Monday, May 18, 2020

But, doesn't that mean…

Many people become anxious at the thought that God might be unconditionally and permanently committed to us in love—strange but true. They worry that people will take God for a ride and misbehave. If we are permanently in God’s good books, then why would we want to do the right thing and respond to him and to others as we should, sometimes in costly actions of kindness? The concern here, in other words, is ethical. Does this understanding of God undercut ethics? Will we stop behaving well because we are under the gaze of a covenantal God? This was probably the concern that Paul’s Enemies had.

I understand these concerns, but they are the absolute opposite of the truth. A covenantal relationship exerts the strongest possible ethical pressure on its partners. Abandoning a covenant, conversely, and structuring relationships with a contract, relaxes those pressures and allows unethical behavior in all sorts of ways. It is, paradoxically, religion that is unethical!—Paul: An Apostle’s Journey, 141

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