The Peace of Justice

Sermon on Romans 5:1-5

Psalm 8:1-2 O God our Governor, how exalted is your Name in all the world! Out of the mouths of infants and children your majesty is praised above the heavens.

Introduction

I bet we confuse control for peace. I think we’re dead set on thinking security and protection will grant peace. I believe we’re gullible believing that calm and tranquil are synonymous with peace.

When I can control my environment, others, things, objects, I feel like things around me are calm. This feels like peace. But it’s not. Calm doesn’t mean peace. Control doesn’t mean peace. Things are just calm; I have control. But, again, that’s not peace. The kids aren’t fighting anymore because I exerted my authority and silenced them and now there’s calm. Yet, if you asked the rabble, I bet they’d narrate a different story. I can eliminate people from my life who cause me strife, I can go out into the woods, I can seclude myself from society and its ills, but that’s only control thus calm and not peace. Even if we say: ahhhh, how peaceful…. Doesn’t mean it’s the substance of peace; it only means we’ve forgotten what peace is.

Correlated to seeking peace by control, is our unhealthy desire for “security” and “protection.” Security and protection make us feel safe from external intrusions and threats. Safety produced this way brings the illusion of peace. This is true at the individual, state, and national levels. If I, the state, or the nation can ensure safety from the external threats by stock piling and threatening to use _________ (money, guns and other weapons, walls, fences, oppressive legal restraint, force, etc.), then it might feel “secure” and “protected” and “safe.” But, again, this sense is confused. If a person, a house, or a state uses mechanisms of fear and intimidation through power and authority, it might get some calm and even have control, but peace? Nope.

In fact, heavy-handed authority always foments anger and resentment; fear and intimidation always create oppression and isolation; anger and resentment blended with oppression and isolation is a deadly recipe for chaos and violence. The very thing security and protection aim for is missed. Always. You may have control, and you may have (momentary) calm, but peace? Nope.

The problem with confusing calm, control, security, and protection for peace is that calm, control, security, and protection are things created externally, thus always. If peace is never having any bad feelings or conflict, then you must always cut people and situations off as soon as they manifest unhappy feelings. If peace comes because you feel secure from outside threats, then you must always be alert, your security systems need to be updated frequently to handle increasing amounts of threats. If your peace comes from protection, then your guard can never be down. If your peace comes from being in control, then you must always be in control. If your peace comes from being threatening and intimidating, then you always have to threaten and intimidate. It becomes an endless cycle of more and more; the last I checked the relentless pursuit of more and more is not the definition of what it means to have peace.

“Peace” that’s patched together and fabricated from artificial means of control isn’t peace; it’s an illusion, it’s false, it’s a sham. Peace isn’t about controlling externals (through force or elimination), it isn’t about trying to bring bodies, houses, states, and nations into obedience by forcing them to conform to your will and control. Peace must reside first in the heart and mind and then radiates outward into the environment, carrying with it peace for others.

Romans 5:1-5

Therefore, being justified by means of faith we have peace in company with God by means of our Lord Jesus Christ and through whom we have obtained approach for faith in the grace into which we have stood and still stand and we boast on the basis of the hope of the glory of God…But, hope does not shame, because the love of God has been bestowed liberally in our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit being given to us.[1]

(Rom 5:1-2, 5)

It’s not surprising to see this short but profound statement about peace from Romans 5 on Trinity Sunday. For Paul, there is no peace, no shalom, that side-steps around God. Knowing the Hebrew scriptures like the back of his hand and knowing the divine commands, Paul is well acquainted with the peace of God which surpasses all worldly and human understanding.[2] To be sure, this isn’t peace that’s caused because God’s wrath has been appeased, or because you are now safe from hellfire and brimstone; that’s calm, not peace. When Paul declares that we have peace with God through our justification by faith in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit apart from works, it means that we’ve been made right with God, and this means we stand in and with God without disturbance.[3]

If your inner world is chaotic and disturbed,[4] it’ll never matter how secure your doors are and perimeter is, how tall and firm your walls and how barbed your fence, how big the figures in your checking and savings account, or how many weapons you have: there’s no peace because there will never be enough to be sure.

