504 Java Profile

504 Java Profile
Two of my favorite things

Thursday, February 16, 2012

On Paradox

I understand a paradox to be two things that seem to be incompatible, yet are true at the same time. The ever-reliable Wikipedia (scary to me that one study found it to be more accurate than Encyclopedia Britannica) defines paradox as "a logical statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which (if true) defies logic or reason"

Two scriptures I have studied lately seem paradoxical to me.  I won't use that word anymore, but let me just say that it amazes me how God allows things that seem not to be related to be true.  In Paul's letter to Timothy, he tells him to "be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Timothy 2:1).  Strength in grace is an interesting and invigorating thought. They don't seem to go together--we enjoy grace because we are fallen, not strong, yet we can be strong because Jesus has redeemed us.  It feels a bit like the old youth ministry "trust fall" (look up this insane practice if you don't know what I am talking about) where I surrendered logic, rational thought, and probably safety by falling backwards into the arms of people much smaller than me.

I surrender all of my preconceived notions of what strength might be by falling into grace.

A second paradox (oops) is found in Acts 3:19-20.  I like the NIV translation here,

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you — even Jesus.

How can I repent and be refreshed at the same time?  I picture repentance as a trip to the woodshed to own up for the things I have done, thought or failed to think and do, and to take the emotional beating that I deserve.  Yet repentance unlocks a wiping away of my sins and a refreshing breeze of forgiveness so that my eyes are open to none other than Jesus who was appointed for me.  And you. And the rest of this whole fallen world.

I pray today that you can be strong in the grace and refreshed by the repentance.