Friday 08 April 2016

Bible Book:

“But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (vv. 21-24)

Romans 3:21-30 Friday 8 April 2016

Psalm: Psalm 68:1-20


Terry Pratchett told a story about a tourist with a camera. Thecamera was an old fashioned one on a wooden tripod as I remember.Every time the man took a photo he uncovered the lens. Inside alittle man starts painting frantically. When the lens is closed thepicture is there for the tourist! Fantastical. We know camerasdon't work like that, that's what's amusing. But to take a picturewe don't need to know, it's the picture that matters. Sometimes inour theologising and Bible study I think we miss the picturecompletely. We get lost in working out the 'how'.

Paul was trying describe faith for people who had never seenJesus. He only had words to work with and to take a word from apopular Christian song, God is 'indescribable'. Paul tries toconvince people of what he believes, using the language of his day.He tries to tell them how God's love works, how God can be able tolove to the uttermost those least deserving of love. He talks ofcross and sacrifice. He uses language and argument to persuade thatthere is a way in which God can love in this way. Today we talk ofatonement recognising that the metaphors, the stories we use todescribe how God loves, are rooted way back in our Hebrew history.And all the time we are describing the little man at his easel. Wemiss the picture.

Eventually Paul gets to the point. He has been focussing on thesupposed mechanism of God's action, this God who is nothing if notindescribable. But something gets lost in translation, and we focuson the language and metaphor instead of grasping the meaning it isseeking to mirror, that of incomprehensible, universal, undeservedlove. At the focus of the letter to the Romans (chapter 8) we readthat nothing in all creation can separate us from God's love (Romans8:38-39). The different ideas about atonement sometimes obscurethat. Paul is really saying, 'Just trust it, whoever you are,whatever you have done, God loves you … utterly'! Get thepicture?

To Ponder

  • What evidence do you have that God loves you?
  • What makes it difficult or easy to believe this and trust inGod's love for you?
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