This Tuesday we will be concluding our study of Looking through the Cross. We will be reading through Chapter 8 – The Cross and Reconciliation, and Chapter 9 – The Cross and Life. In these two chapters, the true purpose of the Cross comes into focus. The purpose of the Cross isn’t simply to overcome and redefine wisdom, evil, power, identity, suffering, ambition, and failure. Rather, the Cross does these things for the purpose of reconciling humanity both within itself and to God so that we may obtain the mystery of life eternal.
In Chapter 8, Tomlin focuses on the reconciliation between people. In Judaism, the purpose of the Law – the rules laid down in the Scriptures – was to reinforce the unique identity of God’s chosen people and to protect them from outside influences. As Paul writes, before Christ, we were guarded and imprisoned under the Law just as a child must remain under a guardian or trustee. Gal. 3:19-4:7. The Cross doesn’t mean that Gentiles are now invited behind the walls, but that the walls themselves which separate Jew/Gentile, slave/free, male/female, (add your own dichotomy here) disappear. For in Christ, we have only one Law in two parts – love God and love your neighbor (including your enemies). As you read through this chapter, think about what walls you personally or we as the church build-up to keep others (especially other Christians) out. And think about what walls, if any, are necessary.
In Chapter 9, Tomlin writes of the Cross and life and specifically about our inability to conceive of that life which is gained through the Cross. If you have time, please re-read 1 Corinthians 15 which is Paul’s great exposition on eternal life. And if you have a lot of time, please read the attached excerpts from The Meaning of Jesus by N.T. Wright and Marcus Borg on the transformative reality of the new life in Christ. pp.111-142. As you read through this final chapter, think through the great mystery of eternal life and our inability to describe the indescribable. Also, think about whether our personal understandings of things eternal create the walls that need to be overcome.
Dinner is at 6. The menu is Myrtle Beach Booster Club barbeque take-out. Hope to see you here.
But now that faith has come, we are no longer subject to a disciplinarian, for in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith. As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.Galatians 3:25-29