How Does He Do It?
The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29)
As I read these very familiar words today, I found myself once again pondering the true significance of what they really mean in sharp contrast to what so many assume and what I have assumed for most of my life. Given the years of retraining by the Holy Spirit who has been teaching me revised definitions of nearly every religious term and phrase, I now find myself asking, what is the real power of the Lamb? Exactly how did Jesus accomplish taking away the sin of the world?
Of course, for my current answer to make any sense at all to others, I have to review thousands of discoveries and explain myriads of connections that have come together over the past 20-30 years of my life. Otherwise what I say will sound to many like some strange new heresy. Yet far from being heresy, what I have come to realize is that it is the status quo answers that are in fact the far more dangerous heresies that are keeping so many from being able to find peace or to thrive in a growing intimate relationship with the only real Source of life.
So at the risk of being misunderstood, or maybe for my own sake to simplify my thoughts and move ahead instead of constantly seeking to explain what I have already learned in the past, I am going to take a fresh look at this statement in the light of the glorious truths about God that He has been showing so many of us over recent years to see if I can uncover even more 'power in the blood.'
As I begin to think about this exclamation from John the Baptist it occurs to me that one could restate this sentence as many times as there are words in it emphasizing a different word each time. It is useful for discovering surprising insights when this technique is used to examine a statement that has multiple implications within it, and this verse certainly lends itself to this treatment. Maybe I won't exhaust every possibility right here, but I do see some obvious implications right on the surface.
Behold, the Lamb of God...
By beholding, focusing my attention on Him with more intentionality than on anything else, by filling my imagination with more of His stories and ideas and thoughts than from any other source, results in having my own spirit and disposition and attitudes transformed to be more and more like His. Of course what I am transformed into will be totally influenced by preconceived beliefs I have about what He is like and what kind of God He came to reveal.
Behold, the Lamb of God...
This is where the good stuff starts to emerge in contrast to the fearful opinions I had about God for so long. It occurred to me some years ago how ludicrous it is for the lost to bewail an angry Lamb they view as coming to threaten them and preferring death by stoning rather than to see His face (see Rev. 6:16). I began to realize that my own fears of Him were tragic delusions that are actually a mirage fabricated by the enemy of God and not based on truth at all. The reason God uses a Lamb as the metaphor for Jesus (who is exactly like God in every detail of His character) is because a lamb is about as close as it is possible to get to a creature that is both very lovable and totally unthreatening.
By inference, the Lamb of God means that God is no different than the Lamb He sent to this world.
...who takes away the sin of the world!
This is where my emerging awareness of the real truth about God seems far more logical in contrast to all the dark implications involved in nearly every other explanation of salvation. God has been making it more and more clear to me that sin is a problem of distrust in God's heart rather than some list of misdeeds or malfunctions or even rebellion. Those are all results of sin rather than the definitions of it. Understanding this helps better explain how Jesus restores the missing trust that has fueled all the dysfunction that we typically label as sins.
The more my head clears of misapprehensions about God and becomes replenished with simple but powerful revelations of real truth that fits together so much better, the more clarity and beauty I now see in every passage of Scripture that used to terrify me. Now that I reject the appeasement model of salvation in the light of the glorious truth that God is not our problem, I can see clearly that Jesus did not come to take some hit from God instead of us but rather came to allow us to abuse God as much as we could to reveal just how impossible it is to intimidate His love or diminish it in the slightest.
By allowing sinners and even demons full access to abuse, torture, intimidate, antagonize and even kill the Son of God without being able to suppress His constant love and forgiveness for them, the evidence produced by this demonstration by the Lamb of God quietly absorbing all that hatred and hostility without ever wavering in His limitless compassion is the basis by which trust can be restored in God for all eternity. This is the core foundation upon which the kingdom of God – a kingdom of full trust earned by the greatest demonstration of undiluted love in the face of unmitigated evil – will be secured forever.
The way in which sin – distrust of God's heart – is taken away is by demonstrating that there is nothing anyone can do to change God's heart of pure love for everyone no matter how evil they might act. Jesus proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that God can be trusted with infinite power to defend Himself without ever resorting to using that power to do so. Jesus proved that there is not a trace of the selfishness that Satan has for so long claimed lurks deep within Him. What is proven however is that all of our malfunction without exception is produced from believing the lying insinuations about God that Satan has invented and that religion has deified and promotes so vociferously.
...who takes away the sin of the world!
Thankfully the infection of full-blown sin has not infected any other planet or order of beings in the universe outside of this world. Yet the doubts and questions about God's character and His ways have had their effects that have made it difficult for God to effectively operate freely and be fully appreciated. Until every last question is fully satisfied without resorting to using even one method of His accuser, God cannot unveil a full revelation of His dangerous beauty as He longs to do. Until the sin of distrust that is now blinding the minds and hearts of the majority of people on this planet is effectively removed, the entire universe will never be fully safe.
