Sunday, January 15, 2017

When God Looks At You, He Does Not See Jesus - He Sees You, Sins and All

2 Cor. 5:21, When God Looks at Us He Only Sees Jesus
There's a view gaining popularity among Christians: "When God looks at me, He only sees Christ, not my sins or weaknesses."

It's become such a popular phrase that some Christians think it's found in Scripture. 

But it's actually a misunderstanding of 2 Corinthians 5:21: "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."  

Believers enter God's Kingdom based on the righteousness of Christ. But God doesn't lose his omniscience when we're saved.  He still sees us as we are, and we can be glad He does.  

We desperately need his loving conviction, rebuke, discipline, and forgiveness:
Hebrews 12:4-11 
1 John 1:8-10 
Revelation 3:19 
Revelation 2-3(1)
Philippians 2:12-13  

Yes, God sees each believer as an individual, a unique person in His creation, sins and all. He loves us wondrously -- enough to help us change.
(1) Christ both commends and rebukes the Believers in these two chapters. 

Bible study
1. The two passages below are often misapplied:  

2 Corinthians 5:21: God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

This passage doesn't say God no longer sees us for who we are. It says we are saved from who we are by Christ's righteousness. 

This is beautifully stated, but it apparently has caused some people to believe that they are fully righteous, perfect, and holy in this present life or at least that's how God sees them. If that were true, there would be no reason for God to give us so many Biblical commands and instructions for living worthy lives. The way this verse is translated in the New Living Translation helps clarify this point:

2 Corinthians 5:21: For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.  

Another verse often misapplied is this one:

Romans 8:1-2Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  

Romans 8 defines the believer's eternal position with Christ, through Christ, and in Christ. But here and now, even though we are in Christ, we are commanded to deal with our sins. And in the very same chapter of Romans, it says so: 
Romans 8:11-13And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. 12 Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation —but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. 13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.  

Obedience is a sign of our salvation:  
John 14:21Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them."  

And, like Paul, we should make our Christian growth our most important life pursuit: 
Philippians 3:12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.  

2. The following passages explain that God convicts, rebukes, corrects, disciplines and punishes believers. He must see our sins in order to do this: 

Revelation 3:19: Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent.  

Hebrews 12:5-6And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, 6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath,


  1. Replies
    1. Hebrews 12:4-11
      1 John 1:8-10
      Revelation 3:19
      Revelation 2-3(1)
      Philippians 2:12-13

  2. A sqewing of the truth. When you are a christian you are a new creation as old things have passed away. When you confess your sins, God wipes you Clean and puts your sins, transgressions as far as the east is from the west. It's a lie from Satan that God would not see Jesus when he sees you. It may not be explicit in a scripture verse, but Christ bore our shame so we could stand white, sinless (washed by the BLOOD of the Lamb) before God...Every tune we repent. The saying is true because it recognizes God as redeened. Dont believe you're unworthy of this promise, because Christ, God has clothed you, wraps you in his righteousness like the father of the prodigal son did. Alleluia! He saves!! ~peace, LE

    1. This devotion doesn't say you aren't forgiven or you aren't a new creation. It says that God sees your sins whether you are saved or not. And you can disagree, but you are disagreeing with Jesus, not me, because Jesus said, "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." If He loves you, He sees your sins.

    2. But the Bible also says AFTER the rebuke and discipline (and repentance), and forgiveness, your sins are as far as the east is from the west, and that God remembers them no more. He sees when we sin, He points it out, we get cleaned, then He forgets it.

    3. Hi Unknown,

      So you believe that you know something God doesn't know.

      And, according to your belief, if you have a problem with a particular sin and you've asked forgiveness but you continue giving in to a particular temptation, you can't go to God and ask for help with this sin pattern because He will say, "I don't know what you're talking about. This is the first time you ever committed this sin."

      I'm glad that God knows everything about me, good and bad. I'm glad that when he "forgets" my sins, He does it legally, but He never forgets a single detail of my life. People get dementia, people forget things, but my God knows every word I've spoken, every thought, every sin, every good thing, every challenge....That's the God of the Bible, and that's my God.

      I'm perplexed by people who want a God who actually forgets their sins.

  3. A sqewing of the truth. When you are a christian you are a new creation as old things have passed away. When you confess your sins God wipes you Clean and puts you're sins, transgressions as far as the east is from the west. It's a lie from Satan that God would not see Jesus when he sees you. It may not be explicit in a scripture verse, but Christ bore our shame so we could stand white, sinless (washed by the BLOOD of the Lamb) before God, and we recieve this Everytime we repent. The saying is true because it recognizes God as redeemed. Dont believe you're unworthy of this promise, because Christ, God has clothed you, wraps you in his righteousness like the father of the prodigal son did. Alleluia! He saves!! You are loved. - LE

    1. hi LE,
      I agree that Christian's sins are forgiven and we are saved for eternity because of Christ's perfect sacrifice for our sins.

