Living in the Two Hearts

My Spiritual Insights and Musings

Archive for July, 2008

Sin and Redemption: Romans 5 & 6…Part I

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 31, 2008

“So often when we think we’re rising up on our own power, God is just ‘setting-us-up’ for a bigger fall… in LOVE .” ~ Dr Scott Hahn

Okay, so last week we talked about TRUST, Obedience of Faith, and Concupiscence (the ability to sin).   We know that sin came into the world because of one man (Romans 5:12), and that death is the result of that sin.  Specifically, what kind of sin are we talking about here?

A sin of such originality that never before had it been seen among man: the sin of turning away from the Creator-God who walked with them in the garden at the cool of the day (cf Gen3:8).  An intimate friend who gave man dominion over all the wild beasts of the earth (Gen 1:28), and every possible plant for food that a person could want (Gen 1:29).  See anything that man was lacking?  Any reason thus far for turning away from God?  Hmmm, food, power (dominion), shelter (garden of paradise), Love (Gen 1:26 – imitation is the sincerest form of flattery), Life (Gen 2:7b),… anything missing?  Gosh, I can’t think of anything, can you?

We continue… Man turned away from God’s friendship, from God’s care, he decided he could do things on his own without the help of God (Gen 3:6-7).  Now, God could have said, “Be dust!” Because God IS God and He has the right to turn HIS creation back into the NOTHINGNESS as it was in the beginning (refer back to Gen 1… where did God get all that stuff to make light, night, water, etc…?).  But that’s not what God did.

God knew that man had chosen to follow his own path, to make his own way in the world and to do so without Him.  Still, God gave man that chance to “come clean” about what he (referring to both the male and female here) did – i.e. disobeying God and eating of the fruit of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.  But instead, both Adam and Eve just sort of  “past the buck”, you might say.

Eve blamed the serpent, Adam blamed… God … what?!  It’s true, read it: The man said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me the fruit of the tree and I ate.”

(Just so you know, I had to be reminded of this little known fact myself at that retreat I went to 2 weeks ago… and this after having just completed and exegetical class in Gen 1-11!  Oh the humiliation!!! But I digress… 🙂 )

So Adam is saying, “It’s Your fault, God!  You’re the one who put her here.  She’s Your responsibility, not mine.”  This from the guy who just a chapter earlier said, “At last!  This (Eve) is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh…” (cf. Gen 2:23).  Oh what a wounded race we are!  To be praising one minute and cursing the next.

And, wait a second, didn’t God put the man in charge of the garden – Gen 2:15?  That being the case, Adam has no caseAdam is responsible here.  He’s responsible for all that goes on in the garden.  He was the one put in charge.  Eve is just a culpable for eating the fruit, but she wasn’t put in charge, Adam was.

See how quickly conflict arose in man’s life?  Conflict that until the moment we ate of the fruit, DID NOT EXIST.  This is the first part of what is meant by death ( You shall die, Gen 2:17b) – the death of peace, tranquility, and harmony with all of creation AND with our Creator.  There is a second part, but we’ll get to that a little later.  (Btw, the Hebrew translation says “death death”, signifying the importance of the meaning.)

As we know, man doesn’t repent and “come-clean” admitting our sin, so what is God to do?  If we were God we might say, “Punish them! Dust, ye are dust!”  Thank heavens we are NOT God.

God did not destroy us, no.  God instead gave us MERCY.  How?  He makes us a promise as He’s cursing the snake, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise (crush) your head and you shall bruise (bite) his heel” (Gen 3:15).

One day, sin will be destroyed (crushing of the head of the serpent – Satan), and it shall come about from the “seed of a woman” – the New Eve – who will bear a Son, and this New Adam will bring about Life (Romans 5:18).

Side note: He will crush your head: All translations that say “she” are incorrect according to the Latin and Hebrew texts, PERIOD.

Adam’s not “off the hook”, he receives his own fair share of justice.  God responds to Adam in Gen 2:17-19, giving him the life Adam chose: not to live in the garden of paradise, not to have God’s intimate friendship, not to have a life of passion and purpose with right understanding.  Nope.  Instead he’ll work a “cursed ground” by the “sweat of his brow”, plowing and sowing, eating what he reaps.

