Happy FALL Tuesday morning, all! Don't you just love this season? I think it's my favorite, and I get a boost of energy this time of year. This morning, I've already taught spinning, jogged, fixed breakfast, done a few loads of laundry and enjoyed a sermon on my iPod. AND... I still have to get ready to teach two TOT classes yet I've decided I have time to blog. Hmmmm.... This may not be the best decision.
A few days ago, I posted a status update on Facebook which revealed my disgust with pastors/people/teachers/etc. that lead others to believe that salvation and freedom are found in keeping the Law. These kinds of teachers usually introduce the Bible as a "guide for how we should live".
This type of teaching frustrates me, because I believe that it is only part of the story. I think it shares only a PIECE of the gospel, and it's not a very good piece if nothing else is shared. But, I also understand that in sharing my thoughts/feelings, some might think that I don't see a place for the teaching of law, like I'm AGAINST rule following.
There's really nothing that could be further from the truth. But, when I hear someone share Christianity in a way that leads others to DO better rather than to REST in the ONE who has done it all PERFECTLY, I know something is missing. Let me try to explain myself.
The sermon series that I am currently listening to is on Hebrews. It is taught by Matt Chandler at The Village Church, and it is from 2006. Hebrews is FILLED with references to the law and the Old Testament priests. In essence, the author of Hebrews says that the former way (Old Testament keeping of the law) didn't work. God established the law. Humanity demonstrated that it could not keep the law. Therefore, the system of priesthood had to be established SO THAT we could continue on in relationship with God. And, honestly, when you read through the sacrifices and feasts and routines that had to be followed, it's exhausting! So, Christ came as THE High Priest. He lived the perfect life, and He died. HIS death and life restore us with God. In fact, Hebrews states many times that Jesus is the BETTER way. He is the guarantee of a BETTER covenant.
So if Jesus is THE way and the gospels tell us that His work is finished... COMPLETE, why do we keep running back to the law? It so confuses me, because I believe that the law was established to bring us to the END of ourselves. Actually, following laws establishes some safety and provides some order for society. But, in the end, Christ points out that if following the law is our means to salvation, we must follow it PERFECTLY... ALL OF IT... in word, in deed, and in our thoughts. If I allow the Law to do it's job, I realize after only seconds have passed that I need HELP. I need a Savior!
So, I get frustrated with teachers pushing the law OVER relationship with a gracious and merciful Jesus, because when life gets hard and circumstances seem unbearable, following a list of do's and don'ts has NO POWER to provide life. For those people in this world that are CAUGHT in addictions to alcohol, drugs, food, whatever.... bearing down and DOING the right thing will work only for a while. But, we don't have the POWER to overcome them in ourselves. We need a Savior!
For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God DID by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. Romans 8:3
Hallelujah! He DID it. That's past tense. It really is finished. He's overcome it all and my only job now is to REST in Him.
Here's the ironic part of my story. While my listening has been in Hebrews, my quiet time reading has been in Psalm 119! The WHOLE Psalm speaks of the psalmist,s LOVE for the law. :).
I will never forget your precepts.
I love your commands.
Your commands are my delight.
With each of my readings, I'm in agreement with the psalmist. I also believe the law is important. And, I love reading and studying the Word. But, it was never meant to be my salvation. It was never meant to be my focus.
It DEMONSTRATES that I need a Savior, and then it points me to that Savior. When I truly found Christ (not just for salvation and the assurance of heaven but as healer, friend and Redeemer) and learned to REST in His care and His provision, the Law (His Word) became my delight. I trust the Word of God, because I KNOW the Son of God. I desire to follow in His ways, because I believe that He is THE Way.
Here's my fear.... Are we dressing up, playing the part, following the rules and NEVER being honest about the darkness within us? It's there! The struggles are real for everyone. If following rules has become our salvation SO THAT no one ever knows the darkness within us, then the Law hasn't served it's purpose in us. There IS struggle. There IS weakness. Because we ARE human. God's Word points that out clearly. Then, it shows me the One who fulfilled that Law FOR us. That's why I love the Word. That's why I cling to His laws and decrees.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. Psalm 119:92
You rarely know how things will turn out, but... - [image: https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcS8uoyk5Jw2XILk-cR6Bf8KqzjZqfjgToMotvqsvK0P4ewgkhwQmA] Denzel Washington starred in the movie ...
5 months ago