Sunday, November 7, 2010

Romans 8 -- a man wrapped up in himself ... [1]

The Baptist church was packed. The deceased, a cousin of my wife's, had been a member for many years. On the morning of the day he was supposed to appear in court, on charges of molesting children on church excursions, "Jim" called 911 to report a gunshot in his back yard.

What can a pastor say to a congregation, and to a family, on such an occasion? As Rev. Mooneyham stepped into the pulpit, the discerning eye could see that he was a good man, a kind man, a wise man, with something to say that was worth listening to. The preacher opened his Bible to Romans 8, and began a message of eternal life given to unworthy people -- like the deceased. Like you. Like me. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus... "

This kind of extravagant hope is one reason why many Christians number Romans 8 among their favorite chapters in the Bible.

As we saw in the last chapter, nobody, not even the best of us, can repose his hopes of eternal life in anything less than God. Yet, despair of ourselves does not equate to despair. I'd like to focus on one Turkish word that seems to provide a fresh perspective on the miracle of redemption.
Rom 8:1 Böylece Mesih İsa'ya ait olanlara artık hiçbir mahkûmiyet yoktur.
Rom 8:2 Çünkü yaşam veren Ruh'un yasası, Mesih İsa sayesinde beni günahın ve ölümün yasasından özgür kıldı.
Rom 8:3 İnsan benliğinden ötürü güçsüz olan Kutsal Yasa'nın yapamadığını Tanrı yaptı. Öz Oğlu'nu günahlı insan benzerliğinde günah sunusu olarak gönderip günahı insan benliğinde yargıladı.
Rom 8:4 Öyle ki, Yasa'nın gereği, benliğe göre değil, Ruh'a göre yaşayan bizlerde yerine gelsin.
Rom 8:5 Benliğe uyanlar benlikle ilgili, Ruh'a uyanlarsa Ruh'la ilgili işleri düşünürler.
Rom 8:6 Benliğe dayanan düşünce ölüm, Ruh'a dayanan düşünceyse yaşam ve esenliktir.
Rom 8:7 Çünkü benliğe dayanan düşünce Tanrı'ya düşmandır; Tanrı'nın Yasası'na boyun eğmez, eğemez de...
Rom 8:8 Benliğin denetiminde olanlar Tanrı'yı hoşnut edemezler.
Rom 8:9 Ne var ki, Tanrı'nın Ruhu içinizde yaşıyorsa, benliğin değil, Ruh'un denetimindesiniz. Ama içinde Mesih'in Ruhu olmayan kişi Mesih'in değildir.
There is one Greek word with noun and adjective forms σάρκα / σαρκὸς , that is translated by several different English words in the King James Version of the Bible: flesh, carnal. This does not mean the literal meat of our bodies, but is a metaphor for that which can be apprehended by the senses. The Turkish word used is benlik / benliğe/ benlikle / benliğinden. Let's look more closely at these various flavors.
  • ben -- I. ego. First person singular pronoun.
  • benlik -- That which pertains to ben. ego. conceit. self-respect. egotism. personality.
  • benliğe -- Direct object form of benlik.
  • benlikle -- Adverb form of benlik, describing the egotistic, conceited way in which something is done.
  • benliğinden -- Time-aware form of benlik, describing the time of the egotistic, conceited condition.
It is because we are not our own gods that we have hope. The Eternal One made known to us in and through İsa gives us a hope rooted in God's unlimited resources. Having an anchor in the eternal order gives us stability in time.

And salvation, the delight in God's purposes worked out through our lives, is a gift.


[1] makes a very small package.

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