A recent sermon I heard was talking about where Jesus mentioned several issues that commonly affected people of the time. Do not call your brother a fool, do not divorce your wife, or you will be in danger of hell. There were quite a few of these. They equated simple sins with the same level of “damage” as murder, including looking at a woman impurely. [and anger]
What he was pointing out, was not that these things were sins in a way that they had to be dealt with according to law, but that law was a concession and an accommodation for their sin. Moses gave them divorce “because of the hardness of their hearts”.
He was showing that even some seemingly simple sins were in fact a major deviation from the righteousness of God. Everything he said and did was without corruption, whereas everything “we” say and do comes from corruption. [“for he knew what was in man”].
The reason for the difference between him and us was that he had never sinned, whereas we were “born in sin”. And this is why the great gap [gulf] appears between us and him, and why we could not understand him or his sayings. He was truth from God, we were of “the lie”.
So simply accommodating [placating] sin by some process of law was not getting to the root of the problem. This root had to be rooted out because it was the source of all evil. To be able to get close to God, whether that be figuratively or in reality, sin had to be totally and completely removed.
What then can make up for the difference between his righteousness and ours? What can remove our unrighteousness, and what can make up for the gap difference between us and him, even when/if we have attained some degree of “righteousness” by faith in him? We can see that we will never be perfection, so that imperfection would keep us from acceptability anyway.
The answer of course is that God forgives sin. He removes it, and this is the only way that man could ever “enter” heaven. He not only removes our sin status totally, but also, once we have entered into the gifted status of righteousness, he removes any peripheral or ongoing imperfection as well. This he does during the time of grace, but he also does it at the end of grace, so that “what cannot be shaken will remain”. The purified “product” is there, albeit with varying degree of “glory”.
We may never be “perfect” within the accepted norms of perfection. But he perfects us by the application of himself, his love, to us. He applies his son to the sickness of our wounds, he heals and removes hurts, which are the result of sins, the result of the “works of the lie/devil”. By firstly healing his mortal body with his perfect Spirit, he has passed into heaven with his new immortal body, and “become a life giving Spirit” who is able to return to us to mediate and dispense his love and righteousness to us.
“Mercy triumphs over judgement”. That which we “deserve” is not what we receive. Forgiveness is what we receive, of all the myriad thousands upon thousands of imperfections, of sins, that we have been involved with, caused, created and dished out to others. Because we are “by nature, creatures of wrath”. The natural world is just a stage for something greater, and the stage is only cleared by his actions, his forgiveness, his love.
God, “He himself is our forgiveness”, removes sin [in his own body] and all causes of sin from our being, so that his righteousness can remain. Forever.