But if you’re sure on the inside, that’s a different story.

Peace is getting to be you, loved as you are, and exhorted to love as you’ve been loved. When God is encountered and this reality in Christ is believed, then your inner world aligns by the presence of the Spirit: no longer do you need to run to make yourself invincible, no longer do you need to deny to remain innocent, no longer do you need to be afraid of being wrong for fear of being bad, no longer do you need to withhold mercy and forgiveness so as not to lose yourself. You don’t need to do these things because you know who you are: a beloved child of God.

We are loved by God who is love, this is made known to us in the proclamation of Christ Jesus who causes us come face to face with the reality of God’s love incarnate and also shows us how to love like God, and then the Spirit takes over our hearts and minds yoking us forever to God’s love, causing us to love that which and those whom God loves. [5] This is the triune mystery that is our reality. [6] This Triune affair is why no one and no thing can ever sever you from God and God’s love; this triune affair is why we get to participate in the perpetual illumination of the world with God’s divine revolution of love and peace.

Conclusion

Prof. Ada Maria Isazi-Diaz says that the embodiment of God’s message of no greater love “…is not a matter of dying for someone else but a matter of not allowing someone else to die…For [the Madres Cristianas] ‘no greater love’ is nothing but the justice-demand that is a constitutive element of the gospel message.” [7] God’s love is oriented toward justice; thus, so is God’s peace. It is only through justice for all, we’ll have real peace, shalom.

Peace always starts with us, with our hearts and minds, with our bodies and presence. Peace is not that which I fabricate by excessive control of other people or my space. Rather, peace, like love, is that which I bring with me (to others) being at peace with God and with myself. If I’m consumed with fear, I cannot bring peace to others. If I’m consumed with threats, I cannot bring peace to others. If I’m desperate to protect myself and feel secure, to be calm and comfortable then I cannot bring peace to others; I will always see others as a threat to my safety, security, protection, calm, and comfort.

Our world is in a desperate state; discourse reveals an intense desire to protect and secure ourselves and those whom we love from the very present threats of death, from the storms of violence and chaos, from the sinkhole of despair. I promise you that more “protection” and “security”, more “control” of others and spaces isn’t the answer. If it is our answer, we’ll head into more chaos and violence, more death and despair. We can’t put our hope in various forms of metal, wood, and stone.

I can tell you that I truly believe the peace, shalom, of God’s love embodied by Jesus and given by the Holy Spirit with and within us is the better answer, the better way to life. God’s love and peace bring justice, because God’s love and peace are merciful, forgiving, steadfast and patient, slow to anger and quick to love, eager to liberate, bring equality, bestow life, and create fertile ground encouraging people to grow and thrive. God’s love and peace never bring deprivation and intimidation, exclusion and isolation, fear and threats; rather God’s love and peace turn swords into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do not let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27, NRSVUE). Beloved, never forget God’s Spirit of love and peace lives in you, is with you, and goes before you; you’re never alone, never forsaken, never without hope. And be at peace with God, with yourselves, and with each other, and spread peace and love wherever you go and to all whom you meet.


[1] Translation mine unless otherwise noted.

[2] Martin Luther Lectures on Romans: Glosses and Scholia (1515/1516) LW 25 Ed. Hilton C. Oswald. Saint Louis, MO: Concordia, 1972. “THIS is the spiritual peace of which all the prophets sing. And because this is the case, he adds the words with God.”

[3] Luther Romans LW 25, 285. “And this is the real peace of conscience and trust in God. Just as on the contrary a spiritual disturbance is the lack of a quiet conscience and a mistrust of God.”

[4] Luther Romans LW 25, 285-286. “But note how the apostle places this spiritual peace only after righteousness has preceded it. For first he says, ‘since we are justified (iustificati) by faith,’ and then, ‘we have peace…’ And here the perversity of men seeks peace before righteousness, for this reason they do not find peace. Thus the apostle creates a very fine antithesis in these words…”

[5] Luther Romans LW 25, 294. “It is called ‘God’s love’ because by it we love god alone, where nothing is visible, nothing experiential, either inwardly or outwardly, in which we can trust or which is to be loved or feared; but it is carried away beyond all things into the invisible God, who cannot be experienced, who cannot be comprehended, that is, in to the midst of the shadows, not knowing what it loves, only knowing what it does not love; turning away from everything which it has known and experienced, and desiring only that which it has not yet known…”

[6] Luther Romans LW 25, 296. love through the HS “For it is not enough to have the gift unless the giver also be present…”

[7] Ada Maria Isazi-Diaz Mujerista Theology: A Theology for the Twenty-First Century. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1996. 106.

