The character of God – a paradigm

By Dave Henning / January 30, 2022

“Does the character of God serve as a paradigm for us?  It certainly does. . . .  When God came to earth in Jesus Christ, his character became visible to us in the life of a human being.  In the end, he saved us through death and resurrection. which became a master paradigm for our lives.”- Timothy Keller

Timothy Keller concludes Chapter 8 of Hope in Times of Fear with three ways the cross and resurrection bring the Bible’s moral guidelines into sharp focus.

1.  See obedience to moral rules in a gospel light.  Therefore, we see such obedience as a way to imitate, delight, and resemble Christ.  Rather than as a means to save ourselves.  Furthermore, Elisabeth Elliot  once wrote that whenever two wills cross, “somebody has to die.  Life requires countless ‘little deaths’ — occasions when we are given the chance to say no to self and yes to God.”

2.  Give content and definition to the Bible’s moral principles.  In today’s popular discourse, Pastor Keller asserts, the term love has become debased.  As a result, today the loving thing to do involves the effort to simply not displease or make any demands on people.  However, a major problem results when this happens.  Because we empty love of any context when we remove that concept from the focus of Jesus’s cross and resurrection.

3.  Keep Jesus’s cross and resurrection together as a comprehensive whole.  To abstract either one from the other, Pastor Keller notes, encourages simplistic narratives.  But, as Richard B. Hays states in Moral Vision of the New Testament, the cross and resurrection:

“[impart] to Christians . . . [an] odd capacity for simultaneous joy amidst suffering and [yet] impatience with things as they are. . . .  In Christ we know the powers of the old age are doomed, and the new creation is already appearing. . . .  Thus [the new creation] pronounces judgment upon our complacency as well as upon our presumptuous despair.”

Today’s question: How do you see the character of God as a paradigm?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “High barriers and prejudices removed”

About the author

Dave Henning

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