In Romans 2:16, Paul tells us that, according to his “Good News,” there is a “day” on which God “judges the secrets of men, by Jesus Christ.”
For Paul “that day” happened on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus, when and where he encountered “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” (1st Cor. 2:2)
Then and there, Paul died, and Christ—who was already in Paul—rose, as if, from the dead and Paul began to live by “the faith of Christ” (Gal. 1:14, 2:20).
Paul began to play ball. He had been holding the ball, “imprisoned in the chains of his own unrighteousness” (Romans 1:18, Barth).
Although it is profoundly painful to join the game, the Judgment of God, our Father, is fun.
As a young father my judgment was fun, and our basement was a kingdom of fun.
My two-year-old would see the fun but didn’t understand the fun, and so he’d hold the ball.
I’d issue my judgment: “Coleman, pass the ball; It will be fun. Coleman, the house is yours. I am yours. All things are yours. Even the ball is yours—I bought it for you. But you won’t have any fun until you pass the ball.”
And he’d hold the ball, for he didn’t trust my judgment.
If I were to promise a reward and threaten a punishment, what would it be?
“If you pass the ball now, I’ll let you hold it forever alone in the basement?”
“If you don’t pass the ball now, I’ll take it, and give it back, so I can take it again; forever and ever we’ll be passing the ball?”
By appealing to his current desires with rewards and punishments, I’d teach him to lust for “hell,” and hate the fun that he longed for in the beginning but did not understand—that is, passing the ball.
The Judgment of God is fun. Which raises a question: Why do “Christians” have so little fun?
In Romans 2:17 Paul suddenly writes “But if you call yourself a Jew.”
The Jews had been “blessed to be a blessing to all the nations of the world.”
But they held the ball.
Eventually, they nailed him to a tree for he was bound and determined to give himself away. He is the promised blessing.
We took his life, and he gave it away.
Paul would call himself a Jew and he would call you a Jew.
You are the Bride of the King of the Jews, grafted into his family tree—that’s a Jew.
When we read “Jew,” we should hear the word “Christian.”
When we read “law,” we should hear the word “religion.”
Both Jews and Gentiles (Christians and Non-Christians) are religious; we all take fruit from the tree of knowledge in the sanctuary of our own souls and use it to justify ourselves.
It’s just that we “Christians” do it in the name of Love. . . but it’s the opposite of Love.
Then Paul starts talking about “foreskins.”
Circumcision was the first “religious” thing that God asked Abraham to do.
It’s rather astonishing for it means that faith is not an addition we make, but more like the result of a subtraction that God makes, allowing our hearts to commune with him.
It’s astonishing for circumcision is really not about foreskins, but another type of skin—the leathery skin that imprisons the love of God in an unfaithful heart.
And it’s astonishing for it’s all about passing the blessing, in the sacrament of the covenant; We call it “making love,” but it’s actually Love making us, making life . . . and its’ fun.
It’s the religious crowd that numbs the world to the joy of communion with God, according to Paul. It’s the religious crowd that crucifies Love and Life, the King of fun.
Then we ask “Why pass the ball if everyone gets to have fun? Why play the game if I don’t win? Why worship a savior who saves all the children in the basement? How is that fun?”
The question reveals that we aren’t playing the game but holding the ball; in fact, we still crucify Love, for we don’t have a clue about Life—that is, fun.
Only God knows if we’re playing ball with him in the secret sanctuary of our own hearts.
But we can begin to figure it out by whether or not we’re having any fun and whether or not we’re bearing any fruit—Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faith . . . Fun.
Coleman finally surrendered his judgment to my judgment, lost his psyche, and found it; he passed the ball and lost himself in the game—a world of fun.
Coleman got good at playing the game. He played football until his senior year when he quit the game. I asked: “Why’d you quit?”
He said, “Dad, it’s not fun. My coach is all about winning games and so, no one plays just for the love of the game.” He could’ve said “Dad I don’t think my coach is circumcised; He doesn’t enjoy passing the ball. He only enjoys holding the trophy.”
If you play to win, you’ve already lost, for you’re not “playing.”
If you follow Jesus in order to beat your neighbor and win the game, you’re not following Jesus; you’re crucifying Jesus and losing the war.
We battle division with communion; we battle evil by passing the ball; we battle the void with the presence of God; we battle desecration with creation; we battle death with Love and when everyone loves, all is Life, and everyone that’s anyone wins the war.
And so why does Peter Hiett not have more fun?
He thinks it’s his responsibility to win that war.
It turns out that God has already won the war so that Peter Hiett can enjoy playing the game.
If you’re not having fun, don’t just make more rules about passing the ball—that’s religion.
Instead: Let this day, be “that day.” Let God judge you at the tree in the garden.
Watch him pass the ball. Watch him win the war and you will join the game that is a dance and has no end, for it is the end and the beginning; it is the Judgment of God—not death, but Life eternal.
PS You are his trophy. . . and he’s already holding you. So, enjoy the game.