Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Vicarious Life

To share in the desired outcome or the desired experience, but from someone else's efforts and actions, is to live vicariously. An easy example of this is the fan that lives vicariously through their favorite sport hero, movie star or celebrity. On a larger scale of reward and consequence, there can be a vicarious sacrifice, where lives are spared due to the work and sacrifice of another. An old Biblical/Hebrew Scripture example of this is found in the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the book of Genesis.

Three men approach Abraham; he refers to them as Lord. Some scholars say them to be angels; others say them to be the Trinity. Abraham learns of God’s intention to destroy Sodom for its wicked ways but is allowed to intercede, to ask if the town could be spared should some righteous people be found. It is agreed that the town could live vicariously through the life of a few.
And the LORD said, if I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes... And he (Abraham) said, Oh let not the LORD be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: Peradventure ten shall be found there. And he said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake.
- Genesis 18:26 & 32 (KJV)
When God completed his count of the town, the agreed upon number of righteous people was not found. God proceeded to inflict the consequent of wrath and destruction to the town found guilty of wickedness.

Ultimately, sin brings about the consequence of God’s wrath. Sacrifices are made, codes of conduct are followed and a life of faithfulness is what had kept peace between God and his people. Building over time, a wicked and sinful world in it’s majority, the consequence of wrath was being prepared. The intent was not to destroy a few more cities, but the world. At the same time, a vicarious sacrifice was being prepared for the world to have a vicarious life. If we observe that Jesus Christ died for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2), and that he was the sacrifice, we can observe on that day he saved all creation from wrath and destruction.

Being as torturous as it was, it was not the crucifixion, the crown of thorns, or lashings that caused Jesus great anxiety before his sacrifice. It was a “cup” of wrath or the full consequent of a world’s worth of sin that he was to bare, which brought about sweat of blood (Luke 22:42-44). In addition to the wrath intended for the world, was the endeavor of conquering the power of death (Revelation 1:18) and the conquest of hell (Ephesians 4:8-10, Acts 2:31)
He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. - 1 John 2:2 (NIV)
This is the vicarious life.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Christ in us

The Christian believes in an invite of God into their soul, a metaphysical joining and change in composition. I have read and heard many positions on how this effects thinking patterns, habits, character, the mind and how fast these changes could occur. From my experience, this metaphysical invite does not result in a completed make-over of the mind. Most would concur that salvation has a process, "fear and trembling", "he who began a good work in you will continue it onto completion". I'm thinking about how our beliefs in Christ's identity, his purpose, God's plan, can effect the transformation of our mind. Do we have beliefs that slow down our salvation of the mind? I think yes. What if we believe that God is a failure? What if we believe that he sent his son to die on a cross for the sins of the world, but that he will still lose many of his creation to an eternal hell? I think this misunderstanding causes many Christians and non-believers to have an ill-opinion of God. In our journey of salvation through Christ, this theosis, we make progress as God's plan and Christ's identity become further apparent to us. God saves all. The redemption plan has no victorious enemies. Christ's sacrifice is 100% effective.