We have come full circle from being separated from God to communion with God. Pentecost was the final step in God bringing us back into intimacy with him. The Holy Spirit has poured God’s love and forgiveness of sin into our hearts. The Holy Spirit has glorified Jesus and reveals Jesus to us. Jesus’ death not only redeemed us but his life reveals to us the Father’s love of us. So we have the fullness of the triune God doing for us what they always do for the other and that is to reveal how to love God and one another.
Paul in the epistle we hear today tells us “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith to this grace in which we stand. “ Can access to God be that easy, just by believing and acting on that belief? Nothing more of us is required except belief in the reason Jesus died and rose. Yet we have a hard time accepting that because it seems too easy. We tend to believe reconciliation with God has to involve some penitential act on our part. That belief in paying a price is why we see individuals going up stone steps on bare knees to earn blessings. I have watched pilgrims do that very thing just to earn grace. The Father, Son and Spirit have shown us that earning grace is not possible for us by any act on our own. Grace is ours only by us opening ourselves up to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit to flood us with mercy.
We have all too easily embraced the Old Testament mentality that God will punishment us every time we displease him. We need to feel the love of God poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit to begin to understand that God does not want to punish us but he desires to restore us. The interaction between God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit gives us a glimpse of how we can always please God without the pain of bloody knees. .
I was with him at creation, at his side, playing before him and I found delight in the human race. Wow those words from our first reading show us Jesus’ opinion of us – he delights in us. God loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for our sins. Remember that prophecy from Jeremiah we talked about last week where God said our sins would be forgiven and our guilt forgotten. That was part of God’s promise of a New Covenant with us because all the punishment in the world had not changed the hearts of God’s chosen people. That New Covenant would included the sacrifice of Jesus taking our punishment on himself and paving the way for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
God finds delight in the human race and God’s will was for us to feel, to know and to enjoy his delight not his disappointment. Our sin does not change how God loves us but it did change how we respond to God’s love. Just as Adam and Eve hid from God we not only hide but we attempt to earn our way back into his good grace. That is the complete opposite of what God desires us to do because his desire is that we run into his arms. It is in the arms of God we are able to reconnect with the forgiveness and love God delights in lavishing upon us.
How do we get to the point of allowing God to enfold us in his love rather than expecting him to punish us and isolate us from his love until we learn how to behave? The key to making that change in attitude happened last week when the Holy Spirit was unleashed and poured upon all of God’s creation. Paul tells us that “the love of God is poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit.” Our feeling that love is the first step in our change of attitude toward God’s opinions about sin. Once we feel that love we can begin to develop that intimate relationship with God through Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The entire trinity will be at work transforming us. The Spirit glorifying Jesus and reminding us of everything he ever said and did. The Spirit will guide us to all truth, the truth about sin, condemnation and justice. The Spirit will only speak things to us that he hears from Jesus.
Then as we begin to understand the depth of the meaning of “Jesus dying for our sins” we will allow the sacrifice of Jesus to clothe us in righteousness. This transformation in our thinking allows the Spirit to root sin out of our lives and we begin to love not only ourselves but are able to love and forgive others. Jesus told us “if you see me you see the Father.” Jesus told us he only speaks what he hears from the Father.
The closer we get to Jesus through the revelations of the Spirit we begin to understand why we can call God Abba. Once we are able to call God “papa” we will understand the trinity and not have to rely on the symbolism of shamrocks, cherry pies or other analogies to explain the mystery of the trinity for us. Understanding the trinity begins with us embracing the gift of salvation, and then inviting the Spirit to change our hearts which will bring us back into the arms of God. Then we will know each and every person of the trinity and feel their endless, life changing love in our hearts.
Then we will stand in awe and give thanksgiving for the love of God, the gift of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit at work within us.