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Reflecting on Yesterday

Yesterday’s post was upsetting to many of us. In some cases it shifted our focus from our agreement about Christ to disagreements among ourselves–or with “Charles”– over our relationship to Old Testament law.

In retrospect, we don’t know what’s going on in “Charles” heart. He could be a brother who believes in Christ while being conflicted over enslaving moral inconsistencies in his own life. His comment could be a way of trying to unburden himself from his own troubled conscience. Or he could be someone who has not yet bowed the knee to Christ for forgiveness, and therefore thinks the best way to avoid personal blame is by debunking the moral standards of the Bible.

(In the process, he cleverly exposed what happens when we misunderstand whether followers of Christ are subject to the Law of Moses– in the sense that national Israel was.)

In either case, deciding for or against the laws of the Bible doesn’t solve anything. Ultimately speaking, we don’t just break the laws of God. They break us. They can make us feel crazy as we think and do self-destructive things in an effort to numb or kill the sense of guilt that is eating us up. Or they can break us to the point of realizing that our only hope is to throw ourselves at the mercy of the one who bore the penalty and punishment of the law in our place.

Once we’ve experienced the freedom of forgiveness, we can begin the process of letting the Spirit of God show us the wisdom and purpose of the law of God. But even at that point, let’s remember that, just as the law cannot rescue us from our wrongs, neither can it make us into better people.

This is what Paul seems to have had in mind when he wrote to the Galatians, “Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? (Gal 3:2-3).

He went on to emphasize that a relationship with Christ begins and grows through faith in the Spirit of Christ living in us. If the law serves any purpose, it is to help us see that, for ourselves– as for those we care about– the real issue is not moral law– but whether we see and accept what Christ did for us.

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13 Responses to “Reflecting on Yesterday”

  1. MMO says:

    I am thankful to God for Charles because it allows us as Christians to clarify the Word of God and the blessing of Christ’s life and death in a loving way as He would want us to. I am also thankful for Mart, who almost gives me to reflect on almost every day. Today was a beautiful reminder of the price paid for my sins on the cross, and my freedom in Christ.

    There’s a lot of Charles’ in our world. They should be loved, as Christ would have us do. We can explain ourselves in a loving way, and others may reject or accept. Thank you, Charles, for the questions, and Mart for the response, and God, the Author of all, for the Answer.

  2. drkennyg says:

    Whew that’s a relief. But I know I’m still guilty and I have always thought that the “Law” and the “Gospel” went hand in hand. The 10 Commandments are critical standards to aspire to and Christ is my Redeemer. Gotta go – can’t be late today.

  3. poohpity says:

    I thought that “Charles” helped us to understand the futility of the laws imposed for Holiness. Although taken to extremes, legalism at times is also taken to excess when we presume to ask people to live to such high standards that no one can ever match. The sad thing is most of the time we hold others to those expectations and refuse to look at our own sin. It is so important to look at ourselves compared to God not to look how others are compared to God.

    I thought what “Charles” said was very funny and I have no idea how he met it to be because I will not assume his motives. I do know he stimulated a conversation that would have some of us look at what we truly believe.

  4. daisymarygoldr says:

    “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”- Gal 5:14, which I find is more difficult (without the Holy Spirit) than doing all the rituals of the OT.

  5. desert rose says:

    Mart, thank you for introducing so many different topics and thoughts for us to consider. Perhaps, many of us who have been saved for a long time and have studied the law in the OT and how Christ fulfilled the law. Perhaps Charles was just being silly and showing how absurd the OT law is to our life now. Thankfully, Christ was the perfect Son of God so we are not under the law.

    One thing I’ve often wondered is that God used object lessons so much in the OT such as in worship. The temple had so many symbolism. I have been mostly to churches where people did not enter into the sanctuary reverantly. Perhaps we need a balance in that area.

    So, I would think that the OT laws were symbolic in teaching values etc. One thing I like about this blog, is your sensitivity to others. I don’t know how you have the time, but I’m thankful you do.

    May God Richly Bless Your Life and Endeavors.

  6. cherielyn says:

    “OT Law” is only a mirror to point out that no one is capable of following it to the letter. The Law is fulfilled in Christ as only He, as the perfect God-Man, could fulfill it in every way.

