifest in the flesh; He did not consider it something to be grasped.
This exchange is as complete with us right now as Adam's exchange was the moment his teeth pierced the fruit of knowledge. When we KNOW that it is, the universe will be transformed.
God must change our minds; He does that by Sacrifice. God has changed our minds when we know that we are in all ways right now, just like Jesus, the brightness of God's glory and the express image of His Person. God has changed our minds when we cease forever lusting after the outward appearance of glory in the heavens and simply accept God as He IS, a love poured out, a life laid down, upwelling within us as fountains of water every moment. – A Man on His knees to serve.
Adam paid to the serpent his place in the universe, the image of God, for a false self of superior outward appearance. Jesus paid to us His life as our own for that same false self now to belong only to Him. We possess only His life as our very own. He carries all that we are inside of Himself, including all that is false.
Nicene Christianity posits that Jesus died to satisfy an essential requirement of righteousness held by a God of eternal punishment without hope. Thus in their view, Jesus died for God.
I have posited that Jesus died for us, hurling Himself into our darkness at complete loss to Himself solely to rescue us from our own horror, and that all the way through the Father rushed to rescue us inside of Jesus.
Let's now read through every verse in the list of New Testament verses on Sacrifice. – – Having just done that, I can now confidently rest knowing that nothing in the New Testament supports the darkness of Nicene Christianity in pushing a far-away and demanding God. At the same time, nothing that I read would require me to re-consider the picture I have given. In contrast, most that God says supports it fully. Consider these lines.
And the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.John 6 – God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them. 2 Corinthians 5 – That He, by the grace of God (God in us now known by us), might taste death for everyone. Hebrews 2:9
Sin is not and never has been the issue for God. The issue has always been the cessation of our sin story and Christ Jesus Himself being our only life. The issue for God has always been first becoming known to us as the Love One who fills us full and second, revealing Himself out from as to all creation as rivers of life and love.