I’ve been disappointed in my Advent Bible reading plan on my phone. The first couple days were pretty heavy on Old Testament and Genesis about the fall of man and sinful behavior. The kind of stuff I don’t really believe in anymore.
I mean, I know all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, but I also know that on the cross Christ wiped out the writing that was against us. He has decided to remember it no more, so why should we go on remembering and repenting? Rather we should be rejoicing that all our sins are washed away; we’ve been redeemed.
Then yesterday, the plan churned up Romans 5:8, a lovely verse very familiar to every child who grew up in the Assemblies of God where we heard it often …
“But God commended His love to us in this, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
It’s lovely on the face of it, but I noticed the more modern translations of the Bible say God “demonstrated” His love for us — so I looked it up in Young’s Literal Translation and found it very similar to the KJV (which we grew up with in the A/G): God commended.
Why commended, I was asking Jesus. That’s an odd word. Demonstrated makes more sense to us in the 21st Century … Jesus didn’t have (or give me) an answer, so I looked it up, looked up the Greek word used there. You know, nobody peaks that old Bible-style Greek today so translations can vary widely based on context, but this is what I found and liked so very much, at Bible Hub:
“συνιστησι· God hath set this act of infinite mercy in the most conspicuous light, so as to recommend it to the notice and admiration of all.”
Holy cow! Are you getting that? “Commended” because God was recommending His infinite act of mercy to the notice and admiration of all …
He was making the cross the centerpiece of time and eternity so no one would miss it, showing off the glory of His grace and love by hanging it on the cross —
The cross became the gorgeous setting for the jewel of His Son’s love.
The cross was God’s way of getting our attention to showcase His love for us.
The love of a God who would rather die than be without us.
This being the case, we aren’t bound to believe the cross was “substitutionary atonement” where Jesus was “punished for my sins.”
Rather the cross was the stage, the setting, the most memorable way for God to direct our attention to His infinite act of mercy.
This is rich, my friend, rich.
I’ll leave it here for today … I can’t relate it to Advent yet. I need to leave time and space for rumination.
But we will get there.
Advent means Christ is coming. Don’t doubt. Stay with me. It’s coming. And it’s glorious.