Monday, February 17, 2014

Walking with Jesus from Incarnation to Ascension - Day 7 - The Law Was Temporal

  • "Christ is the end of the law.."    (Rom. 10:4)

    This is a hard thing for me to write about because I feel I don’t fully understand why the law came about. That is my honest feeling. I can see how God used it to highlight the problem of lies that Satan had trapped us in (which brought about sin - unbelief in who we really were and unbelief in who God really is), that through the law was the knowledge of sin, so we could see the damage sin was doing and how it was so foreign to our nature and needed to be dealt with and eradicated from its hold upon our minds. I can see how it was a protective measure, to keep people from doing tons of harm to others (for example, I think of how a murderer is put in jail and that stops him from killing more people, so it protects those people from the effects of his confused mind). I can see how it was a temporary measure that was only in place till the real solution to the sin problem, Jesus, came! I can see how what the law failed to do – restore the spontaneous and life-giving relationship with God that was always our birthright and always still there, though not accessed or enjoyed by people in their confusion over their identity – that how what the law failed to do, Jesus did, for He wiped away the lie and its effect and we could see the union we’d always had with God again, we could feel comfortable approaching Him, seeing that we really WERE the beloved of the Father all along! I can see all that at least a little bit. But I do feel that there is so much more to understand about the law. At least I am beginning to understand that I am truly free from the law, free from obligation, requirement, penalty for messing up, having to earn my way, etc.!
    Right now I will just focus on the new law, the law of liberty, the law of Christ, knowing that this law tells me I am free, tells me who I really am, never condemns or pressures me, doesn’t highlight sin but instead highlights my innocence, shows me Jesus’ face and makes me realize His face is a mirror and I am reflected there, so I am just like Him! This law tells me I am just like Jesus and can do as I please, for all I really want to do deep down is love people, just like Jesus wants to do! What a relief to find out one’s heart is good and pure and lovely, just like the heart of Jesus!
  • I feel so peaceful, and I know it is because of Him teaching me me closeness to Him and identity in Him, that of beloved child, and that He is taking care of everything. I need do nothing and no effort of mine is required, what a relief. I read a post on Facebook recently, “God is going to materialize your new creation identity without your help.” So often in the past I tried to help God and it was just futile and exhausting! How good to know my ‘help’ isn’t needed, and that by simply BE-ing myself, I am naturally living the supernatural life of a new creation – He just oozes out! I realized that God NEVER meant us to be under law and effort, hard work and labor, He designed us humans to function from a position of constant rest! It amazes me that He simply shines forth when I just AM me! He is so wonderful the way He has designed us. Law was never the focus, the tree of knowledge of good and evil (hard work and labor – isn’t what how Francois du Toit says is the meaning) was never our true way to live. We were designed as so ONE with God, with Him being part of our very being, so that He effortlessly shines forth by just us simply being! Didn’t Nelson Mandela say we were made to express the glory of God that is within us – that is so beautiful, all is already within each person, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed and expressed – Love is a Person, in us, as us, through us! HE is truly ‘who’ we are!!
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  • Thinking more about why the law was given, I read somewhere an idea that has been percolating within me and wanted to share it here. I thought of how, when a person does wrong to someone else, they can feel guilt and that they ‘owe’ the other person or need to somehow make it up to the other person, they may feel a ‘debt’ to that person, and the one who can release and help them is the person they have wronged – if the victim is able to forgive and sort of ‘let them off the hook’ so that they owe them nothing to make up for the wrong, then the person feels really released from the burden of guilt and is freed.

    So maybe God gave those many laws to cover as many sins as He could as officially being against HIM and now it would be that when a person sinned, they sinned against not themselves or others or just vaguely did something wrong (so that it was difficult to find release from the pain and guilt they felt), but they sinned against God Himself. (I think of David saying, “Against You and You only have I done this sin.”) If the sin was against God, then God could be the One to help them and release them from the guilt and feeling of ‘debt’ caused by the sin. Jesus came and even summed up all the law under “love God and others” and thus swept up every sin in a lump under those commands, thus making everything ever done wrong as something done against God, so that God in Christ could take away the feelings of guilt from sin and set men free! It brings to mind the verse “He has shut up all in disobedience that He might have mercy upon all.” He made every single act of inferior identity a sin against HIM through the law so that HE, being the one wronged, would be in the position to forgive and could free us from the guilt and condemnation and shame we’d feel, free us from the feeling of ‘owing a debt’ to make up for the wrong.

