2nd October 2011

Getting Along

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!”
Romans 5:8-10 (NIV)

It goes without saying that actions and attitudes such as murder, adultery, slander, theft, hatred, greed, deception, cruelty and an evil heart hurt us and hurt everyone around us. They result in turning people against one another, damaging or destroying friendships and families. They create enemies. Whether or not we use the word “sin” to describe such things, these are the kinds of things that make life miserable instead of joyful.

And that’s why the Bible does call them sin. An evil heart, Jesus said, is a fountain of evil actions and attitudes. And evil is evil not because it violates a certain rule in a certain list, but simply because it hurts people.

God made humanity in his own image, and God’s image is not solitary and alone—God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit—three divine hypostases or persona (to use the Greek and Latin terms) in perfect, loving union and harmonious relationship with one another.

Perichoresis is the Greek word for it, meaning ‘mutual indwelling’ or ‘co-inherence’. Being in God’s image is like being hardwired for love, for community, for right relationships. It is when we are forced to be alone or when our relationships are sour, that we are the most miserable. On the other hand, when our relationships are positive and strong, we are the most joyful. We are created for good relationships and that is exactly what the gospel is all about—restoring us to right relationships with God and with others.

Like a thorn, sin by any other name hurts just as much. But the good news is that in Jesus Christ’s atoning ministry God has already forgiven our sinful heart, healed it, and reconciled us to himself, freeing us for right relationships with him and with other people.

We only need to open our healed eyes to see it and open our healed hearts to accept it and embrace it. In Jesus, God has revealed his perfect love for us, and even if we refuse him forever, his love will never cease.

Most blessed Father, the more you reveal yourself to us, the more we understand the process of salvation you have put in place and offered to us, the more we marvel and praise your name. You have healed us, Father; help us to show that healing to others, still hurting, still without the knowledge that you have this salvation in place for them too. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by Joseph Tkach

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