Christmas Week Day - Wednesday

January 3, 2018 / By: W. Matthews Grant

1 Jn 2:29—3:6/Jn 1:29-34

Some say that the causes of human affliction are ultimately impersonal—systems and structures at the macroscopic level, physical particles at the microscopic. Salvation will come, if it comes at all, not from someone who can take away “sin,” but rather by mastering the human condition through enlightened policies, procedures, and techniques—salvation through science and politics.   

For someone enthralled by the foregoing account of the human predicament, the Baptist’s announcement, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” can be little more than a distraction. By contrast, those weighed down by the sin of the world, and especially those burdened by their own sin, may find in the Baptist’s announcement a cause of great hope, a promise of liberation. In what, then, does our genuine salvation consist? And what is the chief obstacle to salvation?

“See what love the Father has bestowed on us that we may be called children of God,” says the first reading. Just as a child knows and is like his earthly father or mother, so the children of God are to know and to see and to be like God.  Because sin destroys our ability both to see and to be like God, we can be true children of God—if that is our salvation—only by the one who can free us from sin, the one who can take away our sin and make of us a new creation.

 “Everyone who commits sin commits lawlessness, for sin is lawlessness … No one who remains in him sins; no one who sins has seen him or known him.” The lawlessness of sin breaks the loving communion to which we are called. Lawlessness and love are opposed. Yet, the very one in whom we cannot remain while lawless, promises to give us all that we need in order to turn from our lawlessness and so remain in him. “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Behold the Liberator! Behold the Savior! 

Dr. W. Matthews Grant
Department of Philosophy, Chair