April 18, 2014

In Whose Name?


The day that the veil was parted.

The day He died.

We like to preach about how Jesus gave His life for us, but the reality of the matter is that He just as much gave His life to us.

I don't buy into Penal Substitution Atonement (PSA) theory very much. To accept that, I'd have to embrace the logical inconsistency that God gave His life to save us from Himself, from His wrath.

While there is scriptural evidence to support PSA, it's all based on a simplistic surface reading of scripture, and it's not the theory of atonement that anyone in the early church would have accepted or understood.

I think more along the lines of the Christus Victor model, where Christ came to defeat sin and death for us.

So why would I say that He gave His life to us?

Well, we're the ones that killed Him. God didn't strike him down, we did.

When He willingly went to the Cross, He didn't go there to take our place, He went there because that's where we already were, and largely still are, living.

Yes, we live in a world of death and murder. While we may not be individual killers or part of a wild mob attacking villages, we still allow people to kill in our name. We send troops and bombs around the world to kill people of other religions. We allow people the choice to kill an unborn child. Even though it is an individual decision, it happens in our name. We allow, and even demand that our government execute certain criminals. And when that happens, it is done in our name. What is the worst thing about this is that we claim that it's the 'Christian' thing to do.

It's the crime Pilate is guilty of; allowing us our wishes, while allowing us to avoid getting our own hands dirty.

So what does it really mean to be a people of His name?

He defeated sin and death, and now holds the keys to death and Hades. So why do we still have such a fascination with letting people kill in our name. (You'll notice I've mentioned things that are supported by both liberal and conservative factions in American Christianity. I'm not making this a political issue, just pointing out how we've hidden our political issues behind religious trappings.)

He came to redeem, justify, sanctify, and give life abundant to all. He brought us God's grace. It's such a great treasure that He gave us that we have a secret desire to hoard as much as we can for ourselves, as if it would somehow be in shorter supply if we were to give it away to others.

That gift of God's grace, that what the abundant life is. It's not the material prosperity promised by some preachers to those who give money to make the pastor rich, it's the free giving of what we freely received, God's grace.

Yes, there are people who will always take advantage of that gift, and use it against those who would give grace freely. That doesn't give us permission to quit giving grace.

We killed Christ in our name, and being the full revelation of God, He gives us the gift of living in His name in return.

So in whose name shall we live?

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