I was fascinated reading this article, one of the many I receive via email each day. It needs no embellishment so I post it here as it was written…….
A Modern Peace Child (Romans 5:7–8)
God spans the gulf
Don Richardson spent several frustrating years among the Sawi tribe in New Guinea. He had traveled from America as an anthropologist/missionary, hoping to bring the Christian message to a nearly Stone Age tribe. But his message kept colliding with the tribe’s unusual beliefs.
Christian values of love and forgiveness had no appeal to the Sawi, for they held up deceit as the highest virtue . . . .In fact, when Richardson told them the story of Jesus, only one incident sparked their interest: the story of Judas’s betrayal! To the Sawi, Judas was a genuine hero; he had shrewdly penetrated the trusted inner circle of disciples before turning against Jesus.
A Mysterious Ceremony
Every time Richardson tried to share Christ with the Sawi, the attempt miscarried. Finally, after watching the fourteenth bloody battle fought outside his home, Richardson reached the end of his patience . . . .He decided to leave New Guinea, despite the Sawi’s pleas that he stay.
Just before Richardson left, the Sawi and their deadly enemies, the Haenam tribe, staged an elaborate ceremony in front of his home. It was their final effort to convince the missionary to stay.
The entire village gathered to watch the event. All were silent except the Sawi chief’s wife. She screamed loudly as the chief seized their six-month-old baby from her arms and held him high in the air. The chief then carried his son to the enemy chief and gave him to his enemies. A member of the tribe explained to Richardson that the Haenam tribe would rename the baby and rear him as one of its own.
Richardson knew that no Sawi could be fully trusted, since any action might be part of an elaborate deception. But that memorable day he learned of the one great exception: the peace child. A chief’s giving his own son to his enemy—that profound, painful act would overcome all suspicion. By mutual agreement, as long as the peace child lived, no wars could be fought between the two tribes.
Something clicked in Don Richardson’s mind as he watched the spectacle. At last he had found an analogy—a parallel story—built into the Sawi’s culture that could convey the message of a forgiving God. He gathered members of the tribe around him and, with a pounding heart and dry throat, told them of God’s peace child. God had sent his own Son, Jesus, to live among enemies, to make peace with humankind . . . .
A Key Passage
Perhaps Paul felt that same pounding heart and dry throat as he presented in 11 concise verses, Romans 3:21–31, the meaning of God’s offering of his peace child, Jesus . . . . Christ’s death, says Paul, was not a new idea, an addition to the Old Testament law. Rather, it was the completion of the law, what the Old Testament implied and foreshadowed. Like the Sawi, the Jewish culture had its own “redemptive analogies”; they all found true fulfillment in Jesus Christ.
Taken from NIV Student Bible
Romans 3:21-31New International Version – UK
Righteousness through faith
21 But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22 This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood – to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished 26 – he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
27 Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the ‘law’ that requires faith. 28 For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. 29 Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, 30 since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. 31 Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law.