But God has chosen to meet the sin crisis, a crisis of trust in His ways and His character, through a demonstration of the real truth about His unthreatening nature in the face of the exact opposite so that all may come to see for themselves that every accusation and insinuation by His enemy is based on total fraud. Only by having His reputation exonerated by demonstrating love instead of seeking to justify or vindicate Himself can God effectively win this battle involving questions about His character.
Sadly the very institutions that claim to speak for God the most are the very bastions of some of the most devious lies that continue to circulate. I don't care to go into them for it can be quite discouraging. But as the real truth about God begins to glow more and more brightly in these last days and more and more people discover that God is not at all like He has been made out to be, this intense glory of the real truth about Him is quickly spreading and will continue to do so until it fulfills the thrilling prophecy found in Revelation 18:1-2.
Indeed the Lamb does win. But He wins in a way very different than what most people have assumed. The Lamb wins by winning the trust of our hearts instead of by appeasing an angry deity or reinforcing false notions about 'justice' as so many believe. This Lamb wins simply by revealing the heart of the Father so clearly in the face of every lie about Him that at last every being in the universe fully and freely acknowledges that love without any coercion.
Those who have resisted His love for them will then see how they have destroyed their own capacity to live comfortably in the presence of love. As a result, that love that ravishes the hearts of all the redeemed who have embraced it will prove to be supreme agony for those who have destroyed their ability to enjoy it and thrive in it. Thus in the end, this Lamb becomes the channel through which the intensity of the love that ever flows from the heart of the Father becomes either the source of joy for eternity or the passion that produces the opposite in all those who have destroyed their internal receptors for receiving love and life.
Sin will not remain forever and neither will it ever return once it has gone. The Lamb will in fact take away all the sin (distrust) in this world as well as settle every last question and doubt that has lingered anywhere else. God will be fully vindicated without ever firing a shot to put it in our vernacular. God wins by revealing the stunning truth about His own heart through His Son who is the exact representation of Himself. But He intends to also reproduce His character of non-violent, selfless, serving, irrepressible love in the hearts and lives of all who allow Him access to their own hearts.
Given the evil that I still see deeply entrenched in my own soul, I sometimes cannot imagine how God can ever accomplish this in my life. But thankfully God is far greater than my heart and He has promised to finish what He has begun in me. So I am going to keep choosing to trust Him and to keep beholding, focusing on, meditating and communicating with the Lamb so that the reflection of my life will somehow be transformed over time to more and more look like the Lamb.
Already I have noticed a significant increase in my ability to trust in God's heart over recent years as my internal picture of Him and how He feels about me has radically changed from my past. The more I learn about the real truth about God that relieves me of so many fears I have lived with for so long, the easier it becomes to trust Him even more. God is slowly but effectively fixing my brokenness and repairing my damage and rewiring my internal circuits in ways I often have no clue about. But what I do know is that the God I am now beginning to perceive is so far better than any other picture of Him I have ever had in the past, that I have no desire to return to any of those dark concepts that have tormented me for so many years.
This reminds me of something He pointed out to me a few years ago from a passage in Hebrews that used to trouble me greatly. Suddenly one day the real implication of this passage broke through to my consciousness and I realized the real meaning of the warning. Rather than being a threat about not getting my act together enough or keeping the rules rigidly enough to satisfy a demanding deity as I had so long assumed it meant, this passage was a clear warning of how much worse I will be if I ever turn away from the glorious light of truth that He has been revealing to my heart over recent years.
For if we deliberately go on sinning (distrusting God) after we've understood the truth, there's no longer any sacrifice for sins. All that's left is fear, expecting the impending judgment and the terrible fire that destroys those who are hostile to God. (Hebrews 10:26-27 FBV)
Once a person has turned away from fearful, dark notions about God and has tasted the glorious truth about Him as so many of us are now enjoying; what Hebrews is here warning about is that it will be far worse for us than before if we turn back again to those old ways of seeing God. Our terrors will be far greater compared to what we experienced before, and worse yet our ability to return again to the peace we now experience from the real truth about God will be greatly hampered if not destroyed completely.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God and put Him to open shame. (Hebrews 6:4-6)
This is how love is made complete in us so that we can be confident on judgment day: by the fact that we live just like him in this world. Where there is love there can be no fear. God loves us completely, and this love drives all our fears away. If we do fear, its because we fear being punished, and this shows that we have not been fully re-made by the completeness of God's love. (1 John 4:17-18 FBV)