Reformation Sunday

by Crossings

LIFE UNDER LAW
Romans 3:19-28
Reformation Sunday
analysis by Ed Schroeder

Sabbatarians:
Not all worshipping Christians on Sunday Oct. 27 will call it Reformation Sunday. But for those of us who do here is a Crossings matrix for the second lesson for the day: Romans 3:19-28. 
Peace & Joy! Ed 

THE OLD DIAGNOSIS: LIFE UNDER LAW

D-1 The Symptoms:
Accusing, excusing, boasting: Using the law for righteousness. Measuring self and others in daily life by the yardstick of performance.

Our daily life experience is that we always measure and get measured by the yardstick of performance. There is no end to the pressure–given and received–to do better, to be good, to be right. And all of that on the basis of performance, some “law” that evaluates us.

D-2 The Deeper Infection:
The “Pharisee Heresy,” hearts “under” the law, trusting performance as the way to be right.

Entrusting our righteousness to the rightness of our performance is to invite the Divine Critic, God’s law, into the center of our lives. That proves to be a false trust, a false faith, for it fails to deliver. When God’s law addresses human hearts, the message is (v. 20): No human being (no human heart) gets things right with God by deeds prescribed by the law, “rather through the law we become conscious of sin” (NIV). “All fall short of the glory of God.” To entrust oneself to the law is to invite disaster.

D-3 Where Such Sickness Winds Up:
…And such disaster comes if nothing changes. The deadly prognosis: permanent (=eternal) unrighteousness In 1:18 Paul calls this an encounter with the wrath of God.

 

A NEW PROGNOSIS: LIFE “UNDER” FAITH-IN-CHRIST

P-1 Healing for D-3:
Christ Joins us in our Sickness, Assumes our.Deadly Prognosis. That produces a new prognosis for the un-righteous, viz., Righteous after all “in Christ.”

Initially “exposed to the judgement of God”(NEB), accountable to God with nothing to say for oneself: “Every mouth stopped.” Never “right” (= forever un-righteous) in God’s sight. “But now” a Rightness for sinners “independent of law…has been brought to light”(NEB), God’s own unique way of being right to begin with, namely, the way God makes right what’s wrong with people who are not even right with him. The Jesus story (focused on his death) is the very transaction that does it. It swaps our deadly un-rightness for Christ’s divine right-ness. Jesus invites sinners to trust the “second opinion” from God about themselves, to trust it for their own.rightness–with God, with themselves, with people and the world around them.

P-2 Healing for D-2:
Curing the Deeper Infection.

The New Heart of Faith. Cashing in on Christ’s Righteousness. Trusting God’s “second opinion” about sinners, Christ’s “sweet swap” with us at the cross. Trusting Christ = receiving his rightness. His rightness, which is the very stuff whereby God is righteous, becomes the sinner’s own rightness. Faith is the instrument for the transfer. Trusting Christ makes God’s “second opinion” about sinners God’s “final opinion about me.” Read v. 28.

P-3 Healing for D-1:
Living with New Symptoms: Daily life in Faith is Lived Free from the Law 

Law-free, but not lawless. Boasting excluded. Also accusing and excusing, since “there is therefore no condemnation (going on) for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set [us] free from the law of sin and death” (8:1f.) This law-free life is Paul’s topic throughout most of the rest of the epistle, viz., chapters 5-8 [living in freedom–from wrath (5), from death (6), from sin (7), and from flesh (8)] and 12-15 [coping with the world (12), with secular authority (13), with the weak (14), and doing so in hope (15)]. “Too right!” as the Aussies say.

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  • Crossings

    Crossings is a community of welcoming, inquisitive people who want to explore how what we hear at church is useful and beneficial in our daily lives.

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In the early 1970s two seminary professors listened to the plea of some lay Christians. “Can you help us live out our faith in the world of daily work?” they asked. “Can you help us connect Sunday worship with our lives the other six days of the week?”  That is how Crossings was born.

 

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