When the Mirror of Reality Becomes a Window of Hope
The tri-unity of God is a fundamental truth of Christianity. There is one God who is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Three in One. Unity amid diversity in the community of the Trinity.
Paul wrote to Timothy and said,
“For God is one, and there is one Mediator between God and the sons of men—the true man, Jesus, the Anointed One.”
1 Timothy 2:5 TPT
It is a mind-boggling concept – one that defies the limited logic of our human understanding.
We shouldn’t be surprised that there are things about God that are beyond us. In fact, that’s what makes God God.
If we think humans are capable of comprehending every characteristic and action of God, we end up dumbing down His divinity to mere humanity. In so doing, we elevate ourselves to being divine. (Not only is that idolatry, it is the very core of sinful humanity to “be like God, defining good and evil for ourselves” (Gen. 3:5).
Let’s cut to the chase. The rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity stems directly from the desire to strip Jesus of His divinity. If Jesus was merely human – albeit a good person, a prophet, even a healer – then He falls short of being any sort of Savior of humanity.
But Jesus is in fact God. He claimed it in His own words, and proved it with His resurrection.
And if Jesus is God, then what He said is true – that humans are sinful and in need of a Savior.
One problem of ours is that we immediately equate the word “sin” with wrong actions. While I don’t want to take anything away from the reality that wrong actions are “sins,” I believe Scripture teaches us more.
The Bible uses two words which help us to gain a better perspective of this concept of sin.
- Transgression can be defined as the outward act(s) of sin. When we transgress we cross over into wrongdoing, we step over the boundary. This is also where the word “trespass” comes into play, because we are crossing over into territory we ought not to be in.
- Iniquity, however, is a word used to describe our motivation to sin. Jesus illuminated this distinction between action and motivation when he said things like, “You say people shouldn’t commit adultery, but I say that lustful thoughts make you just as guilty.”
We often grade ourselves according to our actions, while giving ourselves a pass on our motivations. We declare ourselves as “good” because we didn’t lie, cheat, cuss, or steal; but the fact that we were even tempted to do those things tells us that sin is in us.
The gospel of Jesus is NOT that Jesus helps you transgress less. The gospel of Jesus is that He forgives your iniquity.
The greatest expression of iniquity is refusing to acknowledge your iniquity.
We debate matters and degrees of transgression while avoiding the root issue of iniquity.
Iniquity is ugly and gruesome. It’s awful and terrible. It’s the reality that we don’t want to face, but it is, in fact, reality.
The gospel is first a mirror revealing the reality of your sin. Then, once you face your iniquity, acknowledge your iniquity, and repent of your iniquity, the mirror becomes a window of hope, revealing what your life can become through Jesus.
The gospel brings conviction before it brings redemption. You will only view your salvation as beautiful as you viewed your sin horrible.
God the Father loves you, despite your iniquity.
Jesus died for you, to forgive your iniquity.
The Holy Spirit convicts (convinces) you of your iniquity, so that you will see your need for Jesus.
Through Jesus, then, you have a renewed relationship with the Father.
Isaiah’s prophecy takes on such deep meaning when we look at his choice of words. Let me add in some commentary to highlight what Isaiah said, which was fulfilled by Jesus:
“But He was wounded [wounds are “outward bleeding”] for our transgressions [our outward acts of sin], He was bruised [bruises are “inward bleeding” under the skin] for our iniquities [our hidden, inward motivation to sin]; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.”
Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
Jesus not only suffered and died to forgive you of your transgressions, He gave His life to deliver and transform you from the bondage of your iniquity.
Stop justifying it and defending it.
Stop ignoring it or redefining it.
Acknowledge it. Repent of it. And be forgiven and set free from it.
That’s the gospel. Jesus came to set the sinner free.
When that is our starting point, the gospel of Jesus can manifest itself in innumerable ways to practically demonstrate the love of God to a lost and hurting world.