Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Rambling through Romans (8): 1:18

18 God’s wrath is being revealed from heaven against all the ungodly behavior and the injustice of human beings who silence the truth with injustice.

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What’s love without wrath?  How could a lover, especially a Divine Lover, not be outraged, hurt, disappointed beyond measure by a Beloved’s betrayal, rejection, flouting of all the Lover stands for?  What kind of a relationship would they have if such behavior elicited no response?

You see, wrath is not the opposite of love, indifference is.  Wrath is love’s “tough love” for incorrigible partners or children.  Humanity has behaved with wanton disregard from both God (“ungodly behavior) and other human beings (“injustice”).  Yet God’s love for us has not cooled.  It has not turned to indifference.  Rather he keeps on reaching out to his alienated creatures to reclaim and restore them to right relation (justice) to him and to each other.

We experience his “tough love” (wrath) as being left to our own devices and desires and having to live with the consequences. More on that in a future post.

Here Paul notes the effect on and in us of living in rebellion to our Creator/Lover.  We actively suppress the truth of our creaturehood as God’s beloved children by living out of sync (injustice) with him and his created order.  Paul unfolds this throughout the rest of this chapter. 

The heart of the fall, our sin, is a broken relationship more than it is a legal violation of a law.  It is the latter, of course, but it is the former aspect of sin that dominates the biblical story.  Sin is more about God’s heartbreak and heartache over our relational dysfunction than his offended sense of rightness. He wants to be with us, close to us, in fellowship and communion.  God keeps reaching out to woo us and win us back to him.  And he will never stop. 

The rest of ch.1 explores all this is greater detail.

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