My Dad was really into safety, but he was just nuts for me and the mountains.
One day, when I was a boy, we set out early to climb Peak One in the Ten Mile Range. We started early to avoid afternoon storms, but not early enough. White puffs soon turned into black thunderheads. We were in sight of the peak when I noticed my father’s hair standing on end. The wind was beginning to howl. The rain was beginning to fall. We saw lightning and heard thunder. Then, I heard crackling sounds in the rocks beneath my feet.
I looked at my Dad and yelled, “We need to turn back, NOW!”
My Dad, the safety freak, looked at the peak, looked at me, and yelled “We can make it!”
And I thought “This is so wrong.”
Do you ever look at our world and think, “This is so wrong.”
Then look at our Father in Heaven and say, “I thought I was following you!?”
God our Father can’t choose wrong for wrong is defined as ‘that which he does not choose.’
But maybe he can choose that we would gain the knowledge of that which he does not choose—the knowledge of evil.
He doesn’t choose evil, but he does, at times, seem to lead us into temptation.
The temptation is always to put Him and His Word to the test.
He put two naked people, with no knowledge of Good and evil, in a Garden with an evil talking snake, the strangest tree, and a cryptic word warning that the day they ate of it, dying they would die.
Is it right that God would let it all go so wrong? What’s the reason for wrong?
Why would he lead us into a temptation?
My Dad glanced at the peak and looked back at me with a look I’d never seen before. There was a fire in his eyes. He smiled and yelled, “We can make it; let’s do this!” And we did.
Alone on that peak with my Dad in the storm is one of my all-time favorite memories.
It was the day I learned that there are some things worth dying for—specifically, the view from the top of the mountain.
Ezekiel tells us, what most of the ancient Rabbi’s believed, that Eden was at the top of a Holy Mountain—a primordial and eschatological mountain at the beginning and end of time. Eden was also Moriah, Zion, Calvary, and the site of the New Jerusalem containing the tree of Life with leaves for the healing of the nations.
Perhaps all the chaos, sin, suffering, and pain of this world is worth the view from the top of that mountain?
In Roman 3:3 Paul states his “Theological Theory of Relativity”
We must let God be faithful and true (that’s the constant) and let all men be unfaithful and untrue (we are the variables). The implications are astounding.
In Romans 3:22-24, he simply states: “There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
How many fall short? ALL.
And how many are justified by Grace as a gift? ALL
That’s the view from the top of the mountain.
In the middle of his discourse, he refers to David’s words in Psalm 51—the words he speaks before the Judgment seat in the Sanctuary on the Holy Mountain after he is confronted with his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah, and learns of God’s judgment:
1. David will experience what Uriah experienced. His wives will be taken from him.
2. But it’s not retribution; it’s discipline, for his sin has been “put away.”
3. The Son of David born to Bathsheba will die; it seems this is how the sin is put away.
4. David will “comfort Bathsheba.” He will know her in a new way, not as fruit to be taken, but as a bride to be loved. And she will bear a son: the Prince of Peace. Bathsheba is the great-great-grandmother of Jesus—The Son of David, The Son of Man, The Judgment of God. Jesus is the Judgment of God in David. He is David’s righteousness.
That’s how God makes David—the “man after God’s own heart.”
So David prays, “Against you, and you alone, have I sinned, that you may be justified in your judgment.”
So, what came first? David’s sin or the Judgment of God: Jesus?
In the Revelation, Jesus says “I am the root and the offspring of David.”
So, what’s the reason for your wrong, and how does God make you right?
How does God make Adam (humanity) in the image and likeness of himself?
He makes a judgment: “Let us make man in our own image.”
He hangs his judgment on a tree on top of the Holy Mountain.
He lets us make a bad judgment, which reveals his Good Judgment, that we might fall in love with his Judgment, freely choose his Judgment, give birth to his Judgment, and never desire to put him to the test again.
Paul writes, “Let all men be untrue,” because God has “let all men be untrue.”
The problem is that we don’t “let” ourselves be untrue… we hide from the Truth: God’s Judgment.
If you would “let” yourself be unfaithful and untrue (because you are), you would see that God is always faithful and true and is making you faithful and true. And then you would have no problem with God making everyone faithful and true. You would justify God’s Judgment gladly proclaiming with Paul, “All have sinned and all are justified by his Grace as a gift in Christ Jesus my Lord.”
Just before I was defrocked for refusing to publicly confess that God could NOT justify all by his Grace in Christ Jesus my Lord, my wife had a vision of my Dad during communion as we worshiped on the mountain.
She said his eyes were… like on fire, as he reached out holding a bowl and saying, “Susan and Peter, do not be afraid to drink from the cup the Lord has for you.”
I think he was saying “Let it happen. It’ worth the view from the top of the mountain.”
As Jesus hung on the tree on top of the Holy mountain he said, “Father forgive them.”
The word forgive is also translated as “let.”
“Let all men be untrue and we will show them that we are true and make them all true.”
You must forgive yourself and you must forgive all people.
It’s worth the view from the top of the mountain.