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Courtroom Imagery?

One of the images used in atonement theology is that of the courtroom, in which we are the defendant and Christ is the advocate/lawyer who pleads our cause before the judge/sheriff who is God.  Now whatever you might or might not think of that image, I think it is worth working with as 'one among many'.

This week I have been working with James 2 in preapration for Sunday's service, and discovered that some commentators see the scenario of the rich and poor 'men' entering the assembly (synagogue/congregation) not as about new people coming to worship but as some kind of primitive Church Meeting gathered to settle some issue.  This I will be mentioning in my sermon.

One of the things that struck me this morning, and which is briefly alluded to towards the end of the sermon, is that I could bring this into 'conversation' with the courtroom atonement theology (and someone clever probably already did).  How is it that we approach God?  Not as a rich, powerful, influential person, able to buy favour, but as the impoverished, inarticulate, scruffy person who has no hope of a fair hearing.  So the mystery and wonder is that the outrageous generosity of the big-hearted God is not simply to treat us fairly, to judge us without prejudice, but instead in mercy and love to shout from the roof tops 'not guilty' (if, indeed guilty we were) or 'free to go' (if we were at risk of detention) or 'paid in full' (if we were in debt).

If this is so, if we recognise the ludicrous goodness of God to us, how can we fail, in gratitude, to show the same to others who, actually, have not offended against us but are just different from us in some way.

I love the letter of James, and chapter two is the bit I love best - that's old news.  I love that whenever I read it proeprly, I am shown some knew insight that adds to my love of it.

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