Friday, January 19, 2007

...the way of peace they do not know.

Paul is advancing the argument in Romans 3 that both Jews and Gentiles (non-Jews) need God to intervene into their lives.

Paul quotes the Poets and Prophets to illustrate his point: "no one is righteous, no one understands, no one seeks God, all have turned away, they have together become worthless, no one does good, throats are an open grave, tongues practice deciet, poison of vipers is on their lips, mouths are full of cursing and bitterness, feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery mark their ways, the way of peace they do not know, no fear of God before their eyes."

I think Paul has made his point.

But now...

But now the righteousness of God has been made known...

But now...

The righteousness of God - his ability to always do the right thing by somebody...the right thing that is the perfect blend of justice, mercy, truth, grace, judgment, forgiveness, beauty, terror, gloriousness, generosity, purity, love, peace, etc.

...the way of peace they do not know...I think that sums up in one or another the lives of many, many, many people I know.

And God has made known to us the way of has been given through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ to all who believe/trust.

But now...that phrase always sticks out to me. Last spring I was able to study Karl Barth's theology - and I spent some extra time in his commentary on Romans. He makes a big deal about this phrase "but now...". Something significant has changed the course of your life. A new way has been opened up to you. But can know the way of peace.

Rob Bell preached a series of sermons during the Advent season: Calling all Peacemakers. In the final sermon he exposed the listeners to a barrage of disturbing statistics. On a global scale, the way of peace is not known. But now the way of peace has been made known to a few who trust what God has revealed through Jesus of Nazareth.

I am pursuing the way of peace. With my wife, my children, my family and friends, my church and neighbors. But what about my world as well? God is global. His way has local and global dimensions to it. And so should mine.

If I am pursuing the way of peace righeously, then as I journey on that way, it should result in others also being on the way of peace. It is not about me as an individual being on a way, but all the people that are interconnected with me - we are on the way of peace.

On my own, I cannot find the way of peace - and if I do, it is on my own, a lonely way of peace cut off from a crazy world. Peace at another's expense. Another sign of my falleness - God's glory/beauty/delightfulness/creativity is often so absent in my soul. And my church. And my family and neigbors and community and world. All that is good about God seems so hard to find. But it has been made known...and is being made known.

Oh that my Anchor might be a glorious/beautiful/delightful/creative people faithfully journeying on the way of peace with Jesus everyday. God knows how much our neighbors and world need it.

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