instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The denouement

Drawing on the last two posts:

Christians today are just as capable as the Jews of Jesus' time of approaching Him with a very poor understanding of the true nature of the relationship He offers.

One of the greatest misunderstandings may be that we can dictate the terms of the relationship. If Jesus sees to it that we succeed at whatever it is we want to do, then we will light five candles. This not only confuses the Covenant with a contract, it confuses the Originator of the Covenant with those invited to join it.

If we can't dictate the terms of the Covenant, though, we can always try to negotiate them. And to negotiate is to renegotiate. Where Christ is my Lord and my God in the morning, He is my friend in the afternoon and an absentee landlord by nightfall.

All these changes, all this confusion, is of course entirely on the part of those who approach Jesus. He Himself is unchanging. He knows what's best for us and won't be talked out of it.

As I wrote, there's no such thing as "a little divinity." If we approach Jesus, we don't get a little God. We get all of God, all three Persons, and God and imperfection cannot co-exist. We wind up with either all of God, or none of Him.

We can't ask God to be God the All Powerful in our lives without His being God the All Holy in our lives --

I was going to write, "It's a package deal," but maybe we can go beyond such a clumsy image of a composite God. It's not that God's power and His holiness are inseparable as a practical matter, it's that they are the same. God's power is His holiness. In fact, God's power is God.

And if we don't much understand that -- on a good day, I can kind of convince myself I have some idea of what the words mean -- we might at least be able to agree that the words express some mysterious truth.

We might even begin to see how such words that express such mysterious truths are not utterly beyond any contact with practical Christian living. It is God's simplicity that makes appealing to Jesus as a merely human judge, or even a merely divine wonderworker, a losing proposition in the long run.