Thursday, 13 September 2007

Romans 6-8

These chapters have long preoccupied my thinking. I think their depths and issues are a real challenge and I long to plumb their depths. Some thoughts on the paradigm in which to read them.

1. Taking a creation-new creation perspective has been very helpful. This has involved taking a much more literal reading of the chapters when it comes to the concepts of body and death. Our problem is with a fallen creation and sin is 'incarnated' in the real created world. Death is the end of life in this world, it represents a kind of uncreation or anti-creation. We are stuck in this fallen creation and cannot escape it. Our problem is not a 'spiritual' (=purely non-body) problem - it is the problem of a fallen creation (including us!) permeated with sin.

2. God's resolution of this problem is the death-resurrection of Jesus. Jesus is the 2nd Adam (= true, righteous regent over creation in contrast to false, unrighteous first regent) who is righteous, but who surprisingly dies. His death though is for us, not for Him, and it ends 'surprisingly' with His resurrection. His literal death-resurrection is the solution to the fallen creation and the body of death. He initiates a re-creation/renewed creation of which he is the Head. His resurrection is the beginning of this creation - which is coming in the future to undo the fall and re-create.

3. The Spirit is the One who connects us to everything Jesus has done and to this new creation of the future. The coming of the SPirit means that time is forward-winded for us in a sense so that we experience the firstfruits of the future world now in our lives. The future is breaking into our lives now. On the one hand, then, Jesus's death-resurrection becomes utterly ours, we are united with Him and we live with Him in the new world. we belong there now. This means that the fallen world under the power of sin resulting in death regulated by the Law is in the past and defeated. This is the basis for the Christian life and holiness. Yet, on the other hand, we are also waiting for this resurrected world to come and transform our 'bodies of death' (=fallen created existence). We live in between the worlds. We are united with Jesus, alive to God and connected to his eternal love in a proleptic experience of the future. Yet we are also living in a fallen world with fallen bodies destined to die but knowing that our deaths have become death-resurrection through Jesus into a new world.