Archives for July 2018

What if Sin is Not the Problem?

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

 

I’ve been working my way through a new book by N. T. Wright called The Day the Revolution Began, and I have a lot to tell you. This is just the first post containing some of what I have learned. I hope you gain as much as I have.

 

The word sin gets tossed around a lot these days.

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Either we don’t put enough emphasis on sin and everyone is heading straight to hell, or we put too much emphasis on sin and everyone needs to offer a lot more grace to everyone else.
What if sin is not really the problem?
Of course there is plenty of moral misconduct happening all around us, ample wrongdoing both surrounding and within us, but what if that is just a symptom rather than the disease itself?

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We were created to be a royal priesthood, to reflect the worship of creation to the Creator and to reflect the wise rule of the Creator into the world.
We were, in short, created to worship God.
“Human beings, worshiping their Creator, were thus the intended key to the proper flourishing of the world.”
Yet we have all failed in this mission, this vocation.
When we worship anything other than the one true God, the trouble is not simply that we do bad things, although this certainly is what also happens, but that we hand over to whatever created thing we are worshiping the power that was given to us.

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We have turned over our ruling power to the very things we were meant to rule. This is the underlying disobedience we have committed: a failure to worship the Creator.
When we worship God, when we gaze “with delight, gratitude, and love at the creator God”, we are formed by our worship into wise stewards through whom God’s beautiful love is sent into the world.
This is how it was meant to be.
The cross, rather than only dealing with our individual sin symptoms (which it certainly also does), deals with the prior disease of our failure to worship.
If we reduce the cross to the divine answer to our problem with doing wrong things, we will miss the deep heart of it all.
If sin is only the breaking of God’s rules and death is only the severe penalty dealt out by a just God, it appears that the cross is Jesus inserting Himself in between God’s wrath and us.

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If sin is, however, the turning away from God’s intended role for the human race, then it is a choice to worship creation rather than the Creator. And death, then, is the natural consequence of that choice.
“Choosing to worship the creature rather than the Creator is the choice of death over life…deep down there is nothing arbitrary about sin or death. Choose the one and you choose the other…Obey the serpent’s voice, and you will forfeit the right to the Tree of life. You can’t have it both ways.”
Death is not the punishment of an angry God, it is the natural consequence of turning over our God-given power to the created things. It is the natural consequence of Sin.
For mankind to flourish, for creation itself to be as it was created to be, sin (as the choice to worship creation) must be dealt with.
“The purpose of the cross is to take us back, from where we presently are, to that intended goal” of being a royal priesthood.
The redemption and the restoration of the world comes back to a restoration of man’s vocation of being a royal priesthood.
To the restoration of man’s vocation of worship.
It all comes back to worship.

All quotes are from The Day the Revolution Began by N. T. Wright

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The Role of the Spirit Within the Trinity

To hear my blog post read aloud, just click the play button. If you’re reading this in an email, you may have to click here to hear the post on my site.

 

I have always been a little hazy about the Holy Spirit, a little unclear about His role in the Trinity.
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Don’t misunderstand; I’m certainly not claiming to have obtained clear and certain understanding of the role of the Father or the Son. I simply am more unsure about the Spirit.
I grew up in a faith tradition in which the Holy Spirit was only mentioned in soft tones while the Father and the Son were proclaimed from the pulpit. Literally.
Yet I hunger for more. If the Spirit is the One who changes me to look like Jesus, I want to know Him more.
I recently read a book for a class that imparted more illumination of the Spirit than I had received during most of my growing up years put together.
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The book is Rediscovering the Holy Spirit by Michael Horton. I highly recommend it to anyone who desires to know the Spirit more.
This particular post will not be very long; I only wanted to share with you one piece of the knowledge I have gained.
The Trinity works as a whole in every act throughout history (and outside of history), yet each has a different role.
We encounter the Father as the origin of creation, redemption, and consummation, the Son as the mediator, and the Spirit as the one who brings every work to completion. ~ Horton
Take creation, for example. The Father spoke and creation began. All things were created through the Son. The Father breathed His Spirit into creation to complete it.
Or take redemption. The Father sent His Son. We are redeemed through the blood of the Son on the cross. God’s redemptive work is made complete when His Spirit comes to dwell in us.
The oneness and the individuality of the Trinity are beautiful.
Ponder the mystery of it all
and worship our God in awe and wonder.

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Art credits: Dove of the Holy Spirit by Bernini; Pentecost by Fidelis Schabet