Thursday, December 15, 2016

Reconciliation

Paul discusses salvation in two parts. First, is the reversal of Adam's separation from God. The human race for Paul was reconciled to God by our having a representative who lived faithfully. This is the basis for all the Second Adam and related discussion. It is in this sense that Jesus destroyed sin in the flesh and the resultant Pauline "in Christ" argument.

The second is what God has done for you, as opposed to the human race. The answer to this is, let me be careful here, not much. At least not as is often trumpeted.

We are saved by two strokes. The first is God, desiring to have a people, has thrown open the doors to his kingdom, just as he has done before. The result is that if you want to join God, you can (stroke 2) because Jesus has reconciled the world to God and redeemed the human race. You don't need your sins forgiven specifically before you can join God, but joining God allows you to be "in Jesus," in whom there is no sin.

This is roughly parallel to being an Israelite. If you were part of Israel, you were with God, with the Pauline caveat that real Israel were and are those who are faithful to God. Perfection was not required, but as the psalmist says, blessed is the man whose sins God does not count. The same is true for you and me. Our sins don't go anywhere, they simply aren't counted as long as our God is YHWH, and we are conforming ourselves to his image.

Reconciliation is sometimes linked with redemption. Often involving paying a debt, the idea of redemption is most appropriately one of setting aright someone's life state and is often a family responsibility to heal and restore. Thus, Boaz goes looking for the person with the right of redemption for Ruth and company. Ruth didn't have to do anything to be redeemed, Boaz just did it. As a result, all that had gone before is forgotten, but faithfulness going forward is expected.

The world has been redeemed and the gospel call is to "come back home while the door is open." Salvation is life with God which God offers and which you are invited to enter.

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