    I don’t know if I even shared that clearly. But it is a thought I had about why the law might have come about, as an act of mercy to ultimately bring about release and forgiveness – the sacrifices were the shadow of this release that ‘covered over’ the sins till ultimately and finally they were obliterated through Christ as the true release from our sins, feelings of shame, and feelings of needing to ‘owe’ something to make up for sin.

    It is like He saw that sin would bring these feelings of separation and inferiority to the extreme and He in love and mercy devised a plan to sum up every sin under the umbrella of being ‘against God’ so that He could take care of them all at the cross! He let Himself be the victim of all our crimes, so that He could take the powerful place of the one who could release us from guilt and set us free! The victim of our cruelty is the one who can set us free by releasing us from any ‘debt’ we feel to him or her. Jesus as the victim of our crime brought total forgiveness! I love the picture Andre gives of Jesus rising from the grave and walking out of the tomb with His arms stretched out to embrace His killers! He said on the cross, “Father forgive them for they don’t know what they are doing.” – Wow! He realized that we had lost track of our identity and didn’t know what we were even doing! He never lost sight of who we were and drew us into His embrace, getting rid of all the shame and unworth and guilt we felt. He didn’t see us as bad and guilty and dirty, but we did, and He came and submitted Himself to our messed up ideas and deeds so that He could show us who we really were and banish the guilt and thoughts of unworth and ‘owing a debt’ forever! We were living by performance, so He kindly entered into a performance based system with us in order to pay off any ‘debt’ we thought we owed and forgive any sin that we felt so guilty of, and he even kept all the performance requirements for us on our behalf so that our need of perfect performance was satisfied by Him on our behalf! And through dying to that law way, He freed us from the performance system and laid it to rest in the process!

8 comments:

  1. What an amazing thought--that the law was given in order to completely set us free from the burden of guilt and shame, Praise God!

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  2. Hi Sparrow,
    I hope this helps.
    When my wee boy was a baby we had to do everything for him. I mean he was so helpless that he could do NOTHING for himself so he simply received from us. When he grew a little and he was able to do a little for himself he would harm himself if left to his own devices, so we surrounded him with rigid boundaries (a stair gate was one and plastic socket covers another!) But once he was up and running and his curiosity led him into everything, all we could do was repeatedly explain the rules to him, don’t do this and don’t do that and distract him from these things as much as possible! Now that he’s seven, we don’t need to constantly watch over him as he has learned some basic boundaries, but there are still rules he needs to learn, so we’ll keep guiding him until he makes his own way. Hopefully by that time he will realise that there will be other times when he needs to find out the rules for himself and that he’ll get it right, get it wrong, but he’ll learn the rules as he goes. All in all, we’d rather we gave our son these rules than not, sometimes to him they seemed like harsh judgements, but we think it worth it in order for him to be the best that he can be.
    When Adam was around, mankind was a baby and we needed our Father to do ALL things for us, it was like being in the womb and being newly born and being helpless. Then we started to need rigid boundaries, these boundaries might seem harsh to the individuals concerned but as a race, we were just a baby still, learning not even to walk, but to crawl. Just think of all of those mosaic laws laid down as don’t do this and don’t do that. Some of them seem quite odd to us these days and as a race we find it hard to imagine that there was once a need for some of them as they seem quite strange. (I’ll leave you to decide which are the strangest!). Anyway, that was our Dad saying over and over again, no don’t stick things in the electric socket and no don’t play with the water in the toilet – the sort of things we wouldn’t dream of doing these days! And the more grown up mankind became the further we needed to be from those laws, although the need for me not to stick my fingers in the electric socket still remains the same today as it did back then!
    But as our Dad always intended that we be the Bride of Christ, he wanted us perfect, he wanted us to be the best that we could be (and just how best that is, is so awesome, isn’t it? Lol!) and that’s where He’s taking us, leading us. It was always His guiding hand all along. As a race, we could never make it to where He wants us to be on our own, could we? I mean, left to our own devices we’d have packed it in long ago, fought amongst ourselves, arguing and bickering just like brothers and sisters do in reality!!! So after a while, when He knew that the time was right, he planted His unconditional love in this world, in mankind through Jesus. As a parent, I’d hate it if I thought that my wee boy spent his life carrying around the thought that he’d offended me when he was little and that that caused some sort of separation between us. I love you Dad!!!
    Many blessings!
    Patrick

