Monday, October 26, 2015

Reformation 2015

Today we'll discuss all three lectionary readings and talk about God who covenants with us in love and grace. RCL also includes Psalm 46 (of course).

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31"The days are surely coming," says the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt―a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, 'Know the Lord,' for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more."

Jeremiah was very much into the ten commandments we've already described as how we live together in community. This passage from Jeremiah is about breaking the commandments of the Sinai Covenant—"out of the land of Egypt."

charter covenant or grant covenant – Abraham; David

treaty covenant or suzerainty covenant: if / then

Sinai Covenant: Exodus 10:1-7; Deuteronomy 5:14-21 if, then

Covenant makes demands but also makes provisions for restoration

Romans 3:19-28

19Now we know that whatever the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20For “no human being will be justified in his sight” by deeds prescribed by the law, for through the law comes the knowledge of sin. 21But now, apart from law, the righteousness of God has been disclosed, and is attested by the law and the prophets, 22the righteousness of God through faith in/ of Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction, 23since all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; 24they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25whom God put forward as a sacrifice (propitiation) of atonement by his blood, effective through faith. He did this to show his righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over the sins previously committed; 26it was to prove at the present time that he himself is righteous and that he justifies the one who has faith in Jesus. 27Then what becomes of boasting? It is excluded. By what law? By that of works? No, but by the law of faith. 28For we hold that a person is justified by faith apart from works prescribed by the law.

Romans is Paul's [not always very] systematic theology

Abraham, father in faith of both Jews and gentiles? He was not circumcised when God covenanted with him.

covenant: God's election and God's promise. Not much difference between Judaism and Christianity: we enter covenant relationship by birth or by baptism, and absolutely by the election and grace of God. Obedience is how we remain in the covenant.

"works of the law" = circumcision, keeping kosher. "Works of the law" almost never means keeping the commandments.

grace and faith: patron and client // Paul's audience knew that arrangement very well

Throughout this Romans passage, "sin" is missing the mark

3:22 probably faith of IX rather then faith in IX.

3:24 redemption is deliverance

justice, righteousness, just, justifier, justifying = same word throughout for God and for us. Acquitted at the bar of justice!

A little about the New Perspective on Paul without labeling it as such—among other things, Paul's Jews very very definitely were not Martin Luther's Roman Catholics!

John 8:31-36

31Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you continue (abide) in my word [logo], you are truly my disciples; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." 33They answered him, "We are descendants of Abraham and have never been slaves to anyone. What do you mean by saying, 'You will be made free'?" 34Jesus answered them, "Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35The slave does not have a permanent place (does not abide) in the household; the son has a place {abides} there forever. 36So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed."

As sometimes happens, this NRSV translation misses that in Greek all three words are the same:

v.31 If you continue (abide) in my word; v.35 the slave does not continue have a permanent (abiding) place // the son has a place there (abides) forever.

8:31 If you remain in my word, truly my disciples (truly of me) you are, because Jesus is the incarnate Word!

The past few weeks we've been discussing servants and servanthood – diakonos, deacons The Greek here is doulos or slave rather than diakonos. Implications? Difference?

In English we talk about both freedom and liberty. Ideas? References?

free in this pericope is eleutheria, which also has some currency in the English language

Descendants of Abraham? Abraham as our ancestor? Descendants of Martin Luther? Martin Luther as our ancestor?

God who covenants with us in love and grace; whose final answer is resurrection from the dead!

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