Thursday, March 20, 2014

Lent 3 A - Romans 5:1-11

Romans 5:1-11
Since it is God’s love that is proved in the death of Christ whatever Paul means by being “saved from the wrath of God” cannot be understood as an angry God needing to be appeased or there would be hell to pay. It just doesn’t follow that a wrathful God initiates the action to be reconciled to us (humanity) while we were weak, while we were sinners, while we were God’s enemies, as if God needed to kill something in order to settle down and spare humanity from a whole world of hurt. To be sure there are those who still hold to a classic doctrine of atonement where God’s holiness does not allow for mercy without payment due but that would mean God's mercy is in bondage to human understanding (even if you claim your understanding is God's understanding). Again if it is God’s love that is proved surely God is free to forgive with or without the cross. So what is the purpose of Jesus death on the cross? I affirm it is for the forgiveness of sins but not to appease a wrathful God but rather for a beyond belief merciful God to transform us so that what Paul preaches in Romans might be accomplished. Peace with God means we no longer live as God’s enemies but instead our love for God is proved when we boast not in our strength or our piety but in our hope. That hope is not illusory but tested by suffering, proved by enduring, confirmed by character and is the way we live the faith that justifies and in the end is the only hope of peace for the humanity God loves.

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