A PERTINENT QUESTION
JULY 19, 2014
The Glory Road, A Kingdom Highway
“For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him”
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam ALL die, so also in Christ shall ALL be made alive” (I Cor. 15:21-22).
Fr. Richard Rohr’s meditation today brought to my mind the question, asked by a Glory Road reader in 1999:
“I took a look at your essay ‘Saved By His Life,’ (Glory Road, 1997), and was interested in the question you pose at the beginning, ‘Why did Christ have to die if all are saved anyway?’ Without wishing to seem harsh, you spend an enormous amount of time NOT addressing that issue. After having read the essay several times, I still don’t see how you answer that question. Surely that question can be answered in 25 words or less. You are evading a direct answer by piling on concept after concept. If you cannot answer in one simple paragraph, then I doubt that you know the answer to your own question. You really do not know ‘why Christ had to die if everyone is saved.’ You are beating around the bush and fooling people.”
Lenny and I both answered him, but he wasn’t buying any of it. True, I did come at it from the viewpoint of salvation from sin, which is where most Christians I knew were struggling at that time. Perhaps that’s still true today, but my answer would be slanted differently. At the time, when Tomas blew me off, I asked Harry Fox and John Gavazzoni to give an answer. Each of them did, but it didn’t satisfy the fussy Tomas. Turns out, I found out that he was a trouble maker and had no interest in our answers. His goal was to discomfort us all, including Gary Sigler and Preston Eby, whom he mentioned several times as having disappointed him with unsatisfactory answers, by which he concluded that none of us knew what we were talking about. At least we got named in a superior group of thinkers/writers.
Though it didn’t satisfy Tomas, I want to include Harry Fox’s answer here, because it comes closer to the heart of the matter than I did. Harry wrote simply,
“This one sentence answer can be expanded into a short paragraph as follows: To say that
This is another example of how our perception changes when the Holy Spirit reveals the Father’s Heart to us.
Intellect, no matter how keen, will not reveal Father God to us; reading the Bible, no matter how diligently, will not satisfy our heart’s desire to know Him; going to church, doing good works, avoiding sin when we can will not bring us to a place of rest in Him.
Only the Holy Spirit can reveal the Father’s heart to our hearts, and this is why
The point of the exercise was to say in symbolic form that
The Old Testament is a bloody testament to Abraham’s heirs’ inability to keep the covenant,
Enter Jesus, as a tiny baby born to a virgin, birthed in a manger among the cattle and sheep. He lived out His life in Nazareth, a village of poor repute, until God called Him to begin His ministry.
“Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world,”
That message has no effect on people like Tomas and on many others who don’t know the scriptural implications, and are so busy rushing about in their busy lives, that they don’t really even think about it, until they need help.
“The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere. The wounds were not necessary to convince God that we were lovable; the wounds are to convince us of the path and the price of transformation. They are what will happen to you if you face and hold sin in compassion instead of projecting it in hatred.”
Father, we bless your holy name, for You are worthy to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing! Your children call You blessed, now and forever more. Truly, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth. In Christ, we worship and adore You, fall on our faces before You, and follow the Lamb wherever He leads. Amen.