Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is swearing acceptable? An eschatological perspective

"Because of these, the wrath of God is coming." (Collosians 3:6)

Our life in Christ is a here and now, a life for the present, a kingdom in and among us. Nevertheless, such a present state of being dwells within the polar forces of the death and resurrection past, and the coming advent of Christ as King and Judge in the future. We draw from both wellsprings, acts inseperable from the eternal reality that is Christ. At the cross and resurrection of Christ we collide with the God of love through faith and repentance. With this in one hand we are nourished with the hope of eternal life under the reign of Jesus Christ in the future, just as we may look to the future reign and find hope in the cross and resurrection of the past. God as Christ is fully revealed in both acts, which supposes a unity of the two. In the tension and unity of both acts we find our being in the now. Nevertheless, the disclosure of God has always been called a double-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Bearing the fullness of the weight of God's love in Christ, penetrating the most hardened of hearts in redeeming grace, is the fullness of the weight of God's wrath on Christ, our judgment. The advent of Christ to restore the world and save mankind is also and in the same act an advent to destroy the world and obliterate mankind. It is no slip that Jesus often affirms the guilt of man upon His arrival in the gospel of John. Which side of the sword is your tongue choosing?

The passage quoted up top from Pauls letter to Collosae deals with God's revelation of Christ as wrath in the coming advent. The sword is flipped by a looking back to the love of Christ at the cross and leaving sin in the past act. One such sins that must be put to death is filthy language from the lips (v.8). The presence of it fosters the contingency of God's coming wrath. The projection of a filthy mouth is in itself a projection, a heralding of God's judgment. As Paul later says," The sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them." (1 Timothy 5:24). On the other hand, the projection of purity presupposes the coming grace and restoration of Christ, the giving of eternal life (Romans 2:7). Fortunately, in all things mercy triumphs over judgment, the side of love shines brighter than the pitch of wrath. Right now, as in some form all of us are presupposing the coming judgment, God's love offers us to step up to the cross, again and again, and die to ourselves, with the promise of the Spirit that offers us new life every day.

I need to be more careful with my lips and what comes from them, and for that I need the determination of God's grace on the cross to kill me. May He do the same for you. And He has.

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