Sunday, November 30, 2008

Quote of the Day

Jesus...understood judgment not as an end but as a beginning. The penitential river of fire was not to consume but purify, not annihilate but redeem (Luke 15:1-32; 18:9-14). Divine judgment is intended not to destroy but to awaken people to the devastating truth about their lives. Jesus seizes the apocalyptic vision of impending doom and hurls it into present time, into the present encounter with God's unexpected and unaccountable forgiveness. Judgment no longer is the last crushing word on a failed life, but the first word of a new creation.

Jesus lived this new creation out in his table fellowship with those whom the religious establishment had branded outcasts, sinners, renegades; the enemies of God. He did not wait for them to repent, become respectable, and do the works of restitution in hope of gaining divine forgiveness and human restoration. Instead, he audaciously burst upon these sinners with the declaration that their sins had been forgiven, prior to their repentance, prior to their having done any acts of restitution or reconciliation. Everything is reversed: you are forgiven; now you can repent! God loves you; now you can lift your eyes to God! THe enmity is over. You were enemies and yet God accepts you! There is nothing you must do to earn this. You need only accept it.

- Walter Wink, The Powers That Be


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