    To Charles (and anyone else interested), might I suggest reading the following book: “Classic Christianity” by Bob George? Received this book from our daughter for Christmas. It sure has helped in our understanding of Christianity from a New Testament, after the death and resurrection of Christ perspective, ending the “Law” and legalism.

  7. Elaa says:

    I didn’t find the questions Charles posed upsetting in themselves. As many are attesting to, it did raise important reviews. My bone of contention was the underlining ‘you think you have God and the bible all figured out, let me hear you explain this’, as opposed to ‘there are serious questions out there needing answers, can we find some answers together?’ But then again, like poohpity says, I won’t assume his motive, so I will let that be.
    But about the moral law and Christ forgiveness, because of condemnaton for marrying a divorcee, I’ve had instances where I think I should just cut out this being a believer business and await my eternal damnation. I’ve remained in faith and in the body of Christ saying to myself – if I’m damned for life, I might as well make the best of my living days as a member of God’s family! It’s a funny argument I can imagine, but it works for me!

  8. Brother Larry says:

    We as Christians must be so careful to remember that our wise s foolishness unto the Lord. By the word of God is the only way that we can truly council, line upon line; percept upon percept. The bible states that we are hiers through faith and the first question to be asked is: Where does Charles stand, a believer or non-believer? Because without first faith and than faith unto salvation, know matter how much good advice is given there will be no understanding. For in all our getting we must get understanding. Once Charles is saved and begin to realize that the just must live by faith; then I would have him read Hebrews 6:15-7:6

  9. Becky M says:

    I’m so sorry that I didn’t have time to read this thread earlier before I left a post in the last one. I just caught the title and thought it was about something completely different. I just now had time to read it and I see that it does in fact have to do with the last thread. So, what I’ll do is copy and paste my post from there to here. However, I like the point you made here poohpity it’s sort of like the scripture that asks us to take the plank out of our eyes before we try to help to take the sliver out of our brother’s eye.
    Ok, here is the copy of the post from the 1st part of this thread:

    No upset Mart, showing “Charles” comments does help us to see how impossible it would be to strictly obey them today.
    The tearing of the temple curtain probably could be distinguished as God’s tearing of His mantle showing death of the old Covenant. The awaited messiah had come and opened comunication with God to everyone so we didn’t need to rely on animal sacrifices thru priests any longer. In so doing we did not need to hear the law on holy days any longer. God has written the law in our hearts. We learn directly from God, now that He has provided His sacrifice in His son the messiah.
    I enjoyed everyone’s comments on this thread.

  10. Becky M says:

    I tried to put a copy of the post that I had on the last thread but it seems it didn’t take. I didn’t see it here for review so I thought I would try it again, then I got the dupicate copy sign. So, basically I said that I liked poohpity’s post on this one and agree with what she said. Then I posted a copy of my post from the last thread which I didn’t learn until know was about the samething because I didn’t have time to read this latest one until now. I think that was why I got the duplicate warning and it didn’t show up here. So, you all will need to go to yesterdays “Charles” thread to read what I’m talking about, if you haven’t done so already. Sorry Mart, I thought I could just copy it over to here espeacially because I started it with another statement. But, while I’m at it I’d like to say that maybe “Charles” is not ready to accept Jesus as his saviour yet.

  11. bookbuff1629 says:

    I’m not sure forgiveness is the appropriate subject for today. It has been mentioned and I want to say we must forgive. I was once told by a friend that I had to forgive. I said ” You gotta be kiddin’.” Additional conversation revealed I didn’t have to see this person. It took God six months to change my heart. I am so grateful and blessed to have God in my life.

  12. Hephzibah610 says:

    (NIV)Gal 3:18. For if the inheritance depends on the law, then it no longer depends on a promise; but God in his grace gave it to Abraham through a promise.
    19. What, then, was the purpose of the law? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. The law was put into effect through angels by a mediator.
    20. A mediator, however, does not represent just one party; but God is one.
    21. Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law.
    22. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe.
    23. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed.
    24. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith.
    25. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

    The LORD has given us the answer…

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