Thursday, August 25, 2011

Just Thinking Out Loud

The Holy Gospel for this Sunday in my church is Matthew 16:21-28, wherein is this verse:

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done.

Normally, when this verse is heard, we begin thinking of what we have done, how many sins, how many good works, and the repayment we deserve for them. In such an understand, the "he" in "according to what he has done" is "each person."

But what if we understand the "he" the same as all the rest of the pronouns in this verse? Then it would sound quite different! It would be:

For the Son of Man is going to come with [the Son of Man's] angels in the glory of [the Son of Man's] Father, and then [the Son of Man] will repay each person according to what [the Son of Man] has done.

In such an understanding, we are then not looking at ourselves, but at Christ. This also seems to fit the context. For these verses come right after Peter's great confession, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God," and follow Jesus' statement that He must suffer and die and rise again. And this is what makes all the difference in the world - not what we do. And so the difference then becomes Christ's for you and His cross for you. Whether or not you have received Christ for you, by grace through faith, is how you will be repaid.

Now, this interpretation can also accommodate the first, for as Christians we "do" Christ as He lives in us. But then the focus is still off of us and on Christ. Or, as St. Paul said to the Galatians:

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

What we do are the fruits of the faith, but it is the grace of God in Christ and His cross that saves us.

Just thinkin' out loud . . .

No comments: