Tuesday, May 23, 2006
The more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Grace takes on meaning. Extravagant love, undeserved forgiveness. Not so extravagant when preceded by conditions, not so undeserved if you spend your lifetime trying to measure up. Not unconditional if it depends on your response.
I mean, would Jesus really go through all that He did only to say, "whoops, you didn't believe the diseased-blanket-bearing-buffalo-exterminating white man, I guess you're off to hell!" Would He? Is that consistent with His character? Does He build a bridge in the wilderness and then restrict passage to the few who can say how it came to be built?
Yet I keep coming up against Paul. I'm developing quite a distaste for Paul, as a matter of fact. He wrote so much of the stuff on which we base our theology, and yet I see him as an opinionated guy writing letters.... not necessarily the be all and end all of Godly wisdom, and maybe even missing the point on certain topics.
So.... what must I do to be saved?? Jesus had a number of different answers to that question, and Paul just kept repeating something totally different. Part of me wants to disregard Paul altogether, but that doesn't seem balanced either.
Recently I remembered this one very well known bit of scripture, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord" and it made me laugh to myself. Why? Because according to my upbringing, the wages of sin is eternal torment in the pit of hell. How did I never see that? To the very short list of things I can say that I believe, I have added the non-existence of hell.
It feels good to have a belief, even if it is a belief that would put me in a precarious position with just about everyone in my life.