      But I believe what Scripture says about God seeing our sins, convicting us of our sins, rebuking and disciplining us for our sins.

      A popular saying, no matter how popular, cannot change these truths in Scripture.

    2. I think perhaps a key concept that needs to be mentioned is that when we get to heaven, our sin is totally wiped away and God sees it no more, remembers it no more, and sees only the righteousness of Jesus. What a beautiful thing to look forward to!!

  4. Beautifully and well said Gail. Stay blessed.

  5. Of course GOD knows all about our sins

    What does it mean that God forgets our sin? Does He forget?
    In Isaiah 43:25 God declares, "I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins." In talking about Jesus as a perfect, once-for-all sacrifice for our sins, the writer of Hebrews says, "For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying, 'This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my laws on their hearts, and write them on their minds,' then he adds, 'I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.' Where there is forgiveness of these, there is no longer any offering for sin" (Hebrews 10:14–18). What does it mean that He "will not remember" our sins? Does God forget our sin?

    We know that God is omniscient, meaning He knows all things. Thus God cannot forget in the sense that a human does. It is not that our sins slip God's mind somehow. Rather, He chooses not to remember our sins. When we receive God's forgiveness, He does not hold our sin against us or treat us according to what our sins deserve. Psalm 103:12 says, "As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." There is immeasurable distance from east to west. In going around a globe, there is really no point where a person starts going east and stops going west, or vice versa. God completely removes our sins. He does this through the Person and work of Jesus Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, He made payment for our sin. When we come to Him in faith, we receive complete forgiveness. God does not treat us as sinners deserving of death (Romans 3:23; 6:23), but treats us with love and grace (Ephesians 2:8–9). Second Corinthians 5:19–21 says, "In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. … For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." God not only makes payment for our sin, but puts our sin completely out of view and replaces it with His own righteousness.

    That being said, it is true that Christians will still struggle with sin (1 John 1:8). And we still need to ask for forgiveness of our sin to restore open fellowship with God. But, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Romans 7—8 is a beautiful depiction of how a Christian can struggle against sin and still trust in the faithfulness of a God who forgives and chooses to forget. Romans 8:1 says, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). God will not rub our sins in our noses or remind us of our sins to shame us. He lavishes us with His love and His grace. When we fall, we come to Him in humble confession, accept His forgiveness, and then move forward. We can remember that we were once sinners, enslaved to the flesh, but we need not endure accusations or feelings of fasle guilt over these sins. God forgives completely, and we can rest in that. With Paul we can "forget[] what lies behind and strain[] forward to what lies ahead, [we] press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13).


  7. It's very important that in explaining the gospel of God's grace(good news),our understanding must be devoid of mixture of the law and partly grace.

    We should never use our human imperfections to judge the PERFECTION of Christ in us.Let God be true and every man a liar.Wliar.We who God says we are in him.Whim.We declared not guilty(justified)...Romans 5:1.The Christian has absolute PEACE with God.God says ....their sins and unrighteousness I WILL REMEMBER NO MORE....Heb 8:8-13.
    God means what he says.
    He calls us Holy BRETHREN....Heb 3:1

    He says we are justied,sanctified and glorified. He has perfected us in his son Jesus by one Perfect Offering.

    The challenge today about God's good news(almost too good to be true) is the many are sin conscious than Christ conscious.If we get more conscious of what he says we are,we won't meddle with sin in this world.Halleluya.Halleluya God sees us in Christ .....Apostle Paul puts it this way....I am crusified with Christ nevertheless I live yet not I but Christ......Then he says...I do not frustrate the grace of God.

    We are forever perfected in Christ.As he is ,so are we in this world....1John 4;17.

    He sees Christ.Christ has no sin.As he is ,so are we in this world.Glory to God forever.

    1. If you ignore all of the Scriptures listed at the bottom of this devotion and multiple other passages not listed in this devotion, and if you believe the Scriptures you've listed go beyond their intended meaning, you can come to your conclusion.

