It’s supposed to be encouraging when we hear that God the Father sees His children through the filter of His Son Jesus Christ. I’ve seen Christians almost come to tears when they talk about how God the Father is wearing “blood-colored glasses” to look at us, seeing the righteousness of His Son instead of our sinfulness.
So, we are told, He sees His blood-bought children as holy instead of the unrighteous, filthy, utterly degraded, deceitfully wicked, totally sinful vile creatures we actually are.
I’d heard it all my life. (Yes, they were talking about the “blood-colored glasses” back in the 1960s and 1970s too.)
But there came a time, when I was immersed in the Word of God, that I questioned it.
“If God sees us one way,” I pondered, “but we are actually something quite different, doesn’t that mean that God is deceiving Himself?”
Has anyone else wondered this same thing?
I’ve sat on this question for years. Years, I’m telling you. And a satisfactory answer has not been forthcoming, even as I continue to hear people offer this teaching.
The other problem with this teaching that has greatly troubled me is that it is nowhere taught in the Bible. In fact, the Bible teaches something radically different.
When we are the blood-bought children of God through Jesus Christ, what does the Bible say about us? Here are just a few statements of “how God sees” us, if you will, with the understanding that “how God sees us” is what is actually true about us.
- We are saints—holy ones (Ephesians 1:1 and other Pauline epistles).
- In the Holy Spirit we have direct access to God the Father (Ephesians 2:18).
- We are established, anointed, and sealed by God in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:21-22).
- We are seated in heavenly places with Christ (Ephesians 2:6).
- We are members of Christ’s body (1 Corinthians 12:27).
- We are complete in Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:10).
- We are chosen of God, holy and dearly beloved (Colossians 3:12).
- We are new creations in Christ so that we can become the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:17-21).
- We have been given very great and precious promises by God, through which we can share in His nature (2 Peter 1:3-4).
- We have received abundant grace and the free gift of righteousness, and we reign in life through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).
- We are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Romans 8:37).
- We were washed, we were sanctified, we were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11).
- We are joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).
- We are united with the Lord and have become one spirit with Him (1 Corinthians 6:17).
- We are part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people who have been called out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).
The fact is that when by faith we come into the family of God through Jesus Christ—that is, when we become true Christians—we are changed.
We are no longer unrighteous—directed toward sin. We become righteous—directed toward God. Not simply in name, but in actuality.
We are no longer filthy. We have been washed clean.
We are no longer deceitfully wicked. We have been given His truth and holiness.
We are no longer vile. We are His beloved sons and daughters.
We are no longer slaves to sin. We have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to joyfully say “no” to sin and joyfully say “yes” to what God calls us to do.
Does God have to look at us through the filter of His Son Jesus Christ?
I offer a resounding no.
The veil of the temple has been torn in two. There is no more division between us and God the Father. Now we can go in boldly.
Do we go in because of Jesus? Absolutely, no question about it.
But do we go in with Jesus shielding and filtering so our vileness can’t be observed by the Father?
No, that’s not what the Scriptures teach.
Jesus Christ does not have to stand between us and God. Instead through the power of His death (taking our sins upon Himself) and resurrection (rising in victory over sin), we are fully received as His beloved sons and daughters. Because of Jesus, we are clothed in righteousness.
When you are His son or daughter, you have access to so much, and by faith you can expect transformation in the very areas where you feel the weakest in your love for God and others.
For example, do you feel a hard place in your heart toward a certain category of people, as I did toward those with extreme chronic physical illnesses? (I knew this was because someone in my life had used chronic physical illnesses to manipulate and control me and others, but still I felt great distress when I realized I had it.)
Then you can ask Him to change it and by faith expect that He will. (I believe it is a devilish teaching from Bill Gothard and others that we should never have any expectations.)
In fact, years ago when I asked God to change that in me, I was excited to anticipate how in the world He was going to do it, because it seemed like such an impossibly hard place in my heart.
For me, my transformation in this particular area came specifically because of understanding how trauma affects people physically, to fill me with compassion (yes, even compassion for the manipulative and controlling person in my life).
And I stood in awe of the work of God in the very area in which I had asked Him to work.
Here’s the joy for the people of God. Through Jesus Christ, there is great joy in knowing that we not only are “seen” as righteous and holy, but that God the Father is not playing mind games with Himself to do so. Because we actually are righteous and holy. He expects us, by faith, to learn what that means.
Here’s the joy for the people of God. When we see a need for change in our lives having to do with love toward God and others, by faith we can expect Him to change it, as He delights to do for His beloved sons and daughters.
This is the way God sees us. This is how God loves us. This is how the Holy Spirit works in us.
This is good news.
Here’s a related blog post: “Jesus as Intercessor”: barely restraining God’s wrath?