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  3. Anon, it is amazing! Even though Satan the accuser used the law to condemn us, and thus it became a ministry of death..yet God seems to have had the plan all along to bring us life through this long journey..to actually come into the law setting we'd chosen and deliver us from the shame, accusation, condemnation and death we'd encountered there and been trapped in there! Thank you for your comment!

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  4. Pattick thank you for all you explained! I love to see mankind as God's little chld, starting out as a baby and growing and learning along the way..it truly does seem that mankind has been learning and growing and finding out who we are and who God is, and then while the law was simply a temporary thing that brought us along while we were still youthful and unknowledgable, Jesus's coming showed us the perfect truth about God and ourselves and brought spiritual maturity to this human race! He is the perfect expression of the heart of God, He is the face of God for us, and it's a face of unconditional love, as you said, wow! Thank you for all you shared and the analogy with your little boy, so great and helpful to me in understanding the place of the law and the loving heart of our Papa!

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  5. Hi Sparrow, reading your reply made me think of something else! All my life I’ve tried this way and that way and got so much of it wrong. Eventually I begin to “get it right” when I forsake all my ways and works of course, and “let go and let God” or “go with the flow” living as much as I can in the moment or day by day (all of which is another way of saying that I live more and more with Jesus as the centre of my life, my being), living by His grace. It’s taken me a whole lot of life so far in order to begin to grasp this realisation and learn how to put it into practice (as if even that is up to me!!!).
    Likewise, I see mankind much the same, growing up and trying all sorts of methods of governments and systems and all it seems to cause us is trouble and heartache. Yet, I look around at the love which is so very real in this world today and I get a glimpse of the Holy Spirit at work. I see that Love running through our history as an unbroken thread. I see mankind finally coming to the realisation that it must all simply come down to Love. No, we don’t all of us see it that way quite yet, but, little by little, isn’t that the way fruit ripens on the vine, the firstfruits at the beginning of the season, with more and more to follow in abundance?
    It is wonderful to be able to think these things freely!
    Patrick

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  6. I love that Patrick! You said a mouthful, it helps me so much in my understanding...We can give up on our own efforts of 'trying to love/live right' and realize that Mr. Love Himself is the center of our being, flowing forth in love and righteousness! Jesus doesn't have any problem living the Christian life or being LOVE, it's who HE is, and it's who we are as well, in Him, with Him as our center! To live awake to His life and love within, loving us and everyone else from the depths of our being, is truly amazing..I am just beginning to even see this in my life...so much to learn, yet it is all coming down to me not having to do a thing! I already am all I was meant to be, and He is already inside loving. How simple is that..nowhere to go, nothing to achieve, nothing to need to 'try' or 'make happen'...His life of love IS happening in us, now, and now, and NOW! Beautiful!

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  7. “ yet it is all coming down to me not having to do a thing! “ Yes, Sparrow, all I can add is “We love him, because HE FIRST LOVED US!” This has been with me ALL day! I have nothing. Nothing of my own to bring!!! Even Love, as if I had my own wee store of it to share out! Have a most remarkable day! Thank you for all your encouraging words. May we all be blessed with sitting at the feet of Jesus this day and being truly loved, just resting there truly loved.
    Patrick

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  8. Amen, Patrick, He first loved us, what a beautiful thought! And so good to just rest at His feet, resting there truly loved, as you said!

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May the amazing grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, and the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you. 2 Co. 13:14