Heaven and Earth #4
Hey there friends! We're a tad over half way through our Heaven and Earth series. Today we'll be looking at sin and how that creates holes in the overlap of heaven and earth but how God has provided means to repair those holes first through animal sacrifice (old covenant) and finally through the death and resurrection of Jesus (new covenant.) While it is a grim and even guilty topic, if we don't face it then we allow sin (and its effects) to fester furthering harming us, our relationships, and God's creation.
Before we turn to scripture to see how sin affects heaven and earth we need to do a little recap on our series so far and what sin ultimately is.
Heaven and Earth: When God created the world it was blameless and perfect. It was heaven and earth joined into one space - referred to most commonly as Eden. In Genesis 3 sin is introduced (see below) and heaven and earth are separated. While God was heartbroken about this division God's ultimate purpose and promise through the patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) was to bring us back into full union with God. (New Eden) While we might not be there yet we do know that pockets of Eden can be found when we meet God in the temple. We, the faithful, believe that God's promise is still valid and that one day the full revelation (pun intended) of New Eden will be fulfilled. (Heaven and Earth joined together once more.)
Sin: Sin, first personified as the serpent in the Garden of Eden and later personified as Babylon, is a symbolic representation of things that are "anti-God" to put it simply. When we lie, cheat, act selfish, destroy life (and creation), or many other negative traits we are either actively committing sin or complicit with the forces of sin in our culture. To sin is to literally "miss the mark" of what God would have us do. If we are to get dualistic with things sin would be "the darkness" and God would be "the light." (Like the Gospel of John, for example.) Thus, anywhere darkness is present would be a "hole" in where heaven and earth would otherwise overlap. God knew this would happen as we are flawed humans and so God created mechanisms to heal and mend those holes in God's abundance grace and mercy. It's that mechanism that we'll be looking at closer today.
Take a moment for silent personal confession prior to engaging with scripture. Draw to mind the ways that you have "missed the mark" on being the person that God wants you to be. Don't feel guilt or shame over this - shame is never the answer - instead feel gratitude for God's mercy with the assurance that you are forgiven and loved.
Scripture to Read
Leviticus 16 (in particular hone in on verses 21-22)
John 1 (specifically read verse 29 carefully)
Questions to Consider
What does it mean for you personally to think of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb?
Do you believe in God's promise to bring "heaven here on earth?" What signs of that do you see? Where do you still see work needing done? What can you do to help that?
Journal or reflect about a time you clearly felt God's grace in your life
Praying through Praise
Our hymn for today is "Grace Greater than our Sin" I invite you to join in the chorus as you celebrate the love of that provides a way for us to heal our relationships and our world.