a strange anthropology (redemption, take 3)

October 14, 2007

[Humanity is depicted] in a state of self-affirming confusion: “They became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools … They know God’s decree, that those who practice such things deserve to die–yet they not only do them but applaud others who practice them” (Rom 1:21-22, 32). 

Once in a fallen state, we are not free not to sin: we are “slaves of sin,” which distorts our perceptions, overpowers our will, and renders us incapable of obedience.  Redemption (a word that means “being emancipated from slavery”) is God’s act of liberation, setting us free from the power of sin and placing us within the sphere of God’s transforming power for righteousness.

Thus, the Bible’s sober anthropology rejects the apparently commonsense assumption that only freely chosen acts are morally culpable.  Quite the reverse: the very nature of sin is that it is not freely chosen.  That is what it means to live “in the flesh” in a fallen creation.  We are in bondage to sin but still accountable to God’s righteous judgment of our actions.

Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin … you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.–Romans 6:17-18


2 Responses to “a strange anthropology (redemption, take 3)”

  1. Guido the pool boy Says:

    WOW kinda sound like me. I think I will “wear that coat” a little longer!
    Party On

  2. jt Says:

    Party on, Garth.

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