Sunday, December 30, 2007

Paul's Doctrine (Part 4)

Imagine that a letter arrives. It claims to be an official letter from a legal representative of the court. It says…

“I would prefer to tell you this personally, but have not been able to do so. Acting in my role as a legal representative of the court, I have very good news for you. You will not be required to serve any prison time, or pay any penalty. In addition, you will be given everything you need to live comfortably and confidently. The only requirement is that you maintain a residence within the jurisdiction of this court.

How would you respond?

  • Would you compose a reply that challenges the court decision by asking “What do you mean I don’t have to serve prison time? What have I done to deserve any prison time? Why am I being given the award? Why do I have to keep a residence in this jurisdiction?
  • Would you start packing to move to another jurisdiction?
  • Would you jump for joy, and begin celebrating?

Most of us think we would do the third, but in reality, we do the first AND the second.

Paul wrote, in so many words… “I am speaking as an official representative of the all powerful deity. I have good news for you. God will use His power to rescue you from penalty and give you the ability to live in comfort and confidence. The only thing you need to do is have faith in Him.” (Romans 1:16, 17)

Rather than rejoice, people in Paul’s time and ours start asking questions and challenging the offer.

  • Why do I deserve a penalty?
  • Why should I get a penalty, when others are worse than me?
  • What other options do I have to get out of this penalty I may deserve?

Does asking those questions sound like having faith in Him? Of course not! That’s how we are really taking the second option (moving to another jurisdiction and invalidating the gift), when we begin on the first option (challenging and questioning the offer). The questioning and challenging IS moving away from a position that acknowledges the jurisdiction and authority of God.

Why do we choose such a bizarre, self-destructive, course of action? The same reason we deserve the penalty to begin with. Questioning and challenging the good news confirms and further entrenches the guilt. We refuse to recognize that God has jurisdiction, and that He desires our best interest. (Romans 1:20)

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