[BIG NOTE: To be clear, this — and everything I write — is merely my humble opinion at this current moment and is subject to change via the direction of the wind from the Holy Spirit at any time. Some people find deep peace through the theology that I’m about to challenge. If this is you — if a cornerstone of your faith is the penal substitutionary atonement theory — please don’t let me ruin it for you. You’re better off to stop reading and continue on your day. Or, stick around, read my musings, and please educate me as to how I might be able to see it differently. Okay, let’s keep going…]
I love it when people preach using the grace of Christ (vs. the merit of humans) as their hermeneutical (interpretive) key. I’m blessed to have found a handful of preachers who do this well. The concept of grace has rewired my brain, softened my heart, and changed my life — no joke.
However (you knew there was a ‘however’ coming, right?), some of these preachers tend to veer off of a theological cliff at a certain point.
They typically start well by proclaiming that there is nothing we can do or not do in order to gain God’s love. God’s love is one-directional from God to us all of the time.
(Right on… I’m with them here. Shaking my head and throwing up ‘amens’ — but silently because I’m a Lutheran.)
They say that God’s love is unconditional and grace is an undeserved gift that unbinds the soul, softens the human heart, and leads to renewed life.
(YES! AMEN! But then it happens…)
They say that the reason that God forgives and loves us is not because of what WE do, but because of what Jesus has done. They say that his perfection and sacrifice appeased God’s wrath once and for all and now God’s not mad at us anymore. Hallelujah!
(Again, totally simplifying here.)
As beautiful as this message of grace is — that we are fully and unconditionally loved by God — IT’S STILL CONDITIONAL!! Not on our behalf, but on Jesus’s. They still portray an object/being called ‘God’ who was angry and wrathful towards humanity (God’s very own creation) for a very long time until Jesus paid the ‘ultimate’ price (as if this…