      But your conclusion is different than the view offered in the full counsel of Scripture, and one Scripture alone refutes your view and it comes from the mouth of the Risen Lord:
      "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent." Revelation 3:19

  8. Thank you,Gail for taking a stand on this subject. I often hear it said that God does not see our sin after we are saved. I have been looking for answers and so far your's makes the most sense. Prayerfully yours. Tom

  9. Unless you are fighting against the thought that we can become perfect in this world, which I couldn't tell if that was the ultimate goal or not, I'm not sure I see the point of the argument. It seems like our brains trying to figure out something of God that we can not. He is outside of time. Can any of us really understand that? God has to just see Jesus in some respect when He looks at us or He couldn't have relationship with us. We are God's temple. (1 Cor 3:16) We are the residence of the Holy Spirit, God. We must be covered by the blood and only be righteous. Yet, even Paul says he does what he doesn't want to do and doesn't do what he wants (Romans 7:15), or in other words he keeps on sinning. And of course God sees our sin and has compassion and discipline and mercy through it. But again, He is outside of time. So I get the truth about both sides of this, but I'm not sure I understand the importance of arguing against this idea of God seeing Jesus in us. (again, unless you're trying to debunk the idea that we can be perfect in this life; but if so, that wasn't made clear) It is our true identity as believers. We are a new creation. (2 Cor 5:17) Yet we have the old flesh somehow still (lots of verses). Again, a concept that is hard to understand. But if I had to err on one side, I believe our identity in Christ is how we have freedom in Christ, so I would say God sees Jesus in us if we are born again. Just my thoughts. Thanks for the post

    1. Hi Trunk,
      I mostly agree with what you've written. However, I get lots of feedback from professing Christians who have the same problems as some of the Romans whom Paul addressed in Romans 6: they think it doesn't matter whether they sin because they are saved and forgiven. And this popular maxim about God only seeing Christ when he looks at us promotes that thinking. And, most importantly, it's not found in Scripture.

    2. I think your key word there is "professing." Our life in Christ is all about a relationship with the God who created us. Jesus tells us what eternal life is in John 17:3 - Knowing God. That's why he died. (2 Cor. 5) So my point is that I believe it is in scripture, very much so. God, holy, holy, holy God, lives in us, has relationship with us. And unless I am covered by the blood of the Lamb and actually righteous, that is impossible. I fully agree that the problem of people living in sin because they think they are saved is awful. Probably the saddest thing ever. I cry over those who will hear Jesus say "depart from me I never knew you" when they were deceived into thinking they were saved. But I don't think owning our true identity is the problem. Those "professing" Christians who live that way may very well not be new creations, or born again. The problem is not understanding that following Jesus is all about relationship. It's not segmented; think about and talk about Jesus today, but not other days; pray only when I'm in trouble or as a part of a to do list; etc. It's also not about following rules or earning God's love. So I would propose that both of these things promote the "fire insurance" thinking actually. I have to lean on the truth of my identity. It brings freedom. It's who I really am.

    3. And actually, I just read Romans 6 again, the one you quoted with the Romans having this problem. And Paul's response was to remind them of their identity! "We are those who have died to sin:" So I love the fight against the "fire insurance" thinking. I would just say that the exact verse you used to describe the problem also describes the solution. It is our true identity in Christ that makes us different from the world. Not my thoughts this time. Paul's/God's. :)

    4. I agree that it states problem and solution, but it never says God only sees Jesus when He looks at us. I'm not sure why a non-scriptural description is so important to Bible-believing Christians, especially when it leads to errors and compromise.

      I'm sticking with the way God describes our position in Christ, and I'm grateful He's not blind to my sins because I need His conviction, rebuke, counsel, and guidance and I can't get that from a God with dementia.

    5. God doesn't think we're perfect, but we are perfectly covered by Christ! :)
      I think anyone with the Holy Spirit living inside of them, when corrected by the Holy Spirit, will turn and receive the forgiveness and cleansing power of His blood EVERY TIME they sin. God doesn't look at us and see those cleansed sins from our past. He only sees since that hasn't been brought to the cross! This is my understanding of Scripture. Thanks!

    6. I'm not sure what you mean about what God "sees."

      The important truth is this: God is all knowing.

      If He forgot our sins, that would mean that we know things God doesn't know. And that's not true and never will be true.

      God knows every thought, word, deed, and sin we've committed. That's what Scripture teaches.

      I'm not sure why people want a God who literally forgets their sins. Isn't being forgiven for eternity enough?

  10. Look, here's the deal either Jesus' blood wiped out all our sin or none at all, there's no partiality. Being born again means dead to sin and alive in Christ(Rom 6:11)

    Likewise when you are a new creation, you are literally a new creation, that person who sinned no longer as exists. The death of Christ wiped out our record of sin and the power of sin over your life. Your old nature is dead, period!

