The root issue in almost every human struggle is the orphan heart. We were designed to be sons and daughters, to live from a place of security knowing that we are deeply loved and valued, that our worth is intrinsic and unshakable. Sin isn’t the mere breaking of an arbitrary rule and the resulting guilt; it’s both more and worse than that. Sin is the abandonment of identity. Sin is disconnecting from God as our source. Sin is going our own way, going it alone. Sin is more than bad behavior because it is specifically the bad behavior that results from disconnection from God as Father. Sin is what we do when we’re convinced that we are orphans.
There is so much brokenness in our world. But it wasn’t always that way. Before we became orphans, the world was good. It was very good. Before the world was broken we were sons and daughters with a good Father.
Genesis 1:26 (ESV)
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
This is the verse where you and I first show up in the Bible. This is where we first learn something about who we were created to be, about God’s intention for us, about who God truly desires to be for us. Let us make man (mankind, humans, men and women) in our image, after our likeness. This means that God created us to enjoy a parent/child relationship with him. That’s what the language of image and likeness refers to. Check out the same phrase in Genesis 5.
Genesis 5:3 (ESV)
3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
As long as we think the primary problem in our world is broken rules and guilt, we must cling to the assumption that God’s primary goal was good behavior. As soon as we realize that God’s primary goal was an intimate relationship with sons and daughters, we have to deepen our understanding of the true nature of sin and what it means that Jesus is our savior.
Jesus saves us by offering us a way to return to identity, to abandon self-reliance, to surrender again to God as our source. Jesus’ death provides for our forgiveness and the brokenness of his body becomes a door through which we can come home again. The ultimate expression of love invites us return to Love himself. In giving himself as an outpouring of love he invites us to restoration as the beloved. Jesus died that we might live again. Jesus the Son cried out “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?” that we might be accepted. Jesus was buried so that the orphaned, self-reliant, self-protecting version of us might be buried in him. Jesus rose from the dead that we might walk out of the grave of our exile from the garden and into an eternity of life and identity and inheritance as children of God.
We have a good Father.