We’ll go anywhere looking for love.
But you know where we go looking the most?
To our peers in the lifeboat.
Instead, what if we looked to a connection and a validation that doesn’t come from within our species, from our fellow humans? What if, instead of looking to what everyone else said about us, we returned to our Maker to look for what he said about us,? That could change everything.
To be fair, God was human for a window of time, when he came as Jesus to earth. But on the other hand, he was outside of our species and outside of the lifeboat. In the words of Donald Miller, Jesus was the alien who came to earth, who looked at all of our lifeboat practices, and said something like, “Why are you comparing yourselves with yourselves? It isn’t wise. There’s a better way.”
Jesus points to that better way, demonstrates that better way, and lives that better way — that way of acceptance, of connection, of love. And his love for others is just as strong as his love for God, the Father. God, our Maker in heaven, is the source of that love, as is the Spirit.
And all of this ties right back to Romans 3, particularly verse 21. If you like big butts, this is where we find one of the biggest “buts” of the Bible. Chapters 1 thru 3 are all about how dark, how bad, how ugly our sin is and how we’re all guilty, right? Then comes vs. 21:
But in our time, something new has been added.
What was added? Do tell, Paul, please.
Paul says we’ve proven “we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, so God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity, he put us in right standing with himself.”
By means of Jesus, he rescued us from the lifeboat!
And then Paul starts to unpack all of the implications that go along with that, especially for the Jews.
It cancels their insider claims. It cancels their claim of having a corner on God. It even cancels their claim to Abraham as only their father of their religion and no one else.
Abraham wasn’t declared righteous by what he did for God, but because of what God did for him. He was declared the “father of the faith” simply by believing God’s promise and God’s word to him. God spoke, Abraham listened. He trusted and responded. That’s it. He held a fundamental maxim: God was going to be good to His word. I love this quote from chapter 4 of Romans, which I think puts a nice bow on this idea,
“When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do…. He plunged into the promise and came up strong, ready for God, sure that God would make good on what He had said.”
And Paul continues to unpack this, as we’ll see tomorrow…