Friday, August 11, 2017

The tension

The covenant relationship, by its very nature, makes certain demands on both sides of the party (Deut 26–30), by which life and blessing can be gained or lost depending on the human response. Childs helpfully comments: “Election was not a privilege to be enjoyed, but a calling to be pursued.” [fn: Childs, Biblical, 445. He draws attention to the fact that the same tension is still found in Romans 9–11, particularly 11:22: “Note then the kindness and the severity of God: severity toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.”] … there is a tension between Israel’s special status and the breached covenant. This dynamic is clearly in the background of Moses’ prayer. The Scriptures witness to this subtle but fundamental tension between election and covenant. On the one hand, YHWH, in sovereign love, choses people on His own initiative. This divine call is unchangeable because it depends on God’s loyalty. On the other hand, the chosen people have entered a covenant relationship that requires obedience. It is a real relationship that depends on both covenant people and covenant God. This dynamic tension cannot and should not be resolved because it is the dynamics of love.—Standing in the Breach, pages 152–53

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