The other day, I wrote about the ‘good news’ that we are redeemed (‘made okay’) at the core of our being, not through what we do but by who we are as an integral part of creation from birth (as embodied through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, of course — but not everybody is into this narrative, which is fine).
If I have my theology right (again, I’m a total rookie here), God — acting in, through, and as Jesus — died to the law. Jesus turned God from this booming force in the clouds into a broken and busted peasant on a cross looking out from our perspective.
As Lutheran Pastor, Nadia Bolz Weber writes in her (incredible) book, Accidental Saints…
It feels like a strange and abstract thing to say. “Jesus died for your sins.” And I’ve squandered plenty of ink arguing against the notion that God had to kill Jesus because we were bad. But when Caitlin said that Jesus died for our sins, including that one, I was reminded again that there is nothing we have done that God cannot redeem. Small betrayals, large infractions, minor offenses. All of it.
Some would say that instead of the cross being about Jesus standing in for us to take the really bad spanking from God for our own naughtiness (the fancy theological term for this is substitutionary atonement), what happens at the cross is a “blessed exchange.” God gathers up all our sin, all our broken-ass junk, into God’s own self and transforms all that death into life. Jesus takes our crap and exchanges it for his blessedness.
Now, it’s easy to see that this is truly good news for the guilt-laden or shameful aggressor. But what about victims? Because if this unending one-way grace and mercy of God is true for me, it’s also true for the tyrant who has a boot on my neck.
If I’m the one who’s getting my face slammed on the pavement, I’m going to be praying that a damning God rushes out of the sky, pulls my aggressor off of my back, and casts him into a fiery hell. Like…