Wednesday, August 19, 2009

We have peace with God...

This term, we have started a new change, that would perhaps be relevant only to those whom have been with us in the past. We are beginning Bible classes during the first month of Portantorchas, along with the language classes (Spanish and English), and the Leadership classes for the returning students. It can now be said that Portantorchas begins the first day of the term, and not that we have two beginnings, as we used to in the past.

As far as Bible classes, I am teaching Romans and Tom is teaching Mark. I must say that I have abused my position as Director for many years, and elected to teach those courses that I really enjoy teaching. Romans is a book that although very difficult to condense into two classes is crucial for our understanding and our Christian walk.

After sharing the "bad news" of our hopeless state of lostness, due to our sinfulness and God's justice, we get to a beautiful summary in Romans 5 of what the good news in Jesus Christ is. "Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God."

I illustrate this from an experience I had while opening a business for a group of investors in Costa Rica. This particular company had an owner, and had a general manager. Perhaps because I am not as lovely as I assume I am, the manager began to lose his patience with me often on the phone, and I was becoming used to getting an earful, every time I talked to him. On one ocassion, he called to request dropping something that we had spent a couple of months working on, and starting from scratch under the premise that this would speed things up. Upon disagreeing with him, once again he yelled at me, and told me simply to obey. He assured me this was the owners wish, and that I would be wise to obey without questioning the decision.

Upon hanging up, and within one or two minutes, I received a call from the owner. I was sure I was going to be treated in the same manner and with the same tone. Upon asking me for my opinion, I couldn't lie, and shared what I had shared before with the general manager. I simply got "I agree with you. It was just an idea." When I asked him to please respond in writing to this, I received the response that I feel helps explain why I got into this long story in the first place.

"Why do you want it in writing?"
"Just to avoid having problems later."
"Why would you have problems? Don't you know that I'm the owner, and that you and I have no problems? The only person you should worry about is me."
"I'm glad to hear that you and I are o.k."
"I never said we were o.k."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I misunderstood."
"I said, we have no problems. That is better than o.k."
"That's great to hear. Do you mind still sending that in writing?"

I still laugh at this interaction, as the owner of the company did at that moment. But my point is deeper. When Paul tells me that because of my faith in Christ, I have peace with God, it means that He and I have no problems at all. That's better than o.k. I don't have to be watching my back to see if God is waiting to catch me doing something wrong so that He can punish me. I don't have to worry that the pain or suffering I may endure is in any way related to some sin that made God angry at me. I don't have to worry that one day He may dismiss me from His purpose. No. He and I are cool. We have no problems whatsoever. Sure, I've got problems. I've got sins. Paul will talk about those in Chapters 6-8, but first he needs me to know that I am at peace with God, and God is at peace with me.

This to me summarizes very quickly that wonderful news.