The Mystery of Redemption


Here is a passage that intrigued me.

And yet. God reconciling the world to himself is also God reconciling himself to the world. In working out the plan of redemption, the Bible does not say that man became God, but that God became man. Further, he reconciled himself to the world by "not counting their trespasses against them." He forgave us not by ignoring our trespasses but by assuming our trespasses. "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." God became what by right he was not, so that we might become what by right we are not. This is what Christians through the ages have called "the happy exchange." This exchange, this reversal, is at the very epicenter of the story of our redemption. In the Great Vigil of Easter we sing of the felix culpa--the "happy fault"""O happy fault, O necessary sin of Adam, which gained for us so great a Redeemer!"

God becomes a person so that people may be divinized and assume their places in God. God reconciles us to Him by reconciling Himself with us. This is the great mystery of the incarnation, a deep mystery and one that could be a profitable source of meditation for an entire lifetime. I will never come to understand it completely. In fact, it is so far beyond my comprehension that I simply accept it. In every story one reads about God (with a few exceptions for the Hindu stories of God) the God or God's stand on their rights and demand that we ascend (or descend) to them. Our God descends to us and takes us up with Him in the ascension. We are the constant subject of the table talk of God the Father and Jesus at the eternal banquet. There is not a moment that passes when each one of us is not on His mind. We are emblazoned there and treasured there, mind and heart, heart and mind. God's every thought is for each of us, His tender will--our redemption and restoration to the rights of the throne room. We are carefully nurtured, constantly attended.

All of this from the God we chose to kill and whom I choose to kill each day again with my litany of sins. I speak words with my lips and drive in nails with my hands. I give Him a moment's attention and count myself the best of friends, pat myself on the back for all the work I've done to maintain the friendship. And yet mere guilt and shame, both of which I feel to some degree, are insufficient and counterindicated. Rather than either, He prefers my love, my ardent attention, my devoted heart. He cares more for what I do now than what I have already done. He covers my sins through the act of His Son, but which all sins have been covered. And all He asks of me is that I love Him; because it is not in battling temptations, nor in serving in the poor, nor is preaching the word, nor in a multitude of prayers that I make amends for what has gone before. Rather it is in the love from which all of these things and more spring. God asks only that I give Him love. So rather than guilt and shame, whose good purpose leads me to the confessional, He wants me to put my former life behind me and put on His life. He wants me to cooperate with His grace and put on the life of Jesus Christ my redeemer who comes to me this week as King and whom I kill s thief in my daily interactions.

May it not continue to be so. May I learn the depth of the love of God and so manifest it to all those around me. By loving Him may I love all of them. God rescues me so that I may lead others to be rescued--that is the chiefest sign of my love for Him, that I bring back to Him what He treasures about all treasures, what is more precious than precious, what is His and His alone--the people He died for. When I walk the via dolorosa I will know the weight of what He has done for me and feel that cross squarely on my shoulders to that I might feel what it is like to return to life, to come back from the graveyard of sin and emerge once more into the light.

A blessed Holy Week to you all.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 11, 2006 9:00 AM.

Changing One Atom at a Time was the previous entry in this blog.

A Call to Life is the next entry in this blog.

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