Friday, March 28, 2014

That's an unexpected definition

What is holiness? It is grace, the grace of a Divine Being who offers himself to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in undeserved promises of blessing. It is grace, the grace of One who is sensitive to the suffering of human beings. It is grace, the grace of One who is determined to keep his promises to his people in spite of their fear and unbelief. — Called to be Holy, page 26

<idle musing>,
Not what you expected for a definition, is it? Me either. I expected something more about justice, righteousness, etc. You know, something more performance based...but that's not who God is, is it? God is about grace and love. I'm liking where this book is going...
</idle musing>


That's my 2 cents! said...

James, this is something I've struggled with a great deal. God's ways are so foreign to us. I've been writing chapter six in my book, and I've focused on Romans 1 and 2.

I've always said that Romans 1:16-17 are one of the few places we get the good news before we get the bad news, but what God says is so much more remarkable than how they are placed in Romans 1.

"For I am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first for the Jew, and then to the Gentile. For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed a righteousness that is by faith from firs to last..."

I used to think God's righteousness was revealed when he pours our his wrath upon, "...the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness." Romans 1:18.

God's righteousness overcomes the godless and wicked humans. The righteousness of God is only expressed the way God tells us he expresses it. Wrath is only saved up for unrighteous humans, God's righteousness isn't in wrath, but in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We've been overcome by our focus on the wrath owed and showed to those who reject the righteousness in the gospel. God's righteousness overcomes all that follows Romans 1:16-17 in Romans 1:18-32. He also overcomes the condemning legalist he begins speaking to in Romans 2.

God's righteousness leads to repentance, not Hell. God's righteousness doesn't leave us angry, fearful, and bitter toward the lost soul. Everyone of us has been enslaved to sin, but God's righteousness saves from unrighteousness, and faith in Christ, "...and him crucified," overcomes all the wickedness and condemnation which follows verses 16-17. Romans 1:18-32, and the condemning lawyer in Romans 2.

Maybe we could "facetime" some time soon. I've been thinking a lot about you guys lately!

Grace and peace!


jps said...


Good thoughts. I've been slowly reading Atonement, Justice, and Peace by Belousek. He basic thesis is similar to what you are saying.

Personally, I think it all goes back to how we read Genesis 3—how many curses are there, and who gets cursed? As I've said many times, most people think there are 3-4 curses: the serpent, the woman, the ground, and man.

NO! NO! A thousand times NO! There are only two: the serpent and the ground. Humanity is not cursed. God goes in search of humanity! The initial impulse from humanity is to run and hide—and we've been doing the same thing ever since. And God has been doing the same thing ever since, as well. He chases us, woos us, speaks tenderly to us.

A very simplistic example of the classic misunderstanding and correct understanding is in this video:

Overly simplistic, but effective...