Sin is Relational

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Divine goodness is not just perfect, it is more than perfect. It spills out beyond itself like sunlight. It is agape, generosity, altruism, self-giving, self-sacrificial love. God seeks intimacy with Man . . . “Your creator shall become your Husband,” says Isaiah (54:5). To that end, He makes covenants, to prepare for the fundamental covenant, marriage.

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No pagan ever suspected the possibility of such intimacy, even with their finite, anthropomorphic gods: that is, the relationship scripture calls “faith,” or fidelity. And therefore no pagan ever understood the deeper meaning and terror of “sin” either, for sin is the breaking of that relationship. Sin is to faith what infidelity is to marriage. Only one who knows the wonder of marriage can know the horror of infidelity.

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That is why Jesus . . . took sin much more seriously than any pagan possibly could, and why He paid the ultimate price—His own life—to save us from it.

–Peter Kreeft
The Philosophy of Jesus

Art: Benjamin West

Spirituality, intimacy and illusions

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Many people assume that spirituality is about becoming emotionally intimate with God. That’s a naïve view of spirituality. What we’re talking about is the Christian life. It’s following Jesus. Spirituality is no different from what we’ve been doing for two thousand years just by going to church and receiving the sacraments, being baptized, learning to pray, and reading Scriptures rightly. It’s just ordinary stuff.

This promise of intimacy is both right and wrong. There is an intimacy with God, but it’s like any other intimacy; it’s part of the fabric of your life. In marriage you don’t feel intimate most of the time. Nor with a friend. Intimacy isn’t primarily a mystical emotion. It’s a way of life, a life of openness, honesty, a certain transparency . . .

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It involves following Jesus. It involves the Cross. It involves death, an acceptable sacrifice. We give up our lives. The Gospel of Mark is so graphic this way. The first half of the Gospel is Jesus showing people how to live. He’s healing everybody. Then right in the middle, he shifts. He starts showing people how to die: “Now that you’ve got a life, I’m going to show you how to give it up.” That’s the whole spiritual life. It’s learning how to die. And as you learn how to die, you start losing all your illusions, and you start being capable now of true intimacy and love.

–Eugene Peterson
Spirituality for All the Wrong Reasons
Interview by Mark Galli, Christianity Today

When God whispers

“For God does speak
– now one way, now another –
though man may not perceive it.”
Job 33:14

I long to be on intimate terms with God and I have often felt offended that God makes it so hard to hear him and to sense him at work in my life. After much seeking of God about this puzzle I have at last made the heart-warming discovery that God hiding himself in no way suggests that he wants to remain aloof. On the contrary, he longs for us to find him. Nothing thrills him more than us by faith seeing through his disguises and discovering him speaking and loving us through people, thoughts, circumstances, desires, books, songs, dreams, billboards, nature, movies, Scriptures . . . does the list ever end? It is only if God lovingly hides himself that we can win the eternal glory of those who by the eyes of faith pierce the apparent darkness and silence and evil to see our holy, triumphant Lord loving us and speaking to us and weaving all things together for good.

Perhaps you have heard of the man who in utter frustration asked his pastor why God had not been giving him answers. Unable to hear the pastor’s mumbled reply, the man moved closer, asking the pastor to repeat what he had said. Still unable to hear the reply, he moved closer and closer until finally his ear was almost touching the pastor. Then he heard in the faintest voice, ‘Sometimes God whispers so that we will move closer to him.’

–Grantley Morris

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