Friday 9 September 2005

Past, present, future

What does it mean to be “fallen”? Among other things, it means that we are alienated from time. We are alienated from our past: we are guilty and ashamed. We are alienated from our present: we are enslaved to lust, sloth, boredom. We are alienated from our future: we are fearful and anxious. All this amounts to saying that we are alienated from ourselves, from the temporal structure that constitutes our very being.

The gospel heals this alienation. According to the gospel, Jesus Christ has risen from the dead: a specific event in the past (his death) has become the final future (the resurrection). And according to the gospel, this is an event of universal significance: our past is now defined by the death of Jesus, and our future is now defined by his resurrection. Our own temporal stories have been taken up into the story—we might even call it the metanarrative—of the man Jesus. Our own temporal alienation has been taken up and healed by the one who unites past and future in his own life.

This means that there is healing for our alienation from the past: instead of guilt, there is now forgiveness. And there is healing for our alienation from the future: instead of fear, there is now hope. And there is healing for our alienation from the present, as this past and this future, this forgiveness and this hope, encounter us here and now as freedom instead of enslavement.

Thus the gospel brings forgiveness, freedom and hope. It brings a new past, a new present and a new future. In other words, it brings a new life—a life-story that has been rewritten from start to finish (or better: from finish to start) by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

1 Comment:

Eddie said...

I really like this! A nice way of holding together various aspects of salvation.

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