What if Thy Will is Done

Every time I pray Thy will be done on Earth as in Heaven
I stop and pause and think…Really? Do I mean this?
Do I really want God’s will done on Earth?
The stories and mythologies
Forming the backbone of the tradition
Speak of radical events of upheaval and chaos
When God makes divine footfalls on our terra firma,
When God beckons humans to reconsider, to look elsewhere, to hear anew.
The vibration from Divine steps and voice renders pre-existing structures
Rubble and dust; removing ground under feet once sure and confident;
Plummeting sure and confident human beings into voids of doubt
Flirting with despair and terror and fear and panic;
Returning full grown adults to infancy: needy and desperate.
But the meaning of my pause is ironic: aren’t I already in tumult
And chaos and upheaval? Haven’t we done just fine with that
On our own?

We kill black and brown people in streets and on borders
We declare war on neighboring Nations and people groups
We’ve stolen land and then sold it back to the people we stole it from
We render humans without homes as blights on our quaint Main Streets
We perpetuate the starvation of the Hungry while feeding dumpsters
We make undrinkable water for the Thirsty but we have our enterprises
We make life a thing to be earned, baited with the carrot of healthcare
We throw people in cages while retirement accounts and mutual funds surge
We sell lies of security to people through the idolatry of Militarization
We put all of our hope in science and then turn our backs on it
when it threatens to restrain our liberty and freedom for others
We’ve grown isolated and alienated, packed in below the earth,
safe in our bunkers from the enemies outside;
but the irony is… we’re the enemies we fear most.

So, what if praying fervently: Thy will be done on Earth as in Heaven
Means comfort and solidarity rather than chaos and loneliness?
What if it means solid ground rather than groundlessness?
What if it means right side up rather than upside down?
What if it means breathing in deep rather than holding breath?
What if it means mutuality into community rather than competition unto isolation?
What if it means surety of divine presence in the other and with the other rather
than the surety of the doctrines and dogmas of human made systems and kingdoms?
What if it means I can collapse into the divine embrace of a loving Elder Ancestor
who whispers to me the stories of the perpetuity of divine love in the world and
for the world—the stories and myths that feed life and liberation to all those who hear—
rather than being stuck in the alienating and destructive mythology of man, held by none?
What if it means rest in loving warmth rather than tumult in chilled indifference?
What if it means light and life rather than darkness and death?

An Intersection of Marx and Jesus

A (very) brief examination of the two through the book of James [by William Brien]

The following was written by a student of mine, William Brien, and I found the content quite insightful. As a caveat, Brien writes “I submit this piece with only a limited understanding of Marxism, therefore if I am panned for misconstruing it I yield my position to the experts.” I couldn’t have said it better myself. Also, I’d like to add that these insights are merely those: insights. He is, “giving credit where credit is due.” He’s a true intellectual who does not have to profess allegiance to something in order to see what value it may offer. None of the following determines his religious or political inclinations.

Never in the history of humankind has a doctrine been so viciously contorted as that of Christianity. It has been used as justification for atrocities ranging from the Holocaust, to Apartheid, and even Jim Crow. The symbiotic relationship between Russia’s Orthodox Church and the Tsarist regime served as a bulwark of aristocratic rule amid the mass killing and famines of the early 20th century empire. Yet the egalitarianism promoted in the Christian scripture itself directly contradicts the oppressive status quo it has been used to preserve. The Epistle of James condemns the hypocrisy of elitism, saying,

If a person with gold rings and in fine clothes comes into your assembly, and if a poor person in dirty clothes also comes in, and if you take notice of the one wearing the fine clothes and say, ‘Have a seat here, please,’ while to the one who is poor you say, ‘Stand there,’ or, ‘Sit at my feet,’ have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?… Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who oppress you? Is it not they who drag you into court? (2:2-6).

