Christian Concept Analogies

I wrote these for my wife, who is teaching a missions class. The object was to describe the concepts without using Christian Jargon ... hopefully I was able to do it :)

Sin - Cities are build on relationships. For a city to thrive, it's residents need to relate to one another within a certain set of boundaries. When people start to undermine these boundaries, the social, economic and even physical aspects of the city can crumble. This is more than simple morality, or following a list of rules - this has to do with the absence of love. For example, a person cannot steal in the name of love, murder in the name of love, lie in the name of love; or be self-centred in the name of love. All of these things, if practiced by everyone in the city, would make the city fall because anything done without love serves to destroy relationships, which then destroys everything.

Judgement: When a person offends someone there are natural and social consequences. The natural consequence might be the destruction of a relationship, but the social consequence are far reaching: the offender is estranged from their family (either literally or metaphorically in the sense of a community of people).

Forgiveness: When a relationship is destroyed, rebuilding takes something special. Often the offender will not seek restoration for a variety of reasons. But even when they do, true restoration can only happen when the person who has been wronged absorbs and releases the consequences of the offense. For example, if a person has been publically humiliated they need to let go of the anger, sadness and shame and treat the person who has offended them with compassion and mercy instead of anger and conflict. There is thus a high cost to pay for restoration.

Salvation: As restoration occurs in a relationship through compassion and mercy, the offender is brought back into his/her true place within the family/community/friendship etc. When this restoration is perpetual, regardless of the offense, the person can be considered to be saved from the consequences of their actions.

Eternal Life: When a person is saved from the consequences of their actions, they are given an incredible opportunity to live a life of love, security and intimacy. This kind of life is the kind that will not stop at death: it will continue on for all eternity.

Faith: If a person has been restored, they need to trust in the source of that restoration that no matter what happens, the offer of restoration will always be on the table. This is based on evidence that the source of restoration is trustworthy and dependable.

Saviour: a person who offers perpetual restoration to others for their offenses against him is one who saves others - also called a 'saviour'. A man named Jesus claimed to be sent by God to be that person for all people.

Cross: In Ancient Rome, crosses were used as a sign of military might and power. People who offended Rome were hung on crosses outside of major cities to show that to offend Rome was to invite death. Despite being innocent of any crime, Jesus was sentenced to death on a cross. However, he went to his death willingly as the greatest sign of mercy and forgiveness. If Jesus was really sent by God, and really went to his death willingly as this sign of mercy, then through his death we have been restored and are invited into God's own family despite our lack of compassion, mercy and love.

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