Discuss the different ways goodness and badness is achieved according to sacrifice and according to mercy.
Goodness According to Sacrifice works through beliefs and actions the believer employs to shield him or her from the effects of God’s violent response to human sin. Death reflects the contamination of human failure to find perfect cover from God’s anger. Jesus was the only person whose cover was perfect and who then paid the price for God’s redemption of all humankind. Believing in Jesus ensures the immortality of the believer. Just as Jesus’s resurrection and ascension back into Heaven validated His immortality, so also after death, if one believes in Jesus, the ordinary women or man will rise from the dead to follow Jesus into Heaven.
Goodness According to Mercy comes through human participation within God’s eternal life, the Christ presence within each of us. Immortality and eternal life are different concepts. Immortality transcends mortal perception. Eternal life is about God’s inscrutable but loving presence within human perception. James’s discussion of the Parable of the Good Samaritan reflects the immediacy of eternal life, which takes form in the Samaritan’s visceral, emotional and open-endedly merciful response to the victim. Responding to God’s gut-wrenching love, we bring immediate and accessible “Goodness According to Mercy” to the aid of our neighbor.
James gave a talk on the conversion to Goodness According to Mercy in 2010 at Sturt University in Canberra, Australia, which echoes what James wrote in “Jesus, the Forgiving Victim.” James put a transcript of his talk online. http://bit.ly/2qSnud6 The transcript’s last paragraph reflects what it means to recognize and to begin following the road to eternal life. The process of giving up Goodness According to Sacrifice feels both excruciating and exhilarating simultaneously as God’s living presence actively loves in the form of personal actions that move toward, not away from, victims of sacrificial ‘goodness.’ God loves eternally with the goodness of God’s presence – now.