Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Oliphint on the grotesque exchange

    For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1:18-23 ESV)

Those who profess to have wisdom often turn out to be, for the most part, foolish ...

But it is how this foolishness arises that is of interest to us. It is not because they profess to be wise that they are fools. Professing wisdom may be boastful, but it does not automatically make one foolish. No, Paul says that foolishness comes about because of an exchange.

We some times speak of "the great exchange" of the gospel: Christ became what he was not,so that we might become what we are not. He became sin, so that we might become righteous in him. This is the glory of the gospel.

The exchange that Paul speaks about here is not glorious or great, but grotesque. It is the quintessential perversion. Those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness "exchange the glory of the immortal God for images" (v. 23). Suppression of the truth reveals itself as idolatry.

(Oliphint, K. Scott. The Battle Belongs to the Lord: The Power of Scripture for Defending Our Faith. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2003. Print. 134-5)
Though, by the grace of God, I have received the great exchange of the gospel, I still participate, at times, in the grotesque exchange of Romans 1.

I can be one who suppresses the truth of God while elevating myself, or some idol, in his place. Whenever I suppress the truth of the great and glorious gospel of God for the lies of sin, Satan, and this world I in fact exchange "the glorious exchange" for "the grotesque exchange".

And so I must continue to fight to behold the glory of God in the face of Christ that I might unmask this grotesque suppression of truth and lean into the glorious gospel and my great God.

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