Tuesday, January 22, 2008

notes on salvation 3

We're the plan
In my opinion, one of the tragedies of conservative evangelicalism is that it fiercely defends literalism when it comes to things like the creation story but seems to happily embrace a more figurative definition when it comes to things like Matt. 25:32-46.

"They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?'

"He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

"Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."

What does it mean to do good works? For many Christians, their Sunday and even daily rhetoric seems to suggest that the Bible does not exhort us to “do” so much as it exhorts us “not to do”. In other words, “fleeing sin” or even acts of piety are the same as “doing good works”. This sort of religion and theology seem to be in direct opposition to the Bible and to the way that Jesus taught and lived. In fact, when considering this and then reading through the gospels, it becomes apparent that much of the modern day church has taken on an almost identical religion as that of the Pharisees, only different in that we acknowledge Jesus’ divinity. You could say then that we have split from the Pharisees and have developed a reformed Pharisaic doctrine.

Is it acts of piety that God requires?

With what shall I come before the Lord and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:6-8

What does it mean to not sin?

When you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide my eyes from you; even if
you offer many prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are full of blood; wash
and make yourselves clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight!
Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the
oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the
widow. Isaiah 1:15-17

When we read these passages, and the many more like them, we see that we do not worship a God who is impotent or powerless to deal with or change our current circumstances, but a God of social justice who has very much put a plan in motion to oppose the oppressive powers of this earth. As Gary Haugan of the International Justice Mission said concerning God’s plan for fighting social injustice:

“It turns out that once again the answer from scripture is pretty
straightforward, it turns out that: we're the plan."

Comments on "notes on salvation 3"


Blogger Cari said ... (10:27 PM) : 

Ouch. It's all doo-doo. Paul said, "What I want to do, I do not do, but what I don't want to do, I doo-doo." At least I think that's what he said. And I, the worst of them. This really makes me uneasy, in that "you know what you're supposed to be doing" kind of way. Keep writing. Love ya.


Blogger jsi said ... (12:28 PM) : 

Exceptional post today!
Gd is working through you in deep and mighty ways!


Blogger jsi said ... (12:29 PM) : 

Sorry - unintentional typo from quick writing...
"God is working through you in deep and mighty ways!"


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