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Left out of the Lectionary. Who is scared of Romans 10.4?

August 20, 2017

 The Romans reading from last Sunday misses one of the most important verses in Scripture:

 

For Christ is the end of the law so that there may be righteousness for everyone who believes. - Romans 10.4

 

Our friends who edited the Revised Common Lectionary are apparently just too scared of the radical statement of Gospel that comes from this verse.  The freedom granted to us is just too much, they worry.  People will misunderstand, they think.  The good news is just too radical to be understood.

 

In Jesus, the Law reaches the End of the Line.  The Law is God's second best gift to us, but the Law cannot save us.  Jesus comes to fulfill the law, to accomplish it, to bring it to an end.  With the Law ended, we who believe are free from the Law.  It no longer needs to rule us or scare us, for we have the righteousness that comes from faith (a faith that comes from what is heard says Romans 10.17, also left out of the lectionary!).  

 

But this verse really scares something deep in all of us.  It scares the Old Adam or Old Eve who wants desperately to be able to do it on their own.  The Law gives us the illusion that if we were just good enough, if we just tried hard enough, we could save ourselves.  But when Jesus brings the Law to its end, all we have left is the passive righteousness of faith.  We have to admit that we can't do it (but if only we...), and instead trust in the One who never tires of fulfilling the Law for us.  And that dear people, is good news.

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