Monday, September 07, 2009

Reprive: A Breath, A Wind, The Spirit

What if we've gotten the gospel the wrong way around? I've heard a preacher recently regale his congregation about how we cannot keep the Torah, and we need to keep it perfectly to be save, and that's why we need Jesus to keep it perfectly so we don't have to. Breathless...and backwards, I think.

Were Adam and Eve in a perfect relationship with God before He gave His command? Were the Israelites delivered from slavery in Egypt before the Sinai theophany and the descent of the Torah? While we were still in Exile (as Jews) or outside of God's family (Gentiles), did the Messsiah die for us and welcome us in? Is grace first or obedience first?

There is no question that we are supposed to live as God has intended His human creatures to live and that there are dire consequences if we opt to do otherwise. Sin, living outside of God's proscribed limits, has consequences -- far reaching and destructive, even to disinheritance. Sin is a fact in the human condition and it has permeated into every facet of existence. Whether or not we perfectly obey Torah, live as the wise creatures we are supposed to, we still inherit the Adam's rebellion and his curse. We need the action of God before any sort of obedience truly matters. It is here that Jesus comes in, taking the curse of Israel's disobedience and the Adam's as well upon himself, exhausting all wrath and fulfilling justice. His completely Torah-obedient life did not take away our duty, but was necessary for him to be able to have a curse-reversing death: only the obedient was worthy to undo the unworthy action of the disobedient. Jesus' death, as Messiah the faithful Israelite, establishes us in the Kingdom of God: his life was a prerequisite to that obedience. Since he himself did not need to be rescued from the dominion of sin, he could effect the new Exodus in his death.

And he lives, for death could not hold him, he needed no rescue, but due to his faithful obedience had the authority to take his life up again. His Spirit-animated existence now he passes onto us, we who have been incorporated "in him". What God has done in Jesus, he intends to do in His whole human creation, and what He does in the humans, he intends to do for all creation.

A breath of fresh air.