Thursday, June 27, 2013

God's Joy (Part II of Series)

It may be that we don't really understand what the New Testament is saying about men being attracted to men and women to women. In Romans 1, Paul is talking about the blindness of all society to Jesus, to the suffering servant. Because of this blindness, God hands all society over to its own latent sins and thus, we have women being attracted to women and men to men. For Paul and the apostles, men not loving women and women not loving men is worse than fornication, worse than covetousness, worse than murder. Read that list of vices for yourself. The rabbis always put the most serious transgressions first. But those who do any of these things, from the most weighty transgression to the lightest, are "worthy of death." Paul has a big surprise for us though, because for the "judge" (Romans 2) to condemn to death those who are caught up in these sins is to "do the same things," that is, to be blind to the suffering servant, the savior who saves us from our spiritual enemies, who saves us from the fires that we can't escape. As the song says, "I can't change, even if I tried, even if I wanted to."  That's the way it is, we are too deep in, we can't change. But Jesus was raised from the dead to save people like that, people like you and me. And he does and he did and I know he will. Because let's face it, all of us are prey to these vices that are listed here in Romans 1, at least one, if not a whole bunch. Now, we might have a question. Why is it that men going with men and women with women, heads Paul's list of transgressions? The reason is that Paul is simply following the Bible, in the very beginning God made Adam and then made Eve and Adam saw that Eve was the only one for him. That's Genesis, but we are constantly attempting to destroy Genesis. God generates, God gives the growth. We as sinners want to destroy life and growth. We want "de-generation." And here's the thing: the most destructive form of de-generation is when men don't like women and women don't like men and that describes a lot of us, a lot of the time. Women don't really see men these days and men don't really see women either. We just don't "get" why marriage and romance and men liking women and women liking men is very important but that's only because we don't see like God does. In fact, we don't see at all. It's only in God's light that we see light. Only he reveals what love is, what faith is, what is important and what is not important. All our reasoning, all our philosophy, all our science comes up with precisely nada, nothingness, chaos. In the early 20th century we reasoned and philosophized our way to eugenics and the holocaust. And we haven't changed one bit. Our way is always toward destruction. Jesus said, "I am the way and the truth and the life." He also said, "Come to me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest." The Good Samaritan came to the man who had fallen among thieves, and who was pretty much as good as dead, beaten up by sin and death and the devil and he had compassion on him. We are that man. We are the ones who hate God and in so doing destroy ourselves and are destroyed. But God still loves us, he is crazy in love with us, he came to us while we were yet enemies. He is here, "the home of God is among men" and one by one we are lifted up in his arms and healed and saved. And as if that were not enough, to save us is his joy, his delight. We learn in the Bible that he sings with joy over what he has done through his only begotten Son. This is the entirely unexpected and undeserved face of God's justice and nothing can stop that justice now.

(Note: I follow the theologians William Orr of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and N.T. Wright of St. Andrews in this article, the song quoted above is "Same Love" written by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis)

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