Friday, January 29, 2010
Jesus and The Law
But then she said something that sliced through my resistance.Said Dan:
“The Ten Commandments,” she told the other woman, “don’t apply to we Christians. We don’t need God’s Law!”
I still don’t know whether I was right in choosing to be polite rather than walking over to that windbag—forgive me, Jesus, but that’s what she was—and telling her, “Please be quiet, or you’re going to make that poor friend of yours as confused as you are!”
Where did she get the idea that the Ten Commandments had been rescinded because of Jesus? She certainly couldn’t have gotten it from Jesus.
One of the phenomena I continue to watch within some Evangelical and charismatic circles is an extreme dependence on the Old Testament, almost to the detriment of the New. I see people routinely going back to the OT to craft esoteric theologies made pointless by the death and resurrection of Christ. And I watch people fall into a weird, mystical legalism that seems superspiritual but in the end is nothing more than a negation of the work of Christ.Seemingly they arrive in very different places too - Dan is all about freedom and Mark all about the right place of the Law in our lives. But if you dig deep enough you find both address the same problem - "Isms."
Mark addresses what I would call "gracism" - that is to say that God's grace is so overwhelming that it makes no demands on us, causes no response, like an indulgent parent, once we are in God's grace, if we wreck the car, a new one appears. Dan, on the flip side, address the old tired and true "legalism." Efforts to earn our way into God's grace rather than understand the grace for what it truly is.
Both "isms" are symptoms of the same problem - a lack of humility. Humility counterbalances gracism because in humility we truly understand the extraordinary level of God's grace and cannot help but seek to be worthy of it. Humility counterbalances legalism because it knows that ultimately we fail to be so worthy and must rely upon the grace alone. In other words, isms result from a reliance on our own understanding instead of a fear of the Lord.
Both men, from very different perspectives, identify the same problem. Think about it.