    Honestly to think God still sees your sin when you're clothed in Christ, is to mock the power of His blood. We tend to feel good about ourselves to moan about being unworthy, of course we're not! But He thinks we are because He sees something in me and it's time I accept this (umerited) gift and live the Christian life.

    We try to remain humble by focusing on yesterday's condemnation, which only keeps us focused on ourselves instead of Him. When we received free forgiveness, the one who gave it to us is honored.

    He disciplines us not as sinners but as sons and daughters (that's who we are now!)because He loves us! Jesus addressed believers as saints. The momement you receive Him, YOU ARE NO LONGER A SINNER BUT A SAINT. That's not to say you can't sinner, you're no longer an expert at it.

    So friends, please renew your minds and see you how He sees you. You'll walk in this heart-liberating new life with Him as your Shepherd.

    1. There are a number of errors in what you've written that could be clearly refuted with Scriptures, but I feel like I've done that in the devotion and other comments, so there's no need to do it again.

      You are mixing up apples and oranges, acting like God being able to see our sins means we aren't forgiven. And that's not what this devotion says at all.

      No matter how clearly Scripture refutes it, this popular saying ("When God looks at me He doesn't see my sins") is here to stay. It's just a clear proof that if you say something often enough, even if it's completely wrong, people are going to believe it.

      But, no matter how many people disagree with me, I'm sticking with the teachings of Scripture, not popular manmade doctrines (Colossians 2:8).

    2. Why? This is what I tried to ask earlier. Why such the focus on this? I think you responded that the main reason you are so strong on this point is because you think that it is what causes people to live in sin and just count on the ticket to heaven they got when they prayed a prayer. I really don't think we see things too differently, as I have that same concern. I just don't think this is the thing that makes people live that way. And why not live in the freedom of our new identity in Christ? Or maybe you agree with the fact that we should and we are just disagreeing because of semantics. I'm not sure here. Because I love your heart for people to live for Jesus and your heart to follow Scripture. So I think we'd be in unity on that. But the post by Unknown is simply saying we are new creations. That's Scriptural. Why wouldn't we live in the freedom of our new identity? Just please help me understand the why behind your conviction on this. (and maybe discover that it's semantics and not a true disagreement)

    3. Trunk,
      Perhaps we are just talking semantics, but I must be faithful to the speak about the things that God lays on my heart. And even if you don't hear people using this phrase to excuse their sins, I hear it frequently in emails, comments, conversations, and articles.

      It’s extremely important that we share the Gospel as Scripture shares it, not with popular maxims. We cannot live in the freedom of our new identify if we consider it a license to sin, and that is how many people use this phrase.

      And I don't agree with you about the previous comment. We are saints who are still sinners and if we think otherwise we are fooling ourselves. Living in our new identity isn't lying to ourselves about our sin nature, it's being aware that we are in an important process of getting rid of sin in our lives out of deep love and respect for our Lord:

      "Continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure...I am convinced and confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will [continue to] perfect and complete it until the day of Christ Jesus [the time of His return]… Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges [those dishonorable desires] that wage war against the soul…. And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]. (Philippians 2:12-13, Philippians 1:6, 1 Peter 2:11, Romans 12:2 -AMP)

      So, we will have to agree to disagree and I can guarantee you will read more about this subject on my blog as the Lord leads me. I see the modern church as compromised and complacent, like the people of Romans 6, content to be forgiven with little concern for finding out what pleases the Lord (Eph. 5:10).

    4. It is interesting how different focuses in different areas with different people is how God has always worked to build His Kingdom. So maybe those you're reaching are hearing exactly what they need to hear to be brought out of the lie that we can live however we want and still be a Christian.

      But for me, I still don't think it's the root issue. Why would someone say that phrase and use it as a license to sin? That will get to the root. I propose once more that the real reason is that they don't understand the fact that it's all about a relationship. John 17:22-23.

      So I will keep pushing that focus, and God will keep using you to push what He puts on your heart and we will see Him continue to do mighty works as we simply trust Him and obey.


    5. Unknown your fighting against the spirit of the law. This reeks of self effort a DIY message.The word says they have blinders on and they are not able to Hear Gods true Love message. Gail you need to re-read Galatians the revelation is waiting for you. In His service.

    6. Dear Unknown,
      You need to read it as well, and then you need to re-read this devotion. No where is there anything about DIY or law. You are exalting a man-spoken word above the Word of the Living God. Scripture says that God sees our sins and helps us deal with them. You can believe man, or you can believe God. But accusing people of things they didn't say doesn't change the facts of Scripture.

  11. No He dont see your sins. You dont have any.

    1. Hi Unknown,
      You can believe that if you want, but it's 100% wrong.