Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Eternal Grace

From The Valley of Vision

Blessed Lord Jesus
No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.  
Acting in eternal grace, though art both its messenger and its message,
lived out on earth through infinite compassion, 
applying thy life to insult, injury, death
that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.

I Corinthians 1-2 are reflected in the first three lines.  The words "eternal grace" send me looking in the concordance.  While that construction isn't used, grace grants many eternal things and is linked to an eternal God.  Is grace itself eternal?  Will it have to end at some point, be no longer needed?  This is linear thinking; we conceive of eternity past and eternity future, when there is no such thing; it is all eternity present.

We evangelicals think only of the death of Christ saving us, not the life.  But there would be no efficacious death without a perfect, "infinitely compassionate" life that was sacrificed willingly.

I am taking a film noir course through TCM that is quite interesting from an intellectual and artistic standpoint, but film noir has little to offer us spiritually except a sardonic confirmation of sin and depravity.  The films featured this week are about violence and torture.  The filmmakers weren't allowed to show violence, only imply it, thankfully.  We don't get that today, and have become hardened to violence. It is as if my hangnail is equal to someone else's being beaten with a rubber hose.  As long as it isn't me, the violence is not real.

Christianity brings us faith to face (not an error) with real stone cold violence, its origins, its outcomes.  Is God honored in violence?  Was he pleased with it, happy with it?  I say no, even in the cross.  What kind of God would be honored in violence?  Some parts of the Bible would seem to say that, particular Is. 53:10:  Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

In this instance, God was pleased to allow suffering for a short time for an eternal blessing.  I believe the thing we are to see is that human sin and our violence to others, seen right now so much in the Middle East, is so bad, and its effect on God as the judge so deep, that only the death of His Son can pay for it.  

Some supporting verses:  
21 so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope,
7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.
10 And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.



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