John M Johnson (26 Nov 2011)
"Can God Look Upon Sin?"


Can God look upon sin?
 
In Habakkuk 1:12-13 it says:
Are You not from everlasting,
O Lord my God, my Holy One?
We shall not die.
O Lord, You have appointed them for judgment;
O Rock, You have marked them for correction.
You are of purer eyes than to behold evil,
And cannot look on wickedness
.
Why do You look on those who deal treacherously,
And hold Your tongue when the wicked devours
A person more righteous than he?
From the above verses it would seem he cannot. However, a closer look at this verse will show us something a little different than what we have been taught.
 
The words for "behold" as in behold evil and for "look" as in look on wickedness do not convey that which it would seem in the English. Behold speaks of "approving of, enjoying or thinking upon" and the word for Look speaks of "looking intently upon, regarding with pleasure or having respect for".
 
The verse above could then be render:
 
You are of purer eyes than to approve of, enjoy or think upon evil and cannot look intently upon to regard with pleasure or have respect for wickedness.
We know from the scriptures that Jesus walked among sinners, we know that he became sin for us and we know that he lives within us...people that still sin from time to time. So, he does and can look at sin but he doesn't approve of it. He saw Adam & Eve sin. He watched as Cain killed his brother. He saw David take another man's wife. Jesus heard the blasphemy that was hurled upon him by the Pharisees. God has both seen and heard sin...but he never approved, enjoyed or regarded it with pleasure.
 
This then brings up another thought. We have heard it said that God turned his back upon Jesus when he died upon the cross because he cannot look upon sin. It has been taught that is why it became dark & that is why Jesus said, "My God, my God why have you forsaken me." However, it does not seem that this is true.
 
The scriptures say that God will see the travail of Jesus soul and be satisfied (Is. 53:10-12). God watched as Jesus suffered just as he watched Abraham offer up Isaac otherwise how could he see the travail of his soul. But we say, Jesus cried that God had forsaken him. This true but was this not to fulfill the scriptures?
 
Psalm 22 speaks of what Jesus went through upon the cross. Was Jesus actually saying that God had forsaken him or was it the torment of his soul, the same anguish that caused Jesus to pray that "the cup might be taken from him"? We know that Jesus was determined to go to the cross. The scriptures say that he came to do his will (Heb. 10:9). Yet he asked for the cup to be taken away...was this not just the anguish of the man and not the determination of his soul, for afterwards he says "yet not my will but yours". Likewise Jesus said before he died, "Father into your hands I commit my spirit". If God had truly forsaken him and turned his back as we have been taught, when did God turn around to hear these words of Jesus and when did Jesus change his mind that God hadn't forsaken him so he could utter these words?
 
Rather it would seem that Jesus was speaking from the anguish of his soul just any man might do when such suffering comes upon them, yet he knew God was there which is why he was able to commit his spirit to his Father. Furthermore, God drew near to Jesus as he was suffering, even as the angels ministered to him in the garden. This is why it grew dark. This is why there was an earthquake when he died. The Father was right there watching his Son suffer and die.
 
The scriptures say that when God came down upon the mountain before he gave Moses the Law that there was darkness, lightening and thunder. Solomon said when in prayed in 2 Chronicles 6:1 "The Lord has said he would dwell in thick darkness". When God passed by the mountain that Elijah was in there was wind, fire & an earthquake. God came down with darkness and dwells in thick darkness to hide his glory that we do not perish.
 
When Job was suffering his friends counseled him about what he was saying. One thing Job said is reiterated to him by Eliphaz in Job 22:12-14 where he says:
"Is not God high in the heavens?
See the highest stars, how lofty they are!
But you say, 'What does God know?
Can he judge through the deep darkness?
Thick clouds veil him, so that he does not see,
and he walks on the vault of heaven.'
The thought here is that Job is not quite accurate in his assessment of God. Job was saying God does not see through the thick clouds but the implication is that he can. This same darkness came upon the earth as Jesus suffered upon the cross. It came because the Father drew near to Jesus, to watch the travail of his soul and he was satisfied.
 
God was satisfied with the offering for the sins and iniquities that his only begotten, his beloved Son in whom he was well pleased offered on our behalf. God watched as sin was laid upon Jesus, God was satisfied with the offering and has given Jesus preeminence in all things.
 
Col 1:18-20
And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
God can see through the thick clouds that veil him. God can look upon sin and did look upon sin. God did not turn his back upon Jesus. The Father was there the whole time watching, loving his Son and being pleased with his sacrifice.
 
This is what I think.
 
John Johnson