Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Section 23: The Law and the Nature of Sin

The Self-Donation of God, chapter 12:

"Self-justification and self-deification are an infinite task because God's being and justice are infinite. Those who suffer eschatological judgment will experience God's law and judgment infinitely (Isa 66:24; Dan 12:2; Matt 25:41, v. 46; Rev 20:10). Consequently, they will eternally persist in their self-justification. In the concrete experience of our temporal existence, the infinity of the law is clearly manifested by the fact that the human drive for self-justification is unending. The law never stops demanding and imputing us with guilt. Moreover, the nature of time itself will never allow us to do away with our guilt. No matter how many good works we do, our guilt is never expiated. It eternally stands over and against us, as does the full burden of our past. Even if somehow we were to succeed in being righteous by our own actions (which is of course impossible!), there would still never be an end in sight. We would have to maintain our righteousness by our actions forever and ever. Only in death would the question of our righteousness be settled. Nevertheless, because the "wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23), the verdict could never be anything but negative.
The infinity of the law and the infinity of our concupiscence are simply two manifestations of our self-deification. Our concupiscence is in fact born of the same desire to master God, which Paul calls "covetousness" (6:1-14). At the root of all sinful desire is the will to master and possess the other. This is ultimately rooted in our unbelief, whose lack of trust manifests itself in the need to control. The ultimate object of this desire for mastery is God and his uncontrollable judgment against us. My self-justification leads me to ultimately covet his divinity: "But sin, seizing an opportunity through the commandment, produced in me all kinds of covetousness. For apart from the law, sin lies dead" (8:7, emphasis added). Bound to sin, we have no other recourse but to try to master God, and his annihilating judgment. God hidden in his majesty and active in his masks of the law cannot be trusted, but only opposed."

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