God’s action was successful and permanent. It displayed who he is and how he operates. He was saying “this is who I am and this is how I operate”.
God is permanent and constant and ongoing, he never stops being who he is or what he does. In the context of the cross, the cross was a focal point, a display and demonstration of himself.
He is never any different and the only action or change that occurs is from us, by us, not from him. His nature is such that he is assailed and hurt by his wayward creation. The nature of his love is such that it is hard to imagine him never being in the position where his love is not actively removing sin.
It is when we see his love removing sin [we see his pain] that we respond or we don’t. Response indicates change, change has occurred in that we had not previously responded until now, because we have now become aware of his love. Further change occurs as we continue to respond and as we maintain that response ongoing.
So the change of our (internal) sin status does not change in actuality until our response, although its status could be said to be changed by the action of its removal, not from us in terms of our own view of ourselves, but from his view of our condition actually being “sin consequence” free.
It is his love that gives us this freedom, because he never refuses anyone access to himself, and his loving forgiveness, because that is who he is. It is a foregone conclusion. It is fait accompli, he is who he is, and this is who he is.
So in his eyes we are people who are perfected in him, in his love, apart from our self maintained separation of him from us. He sees his creation as perfect and perfected and as a part of him, and the disappointment of this not being actuated by our response is part of that which we see Christ suffer.
His constancy of being, means his sin absorbing love, called forgiveness, is always actively working for mankind, just as mankind is actively working in rejection of him, by their non-love.
And it is “our view of ourselves”, how we see ourselves in relation to him, that is at odds with how he sees us in relation to him. He sees us as those bathed in his love yet not recognising that love. Christ was the means of recognition. The reason Mary and the disciples failed to recognise Jesus after he was raised, was because he was now “more” the image of God than his previous “earthly” image. [now we see through a glass darkly].
We see Christ suffering the effects of separation from God as a darkness that clouds his vision of the spiritual. He feels the ANGUISH of separation. He feels the “wrath” which is actually the pain of being one who desires the love that they see and want, yet being unable to have. This is the darkness, that his love is not in us. [this is hell, when we are sensitised to the truth, unable to avoid its reality, nor the reality of the stress of the void, with God one side and our emptiness on the other.] Was it the flesh nature of man (indwelling imperfection) that hid God as Father from his sight? That destroyed the heavenly view? Or was it God “hiding” from sin.
I would have to say that God being constant, means that “our” sin cut off his spiritual view of God as his father, and left him like us, feeling the separation, the darkness. [in our case because we refuse to acknowledge that his love has ended that separation] [it was in the garden when Christ foresaw what he was to undergo, that he would lose connection with his Father, and the anguish this would cause him].
It is what we believe that matters. If we believe our sin has separated us from God, as it has, then we cannot or will not believe that he has dealt with it. Because then we would have to admit to his love, and that may be inconvenient. And we currently do not feel that love, because it is received by believing, by “faith”. Faith is believing, and faith brings into being the reality that God is, and that reality is ours to be had, because of who he is, not so much “because of what he has done”. [in Jesus, although obviously that is where our focus is].
Nevertheless, we are called to see what he has done in the person of Jesus, who exhibits the suffering of sin that we both cause as well as feel. In dealing with that sin condition, [he entered into “hell”, separation from God] he restored his own self, his body, to perfect shape. He was now perfect not only in spirit but also in body, a body that now “will not see corruption” [decay]. I cannot say death, because this perfect body DID die, because he “gave up his Spirit”. He had “power to give it up, and power to bring it back”, effectively. But, unlike Lazarus, whom we have to assume would have begun to decay, Jesus did not.
So the first born of creation emerged from the grave, having purified himself from this earthly human body, and became the object of wonder and amazement. He became the focus now, not of sin, but of the overcoming life (Spirit) he was about to present to the world through his “key” men and women, and hence out to his church and the world.
Hell then, is awareness of separation from God, and our awareness of it in this life may be slight or acute. We may have “seared” consciences, or we may have, for some reason, extra sensitisation to that separation awareness, so much so as to cause extreme wretchedness. Our awareness of it in that time we are called to give account of ourselves, will be extreme because it will be presented in full truth.
Heaven is unity with God.
The cross was as much a display of the plight of man as it was a display of God’s victory over sin, over that plight, which was the blight of sin. We are called to enter that victory on the basis of trusting in the nature of love, as it is defined in God through Christ. The true creation is really only that, when viewed in and as its final phase is put into effect as it has been in Christ, and as the effect of redeeming love takes hold of it.
God nature became human nature and perfected the first of the “new creations”, who was then to nurture those who would follow him, the way, the truth, and the life. Our faith recreates the truth of Him.
[hell is being without love][heaven is being at one with love]