Is God disappointed when we sin?

So what is God’s attitude toward us when we sin? Early in my Christian life I was taught that when I sin, my fellowship with God is broken at that moment. I lose, at least for a period of time, my intimacy and closeness with Him. It sounds reasonable enough, but I don’t think it reflects an accurate understanding of the gospel.

Jesus experienced on the cross the penalty for all of my sin–past, present and future. All of it. And part of that penalty involved Jesus experiencing alienation from God the Father. That’s why He cried out “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” God the Father was turning His face away from Jesus, so that He would never turn His face away from us. That’s why the gospel is such good news! His Spirit lives in us as a permanent resident. He never leaves us. He is always loving us, drawing us to Jesus.

But, is God disappointed in us when we sin? My family was discussing this around the dinner table last Sunday after church. One of my sons made the comment that He knew God didn’t leave us when we sin, but he also felt that God was disappointed in us. While this also sounded reasonable, it didn’t seem accurate. As I thought about it, I realized why this word “disappointed” isn’t really accurate as it relates to God’s heart toward us when we sin. If a parent says to a child who disobeyed, “I’m really disappointed in you”, what they are really saying is, “This is all about me. You disappointed me. I had certain expectations and you didn’t meet them.”

I do not believe that is God’s heart toward us when we sin. The Bible says that our sin “grieves” the Spirit. That’s a very different picture. To grieve is to be sad about how our sin will negatively impact our lives. A parent can grieve a child’s choices, knowing the heartache and consequences that will result. That grieving is an expression of love. God grieves as we sin. He is saddened by the impact this will have in our lives–but that grieving is grounded in His love which is unchanging. To say that God is disappointed in us is to say that we didn’t meet His expectation, which is a direct affront to the gospel.

“Religion” is all about trying meet the expectations of a holy God. The gospel is about receiving from a holy God the free gift of forgiveness, love and the indwelling Spirit. God no doubt grieves the impact of our sinful choices, but He never, ever removes in any way His loving Presence. It is that Presence that has the power to transform us in the midst of the sin in our lives.

The Tale of Two Tombs

Final Day In Israel–Part 2

I didn’t realize there are two sites that claim to be the very spot where Jesus was buried….and they couldn’t be more different. The first, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, is along the Via Del Rosa. It is filled with icons and paintings and mosaics and religious looking candelabras. At the location of the tomb of Jesus, you find lots of ornate decoration.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre

In addition, the church itself is divided into 6 different denominations, who apparently don’t get along very well. In fact, we were told that the ladder in this picture has been up there for two hundred years.

Ladder

No one will move it. Why? Because the group that owns the window section is different than the group that owns the roof section and they can’t get along enough to take it down.

What is up with that? Near the very spot Jesus tore down the barrier between Jew and Gentile, slave and free, men and women, we still have Christian denominations that can’t get along with each other. While this location may very well be the actual spot of Jesus’ burial, I struggled to connect with the aura created around this site.

Later, we visited what is known as the Garden Tomb. What a contrast! A beautiful garden setting, simple, peaceful.. On one end of the Garden is what some believe is Golgotha—which means “place of the skull.” On the side of a hill nearby, you can see what at one time looked like the face of a skull.

Place of the Skull?

Could this hill be the location of Jesus’ crucifixion? When you cross over to the other side, you see the tomb I envision in my mind being the resurrection tomb.

The Garden Tomb?

In the Tomb

John tells us in John 19:41 that “At the place Jesus was crucified, there was a garden and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” This spot certainly fits that description. While the historical evidence seems to lean to the first spot as being the correct site, my heart hopes it’s the second. Unlike the first spot, this one certainly exuded the reality of a resurrected Savior. Peace, joy, unity among those gathered. Throughout the entire area, various Christian groups were singing praises to Jesus. It was awesome. Either way, the ultimate truth is the same. He is not here. He is risen!