For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

We ended last time in a depressing predicament. Humanity had crossed the great boundary established when God created the universe: the distinction between the Uncreated God, and all created things. From the beginning we strove to be like God, we committed idolatry.

This crossing, the worst of all transgressions, seemed to have doomed the human race to futility and failure. Instead of rejoicing in the presence of God, we hide from the blessings our Creator appointed for us to enjoy. (Genesis 3:8) Instead of eternal joy and life, our sin earns for us condemnation and death. (Ephesians 2:3)

What a terrible mess we’ve made of God’s world. He created it beautiful, purposeful, orderly. We shattered the goodness God created and turned order into chaos, life into death, purpose into futility.

Would God annihilate his ruined creation, or is there hope of rescue and restoration? The answer lies in this secret: the boundary between God and creation is asymmetrical. When we cross God’s boundaries it is sin; but when God crosses, it is grace. And salvation. We cross divine boundaries, but God criss-crosses them.

We can thank God that he did cross over. This is how it happened: one of the three divine Persons of the Trinity took on a human nature—and so this Person is now both fully divine and fully human. That’s Jesus. He is God (John 1:1), who became flesh, i.e. human (John 1:14). Jesus came to earth to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29) and to reconcile our broken relationship with God. (2 Corinthians 5:19)

John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” – John 1:29 (NIV)

Jesus effected what we must call the great crossing: dying by crucifixion on Good Friday, Jesus criss-crossed death and returned to life on Easter. Consider what had to happen for this to come true. As we saw in the last blog, God cannot not exist (God cannot die), but because Jesus possesses a human nature he can die.

On the other hand, no human being could pay for the sins of the world—only the infinite love of God can accomplish that task, but because Jesus possesses a divine nature he can pay for all of our sins. Jesus alone possesses both a divine and human nature, which makes Jesus unique. This is why Jesus is the only Savior provided by God for the whole human race. (Acts 4:12)

So Jesus, his physical body (first on the cross, then risen and now ascended), is the instrument of divine mercy. In order to receive God’s mercy we must receive Jesus.

Only through Jesus can we cross the great divide between sinner and saint. The first step of that journey is the forgiveness of our sins. By faith in Jesus, we allow his Spirit to begin the work of transformation within us, that changes us from sinner to saint.

This doesn’t mean we become perfectly good—far from it. History proves that Christians remain sinners as long as we live in this world. What we become is not perfectly good, but perfectly forgiven. Forgiven so completely, so fully, that nothing we have done in the past and nothing we will do in the future, can separate us from God’s love in Jesus. (John 3:16; Romans 8:38-39)

In Christ God spans the gulf created by our sin via the Incarnation (Christmas) and completes that wonderful criss-cross through what we call the Resurrection (Easter).

As I finish this blog, it occurs to me that I’ve left out a step. For awhile now, I repeated the claim that to sin, to transgress boundaries established by God, inevitably breaks our relationship with God and leaves us in a state of condemnation and judgment. But I didn’t address the question, Why must God judge and condemn sin? Why can’t God just forgive us? We’ll answer that question next time.

Next Time: Living in the Land Beyond Love