December 2, 2012
"God's Peace Child"
Don Richardson, an anthropologist/missionary, spent several frustrating years among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea. The more he tried to bring the Christian message to them, the more his message collided with the tribe's beliefs of deceit, cruelty and cannibalism. Every time he told them about Jesus, they wanted to know more about Judas's betrayal. To them, Judas was their kind of hero. He had shrewdly penetrated the trusted inner circle of disciples before turning on Jesus.
After watching the 14th bloody battle fought outside his home, Richardson decided to leave New Guinea. The Sawi could not convince him to stay. Just before he left, the Sawi and their deadly enemies, the Haenam tribe, staged an elaborate ceremony in front of his home. Everyone was silent except the Sawi chief's wife. She screamed loudly as the chief seized their six month old baby from her arms, held him high in the air and gave him to the chief of his enemies. A member of the tribe explained to Richardson that the Haenam tribe would rename the baby and rear him as its own. As long as the child lived there would be peace between the two tribes. Suddenly, Richardson saw the connection between this peace child and God's Peace Child.
First, the fact of God's peace child: "But God demonstrates His love for us in this: ... Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).
Second, why did God need to send His Son into the world? 1) "While we were still sinners" (5:8). 2) The problem: "powerless" (5:6), "ungodly" (5:6), "sinners" (5:8), "under God's wrath" (5:9), "God's enemies" (5:10), "a deceitful heart" (Jeremiah 17:9). 3) How sin came into the world? "When Adam sinned, sin entered the human race" (Romans 5:12, 18). Cf. Genesis 2:15-17; 3:6-7. 4) The result of sin: "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23).
Third, what is the solution? 1) "Christ died for us" (5:8). 2) "God's abundant provision of grace" (5:17, "unmerited favor"). 3) "The gift of righteousness" = "justification" = "to declare righteous" (5:17). 4) "Eternal life" (5:21).
Fourth, how do we receive this new righteousness? 1) "Through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe" (Romans 3:22). 2) "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved" (Romans 10:9-10).