Friday, August 29, 2008

A God of love and justice

I've started re-reading Penal Substitution vs. Christus Victor. This is a wonderful teaching which explains the cross from the perspective of grace rather than legalism. I read it a while ago and enjoyed it but since the beginning of this year, Father has put me on a crash course of learning and understanding grace. What I've found is that a lot of what I believed had to be tossed when I held it up and looked at it through the lens of grace. So much has changed for me and I'm still growing in my understanding. Because of the changes I've experienced, I decided I needed to read this article again. While reading, I found this little gem that I'd like to share with all of you.

"There is a biblical concept of "judgement" or "wrath". Jesus warned frequently that the people were calling judgement on themselves and called them to turn (repent) from the course they were on. Judgement or wrath is the consequence of sinful or hurtful action. It follows from sin like falling is the consequence of jumping off a cliff. Paul writes in the Romans that "the wages of sin is death". The wage, the thing you get as a result, what you have coming to you, is death. "but the gift of God is eternal life". God who is a God of love (compassion) and justice (making this right) desires not to see us die, but to give us life. God desires to break us out of the vicious cycle of consequence and to therefore bring about justice - to make things right again, to restore us to where we were meant to be. Not by saying that it is of no consequence that we are bleeding and broken, but by taking us out of the treadmill of death, by liberating us from the tyranny of hurting and being hurt. That is what biblical justice is all about. It is not in conflict with compassion, it is rooted in compassion."


Amy said...

Thanks for the recommendation on this article. I just briefly visited it, and I see there is a lot of good stuff there. I agree that the Satisfaction-Doctrine is based in the law. I personally and solidly believe in the Substitutionary Atonement. However, unfortuantely, when I was living in the "box" of organized religion, my beliefs were vice versa.

Like you, I can so totally relate to how Father is helping me unravel and completely unlearn what I previously had been taught and believed. When held up in the Light of Grace, the Darkness of Religion is exposed for what it is. This certainly is an ongoing process. But I'm grateful that He's revealing the Truth right-and-left!

Thanks again for mentioning this article. I'm going to spend some more time in all 4 parts there.

~Amy :)

Kent said...

Aida, Derek does a wonderful job in contrasting these two different vews of the cross. I love that piece that you quoted here and it made me think of something that dropped into my lap a couple years ago through another blogging friend during a time when Father was taking this concept of our legal understandng of justice and opening up to me in new ways the relational understanding of justice as seen through the lens of grace.

This is Tim Neufeld describing the Hebrew word for Justice...Mishpat

"In western society we have come to understand justice as something we receive (I am a victim, I demand justice) or we dispense (he was convicted and justice was served). But mishpat could best be defined as "honorable relations." Justice is something that we do in relationship with others. It is active not passive. The goal is shalom -- not merely the absence of conflict, but the presence of harmony in relationships. What might a country look like if it practiced this kind of justice?"

God the Father through Jesus was making a way for us to come back into relationship with him because he wanted us to come home where we belong.....his choice to die on the cross on our behalf was his act of honoring us because of his love for us. This is about bringing harmony back into the places harmony has been lost. We all are learning to honor one another (regardless of what we have done or are doing)because we have begun to see the worth of the other because we are beginning to see the cross was about how God the Father felt about us. He had placed so much worth on all of us he would do whatever it took to set things right again. And he has.

Deb said...

Hi Aida :-)

I love the snippet that you posted here. I am going to go take a look at the article as well....I went to the link, and it looks to be four parts! Thanks for posting this! Father does have us on the right path! ;-)


Aida said...

Amy, I’m glad you’re enjoying the article. I really enjoyed it the first time around and now that I have a deeper understanding of grace, it’s making even more sense. Understanding the cross as an act of love will definitely affect our ability to relate to God as our loving Father rather than a judge who is just waiting to whack us.

“This certainly is an ongoing process. But I'm grateful that He's revealing the Truth right-and-left!”

Me, too.

Wow, Kent! The cross was really a relational action to bring us back into harmony with Father. That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing that. It really does put a whole new perspective on the subject of God’s justice.

Deb, based on our conversations, I know you’ll enjoy this article. We really are on the right path and I’m glad to be travelling this road together with you.

Free Spirit said...

Loved this post Aida. Maybe it's just me, but I see many similarities to this notion of justice, and how it relates to freedom, and my own recent post on freedom, and how it can't be forced.
Thanks for sharing this!!

Aida said...

Free Spirit, I'm sorry. I've been busy lately and having trouble keeping up with blogging including my own. I didn't mean to take so long to respond to this comment and the others that I've been getting. I'm still in catch up mode.

Thanks for your comments. This article really has caused me to think. We really have misundertstood the cross. By making it appeasement based, we've lost the beauty of what was accomplished by it.

I haven't read your post on freedom yet. I'll put that next on the list. You have so much insight and I'm sure it'll add greatly to what this article is saying.