Theological Insights from a Modern Perspective

Posts tagged ‘God’

Justification

Justification, or being Justified, is one of those terms that has, sadly, taken on a Holier than Thou meaning, when it really shouldn’t. We’ve come to think that only those who lead a saintly life will be truly Justified before God. But is that true? Is God only looking for the Saints (with a capital “S”)? If so, what about the rest of us who just go through our daily lives doing the best that we can in a harsh (sometime anti-religious) world?

Once again English, and time, have done us an injustice when it comes to Justification. English because it’s a very poor language to translate other languages into. English typically has only one word for a given thought (such as “love”) and requires an adjective to fully describe it (“puppy love”) while other languages, such as Greek, have multiple words, each chosen to express a particular thought (eros, agapos).

Time because how we use an word in English, and what it means, changes through time. Love was once used to describe a tight affection between two people, now it means affection, sex, or how we feel about tonight’s television show.

Justification, or Justified, is the same. It can mean anything from how we stand before God to the spacing in this blog. Even in the first case it’s meaning has changed over the centuries. If you look it up in a modern dictionary it will likely describe it as being “righteous in the site of God” (righteous is a topic for a whole other blog) and so gives us a feeling that it is something only a few can obtain, while the rest of us wonder/fear how we will fare before the Almighty.

In a word, Justified has made God unreachable. Jesus would shudder at such a thought.

The Greek and Hebrew words for Justified (δίκαιος and צדק, respectively) have a much simpler meaning – to be as God intended you to be, or, to be true to yourself, and to others.

  • A judge who passes judgement fairly, without malice or prejudice.
  • A landlord who treats their tenants as if they were family. Keeping the property in good repair, charging a fair price, opening their home to everyone equally.
  • A tenant who keeps the home they rent as if they owned it. Not defacing it, fixing what they break, understanding that the landlord has problems as well, and is not perfect.
  • A shop owner who is open to everyone, regardless of race, creed, nationality, or any other marker used to discriminate.
  • And the individual, who looks at everyone as a brother/sister, and treats them with love and kindness, even if they are not treated the same way.

In other words, and far more eloquently that I am capable of:

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Justification isn’t all that hard to achieve, and isn’t only for the Saintly. Simply treat everyone you meet with love and courtesy, just as you would want to be treated, regardless of who they are, or how they treat you.

God created us all: Jew, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, atheist. Whether they are black, white, straight, or homosexual, male or female, conservative or liberal, or any other way you choose to categorize someone, they are all children of God. Made with love and through love, and deserving of your love. Do this, and you will be Justified before our loving God.

Religion or Faith?

Religion is not the same as faith, religion does not require faith, and faith does not need religion. Sound strange? Read on. (more…)

Myrrh-bearing Women

This is the second Sunday after Easter, and it looks at the very first moments of the Resurrection. (more…)

Antipascha

This is the first Sunday after Easter, in the west it is known as White or Low Sunday. (more…)

The End is Near

Today is the Palm Sunday, the final Sunday in Great Lent. (more…)

Renewal

Today is the fifth Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story James and John trying for a power grab. (more…)

Faith and Love

Today is the fourth Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is about the healing of the demon-possessed man. (more…)

Pride without Prejudice

Today marks the third Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is about Jesus telling us to pick up our cross and following him. (more…)

Love and Hope

Today marks the second Sunday of Great Lent, the Gospel story is of the paralytic who is lowered through the roof of a building. (more…)

Faith

Faith is the subject of the first Sunday of Great Lent. (more…)

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