ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA Our readings today are Proverbs 1 – 3 and Romans 7.
ON THE HORNS OF A DILEMMA
Our readings today are Proverbs 1 – 3 and Romans 7. We are reading from the New Living Translation.
We are on the horns of a dilemma. The Law requires that…
‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Mk 12:30-31)
When I look at my own sinful nature, and inability to live up to these requirements, I soon recognize what Paul is describing here. I am on the horns of a dilemma. I want what the law requires. I want to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. I want to love my neighbor as myself. I feel it within me. I feel like I was born this quality of life. But I can’t do it. That very law exposes my inability to do that thing that I was made to do. That’s being on the horns of a dilemma.
But thanks be to God. The answer is Jesus! He is the only one who ever loved God perfectly. And He’s the only one who fully loved his neighbor as himself. In fact, he was crucified and died for his neighbors, so that they might be freed from the horns of the dilemma. But He doesn’t just set his perfect life and love out there as a mockery to others. No. He attributes the merit of His life to us and gives us his Spirit. He offers His very power, so that we can begin to live this quality of life, right here and right now. We live that life, not by keeping to the letter of the law, the old way. No. We live a new way, through the power of Christ’s presence in us, enabling us to love God and live that kind of life we were always made for, loving our neighbors selflessly, the way he did. This is the life given to us – His life – in you!
So this is the point, says paul vs 4 You died to the power of the law when you died with Christ. And now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. As a result, we CAN produce a harvest of good deeds for God. How is all this done, by the one who did it all. He came and lived, died, was raised and ascended, on behalf of all humanity. He came in love, and in perfect righteousness, defeated death, and sin and the grave, and drug all of humanity with him into resurrection life. So Paul says here you died in Christ, and now you are united with the one who was raised from the dead. Did you hear that? You are united with Christ, drawn into the triune life of God. You share in their love, and now you CAN share his love and life and healing with the world. You can produce a harvest of deeds for God. Paul says. You are united with Christ. You are now able to be and do the things you were created to do and be.