By Joy Lopes
Staff Writer for The Daily Grace Co.
A tainted view that I held for many years and have heard from the hearts and mouths of believing and unbelieving friends alike, is that God the Father only loves us because of what Jesus did on the cross—that before Jesus’ sacrifice, God did not love or want me and that His wrath was against me fully and finally, until Jesus stepped in to appease Him.
The lie of those words feels heavy even to write, but it is something I believed for a long time. In those years of misunderstanding, I did not know there was anything wrong with my theology—what I believed about God. I figured it did not matter much because I was in Christ, and so God the Father saw Him and not me anymore. I thought I was hidden from Him; I did not have to face His disappointment, disapproval, or rejection. In a way, it was like I had disappeared completely, and only Christ was left–which is not wholly false.
Scripture Interprets Scripture
But I would read verses like Galatians 2:20 which says that I have been crucified with Christ and He is now the One who lives, and I would use that to fuel that misconception of Father God’s view of me. The Scriptures themselves do not pollute our understanding of God, but the preconceptions we bring to them can influence our application, or misapplication, of the Bible. This is why we need Scripture to interpret Scripture for us and not our own, extrabiblical ideas. This means that we should rely on other parts of the Bible to shape our understanding of more difficult passages and continually ask the Holy Spirit to guide us.
If I had allowed the rest of the Bible to influence my understanding of Galatians 2:20, I would have understood that while its words were completely true—that I have been crucified with Christ and that He lives perfectly in my place before the Father—I would have also seen that Jesus’ blood covers me in this way because the Father purposed that it should, in order to draw me near to Himself. His blood cleanses me to make me presentable to the Father, not to hide me from His view (Ephesians 5:25-27).…