Romans 5, pt.2

Tonight we are gathering to discuss Romans 5.  As you read through this chapter in preparation for tonight think about these issues:

1)    If you recall in our prior reading of On the Incarnation, St. Athanasius points out that we were created out of nothing into God’s own image (Gen 1:27) and it is in God “that all things are moved and through Him that they receive their being” (Acts 17:28). (1.1).  But through Adam’s transgression, we move away from God and from the source of existence, and therefore, through this corruption of our nature, we are falling back into non-existence. (1.4).  Athanasius writes that if sin is simply disobedience to the law, then our repentance would be sufficient, however, sin is the corruption of our very nature, and therefore mere repentance (or anything on our part) is insufficient. Only God incarnate as the original fashioner can restore us to incorruptibility. (2.7). John Calvin summarizes Athanasius thus: “As Adam’s spiritual life would have consisted in remaining united and bound to his Maker, so estrangement from him was the death of his soul.” Institutes of Christian Religion 2.1.5. Therefore, think through the nature of sin and of death and what these terms can mean.

2)   Think of the absolute love that God shows us.  In his Tract on John 17:21-23, Augustine writes: “The love, therefore, wherewith God loves, is incomprehensible and immutable. For it was not from the time that we were reconciled unto Him by the blood of His Son that He began to love us; but He did so before the foundation of the world, that we also might be His sons along with His Only-begotten before as yet we had any existence of our own. Let not the fact, then, of our having been reconciled unto God through the death of His Son be so listened to or so understood, as if the Son reconciled us to Him in this respect, that He now began to love those whom He formerly hated, in the same way as an enemy is reconciled to an enemy so that thereafter they become friends, and mutual love takes the place of their mutual hatred; but we were reconciled unto Him who already loved us, but with whom we were at enmity because of our sin. Whether I say the truth on this, let the apostle testify, when he says: God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Tract 110, para.6.

3) Finally, look at the key words in the first paragraph of tonight’s reading.  How would you construct the story of God using these words: faith, peace grace, hope, rejoice, and love? 

Dinner is at 6.  The menu is bacon cheeseburgers. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here.

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God sent the Son into the world, not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him.

John 3:16-17

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