Love’s Redeeming Work

Love’s Redeeming Work

Study by Ronnie McBrayer
Commentary by Judson Edwards

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Brief Description

This unit from Paul’s letters follows Scripture readings from the traditional lectionaries of the Eastern Churches. “Eastern” designates the Christian tradition that developed outside of Western Europe, that is, Roman Catholicism and the churches of the Protestant Reformation.

The Eastern Church’s greatest contribution to world Christianity may be its emphasis on what is called theosis. While Protestants use the words “discipleship” or “formation” to describe spiritual growth, the Orthodox speak of the transformative process by which a Christian partakes of the divine nature and is thus shaped into the likeness of God (see Rom 8:29; 2 Pet 1:4). Of course, this term can be misunderstood. It certainly does not mean that mere mortals can aspire to “godhood,” as some groups teach. But we shouldn’t reject a concept just because others misuse it. Properly understood, the idea of theosis focuses the believer on Jesus Christ as the means of restoring that shattered image of God within humanity. Like no other expression of the Christian faith, the Eastern Churches stress this aspect of Jesus’ incarnation. He came to earth in human form and, through his earthly life, sufferings, death, and resurrection, he is able to transform humanity.

The early Church Father Clement of Alexandria said, “Christians practice being God.” This does not mean that human beings can pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, so to speak, in a human attempt to become like God. Such efforts are nothing short of the original sin of the Garden. Rather, the Christian practice is one of accepting, receiving, and integrating the identity of Christ, who raises humanity up into the likeness of God.

The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is genuinely that powerful. It is the power of salvation, the power of transformation, and it is the power for extraordinary living in today’s world.

Materials Included
• 5 Sessions of Learner’s Materials
• 5 Sessions of Teaching Materials
• 5 Handouts

Sessions Included
1. God’s Eternal Plan
2. Triumph over Death
3. The Fullness of God
4. The Wisdom of God
5. The New Creation

Age Group
Adult

Scriptures
1. Ephesians 1:3-10
2. 1 Corinthians 15:1-20
3. Colossians 1:3-20
4. 1 Corinthians 2:6-16
5. 2 Corinthians 5:11-21

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