Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Righteous before God – am I?￼
Speed awareness course – one way of being made right after an offence
Then will all your people be righteous…
I am discharging my debt today. My fine has been paid, I am attending the local DriveTech course with a good attitude and I will be even more careful, verging on the paranoid, not to exceed a 30mph speed limit.
I’m not carrying the guilt. I’m not pretending it was someone else, or making excuses. But neither am I waiting for that letter from Thames Valley Police. I am a better driver from having recognised where I was in error, and having training to make that right.
Are you righteous – made right with God? Here’s where what you know, and what you feel, come into conflict.
For many of us, this can settle into the place of our consciousness where we know ‘the right answer’. We know that Jesus died for us; we know there was a ‘divine exchange’ on the Cross; we know that somehow our wilful independence that hadn’t happened then, was counted paid for at that time, so that in the here and now we could be penalty free and justified.
Intellectually this doesn’t quite work, doesn’t follow our laws of logic. Faith acknowledges that it happened and accepts this as personal to us – to a greater or lesser extent.
In some ways it is easier to do traditional religion. We like to work at things. We can cope better with feeling guilty, thinking we are out of God’s will and need to get back, doing good works, attending church as part of that and seeking absolution or some other kind of deliverance through Holy Communion.
So, whether you feel justified – whether you know that you are counted righteous – may seem like the wrong question to be asking. We are used to believing our feelings – like the anorexic that ‘feels’ fat. So if we feel that we need to earn some more grace, feel that we have fallen short, feel a certain divine displeasure – we accept this as truthful. We won’t step out in faith too much, or pray bold prayers, or expect too much of God because – we feel – in reality, that just isn’t quite where we are.
That part of the picture we are familiar with, and it fits our perspective. How does it square with the perspective of heaven? How does it fit with truth as set out in the Bible? How does it enable – or otherwise – what Jesus wants to do through us?
We’ll explore the rest of the picture further tomorrow.