Barriers can be helpful things: netting against mosquitoes, insulation against the extremes of hot or cold, riprap against shoreline erosion, levees against floods, sunscreen against UV damage, castle moats against foreign invasion etc. We just put new roofing material on our house because, above all you need a roof (it was just slightly less expensive than building that moat).
There’s another beneficial barrier that we have as we wend our way along on this journey to the Father’s heart. As the Apostle Paul reminds us, “the Creator … will not stop [this great work] mid-design…” so we have great confidence, even boldness to live our faith out loud, being natural and consistent with who we are (as opposed to being off-putting religious snobs, the ones Eugene Peterson considered to be the worst kind). There is included in this amazing plan of salvation a hope we are called to embrace, a hope which doesn’t disappoint, a hope that is yet to be completely seen (after all, who hopes for what he already has?). So, what is the good barrier I mentioned a few sentences ago? It’s the blood of Jesus. Somehow, as the Father looks on us, He sees only what we will be once we are completed works. I think it’s because, again in some mysterious way, from His perspective, the atoning, sanctifying blood that stained the center cross on Golgotha’s hill has made ‘all things become new, and made old things pass away.’ In Vineyard vernacular, because of the blood barrier, He doesn’t see the ‘now,’ only the ‘not yet.’ John says (in 1 John 3:2, TPT): “Beloved, we are God’s children right now; however, it is not yet apparent what we will become. But we do know that when it is finally made visible, we will be just like him, for we will see him as he truly is.” We could stop right there and have ourselves a hallelujah breakdown, but wait, it gets better (don’t touch that dial!) I think the blood barrier, being omnipotent, works in the other direction as well. The mind-boggling picture I have in my head is that when we’ve sinned and when we get around to confessing that sin, our confession instantaneously hits the barrier of Jesus’ blood that covers us, and is, in that very instant received, annihilating our sin and producing a fresh dousing of forgiveness that splashes back over us like a tidal wave, fully restoring us to righteousness and fellowship. “If we freely admit our sins when his light uncovers them, he will be faithful to forgive us every time. God is just to forgive us our sins because of Christ, and he will continue to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, TPT). God is so good! Remember Jesus’ invitation? “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG). Now we can all have that hallelujah breakdown! PD