But the worst part of this whole deal, he’ll return to dust – you are dust and to dust you shall return (Gen 2:19b).  God said, “You may freely eat of every tree in the garden; but the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for the day that you eat of it you shall die.” (Gen2:16-17)  – You are dust and to dust you shall return… This is the second half of that death death (Hebrew translation), that I had mentioned earlier.  So we have both a physical death AND a spiritual death.  BOTH/AND – GOOD THEOLOGY… And remember, there is a promise… Gen 3:15…

“We are frail, we are fearfully and wonderfully made.  Forged in the fires of human passion, choking on the fumes of selfish rage.  And with these are ‘hells’ and our ‘heavens’, so few inches apart, we must be awfully small, and not as strong as we think we are.” ~Rich Mullins, “Songs”, 1996.

Next week- Part II … getting into that promise – Gen 3:15

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So, I’m at this conference…

Posted by Anne Elizabeth on July 24, 2008

“The book of Romans is the most common ground we have with our separated Christian brethren. ” ~Dr Scott Hahn

Romans also tells us that we must TRUST God in ALL THINGS!  How do we Trust God in ALL things?  We begin with an Obedience of Faith – Romans 1:5  Which appears again at the end of Romans, 16:26; making what is commonly referred to in biblical study terms a “book-end”.  Romans is all about the Obedience of Faith.

Faith in what or whom?

In the center of our existence and the perfection of the revelation of God: the God-Man, Jesus Christ.  It is in Christ and by Christ that we are justified in faith and given the gift of redemption from God.

Some ask, “Isn’t our Faith just a mere proclamation of what we believe?”  It is a proclamation of what we believe, but it is also more.  Those who are justified in faith are those who are obedient to that Faith, and that means those who “do” what their Faith requires of them.  The doers of the Law are justified, Rom 2:13 – we are tested – like Abraham, will we pass the test 4:3 ?  This is BOTH/AND, GOOD THEOLOGY.

Something else, before circumcision (Gen 17), Abraham trusted God enough that he went to sacrifice his only son (Gen 12) out of obedience of faith in God.   That is why Abraham is both the Father to Jews AND Gentiles: 4:10.  There is someone greater than Abraham here…

Romans 5:12 – as sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and death through sin, … 17 much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. … 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience (the New Adam) many will be made righteous.

We have died to sin when we were baptized in the “Name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”, because in that baptism we were baptized into Christ’s death – Romans 6:3.  Thus we also share in His resurrection and in the newness of Life given to us by the Glory of the Father – 6:4.  We have died to our old life and have been brought into something new and better, why then do we still lack the divine life within our selves?

Concupiscence!  Romans 7:15- I do not understand my own actions.  For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 18b-19: I can will what is right but I cannot do it [ Sorry Oprah, but your theory is BOGUS! ].  For I do not do the good that I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do.

How do we handle this?  Prayer!  Supplication!  Sacrifice!  We die to ourselves and our weakness daily, clinging to the Cross of Christ.  We give Him our sins and our sufferings, for in Christ Jesus they are made perfect offerings, salvific offerings: When we cry ‘Abba, Father!” it is the Spirit Himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided that we suffer with Him in order that we may be glorified with Him. Rom 8:15b-17

“So often we settle for what is ‘good’ than for what is the BEST!” ~Jeff Cavins

1) We must NOT give in to temptation.  Don’t even dialogue with it.  It’s a snake that will bite you even if he says he won’t (Gen 3:1-5; Romans 5:12).  Resist!

2) If you do fail, as all of us so often do, REPENT – Repent Immediately!  Do not let your failure ruminate, gaining in strength and guilt.  Get rid of it immediately so that your life can move forward, not remain stuck in the past.  Sacrament of Reconciliation

3) What if we don’t repent, what then?  God’s judgment comes upon us: Romans 1:28-29: And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct.  They were filled with all manner of wickedness, evil contentiousness, malice. Full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malignity, they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil,..  God’s Mercy will always follow whenever we…

4) Repent.  No repentance will always lead to death, but Repentance will always lead to life!  It’s His Mercy when He provides for us that “wake-up” call, that event that let’s us know, “Hey!  What are you doing?  Where are you hiding?  Where did you go?  I’m still here…” Eph 6:10-20; Col 3:1-2; Luke 15:11-32

This, this is only the beginning to Paul’s writing on the TRUTH, found in the redemption given to man, in Jesus Christ… Hungry for more?

Next week… Mystery of Sin and Redemption in 4 Parts
Part I : Sin and Redemption
Part II : Genesis 3:15 fulfilled
Part III: Justification
Part IV: Sanctification

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