Perhaps the radical Marx could have found a friend in James. Indeed, the apostle’s contrast between the “dishonored” poor and the “rich who oppress” and “drag [the poor] into court” is very much reminiscent of The Communist Manifesto’s elite bourgeoisie guarding the means of production and subjugating the proletariat. The perpetuation of injustice, in accordance with this passage, is not the fulfillment of God’s plan, but a crude imitation designed to protect tyrannical authorities. Though these distortions led Marx to adopt a vehement opposition towards religion, ironically enough, the greed-filled class struggle which he proves to be the driver of socio-economic development towards socialism runs parallel to the greed and sin which drive the actions and thoughts of human beings as they work to become good Christians. It is the death of self-serving pursuit and the preservation of equality, whether through political and economic revolution or through compassion blind of class, which both doctrines wish to bring about.

Stoicism, Resistance, and Equity

Sancta Colloquia episode 102 ft. John-Marc Ormechea

In this episode I talk with my friend and philosophical and theological interlocutor John-Marc Ormechea (Twitter: @EpicTillich), and we discussed all things Stoicism, how Stoicism is inherently situated to stand against oppressive systems, and the emphasis within Stoicism that we all fit together (equity). I have to tell you that I know practically nothing about Stoicism; this conversation was mostly selfish: I wanted to learn about this philosophical school. Simultaneously, John-Marc is a person I admire in many regards and Stoicism for him is a way of life; according to the way he loves and has compassion and works–brick by brick and day by day–to build a better world, how could I not want to know more? How could I not share what we discussed with you?  Whatever version of Stoicism I had in my narrow-minded view of Stoicism was quickly and efficiently dispelled my John-Marc’s passion and expertise; he’s truly a great teacher. From what I learned from John-Marc, this isn’t your great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great…great grand-father’s Stoicism.

Intrigued? You should be. Listen here via Screaming Pods (https://www.screamingpods.com/):

A huge THANK YOU to my friend and producer Sean Duregger (Twitter: @seanCduregger) and Screaming Pods (Twitter: @ScreamingPods) for hosting Sancta Colloquia (Twitter: @SanctaColloquia).

A heads up that I sound a bit like I’m talking on a phone, from the middle of a jungle on a remote island. This is because my computer picked up my blue-tooth mic on my headphones rather than the mic I use for podcasting *grumbles (read: no fault of my wonderful producer). I promise, I’ll double check this in the future 🙂

To hear and see a different conversation I had with John-Marc about my love for all things Luther, watch this video:

John-Marc Ormechea works for a Rehabilitation Hospital. He considers himself to be a lay systematic theologian and philosopher who is primarily influenced by the work of Paul Tillich as well as classical and modern Stoicism. He not only talks the Stoic talk, he walks the Stoic walk.

Here are some resources from John-Marc for further reading and studying:

Besides this incredible introduction Massimo has this incredible blog as well:
Core Cannon:
Incredible 2ndary Sources:

The Parable as the World Right-Side-Out: Sermon on Matthew 20:1-16

“‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat’“ (Mt 20:12)

Do you know what this verse is the equivalent of in our vernacular?

“It’s not fair!” “Hey! That’s not fair!” These workers essentially whined and complained in an ancient language (now very dead) that is equivalent to my 3-year-old’s tantrum about nothing (absolutely nothing!) being “fair!” As a parent of three kids, I know all about the deep-seated human desire for fairness. Any parent here knows exactly what I’m talking about on a very visceral level. If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the cry, “It’s not fair!!”, I wouldn’t be here right now. I’d be on a beach…that I owned. I’d be a wealthy, wealthy woman.

In the world of children, everything must be fair. But according to whom? “To me.” Each of my children is the arbiter of their own fairness. If they themselves are lacking, things aren’t fair. If Jack had the toy that Quinn wanted, and I took that toy from Jack and gave it to Quinn, you’d not here Quinn clamoring that things aren’t fair. He’d be just fine and content because he has what he wants and deemed to be rightfully his. The cry that things aren’t fair bursts forth from self-oriented hearts.

Good thing this is something we all outgrow, right?

