It’s been a few weeks since I posted. It usually gets busy this time of semester. While I’ve not posted, I have been engaged in various studies, so I’m hoping to get some of my thoughts down in various posts in the not-to-distant future.
I just finished a book called Cruciformity: Paul’s Narrative Spirituality of the Cross, by Michael Gorman, and I thought he made several excellent points. It was a detailed book that provided a great summary of some of Paul’s major themes and the controlling influence of the cross.
He used Philippians 2:6-11 as Paul’s “Master Story”, a supposed early Christian hymn that outlines Christ’s departure from heaven to come to the earth and die on the cross. Gorman identifies a formula in this passage that Paul uses repeatedly in his writings and instruction. The formula looks like this:
Although [status], not [selfishness] but [self-abasement/slavery].
The cross turned Paul’s world upside down, and he re-interpreted all of life in light of it. Although Christ possessed a certain status as God, he did not use his status for self-promotion. He left the throne of heaven to serve humanity, giving up his position and suffering shame and humiliation. His sacrificial life forged a way of life for the people of God forevermore.
This model, placed into a neat formula by Gorman, provides clear moral guidance for the Christian. The narrative of the cross supplies a perspective on godly actions and the motivation that underlies them.
In the consideration of ethics, these themes keep coming up over and over again. We would do well to give serious thought to them.
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