We’ve spent a couple of centuries at least trying deconstruct the work of the Cross and the power of the Resurrection. We’ve lost the ancient path.
We’ve worked so hard to scrub “evil” from our vocabulary. We aren’t “that bad” are we? And what does the Apostle Paul know anyway?
Fleming Rutledge in her book The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ works through the history of Church theology and the different themes (motifs) that explain what happened in the power of the Cross. She brings us to a stark understanding we’ve tried to change as “enlightened individuals”: we think we’re pretty darn good… and we’re not. We are unredeemed humanity and we need a Savior.
In her chapter on “recapitulation”, she focuses on Romans 5 and draws out what Paul is teaching and tries to help us find that ancient path again. It is Christ who rewrote the history of Adam by being obedient to the Father in every stag of his earthly life.
“Paul’s gospel is modeled, not on human possibility and potential, but on the power of God.”
We’ve worked so hard to negate Paul because we have resisted the thought of human impotence. The incapacity is on the part of Adam. The potency is on the part of God. Solving anything outside of ourselves has somehow become a horrid thought to the “advanced” Western thinking.
I am drawn to a line from the movie “Amazing Grace” about William Wilberforce. John Newton (Wilberforce’s pastor) in the movie, said what IS true: “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.”
We need to acknowledge our inability to BE good and fall on the ability of Christ who IS good.
He is risen indeed.