If that were true, we’d not have this very passage in the gospel of Matthew (20:1-16). If the demand for retributive fairness weren’t a deep-seated human problem, this parable wouldn’t exist. But God knows humanity better than humanity knows its self. Even as mature, rational, intellectual adults we want what’s fair for us; we want to keep what we’ve rightly earned. We want what’s ours. And everything about that natural human disposition should be disturbed and rattled to the very core by this parable.

So let’s take a few minutes to look at it.

“‘For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. After agreeing with the laborers for the usual daily wage, he sent them into his vineyard. When he went out about nine o’clock, he saw others standing idle in the marketplace; and he said to them, ‘You also go into the vineyard, and I will pay you whatever is right.’ So they went.” (Mt 20:1-4)

Any time Jesus begins a story with, “The kingdom of heaven is like….” Sit down. Sit down because everything you know to be true is about to be radically and completely altered. Everything you hold in your heart and mind as true is about to be turned on its head. Following these introductory words by Jesus about what the kingdom of heaven is like, you can guarantee that whatever you knew to be true, that everything that you think should be, isn’t. In Matthew, when Jesus utters these words, everything is about to get real; and that realness isn’t what you, the hearer, are expecting or wanting.

In the utterance, is an intentional confrontation. The utterance, the parable itself (which it is), is an intentional confrontation with you because it’s a “speech event.” And as an event, it does not happen in a vacuum, but occurs in time and space and incorporates people. And unlike the event of a command that demands an answer, the parable is plea.[1]

A plea, in the form of this parable, is released into the air by the one who spoke the world into existence, the one who is the incarnated Word of God. The plea goes forth creating exactly what it intends to create: hearers seized by the word itself and brought to its right conclusion, those who have heard and have now believed, and those who have responded; the faithful.

In the parable as plea, as speech event, God’s word, Jesus’s word, renders to dust that which belongs to the dust—the things we’ve made, the things we hold true, the things we believe apart from an external reorienting event. And in the midst of the dust, the word recreates from nothing that which is pleasing to it: a new creation, a new people, a new way to life. The parable, and including this parable that we’re looking at, is the penetrative word that pierces our existence and our timeline (parting space and time) and brings forth by lexical labor and delivery the kingdom of God that it is speaking of.

The parable isn’t merely a story about a better place and a better time; it is that better place and time now. And we, who have ears to hear, are the recreated participants in this new place and new time, that better place and that better time.

“When evening came, the owner of the vineyard said to his manager, ‘Call the laborers and give them their pay, beginning with the last and then going to the first.’ When those hired about five o’clock came, each of them received the usual daily wage. 10 Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received the usual daily wage. 11 And when they received it, they grumbled against the landowner, 12 saying, ‘These last worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching heat.’ 13 But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong; did you not agree with me for the usual daily wage? 14 Take what belongs to you and go; I choose to give to this last the same as I give to you. 15 Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or are you envious because I am generous?’ 16 So the last will be first, and the first will be last” (Mt 20:8-16).

As we go about our life thinking that we are living a life and living in a world that is right-side-out, the word event, the parable spoken by Jesus, grabs our lives and our life and our world and exposes it as actually wrong-side-out. In this parable, in this Word event there is an exposure; the parable exposes. And not only does it expose, but it alters, changes, and corrects; it is in the word event, in the parable, that the world is now right-side-out, now we are right-side-out.

And what’s this parable in Matthew 20 exposing and righting? Inequality. In the kingdom of God there is no hierarchy of persons. There is no claim on our own to our rights, to what’s ours. Just as we do not incur any punishments for our misdeeds and we are all equalized, so, too, in the reception of grace without merit or the promise of reward. According to Jesus, no person is better than another no matter what the earning potential.[2]

This parable offends us and utterly and completely reduces us to dust—we cannot comprehend it. The Judge, whom we encounter in this parable and whom is Jesus Christ[3] the vineyard owner, exposes our retributive default and posture toward fairness and “according to me” equality. When we come up against the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, we have no recourse to our rewards and merits. The Word of God levels us all. We bring nothing to the table. “We are [all],” to quote Martin Luther, “beggars.”

