the Presidential political campaign heats up we will hear a great deal about
“wedge” issues. Issues that divide according to political ideology,
culture, race, socio-economic status, gender, and sexual orientation abound.
Republicans and Democrats accuses each other of seeking to “divide”
Americans. But the pundits tell us that both parties are simply trying to energize
idealistic notion of “the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God”
is not an experienced reality. Indeed, the only solidarity the human family
seems to express is that of our mutual selfishness and self destructiveness.
We may be one – but our unity is in the family line of Adam! The catechism
proclaims, “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.”
likens the law to a “schoolmaster” – a teacher that show us the
right way, our failure and inability to attain it and our need of Christ. William
Barclay notes, “It was the function of the law to bring a man to Christ
by showing him that by himself he was utterly unable to keep it. But once a
man had come to Christ he no longer needed the law, for now he was dependent
not on law but on grace.”
that faith has come” (v. 25) we are free from the bondage of a law we cannot
keep. But what is this faith that frees and, ultimately, makes us one in Christ?
Sometimes we think strictly in logical terms, giving mental assent to certain
propositions. But God has come to us in and as a Person – the Lord Jesus
Christ. There are propositional truth claims that Scripture and history have
judged to be accurate to be sure.
just as knowing the physics of space travel won’t get you to the moon,
simply believing the right things about Jesus won’t make one a follower
of the Way.
Pascal observed that “the heart has its reasons that the mind knows not
of.” Kierkegaard spoke of the “leap of faith” as being “over
20,000 fathoms with nothing to hold on to.” The acrostic: Forsaking
All I Take Him says it simply and clearly. More than mere
belief, true faith is a whole hearted commitment. Faith is indeed, “sure
of what we hope for, certain of that which we do not see.” (Heb. 11: NIV)
and grace do more than restore individuals to right relationship with God. Baptism
is both a personal and corporate sign. It is personal in that we are taken to
the font or go into the pool individually. It is corporate in that it is an
expression in and of the covenant community, the Church. Paul lists the various
strata of Greco Roman culture – and proclaims that in Christ these divisions
are no more!
Christ there is “neither day laborer or professional, athlete or geek,
American Idol or Average Joe” for all are one in the One who is for all.
Our difference can be celebrated because of our overarching unity in Christ.
story is told of the Catholic priest, who had become very deaf in his advancing
years, had formed the habit of asking those erring members of his flock who
came to his enclosed stall to write their penitences on a slip of paper, instead
of speaking them to him. The practice worked fairly well until one day when
the father heard a heavily-breathing man enter the visitor’s side of the
confessional and fumble for a few moments as a small, crumpled piece of paper
was passed through the curtain into the old cleric’s hand.
confession read: Two cans of beans. Quarter pound ham. Cans of Coke. Four fish
filets. Bread rolls. Toilet paper. Large coffee. Soap. Butter.
The priest studied the note for a puzzled minute or two and then silently passed
the slip back. Suddenly, there came an agonized voice from the stall beside
him: “Mother of God, I’ve left my sins at the supermarket.” (British
journalist Godfrey Talbut, referenced in Executive Newsletter 9:2 (1994), 6.;
HomileticsOnline, for June 25, 1965)
have left our sins at the cross and are free indeed!
brief provided by: L. Joseph Rosas, Pastor of Crievewood Baptist Church, Nashville,