Paul describes this faith in most significant words, namely, when we cry Abba! Father! For in the spirit of fear it is not possible to cry, for we can scarcely open our mouth or mumble. But faith expands the heart, the emotions, and the voice, but fear tightens up all these things and restricts them, as our own experience amply testifies.
God’s children spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. Imagine the hopelessness. Imagine the frustration. Imagine the seeds of distrust that were blooming into outright trees of anger and pain. “He brought us out of Egypt for this?” Some of us don’t need to imagine this anger, this pain, this sense that maybe God has forgotten or betrayed you.
Appealing to our religion to push our political and social sensibilities is not what Jesus died for. And when we make it about that, it becomes more exclusive than the very inclusive Gospel. It sets up dividing lines that God never put there; boundaries that He sent His Son to break, walls that were torn down in the death of Christ.
Think about it. God’s grace can quickly become theoretical and it plays out in our churchy practices and attitudes all the time. What if a homeless drunk began showing up to church services, but he’s really slow to change? He will need a lot of grace in order to live the sanctified life.
I finally climbed all 109 mountains. My journey began out of desperation, fueled by anger, fear, resentment. I didn't how long it would take, nor the toll it would take from me. I simply climbed, some days only an inch, other days a few feet. And sometimes I plummeted backwards.
The terms of grace and peace are common terms with Paul and are now pretty well understood. But since we are explaining this epistle, you will not mind if we repeat what we have so often explained elsewhere.
I was once asked why I thought young people were leaving the church in droves after they graduated high school. As a director of youth and family ministry, I’m well positioned to answer. My response: Sunday school. We’re losing young people as children in Sunday school because we’re teaching Bible stories to modify behavior…