There is no boasting, no room for any boasting of our ourselves in Christ, in the realm of the vertical. And if there’s no room there for boasting in the vertical, then there’s no room for boasting in the kingdom of God, in the horizontal. As we are freed from the tiresome toil of earning, of seeking our merit and reward with God, we gain freedom from the same tiresome toil of earning and seeking our own merit and reward in our actual lives. While he’s writing about Genesis 11, I believe what Helmut Gollwitzer says is very applicable here,

“…we cannot by our own power break our fetters, cannot get rid of our intoxication…we need another great help. The Creator, who made the good beginning, must make a new beginning. He must come with new gifts, in order that the old gifts of our abilities and our work do not continue to be a curse to us. A new spirit must set us free from the errors of our old spirit. The whole Bible is a cry for help of this new Spirit from the creator, and the whole Bible is at the same time the euangelion, the glad news, that God does not only…confront the evil will of [humanity] with his judgment, but that he has opened his heart to us, and made possible a new way of good life, of fellowship, of avoidance of destruction. Into this new way he desires to lead us all by his Spirit.”[4]

The Word of God doesn’t just convict us; it creates (recreates) us. In Christ, by faith alone we are recreated by the Word of God, by the ever-recreating Word of God. Even now, by the word of God, I am brought to death, into the death and judgment of Adam and am brought to life in Christ (1 Cor 15:22). I can, with St. Paul, say, “For to me, living is Christ and dying is gain” (Phil 1:21). In this dying that is gain, and living that is Christ, I no longer have to be out to get mine; and, even more than that, I can be about the business of making sure you get what you need. I am now very much able to see to the needs of my brothers and sisters over getting what I’m owed. I am now very much moved not only to merely accept that the last will be first and the first will be last, but I, being of the first group, can actively promote the wellbeing and meet the needs of those fellow humans who are in last group. I am now given a new way to see fairness: not as what is fair to me but to you. I can (and must!) use my language (and my actions) in a new way, to advocate for you, to cry out on your behalf, “This isn’t fair!”

To close I want to creatively quote from the 2nd letter to the Corinthians and the letter to the Philippians,

“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:16-18)…Only, live your life in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that, whether I come and see you or am absent and hear about you, I will know that you are standing firm in one spirit, striving side by side with one mind for the faith of the gospel (Phil 1:27)”

We have been recreated and ushered into the divine kingdom by the creative and apocalyptic word spoken by The Word made flesh, Jesus Christ. Let us and care for and love each other as we have been cared for and loved by God.

 

[1] Eberhard Jüngel. “The World as Possibility and Actuality: The Ontology of the Doctrine of Justification” Theological Essays. Translated by J. B. Webster. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1989. “A plea makes a command without force. Unlike a command, it gives time. It accords freedom which the one to whom a plea has not been made never has. It leads to the differentiation of actuality by possibility. And so pleading ought to be the constitutive element of proclamation….In a plea, God’s love finds its most appropriate expression; and this love reconciles the world to God having made possible the possible and impossible the impossible, by reducing the latter to nothing and by creating the former anew from nothing.” 120.

[2] Rudolf Bultmann “Theology of the New Testament” vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner, 1951. “[Humanity] must become like a child, who, knowing no such thing as appeal to any rights or merits of his own, is willing simply to be given a gift (Mk. 10:15). (…) Jesus rejects all this counting up of merit and reward: The worker who went to work in the last hour of the day is rewarded just as much as the one who had worked all day long (Mt. 20:1-15). And Jesus also refuses to regard the misfortune that befalls individuals as punishment for the special sins, no man is better than another.” 14.

[3] Karl Barth CD III.1.40. p.37 “This is the right of the Creator with which we have to do when we encounter Jesus. It is by His right as Creator that according to the dominant conception of the New Testament God comes to be the Judge of men. He does not have to become or to make Himself the judge. He is it from the very outset. He is it as God the Creator, who as such can claim that the creature should be responsible to Him; who has the authority to decide whether it justifies its existence, i.e., whether it satisfies the right of the One to whom it owes its existence.”

[4] Helmut Gollwitzer “The Way to Life” p. 4 . He is speaking about Gen 11, but I believe the point holds here.