Our mental views of God shape our attitudes toward God. Misbeliefs about God hinder engaging with God to pursue spirituality. If you think there may be a God, I am convinced you will not regret pursuing more of a connection with your Creator than regretting having a closer relationship with your partner, children, or friends. In this series of Posts the Bible is referenced because that is from where views of God are often formed. What if you discovered the Cross wasn’t a story about a blood-thirsty Deity who must child their child to save their reputation?
- Is God really a blood thirsty Deity who must be satisfied and have their honor and reputation restored by killing their child? God loved people before Jesus died, and God would love people even if Jesus hadn’t died. I am convinced Jesus was willing to be murdered not for God’s sake by our sake. Terrorists blow others up for a message they feel strongly about. Jesus only blew himself up for a message He believed very strongly in. Soldiers often die for one another because they are convinced certain freedoms are that important. Jesus died in hopes to persuade us of the freedom that comes from understanding God’s love and mercy. Jesus wanted us to know living a loving life is what leads to true happiness in relationships.
- The legalistic view of Jesus’ death doesn’t make moral or legal sense. What does it say about God who requires the blood of the innocent to be accepting! Besides, death can never make matters totally legally right. Death doesn’t resurrect the murdered. Death doesn’t wipe out childhood memories caused by a parent’s abuse. My going to jail for a friend’s wrongdoing doesn’t somehow exonerate my friend. Guilt is not somehow removed by someone else’s confession of a sin they didn’t commit. Why would Jesus say: “I desire mercy, not sacrifice” if God thought sacrifice than confession lead to healing? (Mt. 9:13) A loving God only requires confessions of wrongdoings for this leads to healing.
- Verses are chosen from the Bible to defend a legal than relational view of the Cross. Hebrews 9:14 says: “…Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our conscience from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God.” Which is it? Was Jesus’ death for the purpose of serving our guilty conscience or God’s? Do you every think God needs a break from you at least for a day or do you think God can’t possibly forgive you for the 10th or 100th time? Guess again! Jesus died so we are can feel loved by God no matter what! Actions have consequences but God doesn’t pour on the hate.
- Jesus came to save us from the sin of destroying ourselves and one another. Zacchaeus had cheated many people out of their money and had decided to payback four times the money he had stolen. Jesus responded: “Today salvation has come to this house” (Mt. 19:1-10). Jesus simply commended Zacchaeus for recognizing a journey necessary to avoid personal destruction. Salvation is not saving us from God but from ourselves.
Suggesting Jesus died for God than for us undermines Jesus’ unimaginable love as evidenced by His tremendous sacrifice. Jesus hoped others would follow in His footsteps in relationships to avoid self-destruction and destruction of others. Parents who believe their guidance is vital “walk the talk” to best influence their children in the long-run. Jesus was willing to die for a cause to gain moral authority to influence lasting world change. Do we really think that God was so mad that God had to kill someone, or did God seek to convince and persuade of God’s love for us and God’s ways are in our best interest?