Thursday, January 18, 2007

Forgiveness & rescue

I know that sin isn't a popular topic to many, but it is hard to get around the problem of human evil, whether it be suicide bombers, rendering, torture, execution, mass murder and so on. I recently saw a documentary entitled Swastika. It was, of course, about the rise of the Nazis in pre-war Germany, and how the people saw Hitler at the time. Books like Hitler's Pope do nothing to put the Christian church in a good light, nor the almost lone protests of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

Swastika wasn't a documentary so much as simply a presentation of news and private footage through the period, set to music. No commentary, no analysis. Its aim - to show that no few involved in the evil of the Nazi regime were monsters. Real evil is done by ordinary people, little evils.

Last Sunday I heard a sermon that spoke about sin. The preacher said that sin was not just something to be forgiven but also something to be rescued from. If sin and evil have no power, why do bad things happen to good people? Do we blame God for all the vil in the world when people pride themselves on freedom? Sin is something to be forgiven, and hence there is a sense in which forgiveness is won by Jesus on the cross. There is also rescue achieved on the cross. Christians who want to make penal substitutionary atonement primary or evil central seem to miss this. If I am forgiven, but go off to do the same things again, what has been achieved.

Sin and evil must be dealt with, but is it God we are saved from or from sin and its consequences?

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